I’ve been a fan of Guy Clark ever since I cut my night biology lab and went to a Jerry Jeff Walker concert. Clark wasn’t supposed to be on the bill, but the other opening act got sick and he filled in. He was constantly retuning his guitar because he had new strings and wasn’t expecting to play, but I was very impressed by his music. I’ve spent the 42 years since then buying his albums and admiring his songs. His music has made a much bigger impact on my life than the scheduled worm dissection in biology lab ever could have.
I don’t know if Clark has ever played golf, but his song “Maybe I Can Paint Over That” reminds me of the risks of making those continual adjustments we all make to our golf swings. The song isn’t about golf, of course, but I don’t know of any songs about golf. Can anyone think of one? Songs about sports seem pretty rare, not counting songs written for a particular team. “Boomer Sooner” doesn’t count. I can’t think of any offhand except for “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” and “Center Field”, but…. “Digression Alert, Captain! All brain cells return to base!”
Anyway, the refrain of the song begins “Maybe I can paint over that, It’ll probably bleed through….” I’ve always felt that I get in the most trouble with my golf swing when I keep piling those little tweaks and changes on top of one another. Each little adjustment leads to another little adjustment, and maybe a little improvement, but the underlying flaws keep bleeding through. I apply another little dab of something to cover up the flaw, and the cycle repeats. Eventually I’ve applied a whole new coat of paint, but the room looks like it has the measles.
I’ve been starting over lately, trying to build a simple swing without a lot of touch-up work. Just decent posture, a smooth swing, and a minimum of swing thoughts. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I’m trying not to over-analyze the bad days or the good days. We all have both, and I seem to do better if I keep my bad day analysis to “Was there something I forgot about today?” and my good day analysis to “What did I remember?” I don’t try to add another fix, and I try to avoid overemphasizing what seemed to work. So far, so good. Mostly.
I’m hoping that this approach gives my swing a better primer coat. I’m getting tired of repainting.
(Image by kfjmiller via Flickr. Creative Commons License, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)