The Player Approach
My personal experience as a professional golfer and son of golfing legend, Gary Player, led me to create a simplified approach to the game: The Player Approach. I have had more access to golf gurus, legends and sports psychologists than maybe anyone. You name them, and I spent my Dad’s money there as a young man. There are so many golf gurus out there that the golf world seems to be inundated with a bunch of instructional malarkey. So who is the guru of the gurus? I don’t know. But I do believe in a simplified, three-pronged approach to eliminate paralyses of analysis: a flat front foot, athleticism, and a positive attitude.
I believe the most important fundamental in the game of golf is to rotate 100% of your body mass up and onto a dead flat front foot! While the natural urge in golf is to hang back, one must transfer your weight up and onto a dead flat front foot very early in the delivery of the body, as opposed to always striking the ball off the back foot. Most golfers fail to focus on rotating and moving forward. Look at the target and have one thought in mind – rotation, rotation, and rotation! Stand on a driving range and take note on how golfer after golfer twists and contorts their body into all sorts of unusual looking positions and then as they begin moving forward their front foot instantly starts rolling. I once knew a golf professional that rolled his front foot so badly that he would wake up in the night in excruciating pain. Lots of Advil had to be taken!
Let’s consider why the flat front foot is so important. The Player Approach reminds us to be more athletic in nature. Everything we do, especially our golf swing, must make athletic sense. Front foot hitting is 100% athletic in that it focuses on true balance and creating the ultimate power position. In almost every athletic endeavor, whether it’s throwing a ball or swinging a racket, stability and power is derived by planting a flat front foot. If given the choice, 99% of athletes would choose to load their weight onto their front foot. Picture a quarterback in football or a hockey player going for the ultimate slap shot. And who can forget when Bobby Knight heaved his chair across the basketball court – completing his rotation up and onto his dead flat front foot, so much so that his back foot was completely off the ground? This same technique is essential to a successful golf swing. You must place your front foot in an athletic position that allows you to support 100% of your weight naturally on a dead flat front foot. The idea is really to plant your front foot as if you had taken the step – slightly open and outside the lead shoulder.
Turning onto a flat front foot is essential. If you have a hard time in getting the front foot to stay flat, have a friend lay down behind you and hold your foot down with a fair amount of force. Make sure you set up with your foot positioned slightly open towards the target, otherwise you may damage the knee. To gain confidence, start with small swings allowing the body to rotate all the way onto your front foot. This is the way to go! Begin with the end in mind! You will then have a perfect picture of yourself having completed the rotation all the way onto a dead flat front foot. The inner chest will be facing well left of target and we will see all of your spikes in the back shoe!
Of course no golf instruction of any kind will be successful if one does not have a positive mental attitude. Many of us need to learn how to hit a bad shot and move on –most of us already have the “hitting a bad shot” part down. After hitting a lousy shot, the only action to take is to just let it go. Step back and say quietly, “I am a human being and am prone to making mistakes. I am going to forgive myself for mistakes made and do better next time.” Golf is the toughest of all sports because the ball just sits there. We have too much time to think! Clear your mind of the paralyses of analysis that can haunt us all. Be positive, be athletic, and finish your swing on a dead flat front foot. Stay focused and remember that results are for the fans.
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Enjoy the ride folks, and remember if you continue to do what you have always done you will continue to get the results you have always gotten!