The Force Be With Me!

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The 40-Year-Old Rookie demonstrating his new address position

As part of project “Old Dog”, I was very careful and selective about whom to consult with when it comes to the redesign of a golf swing that has been consistently inconsistent for over three decades.

Being the middle-aged “finely-tuned” athlete that I am (tsk, tsk), one has to be very careful when embarking on structural swing changes with the risk that anything too major might find me in a wheelchair playing with those brave lads from the SADGA because of a severe injury. After much ado about everything, my decision was made … John Dickson is my man!

Other than the fact that he has been awarded the title of the “top dog” teaching pro by the PGA of South Africa a few times and that Golf Digest ranked him number two in the country (second to Jamie Gough who is hardly ever in SA anyway), I based my decision on a lesson with him whereby the changes he suggested were simple, easy to implement and the drills that accompanied his wise teachings were even more basic.  Great for a guy who can barely add 287 588 975 756 and 33 together.

So, it’s been two decent sessions and already my swing is gone!

This may sound startlingly frightening and most amateur golfers who embark on a journey to a certified PGA professional can probably relate…

The new swing feels terrible and foreign and the instant results seem better but the game is worse!

Normally, the amateur would throw the clubs up in the air, swear that the pro knows nothing and resort back to the “old swing”, cursing his decision to try and seek professional help… sound familiar?

Well, here is the great news!

After a couple of weeks and having hit a few buckets of balls on the driving range, I am seeing a marked difference in my swing, the shape of my shots, feeling how efficiently my body is starting to move and most of all … a new sense of excitement that “I am onto something”.

With that, I now refer to John as “Yoda … The Grand Master”, as not only does he eat, breathe, dream and study the golf swing and every conceivable variation of jerky move made by the human being at the little white orb, but he does so with the most unbelievable passion and commitment.

Very refreshing indeed, considering that he is seeing about 10 people with immense “problems” everyday.  This could probably be compared to being a psychiatrist dealing only with issues.

You’re never going to have a guy come in for a lesson because he’s swinging it well???!!!

Also, there is no “copy/paste” with Yoda.  Each client is treated according to their own specific intentions, shortfalls and swing and physical limitations.

So where am I now?

I need to stand more upright with my legs.  I was a little bent in this department, probably from years of knee-rattling swings on Tour in my early years.

I need to drop my hands slightly at address to allow them to work more naturally throughout the swing.

I need to turn my hips rather than “rock” them.  A hint of a reverse pivot I have.  This will see my body work more efficiently and avoid lower back problems when I hit the pensioner’s tour.

… and that my loyal readers, is that!

No fancy devices, no off-the-chart statistics about a few degrees here or there.

No technical jargon to confuse the daylights out of this desperate dreamer willing himself to contention on the Sunshine Tour and beyond.

Just plain, simple, practical and sound instruction that even I can understand.

I now have a two month gap in the Sunshine Tour which enables me to spend many a good hour working on these simple areas at the World of Golf and at my home club, The Els Club at Copperleaf.

So if you see me, please come and say hi … and see how good my swing is starting to look and perform.

The “Force is with Me”!

To see what I need to work on over the next couple of months, visit:

www.40yearoldrookie.co.za and click on the link next to John Dickson’s beautiful face!

For feedback or any queries as to how the journey is going, please feel free to contact me on 0789051547 or email me on olddog@40yearoldrookie.co.za.

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