Tony: Welcome to another interview, and this is Tony de Kort from
www.sliceyourgolfhandicap.com. This week we’re fortunate enough to have an Australian golf icon, Tom Linskey, talking to us. And, this is a little bit of background on Tom before I introduce him. Tom is now age 63; and he’s been a club pro since age 21 and has been a pro all his life. So, we’re fortunate enough that we can tap into some of his knowledge. And, today, once Tom introduces himself, we’re going to talk about Linskey’s Laws.
So, Tom, I’ll just welcome you to our site. And, for those of you who want to…after listening to Tom…find out more information, can get in direct contact with Tom himself. He has a website, which is australiangolfschools.com.au and, you can go to Tom’s website and find out more about his business.
So, welcome, Tom, and thanks very much for talking to us. And, if I can just get you to give us a little bit of background on yourself, so the listeners can understand what sort of advice they’re going to be receiving.
Tom: Well, Tony, I’ve been in love with the game since I was fourteen years old and turned pro the normal route. Did my apprenticeship at Clara Golf Club with David Mercer, which was wonderful and been doing it ever since. I’ve been interested in all facets of the industry. I’ve, as you said, been a club pro. I’ve owned driving ranges all my life. I’ve played the tour in Australia and in Europe. I’ve built golf courses, which I probably liked more than anything else. I’ve taught beginners, tour players, and had some success with people like Andre Stoltz and Constantino Rocca among others. And, it’s just been a lifetime of fun.
Tony: Okay. Tom, I find that interesting; the building of the golf courses. How did that come about?
Tom: I think every golfer would like to build a golf course. Lots of them want to do from time to time. But, it always interested me, and I found that when I got around to starting to do it, that the holes that made the most impression on me all over the world were the short par 4s…particularly the ones done by Alister Mackenzie. And, holes don’t need to be long to be clever or difficult. And so, the architecture’s been interesting.
Tony: So, as you know about our site here…it’s for the average club golfer or social golfer or a member of a club who is strongly trying to improve their game. And, in particular, we’re talking about the mental side of the game. So, can you just tell me before we get into the topic we’re going to talk about today; what’s your view on the average golfer or club member’s attitude to the mental side of the game? Are we not paying enough attention to it? Are we taking things for granted? What’s your sort of overview on that?
Tom: I think that the average golfer tries to think their way through what they’re doing which is not possible. You simply don’t have time from the moment the club head leaves the ball to the moment it hits the ball. Experts have measured that as giving you time for one complete thought and about half another thought. So, if you’re standing over the ball trying to work out what you’re going to do or thinking your way through the process; you have to take it back along the ground, take it back straight, turn your hips, and cock your wrists. It’s all happened before you got past the second thought.
So, the good players aren’t thinking about what they’re doing at the moment; they’re swinging.
Tony: Well, that is amazing , I mean you’ve just astounded me, because I know that a lot of us are thinking, watch the ball, move the club up, do this, get through it, rotate, and as you say, it all happens so quickly.
Tom: If you can think your way through it, you wouldn’t have to practice. So, you do then do establish a subconscious level to play golf. You do need to establish some muscle memory. And, you need to use your subconscious to play. Timothy Gallway put it very well in a book called “The Inner Game of Golf.” And, I recommend that to people.
Tony: Okay. So, it’s called “The Inner Game of Golf?”
Tony: All right. So, we’re going to talk today about Linskey’s Laws, and those can be found on Tom’s website, which we’re going to repeat later in the interview.
Now, the Linskey’s Laws basically focus on the simplicity of the game. And, I remember Jimmy Connors, the famous American tennis player who’d won Wimbledon, U.S. Open, was a world champion, a former number one was interviewed him a couple of years after he retired. And, he’d been playing golf, and he was about a 15-marker. And, they said, “Jimmy, you’ve conquered the world in tennis. What do you think about this golf game?” He said, “Well” I can sum it up in three words.” He said, “Analysis is paralysis.”
So, Tom, on the simplicity side, you sort of touched on it there a little bit. We’re going to have to start…by not keeping it simple; this is where we’re going to cause all our problems? Is that right?
Tom: Absolutely. Through my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to play a lot of golf with all the tennis players and cricketers and basketballers and Formula One car-racing car drivers. I mean all the celebrity sports people. What are they doing over there? Play golf. What’s the largest piece of luggage that the cricketers take? A lot of them when they’re traveling around the world are their golf clubs.
So, talking to them about the game, they all say golf is more difficult than what they do. And, the ones who actually think about it give the same reason, which is the fact that the ball is stationary. It gives you too much time to think. All the other sports and activities are reactive. So, this Formula One driver doesn’t have time to think about what he’s doing; he’s just reacting. And, tennis players and cricketers react to the ball. In golf, the ball’s sitting there laughing at you; and it gives us too much time to think.
So, what I’ve learned to do is to tell people to just do it and rely on their natural instincts more.
I’ve put together these little thoughts on this subject. And, the first law of all ball games is: Watch the ball. And, again, talking to the good players, the fundamentals of all the ball games are the same.
Tony: Watch the ball.
Tom: So, we need to watch the ball. Keep your eye on the ball.
The second law of all ball games is that the weight goes with the motion. If you’re going to throw something, you move your weight back onto your back foot, and you step forward and release the ball. If you’re playing a tennis shot, your weight…you put your back foot in position and you move forward as you hit the shot. We’re talking about drives and things along. So, the weight goes with the motion.
So, in the golf swing, we address the ball. The movement on the back swing is away from the ball, so the weight moves away from the ball. At the top of the back swing, you must be in the same position you would be in if you were going to throw it. You would have your weight on your back foot like a baseball pitcher. You’d have your arm cocked and your elbow folded. The position that you would be in to throw the ball is similar to that way you want to be to hit the ball with the driver or whatever club you’re going to use. Then, as you swing forward, the weight moves with the motion and you finish on your front foot.
People get too tied up with keeping their heads still, which is not the issue. You want to watch the ball. People think that they shouldn’t sway. I would much rather have my pupils move too much than not enough. The average person doesn’t move enough.
If you think about the golf swing, what is the fastest point in the swing? When I ask that question, most people say, “At impact or just before.”
The third law of all ball games is that at the moment of impact, the racket, the club, the foot, the hand, whatever it is that is striking the ball, must be accelerating. So, if it’s accelerating at impact, by definition it is going faster after impact. In golf, the fastest point in the golf swing is about 18 inches after impact. If you talk to the good players, they never talk about hitting the ball. They talk about making a pass or going through or making a swing, they don’t talk about hitting it. The average player tries to kill the ball; he swings at the ball.
Tony: At the ball? We all do that.
Tom: The good players swing through where the ball is. The ball is irrelevant. So, the good player lines up to the ball, puts the club in the position he wants to be at the top of the back swing, and swings through to a balanced position in the top of the follow-through. The ball is totally irrelevant…just gets in the way as the club goes through. So, that’s the third law.
So, the first law is: Watch the ball. Keep your eye on the ball. The second law is: The weight goes with the motion. The third law is that the club must be accelerating through impact. And, the fourth law is the most important one of all. And, the fourth law is: There are no more laws.
So, when you line up to the ball, you watch it, get your weight to go through, accelerate the club head, and that’s it.
Tony: That’s it. Sounds simple in theory, doesn’t it?
Tom: Well, it is. And, if you allow it to be, it works.
Tony: It’s an interesting concept, because you’re right. I mean look…90% of us know 95% of us would be actually aiming to hit the ball rather than thinking that the ball is getting in the way and accelerating on impact. That’s fine.
What about the fact that you actually still got to align line yourself haven’t you? I mean that’s pretty important.
Tom: Well, that’s…yes. That’s another lesson. That’s a total lesson on its own. Yes, you have to align it, but what the interesting thing is that your subconscious brain knows where the target is. So, once you understand it, you’re swinging the club head through the ball. What we want to do is swing the club to the target. And, if your weight’s going with the motion, and you’re accelerating the club head, then everything is moving toward the target as opposed to the average golfer; his weight at the top of the back swing is on his front foot, because he’s reversed pivoted, or he’s kept his head still and the weight hasn’t moved back at all. So then, on the way down, he’s got to get his weight out of the way, so he starts turning away from the ball. So, he’s got his body moving in one direction and the club going in another direction. And, all of a sudden, the spray effect on the bad shot is horrendous.
If you’ve got the weight going with the motion and you’re accelerating the club head toward the target, the ball doesn’t go that far off line. So, it’s an interesting concept.
When, I’m teaching…I want freedom of movement before anything else. I can’t do anything with your golf swing, until I’ve got freedom of movement. If you’re tight, well, it’s not working. So, I want freedom of movement first.
Secondly, I worry about contact. Once we’ve got the freedom of movement, then I worry about the contact with the ball. After we’ve got contact, I’ll start to worry about where the ball’s going. But, the interesting thing is that we’ve got freedom of movement, by definition, the weight is now moving freely. If we’ve got contact, the club’s accelerating freely. And, the target…finding the target then is less of an issue and not hard to do.
Tony: Right. Okay. So, that’s great, but what about for us being mortal golfers? We have just learned something very simple from you. That’s why it’s called simplicity, isn’t it? How difficult is it for us to go and change this? Are we going to work on this slowly? Or what do you suggest there?
Tom: Well, the thing we learn with our golf skills is that you learn, people learn faster without the ball. So, when we started our golf skills, people were hitting 800 balls a day and improving to some degree. But then afterwards, we started to control the number of balls they hit and to give them more swing exercises and drills to do.
The best swing exercise I know is you go into the golf shop and buy what they call a warm-up ring. It’s just a little round donut…plastic-covered metal…that slides down over the top of your grip and it hangs on the head of the shaft…on the head of the golf club at the bottom of the shaft. On my website, there’s a tips page. And, among the tips, there’s one tip called “Continuous Swinging.” So, if you buy one of the donuts and carry out the continuous swinging exercise every day for three or four minutes or five minutes; what you’ve taught yourself to do is make a perfect golf swing without any conscious thought. And, what I guarantee you is if you do that every night, your golf will improve. If you had golf balls as well, that’s great. But, swing the ring. Swing the ring.
Tony: Do it into the donut.
Tom: Do the continuous swinging exercise with a weighted object, and that is the best way to improve your golf. That I am aware of after all my years.
Tony: Okay. So, we do that. We start swinging the ring with a span of four to five minutes a day. And, what’s going to happen…we automatically…that’s going to build in some muscle memory?
Tom: That builds in the muscle memory. There’s a new product…reasonably new product…on the market called “Explanar,” which is a big metal ring that sits there and you’re standing in the middle of it and you swing a roll of it…it rolls around the ring. And, it’s marketed by the Henry Griffith Company in Australia. And, it’s fantastic. And, I’ve got one on the driving range, and I use it with all my pupils.
The swing ring is a similar exercise. They are all variations of the same. But, what happened in the guy that invented the Explanar in America or England, wherever it was; the people who get locked in by snow in the wintertime over there and have four months where they don’t play golf…the people who bought an Explanar put it in their basement and swung on it every day for four months…have come out and absolutely smashed their handicaps the following spring. So, what they did in the wintertime in their basement was they taught their muscles the right coordinated movements, the right sequence of movements, the right rhythm; particularly the rhythm to swing at. So, when they get out on the first tee, it’s automatic.
Tony: Okay. So, are we recommending the donut or the Explanar?
Tom: They’re different, but they’re the same. One costs $9.00. One costs $1,500.00.
Tony: Well, Tom, that’s been a fantastic insight. Have you got some examples of people that you’ve taken from a certain level to another level using your Linskey’s Laws? You’ve got some examples of that for us?
Tom: I’ve got about 4,000 of them. Yes. when people come to the golf school, they spend five days with me. That’s what I do. It’s not half an hour teaching; we want you for a period.
And, the first thing I do is give them one of these rings, and it’s a warm-up exercise. I use it myself as I’m getting older, and I need to warm the old body up now. But, I find that because I don’t get time to practice or whatever like everybody else; and I, half the time, don’t have time to warm up before we go out to play. So, I put the ring in my pocket, and I actually put it on the club and use it as my practice swings. And then, take it off and put it in my pocket…play the shot.
Tony: Okay. Okay. So, really? So, you swing in between shots?
Tom: In between shots, yes.
Tony: Oh, excellent stuff. Okay. So, just to summarize here the three Linskey’s…or the four laws…is: Watch the ball, move your weight with the motion, accelerating at impact, and the fourth law is that there are no more laws.
Tom: That’s it.
Tony: Have I got that all summed up?
Tom: You’ve got it perfect.
Tony: Okay. Well, Tom, it’s been a fantastic insight. And, there’s certainly some homework there for people to do. And, the swing the ring thing sounds great for those who are too busy to get out to the course. I need to ask you, what is the time horizon from somebody now implementing this, and doing this four or five minutes a day, what period of time would they start to see some sort of improvement?
Tom: I think they’d see some improvement almost from day one. If you’re swinging the ring…and you need to read the blurb for it…it’s just swinging. It’s simple stuff. It’s being able to swing your golf club while you’re not thinking about what you’re doing. When you can swing from a balance point on your back foot to balance point on your front foot in rhythm and in balance, without falling over and without wobbling…when you can do that, you’ve taught yourself the correct sequence of movements for the golf swing; and you’ve taught yourself a rhythm that you can use to hit the ball. And, that is…that exact swing is what you should use to hit the ball.
Tony: Okay. So, swinging without thinking is what we’ve learned today.
Tom: I hope so.
Tony: Okay. Well, thanks, Tom. And, just to repeat Tom’s website should you like to go on and find some more information or get in contact with Tom it is www. And, we’re going to talk to Tom again soon on another subject, but thanks very much, Tom, for your insight into Linskey’s Laws. australiangolfschools.com.au