What's in between "to" and "fro"?
by Taylor Spalding
I think we can all agree that the pendulum action is the dominant force in this thing called the golf swing. Ernest Jones demonstrated and proved the effectiveness of contemplating such a simple device more than sixty years ago and there is no reason to question such wisdom now. The teachings of Jones as viewed in this quantum age are as valid as they were in his own machine age. Being that we are, in the scientific sense, in the new stream of consciousness, we should be able to look at swing in a new way. We should try to give ourselves a new understanding by finding ways to surmise the chaotic dynamic realities of the pendulum.
The backswing we could label as "to" and the forward swing we could label as "fro." In the Spalding Method "to" is comprised of the initial burst (Whening), which places the clubhead into orbit and the death of that burst (Waning), which prepares the clubhead for its removal from orbit. "Fro," in the Spalding Method is simply known as Welting. In terms of the essence of the actions, "to" is just a dash of yang at the start, with a whole lot of yin in its fruition. "Fro" is just a whole lot of yang. The reason that we need a dash of yang at the start of the "to" motion is that we are starting a motion from the bottom of the arc. In the normal "back and forth," "back and forth" motion of a pendulum, the bottom of the arc represents the most dynamic point of swing. This bottom part of the arc is where "fro" is changing into "to." You will notice in the diagram that as the ball is returning from the arc to the left of the red line it is moving from "fro" to "to." In the golf swing we could imagine that the left hand portion of that arc is not there. Since we don't have any energy to use from a previous change of direction, there must be a burst of energy to start the golf swing.
Now speaking of the change in direction, this is where a lot of the confusion persists. What does the moment between "to" and "fro" look like? Well let's just pretend that it looks like this. OK? The black portion we could call "to" and the white portion we could call "fro." Even though the contrasting areas are sequentially positioned side by side, they represent two distinct directions of movement. So of course we're interested in the area where black and white meet. Let's zoom in on the area covered by the red square. Here's what it looks like. Wow, it's sort of like the teeth of a zipper! What's happening? Well as we zoom in closer and closer we see that the edge between "to" and "fro" is trying to find it's own balance by means of alternation or vibration. Let's zoom in again. Even a higher vibration! (Take note that after zooming in on the original contrasting area, we could have zoomed in on any of the subsequent contrasting areas with the same result.) Let's go another. Where do we eventually end up? Well that's easy! We end up in one of the oldest cliches around. In case you didn't realize, you have just experienced something called the infinite set. Even though we have defined the boundary of a finite movement we are able to find infinity encapsulated within it! That simple understanding is what underpins The Greatest Illusion in Golf.
Since consiousness cannot surmise a self organizing dynamic system without destroying it, the mind is better off being directed toward a part of the system that is more open-ended. It is my belief that we must try find what is in between "fro" and "to" not what is between "to" and "fro." Now that, in an allusion to a famous Zen koan, is the sound of one hand clapping!
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