Trust Your Swing, or, Pray as you Play
To thine own self be true: not from the Bible of course, but from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 1 – Polonius giving advice to Laertes.

Probably, this was what one professional PGA golfer was also secretly wishing to advise the famous, equally highly paid golf instructors. The champion golfer whose name unfortunately escapes me now had once put down a challenge like this: If any of those famous teachers of game like Pelz, Haney, Harmon or Leadbetter could beat me in a tournament, then I would submit myself to them for instructions.

If you give it another thought, none of these pro instructors, whilst being effective teachers of the game, are actually known for their tournament victories. So why do they still command high fees for writing and instructing?

I have read these guys’ articles in several magazines from “Golf Digest” to just “Golf” and have encountered conflicting advice within the same magazine. It’s like the first few pages will tell you “to keep your head still during the swing.” But as you reach the end of the magazine, you read things like “One can’t keep his head entirely still on a swing as it has to naturally move with the upper body – so its ok to move your head”.

I keep reading anyway. If you are still on a golf learning curve like this author, any piece of advice would be important.

Even on the driving range I have been told to select golf pro instructors with the same body build, especially with their height close to mine. I have the perception that tall pros give advice good for tall people, etc, etc. And these local pros, just like their American counterparts, inevitably offer conflicting advice.

Within my group of BCBP CIGA golf buddies, our games mirror some inconsistencies. I value their advice indeed, but when I observe their swings, they certainly are nowhere near perfect. One would swing with hardly any hip movement, another one would start his swing with a chicken wing bend of his right arm. Still another one would do a huge weight shift so that he looks like he hops on his right foot then back to his left when he swings, and one swings so hard that he actually ends up taking a few steps towards his target after his downswing. One has a picture perfect swing and finish worthy of Golf magazine publishing but his game scores may and may not necessarily reflect his perfect swing.

Which brings me to my message. Each one’s swing reflects his personal style and body structure, and it works for him. Sure they have had pro instruction sessions and have read Golf Magazines. But in the end, they trust their own personal swing to work for them. They have consistently low scores and are very good players indeed. And I doubt if they have as many back issues of golf magazines as I have.

Even the Bible itself will honestly have its share of verse conflicts if we read them out of context such as: PROV 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. ECCL 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. We should not let these seemingly conflicting verses bother us of course, for once we read them in the context that they were written all becomes clear. It is our faith, our belief and trust in the Lord that keeps us reading.

I have been frequently criticized by friends that whenever I go for a tee shot, I have a very nice practice swing that disappears altogether when I go for the actual swing. Too many things- magazine advice, pro tips running through my head and I am a bit distracted as I hit the ball.

As a new golfer embarrassingly overstaying in the handicap zone of 28 and above for the last two years, what I opt to tell myself is to trust myself in making the best swing at that one moment. And let the Lord decide how that swing will go. And be ready to accept the results of that swing. Practice is irreplaceable and priceless.

I’ve read somewhere that golf mirrors life. You plant the best seeds on the best soil, but in the end, it is the Lord’s weather that will determine the result. You can get the best doctors and surgeons for yourself and your family but in the end it is the Lord’s mercy as to how quickly we are healed.

It is almost too tempting to compare this to a passage: “God helps those who help themselves”. A scripture from the Bible? . . . No – from Benjamin Franklin. The Bible actually tells you this: Prov 28:26 (NIV) He who trusts in himself is a fool…

Conflicting passages again? Well deal with it. Pray as you play. It is your swing. It is your game.

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