By Jeff Ritter
We've all heard that golf is a game of fundamentals. But what exactly "are" golf's fundamentals? Often when discussing building an efficient swing we talk about improving things like grip, posture and alignment. The problem is, if grip is a fundamental, then why do the game's best players exhibit wildly different gripping styles? If alignment is a fundamental, then how can Hall of Fame type players position their body and club face anywhere but what is traditionally considered fundamentally correct? Just take one look at the address positions of Fred Couples and Sam Snead and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.
Fundamentals should be considered as elements which are absolute or things that everyone must do in order to compete at a high level. The rest of the ideas a player entertains should then be considered as "variables" or the possible variations within each position or movement that allow a player to best achieve the real fundamentals we're speaking of. Trust me on this, I grew up playing junior golf with Jim Furyk and he doesn't exhibit a single fundamental you would typically find in a book.
So what do all great players do? First, all great players effectively control the bottom or low point of their golf swing. As it relates to iron, fairway wood or hybrid play, they all create a slightly descending blow which strikes the ball first, then followed by the turf. Secondly, they all produce enough speed to be able to tackle the course and hang with the other players. Finally, they all produce a consistent curve to their shots, making it easy to navigate the course from tee to green. Go to any tour event and you'll see that every player has the ability to do these three things.
As handicaps go up, the three fundamental skills listed above go way down. As it relates to an effective learning process, the best thing you can do for your game is demonstrate that you can consistently get the low point of your swing in the proper spot. That means being able to deliver over and over again crisp ball, then turf contact. If you can do this, you're on your way to playing some very good golf.
This week's "Walk The Line" challenge is all about elevating your performance, by taking the time to develop fundamental #1. Prove to yourself that you have the ability to hit a bunch of shots with perfect low point control and you can count this super tough ball striking challenge as complete.