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John Renslow: Find your balance

By John Renslow | Submitted to The Union

My fried, Mike, is an expert in martial arts. Studying his art for over 25 years of experience and providing instruction to hundreds of students, the only way for him to attain a higher level of certification would require a trip to Asia.

A while back we agreed to exchange ideas and help each other learn a new practice. During the summer months I would be his golf instructor and, when the weather turned, we planned to head indoors and talk about kung fu.

We’re now several sessions in to his golf instruction and Mike is doing well, hitting the ball pretty solid and enjoying the game. Of course, with our mild winter, we haven’t spent a lot of time on live martial arts instruction, but a couple of hours have provided fodder for some keen insights.



During our time on golf’s driving range we talk about each “art.” Not only do I teach, I learn.

The intriguing thing from a golf teaching stand point is the realization the golf and martial arts are more similar than different. We, as golfers, can learn a lot about how to improve our game, mentally and physically, through the foundation of motion and technique.



Position, for example, is paramount. You can’t get where you need to be without your body in the correct position. Body positions are the basis for good swings. Each golf swing is combination of balance, rhythm, and position.

Most of us are looking for power. This push for more power will often result in less. However, when we can achieve the correct basis foundation, it will result in more power, without really trying.

The irony (looking at is from the surface) is that when we make a good, solid swing, the energy will be there. Rather than trying to “turn up the volume,” we need to focus on balance.

This is how a relatively small person can defeat a relatively large attacker. They know how to use leverage, putting themselves in the right position to maximize their strength.

It is position rather than power that produces power. Profound, huh?

Another martial arts guy that used to hit balls on our driving range informed me that he was seeking to find “the effortless crush.” Great stuff.

So, as you make swings and enjoy the game, concern yourself with balance. Finish your swing in the correct position. If you want to hit the ball in a certain direction, your body needs to finish in that position, as well. This will give your arms, hands, and golf club the freedom to move toward the target, which sends the ball toward the target.

Hmmm….all this martial arts stuff must be taking hold, I’m starting to sound like a sensei. Find your balance, your chi, and have fun on the course!

John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.



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