Being a cynical person that I am, seeing people bounce a ball on a golf club never really impressed me much. I always thought it was a pointless trick. You can see it everywhere, even Tiger Woods did that at his golf clinic. Any video about a new golf prodigy will have him or her bouncing a ball on a wedge.
I always thought it was just a silly trick, but now I have completely changed my mind. I think this is one of the best drills to do when learning to play golf. What it gave me is the ability to feel the club. It’s weight, the weight of the ball, how much it bounces. And most importantly allowed me to actually control the face of the club with my hands.
The usual golf lessons teach a “perfect” swing with all the angles and weight shifts and somewhere in the middle of that swing, the club is supposed to meet the ball and hit it exactly where we want it to go. That’s rubbish. My hands control the face of the club, just like I’d control the face of the tennis racquet, and with the face, I will hit the ball forward.
The drill of bouncing the ball on a club is perfect for that. It really allowed me to get a feel for the club. To see what it does to the ball when I hit it wrong or at an angle. And it’s not easy. It took me a long time to bounce it comfortably.
When I first started, I was holding the club and guiding the club just like I used to guide the club during a swing. Holding it tight, manipulating it and even though the club is not that heavy it was really hard work.
Now, I hold it softly. I use the weight of the club to bounce the ball on it. I don’t have to manipulate it and it’s so easy. I can bounce easily over 100 times and it feels like nothing. The club does the job, I am just there to guide it and it’s very simple, even relaxing.
This is how I learned to play table tennis too. I didn’t have a table at home, but I had a ball and the paddle. I could bounce the ball forehand and backhand, adding spin as I went. I could bounce it against the wall learning to control the angle of my shots and learning what the paddle could do to the flight of the ball.
Golf is harder, because the face of the club is much smaller than the ping pong paddle, and it’s heavier too, and the handle is long… but yes, the basic principals are exactly the same. They say that golf is the hardest sport to play. Yes, I agree in part. Getting to the elite level is very hard, but playing at a level where the is game enjoyable; that’s very achievable.