Friday, January 24 2020


Teed Off (Jan. 12, 2014)

Update: January, 12/2014 - 16:21

with Robert Bicknell

Just when I thought my mid-life crisis had passed….

It was bad enough when I dyed my hair blonde and let it grow to shoulder length, got a few tattoos and started driving a 1200cc Yamaha VMAX… but now I understand there is a new Harley Davidson showroom here in HCM City…

Yes, my wife had to practically tackle me to get me from getting out the door.

OK, so that minor crisis passed and I thought I found myself back on the track of normalcy (or whatever passes for normal for people like me) and then I found myself practicing chipping the other day with headphones on and AC DC's "Shoot To Thrill" blasting away at full volume.

Hit the chip, tap the foot while it rolls out…then play air guitar with an 8-iron… repeat.

No, I am not normal, nor would I ever want to be because I am what I am and I'm happy with that. And, only an egomaniac could construct a sentence using the letter "I" five times…so be it.

Music has always been a major part of my life, even since early childhood. When you have a 7-year old who could play drums like Buddy Rich, you have to make allowances and my parents did… fortunately.

But, we all have to grow up sometime, yet that doesn't mean we have to stop being who we are, or stop living. In public, we have to obey society's "norms", we have to observe proper decorum and professionalism in the workplace, but when we're on our own… watch out.

There have been times when my golf swing was just not there. Nothing felt right and I couldn't hit a decent shot if you put a gun to my head UNTIL a passing car was basting a great tune out of the stereo, or - in a tournament - the sound engineers for the awards ceremony were testing the equipment with a decent CD and once that rhythm section hit my ears and spinal cord…the swing returned.

I swear, if I could listen to tunes while playing golf, I'd break course records.

The biggest problem in golf is that people think too much when they're over the shot. The front brain is too active and the back brain cannot do what it is supposed to do.

Look, it works this way…

In our Neanderthal days, we didn't have much of a prefrontal cortex. We were pretty much instinct driven creatures and this was a good thing because the back brain - which controls heart function, breathing, running and walking while chewing gum - can do it all at the same time without messing it up.

The prefrontal cortex, where conscious thought rules supreme, would have gotten us killed because, instead of seeing a T-Rex and sending us off running at high speed, it would have looked at the huge lizard, thought about it, admired the sharp teeth and the huge jaws reaching down towards us and… CHOMP!

In golf, we need the prefrontal cortex to help us analyze what needs to be done. Calculating the distance, the wind direction and speed and deciding on the best possible shot for the situation.

Unfortunately, we have a tendency to allow the prefrontal cortex to continue its involvement into the swing itself, and that's where the problems start.

We should let it do its job, program the information into the back brain where automatic responses take over and then get the hell out of the way. But nooooooo….

If we allowed the prefrontal cortex to control everything we did, such as walking, chewing gum, talking on the phone, waving to a friend and looking at a pretty girl walking by - all at the same time - we'd fall flat on our faces and break our noses because it would still be thinking of which muscles to activate to break our fall as we crashed face first into the cement.

When you have a proper "pre-shot routine", you force the prefrontal cortex to do its job, then get out of the way so the swing becomes automatic pilot.

When I listen to music while playing, my front brain is enjoying the hell out of it, while the back brain is quietly performing the tasks assigned to it…like chipping a ball towards a hole.

Bottom line - develop a good pre-shot routine… and listen to AC DC… — VNS

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