By Robert Bicknell
Oi have I got back pain you wouldn’t believe and it's all my own damn fault. You would think that after 55 years of playing golf (yes, I started when I was five years old), I would know better than to change my golf swing, but noooo.
I’m an idiot. OK, you already knew that, which is nice.
In a nutshell, my old swing was what I refer to as “linear acceleration” meaning that my club path pretty much stays in a straight line to the ball. As such, I have to open my left hip more than a conventional player would. Suffice it to say I look like I am always playing a fade – which I am, to be honest. This set up and swing path (never more than three-quarter backswing) allowed me to use more right side and, most importantly, protect my right shoulder and my feet – which have been pretty messed up over the last 10-15 years.
Despite looking kinda unconventional, when it worked, I could hit amazing distances accurately and not make a huge backswing. Sounds like heaven, right?
So, like the howling jackass that I am, I just had to go and change it, thinking a Phil Mickelson style of motion was more suitable for someone my age – which is 60 (or 61 on 04 July …whoopee me).
Well, for a month or so, it worked, but I started getting twinges in my lower back, and pain in my right shoulder. Being a fool, I ignored these signs and just figured I could work through them.
Well, I just got out of the hospital… Yes, I am an even bigger jackass than you ever imagined.
All my vital signs – heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys are all working normally and show zero problems, which makes me happy as hell. I’ll live to be 100. However, the trouble is my spine now shows signs of damage, most likely from overstressing it with the new swing, which was heavy on rotation and very unlike my old swing.
My old swing, while different, was mechanically perfect. The proof could be seen in the power and accuracy generated, and without pain or injury.
The new swing, which is very conventional in nature, and taught to golfers all over the planet, was also mechanically sound, but not correct for MY body. In a nutshell, I tried to force a square peg into a round hole and when it wouldn’t fit, I got a hammer.
To give you an idea of how badly I am screwed up, one of the blood tests they give you is “CRP Quantitative” which measures the amount of inflammation (aka PAIN) in your body. The normal range is 0-5.
Mine is 169…
OK, the point I am trying to make here is simple, there is no “one correct golf swing” and one size does not fit all. Sure, the mechanics have to work, but so does comfort. As I tell my students, you need to swing like you. You’re not Tiger Woods, you’re not Brooks Koepka, you’re not Phil Mickelson… so don’t try to swing like them. You need to be the best you possible and your swing must fit your physical abilities and your character.
Don’t try to be someone else, it doesn’t work.
If you’re making a swing, or are sore after playing golf, then you need to talk to your teacher about it. Obviously, something is going wrong and it could get very worse.
OK, next case… There’s been a lot in the golf news lately about Tour players getting caught screaming or berating their caddies on camera, or via long distance microphone.
So far, Mike Wallace, Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar have been caught doing wrong by their caddie.
If we look at golfers on the local scene, abusing a caddie seems to be part of the game, or so it seems. The caddies get blamed for almost everything and in some of the worst cases, get physically abused by the players.
Having a club broken over their heads or back, getting kicked in the chest … the physical abuse is not common, but it does happen. When it comes to golf, many players simply lose their minds out there.
To excel at golf, you have to control the ball. To do that, first you have to control yourself.VNS