I MAY be getting old slowly but surely but I have not lost my enthusiasm for life and golf yet.
Those who know me well will know that in my life the two are so closely interlinked to be indistinguishable. Isn't that the reason I called one of my five books: Life Is A Way of Golf?
A few weeks ago, to my great delight, I managed to score better than my age when playing the Castle Course at Lahinch. It was a huge boost to sagging morale. 'Scoring one's age' is such a rare achievement that I was never certain that I could do it.
This week, I almost did it again! I'm giving the credit to an alignment aid that I have been secretly employing (in practice sessions.)
90% of all golfers' mistakes occur in their address set up and posture before they ever start to swing the golf club. Aiming sticks are all very well but they won't help golfers to aim the clubface consistently.
A former piano tuner in Ennis, County Clare named Les Egan has developed a device he calls The Set Up Eye. It's by no means the first alignment aid I have seen but it is by far the best.
Based on Giroscope technology used in airplanes, Les's Set Up Eye will be of great help to professional golf teachers as well as individual players.
Like all of the best ideas it is ridiculously simple. Suffice to say, from my point of view, The Set Up Eye is the real deal.
A limited number may be purchased for €195 through a 'Kick Starter Programme' on the web (details at the end of this column). When in full production including marketing and packaging costs it will shoot up to €330.
It's easily usable on the golf course and takes no longer to operate than a DMD. It may even be legal in competition because the laser can be programmed to switch off automatically after a few seconds - which would be no different than having your caddy stand behind you and guide you into a 'proper aim.'
That's speculation, of course, because the ruling bodies probably don't know about the Setupeye yet - let alone have tested it.
Way back in the 1960s, the Golf Society of Great Britain commissioned a ground breaking, scientific study of the golf swing that took six years of intensive research to complete.
The findings resulted in a book, The Search For The Perfect Swing written by Alistair Cochran and John Stobbs, being published in 1968.
Pearls of wisdom such as: "What we feel while making a stroke is not how we are hitting the ball but how we have already hit it." "During the downswing, the top class golfer accelerates the club head about 100-times faster than a Formula One motorcar can accelerate."
"The force applied to the ball by the club head during impact rises to a peak of nearly a ton." The findings of the scientists engaged in the project exploded many theories held by golf pundits at that time.
Subsequently, coaching became more scientifically informed and the standard of play began to rise incrementally as the knowledge became more widely known.
One of the key areas of the book deals with 'stance.' The whole sequence of the golfer's swing movement rests upon his feet.
How the golfer places his feet is closely linked with the generation of power and accuracy of the shot; more than any other single part in how a golfer goes about his 'business' is dictated by THE MORE CONSISTENTLY THE PLAYER PUTS DOWN HIS FEET AND AIMS THE CLUBFACE. In other words, how good a player he will be.
Those words jump off the page and hit me smack between the eyes every time! Here is incontrovertible proof that a 24-handicapper will take up his stance far less consistently than the tournament professional, thereby making consistent swinging more difficult before he even started.
Basically, the more consistently one takes up one's golf stance; the better player one is likely to be. The majority of golfers' mistakes are predestined ever before the player starts his swing.
If you do not take up a proper stance and aim directly at the target how can you ever hope to hit it?
Golf swings are largely dictated by a person’s body type. Athleticism and natural ability can vary hugely.
However, taking a 'dead aim' is one ingredient in the golf swing that is entirely controllable and individually 'manufactured.'
Although building a stance should be the same procedure for everybody it is the ability to take up one’s stance and aim at the target properly shot after shot after shot that separates the good from average players.
Les Egan, an award winning, entrepreneur who lives and works in Ennis is the brains behind the Set Up Eye.
When he is not designing new products, you can find him spending time with his family, or on his own, happily knocking a golf ball around Woodstock or Dromoland Castle golf courses.
Words of the Wise
Not a week goes by without my learning something new about golf. That means, of course, that I was ignorant of at least eight things about golf two months ago. Extend that process back twenty years and the result is an impressive accumulation of ignorance - Peter Dobereiner