Daisy Chain

One of the things that people do when they work of their swings is they choose one thing they want to fix and then they drill down on it like a pit bull.

I found this interview with Lucas Glover at pgatour.com quite interesting because here you have a U.S. Open winner who lost his way. He and his coach found something that they think is the key to his inconsistency. He was in the interview room yesterday at Quail Hollow because he shot a 5-under 67 in the first round. With 3 bogies, it wasn’t perfect, but he had a lot of birdies on a very good golf course and it was good enough to wind up at T4.

This is interesting because Glover points out that while you think you’re working on just one thing, in fact, there’s a daisy chain of consequences that flow from the change.

Q. Do you feel like it’s been coming around?

Yeah, I’ve been working hard, just a little swing change and just got to get some confidence in it. Good shots were there today; bad shots it still wasn’t quite there…

Q. The swing change you referenced, is that recent or…

Since November. I had it across the line [pointing to the right of the target at the top of the swing when it should be pointed at the target] all last year, and just taking some time to get it pointed the right way at the top and then impact is different. Today I was just going to go play [without thinking about it so much], hit shots and –

And then he talks about the necessity of waiting the process out. You can’t just run to the range with a hot idea for a swing change and expect that longstanding kinesthetic feelings will magically transform.

Q. So is that under a different coach?

No, same guy. We’re working hard and doing the right stuff, just got to be patient and wait for it to come around.

And then he talks about how, even for a Tour pro who has won a U.S. Open, even after you’ve demonstrated that patience, the change still comes and goes. This requires constantly regenerating your patience even as you’re failing your way to success.

Q. You’re a good example of when you change something it’s not like it clicks in overnight necessarily.

Yeah, I mean, little changes or Band-Aids sometimes work, but this [being across the line at the top] is something that costs consistency, and that’s what we’re aiming for. It’s tough to start a year with a new thought and a new move, but when it’s there, it’s right.

And then he talks about this daisy chain effect in a little more detail.

Q. (Inaudible.)

It was something that needed to be addressed probably last summer, but middle of the year I didn’t want to do it. And then off-season it didn’t — I feel like I’ve got the club where I want it, but just, like I said, you change something up there and then the impact is different. Your spine angle changes, everything changes a little bit. Impact was an issue, and that’s always been the best part of my swing; no matter where I felt like I put it [at the top, impact] was always there, and then next thing you know, it’s better [at the top] and worse [at impact]. But it’s something that — it’s a work in progress. Everybody is always tweaking or changing, but it was kind of — I moved my hands [a small amount] and the club would move [a large amount]. That’s a big difference for us.

And so one of the requirements of the mastery process is to be able focus on one thing with an expansive awareness of what else might be impacted. You have to be disciplined enough to realize that other things may be changing without jumping ship from the initial change that instigated it. It requires patience and commitment to the process so that you don’t wind up going in circles.

And finally, he points to the fact that swing changes don’t begin in perfection, they evolve over time and you have to be willing to see the initial imperfections as aberrations on the road to mastery.

Q. Do you think what you did today is sustainable for the rest of the week?

Yeah. My good shots were borderline great, and my average shots were okay. I hit a couple squirrelly drives but was able to make par or at the worst bogey on some of them…

Given the amount of money Glover is risking to make this change, I thought it was a pretty good synopsis of the subtleties involved and how the best go about it. Good stuff.

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