Golf and Music- The Ties That Bind

        Now I know you might wonder.  What could be the common threads of  golf and music?  Before the Mandolin Case comes out in 2009, I wanted you guys to have a leg up on the rest of the world.  

        One time I had a case of the hooks.  There is a guy on the East Coast who is a very serious amateur golfer who got them straightened out.  He was not only a golfer, but knew a little music too, so I thought he might be able to get inside my head and solve the problem.  Here’s how it went.

        “Say you got a hitch in your swing?”

        “Yeah.  I’m fighting the hooks.”

        “Hmn.  Better learn a fade.  Like Trevino said, you can talk to a fade, but a hook won’t listen.”

        “He’s right.”

        “Tell me about your music, Doc.”

        “We play bluegrass.”

        “A lot of that is pretty fast isn’t it?”


        “There’s a reason they call ’em breakdowns.”

        “Sure.  Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Bonnie and Clyde.”

        “Oh even beyond that.  You see, if you get too quick your swing will break down.  Let me see your set-up.”

       I stood over the ball.

       “Hmn.  Not too bad.  Grip’s a bit strong though.  Turn your left hand to where only one knuckle shows.”

        “Like this?”

        “Yeah, that’s better.  And you’re too tight, too.  Sam Snead said hold the club like a small bird you want to return to the nest.  You’re gonna strangle the sumbitch.”

        I flopped my wrists in a lazy way.  “How’s that?”

        “Much better.  Now, take a back-swing.” 

        I took it back as near parallel as my old back would allow. 

        “Ah there’s part of it.  You need to finish your back-swing.  If you don’t you’ll get too quick and come over the top.  From there either you’ll hit a wild slice or trap hook it and go left.”

          “Trap hook- that’s it.  I never slice.”  I swung again.  “I guess I’m impatient.”

         “Golf’s like all the good things in life Bibey.  You have to be patient and give it some time.  Wait on it.”  He took the club out of my hand and demonstrated.  “See how I let the club lag?  Patience, my boy.”  He handed it back.  “You don’t double cross do you?”

        “Heck no.  I ain’t that bad.”    

         “Good.  Now about setting it to music.  Snead said he would think in terms of Waltz time- three quarters.  You know any waltzes?”

        “Sure. Tennesse Waltz, Kentucky Waltz, I know a bunch of old ones.

        “Older than that.  Think Lawrence Welk.  A one and a two..and a…”

        “Man if I think Lawrence Welk I won’t hit it 200 yards.  I’ll be like those old guys at the Club I used to make fun of as a kid.”

        “You wanta beat the hooks or not?”

        “O.K.  A one and a two… and a….”  I drew the club back.  Pow.  240 with a gentle draw.  Wow. 

        “See, told you.”

        He cured my hooks.  And as it turned out this guy knew a lot about medicine too, and was very influential in the Mandolin Case.  As to how golf and music intersect with medicine, well that’s anther story.  But it’s in the book, and it is real.  I’ll get to it another post soon.

Dr. B

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2 Comments on “Golf and Music- The Ties That Bind”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Don’t forget the Zen of both golf and picking. Less is more, trying to hard is certain death, relax and just let it happen. I remember once hitting a ball about 210 and straight, maybe the longest drive of my life. I said, “Wow, that was easy. I think I’ll try it again, only hit it harder.” Sure enough, sliced it right into the lake. The harder I try to play the banjo, the worse it gets. Relaxing leads to accuracy and speed. Music and golf both help maintain humility. – Ted

  2. drtombibey Says:


    Exactly right.

    As I Doc I can’t recommend this, but some folks seem to play better drunk than sober. (Both golf and music)

    The best ones are as relaxed as if they were drunk, but 100% sober. (In both art forms)

    And it always helps to play with people you know. The comfort level is high whenever you’re around familar faces.

    Dr. B

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