Harvey Penick is the golf teaching “GURU” from Austin, Texas who taught famous golfers like Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls, Byron Nelson and Dave Marr along with thousands of amateur golfers from all over the world, and gave us his years of golf wisdom in the iconic book of notes named “Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book.”
One of Harvey’s most fascinating notes was titled, “The Slow Motion Drill.” It can be done in your living room, hallway, patio…you get the idea. No ball is hit. Harvey’s quote: “Your golfing brain and your muscles learn just as well from repeating the swing in slow motion as from whapping away on the range. In fact, it can be higher quality learning because no mistakes are being made in the
slow motion swing.”
This one piece of advice is probably among the best, or at least in the top five ideas, for playing better golf and having MORE FUN! In studies of the brain, scientists have discovered some fascinating facts about how the human brain, our golfer’s brain, actually works. Harvey was correct. The brain’s network of neurons that process information and control our voluntary muscles are like computers. When we repeat certain motions, like the golf swing, our muscles and the nerves and synapses that control them are building pathways of connections that become “burned in” to our memory like in a circuit board. This process is now proven scientifically and involves the chemicals and minerals in the brain’s neurons and synapses that are blocking nerves and then are removed by repetition of movement.
The “Perfect Swing,” which we can more easily mimic in slow motion, can be “burned in” to our brain by very slow repetition of the swing. Take several VERY slow motion swings in your home or patio (get your wife’s permission!) and when you feel you have it down, build up the speed until you’re making full speed swings. Don’t change your swing path or body motion when you start making full speed swings. Stay with your “burned in” swing path!
I have found that making good swings, hitting good shots and making putts are almost directly related to having more fun out on the course, along with many other “non-swing” related practices we cover in these columns.
When you’re ready to Putt more FUN in your game, give me a call!
Tom Lynott, Golf Basics Coach at 619-955-0633