View Full Version : Arnold Palmer writes about Feel
09-12-2008, 08:06 PM
The Oct. '08 issue of Golf Digest has a fascinating article by Arnold Palmer called "The Feel of a Good Shot."
It's a short article, only about a page and bit more, but I think it's worth picking up the magazine. Here are a few excerpts:
"In all my years, I've learned that touch means more than mechanics."
"Feel is the most perplexing part of golf, and probably the most important."
"What sets outstanding players apart is the ability to vary the speed of the clubhead a couple of miles an hour, to time the release and adjust the swing path and clubface a degree or two to hit little draws and fades and alter the trajectory. To me, that's feel."
"My search for ways to improve my touch has never ended. We players tried a lot of different things and compared notes. Little fads would set in."
09-13-2008, 02:55 PM
Fran, while many players adjust their distances for approach shots by varying the length of their back swing, Tiger adjusts his by varying the speed of his swing....now that is "feel".
I subscribe to GD, but haven't read the article yet....thanks for the heads up.
Say, here's a tip for you.....if you want to increase your driving distance.....
"It's not enough just to swing at the ball. You've got to loosen your girdle and let 'er fly." the "Babe"
...and if you want to win with a little intimidation:
" The Babe is here. Who's coming in second? "
09-13-2008, 08:09 PM
Sam Snead, when asked what method he uzed for a slice, Sam sayd -- "I just thunk slice" (or something like that). madMac.
09-13-2008, 08:28 PM
IMHO, when a player becomes very good at any physical game, there has to be a certain amount of feel involved in doing what they do. They do things that can not be explained in definitive terms and it can not be taught. You either feel it or you don't. If you don't feel it today, with more play and practice, you may feel it tomorrow.
09-13-2008, 09:18 PM
Mac, I also think it was Sam who was asked how he made his 7 iron back up. Sam asked the guy how far he hit his 7, then after getting the answer said "why would you want it to back up?"
I saw Sam play at the inaugural Senior Tournament in Reno. Still played good, but it was Arnie that won over the crowd with his good natured exchanges with his amateur partners.
It seems to me that feel has a lot to do with imagination and creativity. It is, to some extent, the ability to imagine what will happen if I do "X." Great players in many sports seem to agree that they can "see" the shot before they play it. This is the ability to create an image, communicate that to the body, and then execute what has been seen in the mind's eye.
When I write it this way I think that it can be seen that one can train this ability to "feel" the shot. And of course some people have more natural ability to do these things than others. I think that highly skilled players, because they are imaginative and creative are always seeking new ways. It is part of the package.
The great artists of all time had to learn their craft first. I was astounded to learn that Michaelangelo used a camera obscura to draw the outlines for some of his paintings. All great artists (in oil or pocket billiards) have to start someplace. After thoroughly mastering the basics, creativity is indeed the name of the game.
09-14-2008, 08:13 AM
"FEEL" also has to do with the actual "feelings" or sense of TOUCH in your hands, arms, and other body parts to change speed, force, direction, and angles of attack. I think Palmer was talking more about the physical side as opposed to the "intuitive" definition part of the word especially since he used the word "touch" a few times.
In pool it would be like having "feel" or "touch" to use backhand english between the backstroke and forward stroke, to swipe or swoop the CB ala Bustamante, to use "tuck or roll" effectively, to hit the perfect "drag draw", or determine how hard to stroke for a long draw shot or run the CB around 3-4 rails for perfect position.
When a golfer or pool player is in the most severe heat of battle, physical feel can go completely dead when the nerves short circuit the muscles and it's difficult to even remain somewhat coordinated. It's kind of like a boxer getting punched hard in the head and going spastic.
09-14-2008, 09:33 AM
Yes, I think you're right that Arnie was mainly talking about the physical sense of touch because he mentioned the different ways players tried to help that along, such as washing their hands with hot water before the game or not drinking hard alchohol the night before which supposedly numbs the nerve endings. He did also talk about the intuitive stuff as well.
Blood thickness is also an issue that affects a player's sense of feel. Green leafy vegetables thicken the blood and an aspirin will thin it. Also, the blood tends to thicken more at certain times of the day. I think it's fascinating stuff.
09-14-2008, 10:41 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran Crimi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Yes, I think you're right that Arnie was mainly talking about the physical sense of touch because he mentioned the different ways players tried to help that along, such as washing their hands with hot water
When Ben Hogan was in his prime and had an early morning tee time, he would soak his hands in very cold water after waking up to reduce any puffiness and swelling that took place during sleep. He never wanted his hands puffy, swollen, and feeling fat on the golf club. He liked the feeling of having skinny fingers for more feel and maneuverability.
09-15-2008, 02:28 PM
To add, most of playing position in Pool can be attributed to feel.
I think that once the mechanics are solid and the use of knowledge for the situation is applied, "feel" is the last part of the equation.
I also say that most consider "feel" as "talent".
09-15-2008, 06:38 PM
"To add, most of playing position in Pool can be attributed to feel."
I'm not so sure that the the vote is totally in on this statement, at least with me. I may just suck at making the intended OB, nothing more, but most of my "talent" today in pool is safety position and strategy, hardly a physical feel, except that I seem to have an uncanny "leave" ability. Thing is that the intended OB sometimes fails to drop, even gimmes. Good part though is that the CB position afterwards makes the guy work, or miss. I suppose I could be putting the cart before the horse, but my position "feel" apparently stands out way above the consistenct of making easy OB pots before the resultant position on the next shot. Damned, I'd hate to think I needed to reinvent and re-learn fundamentals, and THEN reaquire the feel for position again! All this stuff runs into a blur, sometimes it all works at the same time for The Zone, but hardly ever. At the local level...I find playing smart and "feely" on leaves wins more games than depending on the "feel factor" during aggressive moments.
Don't get me wrong, I have had "feel days" on the home table where even Jesus couldn't beat me, and I strived to have that feel afterwards, but it never stuck like the mental feel for giving the opponent stress with the crap leaves.
Feel is a talent, just that feel is very difficult to combine with shotmaking ability. Many a bar players have run over me with thier shotmaking abilities, and a bit of luck, it is just very hard, mentally and physically to maintain everything and then simply add in intentional feel. I would literally have to rewind the pool clock to when I was younger, evade many of the junk in the personal life that "just happens", marriage, unemployment, health issues,,,all demands on the daily brain power. IMHO, only the "Arnold Palmers" have a chance of feeling the feel, and have it stick. jm2c...sid
09-15-2008, 06:45 PM
Per Eric: "I also say that most consider "feel" as "talent"."
Eric, I think truer words were never spoken.
You'd really have to read the whole article to get a feel (pardon the pun) for what Arnie was saying. I think his comment about the mechanics was directed at those golfers who become obsessed with mechanics. We have those types in pool as well.
09-15-2008, 11:03 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: wolfdancer</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Mac, I also think it was Sam who was asked how he made his 7 iron back up. Sam asked the guy how far he hit his 7, then after getting the answer said "why would you want it to back up?" I saw Sam play at the inaugural Senior Tournament in Reno. Still played good, but it was Arnie that won over the crowd with his good natured exchanges with his amateur partners. </div></div>Woolfy -- I marched behind Arnie for 9 holes, u kood do that in the oldendayz. When he got to the Hole-In-One prize hole, he looked at the scantily-clad girl and sayd -- "if i hit it in the hole i get the gal??" -- but he didnt (but u never know). But he had the hooks off the tee that day, same az he had on the praktis fairway, same az he had in hiz inter-college match (i red it in hiz book). So he unwraps hiz leather grip on hiz driver and moovz the string a bit (weaker??) and re-wraps it, and he'z in bizness again. Thoze low ironz bouncing and hooking and zipping back to next to the pin kood only be feel. madMac.
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