Poetry In Motion

The best woman player I ever saw with every club in the bag is Mickey Wright.  The best man player I ever saw is Jack Nicklaus.  Between the two of them, I would choose Mickey as having the better swing.

-Harvey Penick

It is pouring rain outside.  Golf is clearly out of the question today and it’s just as well.  I need a break.

I will still putt in my living room though.  My goal is 100 solid putts per day.  If I putt a stinker it doesn’t count.

I love to watch golf swings on youtube.  I also love to read golf literature and lately, I’ve been reading Harvey Penick’s For All Who Love the Game:  Lessons and Teachings for Women.  Penick had genuine respect for women and was not condescending toward them.  He knew how to play to their strengths and not harp on their weaknesses.  The book is really just about golf and anyone could benefit from reading it.  It is organized very similarly to his Little Red Book, which I also read.

Harvey Penick’s teaching resume is an impressive one, and includes several LPGA and PGA Hall-of-Famers:  Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls, and Kathy Whitworth.

Today I want to focus on Mickey Wright.  Penick’s quote above pretty much says it all.  Apparently Ben Hogan also said she had the best swing, although I don’t have a direct quote on that.  But to have two of the biggest names in golf agree on this is pretty good evidence that the swing is worth taking a look at.  I went searching for footage of her swing and found several renderings of the same TV broadcast from 1964.  I chose two.  The first one is brief and just shows her classic swing.  The second video has commentary that gets pretty esoteric (at times it makes sense, at times it escapes me.  I need to be sure I precisely understand what “coming in under the plane means” because I always thought I was supposed to stay on plane) In any case, I like the second video because it shows her swing over and over again – from the range, tee box and fairway, from the front and the side.  I watch it both with sound and muted.

Mickey Wright is my new hero.  Her swing is perfection – poetry in motion.  I especially like to watch the point at which she starts her downswing with her hip.  It is so smooth.  In my opinion, that hip transition, along with a demonstration of her perfect rhythm and tempo is most apparent at about 8:58.  If you don’t have much time, go straight to there! The commentator says she has a “powerful, pivot driven golf swing”.  And she could hit 300 yards off the tee – with a driver made of wood!

It’s like looking at a fine piece of art.

-Jillian

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