Accents, Functionality, and Linear Progression

Does your golf swing have an accent?

A hint of personality that shows its original form? I bet it does. 

Accents are cool, cute, funny, and sometimes even sexy. They give us hints and insights into the owner’s native home or origin. But are they good? Meaning; do we want to have accents or would we be better off having a pure and accurate dialect. And if a pure dialect is possible, how could we go about attaining that?

Well, I can say personally that I’m 100% sure my american accent (when speaking Spanish) is very noticeable and I’m equally certain it’s not cool, cute, or funny. It’s functional. I can get by. But I would prefer to have the purest and most accurate language and dialect possible. I want to understand, and, as a born communicator, I want to be understood. 

Let’s shift gears a little. Golf, for most of the population, will be learned after we have already learned a few other things. Hammering a nail is likely to come first. Hitting a baseball, a tennis ball, or even a hockey puck will come before golf for a lot of people. That action – let’s use baseball as our example – will have an effect on our intuitive/instinctive abilities when learning golf. We will see that ball on the ground and of course have some pre-programmed habits and skills to call on from our earlier experiences with baseball. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing though.

A golf learner can greatly benefit from having played baseball. The action of rotating the body for power will be a massive helper in the process. However, we can also find some unhelpful issues along for the ride in the baseball swing pattern. One of which is that the player is likely to hit off their back foot and pull the ball (swing across the ball from the outside of the target line – usually promoting a slice). This is a baseball accent. 

So the habit of rotation for power is a cool and smart British accent and at the same time the habit of pulling across the ball is neither cool nor smart and is likely to lead to massive frustration. This leads us to functionality.

There are many accents or residual effects from other sports or activities that can be functional. A lot of hockey players can adapt quickly to the golf swing but tend to hit massive draws and hooks. These can be functional but can also be a huge challenge when it comes to hitting the longer clubs like 4-iron and Driver. A ‘baseball player accent’ will be powerful but often struggle to compress the short irons and suffer from extremely high (though fast) short irons. Yes, your accent can get you by. But can you really speak the language of good golf?

Linear progression takes forever. It feels like you’re learning to say ‘gracias’ a hundred times. Like you’re working on learning how to say one word only but say it exactly and perfectly with almost no accent. And you are. That’s the point. Because if you can learn to pronounce that one word perfectly – with an indistinguishable accent – you are on your way to mastery. In golf this means learning to hit the ball perfectly on the sweet spot on a short chip. It may seem like a painful process to take the time getting it 100% correct before moving on but if you do, you will end up saving a lifetime of your golf ball misinterpreting your intentions.

In honor of Cataldo ‘Aldo’ Alu, my favorite Italian-accent English-speaker. And a pretty good golfer.

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