How I learned not to care what I look like


conversion 1 05.26One of the hardest parts of converting to the Single Plane Swing was getting past the self-conscious notion that I’d look different.

I’ve been exhibiting my new Single Plane Swing address at my course for about a month now and no one has walked up to me and gone, ‘Holy crap Tim, what the hell you doing there?’

Well, no one would say that. That was my big fat ego blustering away. As if anyone really cares what I look like playing golf, for God’s sake. It’s not like Johnny Miller is going to critique my swing.

But that is an objection that some folks bring up when they consider converting to the Single Plane Swing. They don’t want to look different.

In the SPS swing, the arms are straight out from the body pointed at the ball, the legs are fairly straight and you’re tipped over at the waist. In the conventional two-plane swing, the arms hang down from the shoulders, the knees are bent and the butt sticks out.

One of the lessons that I learned about myself is that I care—a lot—that I look like I’m doing things right. That I’m transmitting to other folks that this dude has done his homework, he’s diligent and he knows what the frick he’s doing.

Well, to quote one of the most inspiring motivational speeches captured in film history, “it just doesn’t matter.” (Thank you Bill Murray for those wise words in Meatballs, the director’s cut, I think.)

Seriously, who cares what I look like getting ready to hit a golf ball? Especially something trivial like golf. Yes… I want to play well, but it is a diversion. It’s my playtime. I play my best golf when I take the same approach as playing pick-up hockey and no one keeps score: have fun (but don’t get hurt). That last part is for my fellow over-55 golfers.

Most golfers don’t care if they address the ball like Adam Scott. In fact, I’ve noticed that many amateurs set up with their hands, arms and club pointed at the ball, and their legs fairly straight. This is why Moe got a lot of flak in his early days. His unorthodox stance made him look more like Joe Hack rather than one of Ontario’s best amateurs.

But he didn’t care. Intuitively, it felt right for him and he stuck with it. His ball flight and the uncanny consistency with which he hit the ball in the sweet spot every time told him it was right.

I practiced my new Single Plane set-up in my basement almost daily from January to the end of April, which—I believe—is why it feels natural to me now.  I haven’t practiced my address as diligently since and I’ve let my form slip as the video evidence from the weekend indicates. Todd Graves preaches the importance of match the model so I need to work on that. (Todd is my co-author of The Single Plane Golf Swing: Play Better Golf the Moe Norman Way, which is getting closer to release.)

I’m trying to strike a balance between learning the Single Plane address position and drawing on my own talents, as meager as they may be. And if anyone thinks that’s weird, well… it just doesn’t matter.


About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!