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I've got my new shoes on - Function vs Form


Having just returned from holiday, I have a few stories that you might able to relate to in with regards to your own golfing experiences.
The first is a story about my beautiful wife Shelley and her affliction with shoes.
You see my wife has the habit of picking beautiful looking shoes, however rarely do they function when they have to be used!
The story played itself out on holiday when Shelley had bought a new pair of shoes for the holiday.

 Shelley's holiday shoes.

By the time we landed in Barcelona and walked a couple of hundred yards Shelley had blisters all over her feet, had to take the shoes off and then put on her old comfortable sandals!

Function vs Form

This reminded me of a player I started working with recently whom had been for a series of lesson last year with another coach.

Said player was a scratch golfer before the lessons and after the year was playing of 3!

So what happened?

The player in question could only be described to have a golf swing and posture that only a mother could love!

However it was highly functional and was not causing any injury (played with it for over 20 years injury free).

Last year with the previous coach the player and coach proceeded to change the player’s posture, golf swing and just about everything else to make it look prettier.

This was not just on the coach’s behest, the player confided that he was also chasing the perfect looking golf swing.

Delving a little deeper into the player’s psyche, at the time he had seen his swing and posture on video and was aware that it did not look pretty compared to the classic swings and postures like Adam Scott etc.

He had actively sought to make his golf swing look prettier.

So what does function look like in golf?

Really like Shelley walking in some comfortable shoes, the ability to get from A to B in as little stops as possible and without too much pain (i.e. out of bounds)

Function is the ability of the ball to fly in the general length and direction to the intended target.

The skills needed to play decent golf were already in place for this golfer.
Through the course of making the posture and golf swing ‘look better’ the very essence of his golf swing and why it was highly functional was lost.
His swing looked more like Adam Scott now, however couldn’t find a fairway to save his life, when in fact he would take Eamonn Darcy’s swing now if it found him a fairway or two!

Adam Scott's swing

Eamonn Darcy's swing.
Consequently like Shelley returning to the old comfortable pair of sandals, this is the course of action we are now taking together. Returning back to what the player did best, back to his old comfortable pair of shoes.
Chasing form (how the swing looks) rarely brings function. What I see time and time again with golfers whom are in this space is a head full of mince and a golf ball flying in directions that they don’t particularly want it to go!
If you are that player give me a call. I’ll de-mince your head!

And if you are too far away to come and see me, here are a few tips to find a golf coach who won’t try and re-invent your golf swing.
Ask them what their ideal golf swing looks like.
(Hint - there is no ideal looking golf swing)
If you start working with a coach, ask them why are we making these changes?
What functional reasons do you have to change my golf swing like this?
Why are we doing this?
If they can’t give you a reasonable answer or are offended by the questions, run a mile.
If they are on social media and post golf swings, do they all look the same?
If they do, run a country mile in your most comfortable shoes.
Because more than likely that’s what you’ll be getting.
Much like Shelley, you’ll have a nice looking pair of shoes (golf swing) that are no use to man nor beast!
A good coach will give you answers to all these questions.
Disclaimer - this does not apply to everyone and you can have a swing that only a Mother could love and does not function either (more on this in later blogs).

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