These thoughts are excerpts from a seminar I attended some time back given by Chuck Hogan, a sports psychologist to the PGA Tour.
1. Should I play golf while learning the fundamentals?
2. Wouldn't I be better off just practicing at home or on the range?
3. Don't I run the risk of confusion when I am on the course and trying to learn at the same time?
Answer: Playing golf and learning golf fundamentals are two entirely different things and events. Do each as separate activities deserving of their own attention and use of your energy.
Playing golf is an act of intelligence. Learning golf fundamentals is an act of intellect. Do both, but not at the same time and/or in the same environment.
Go play golf. Go to the golf course. Hit the ball. Find the ball. Repeat until the ball is in the hole. Have fun. The end.
Learn the fundamentals. One chunk at a time. Do this in the backyard, the living room or driving range, practice putting and chipping areas but not on the golf course. Put your intention and attention on each chunk, one at a time. Continue until you have claimed somewhat of a mastery of each successive chunk and have validated your success.
Keep playing golf. Your mastery of fundamentals will emerge into your golf game as an act of play, not by forcing it there with your will.
"All intelligence arises from concrete to abstract." (from "The Magical Child," a book by Joseph Pearce).
Play golf with the indulgence of a child and your fundamentals will fall into place without your conscious awareness. It is possible to notice progress only in retrospect.
In match play a player's ball lies in a hazard. While waiting his turn to play, he casually leans on his club in the hazard. Ruling?
Answer to last teaser:
In match play, a player played his shot from a bunker. His opponent made him replay the shot since he played out of turn. Before he played, he reraked the bunker. Ruling? No penalty.
John Lucas is the professional at SkyRidge Golf Course and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.