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Golf pro shares tips and tricks to reduce tension

February 19, 2014

“Tension Free Golf” author Dean Reinmuth gives pointers during a segment on The Golf Channel.

When I was young, my brothers and I used to spend most of our waking hours outdoors. It did not matter what the weather was. I have memories of being out in our wonderful yard, for which I am so grateful to my parents for having had the foresight to purchase along with our tremendous house in The Pier, during all seasons, in all conditions. During the winter we would carve out sports fields in the snow. Football fields, soccer pitches and Wiffle-ball fields all had their time in the snow there. The one that struck me today as being the most entertaining, and most creatively adapted was our golf courses.

We would hump around the yard and dig out golf greens near and far. The snow could be a foot deep, but we would carve out these nice roundish areas and then chip a hole out of the icy ground for the ball’s final destination. We began by chipping and pitching tennis balls 30 or 40 yards across the yard (they were easy to find if your shot went errant), and then graduated quickly to using regulation golf balls, sometimes colored red, orange or yellow, sometimes not. You were really forced to concentrate on the shot, lest you may lose your ball in the snow, and a few shots would be added to your score card. We were competitive in a friendly way, but none of us minded outdoing the other now and again. It was really fun, great practice (I still recall those shots when I play today) and most importantly, we embraced the snow, and did not let it stop us from enjoying ourselves.

Today’s book sings of greener pastures, but a common topic – golf. Dean Reinmuth’s “Tension Free Golf – Unleashing Your Greatest Shots More Often” is a wonderful mental and physical assistant for those of us who enjoy, or sometimes do not enjoy based on the last shot, the game of kings. The book was written in 1995 and is distributed by Triumph Books out of Chicago, Ill.

Dean Reinmuth is a professional golfer. He played many years on the PGA tour, and then he became a very successful coach. At the time of the writing of this particular book, he had just begun to help shape the career of a young amateur named Phil Mickelson. There is a forward in the book by Bob Toski who helped coach Dean when he played, and Mr. Toski notes that Phil Mickelson has a promising future in golf. That would be an understatement at this juncture. He has, and continues to have a brilliant career. He has 20 career tournament wins, has earned over $55 million playing golf, and has achieved many truly amazing goals in his vocation. He is also a very soft spoken, balanced and enjoyable player to watch. He smiles a lot, and seems content and happy. His wife’s long bouts with illness have been well covered, but even through that he still seems to roll along straight and true. He also happens to be my mom’s favorite player. They are both left-handed golfers. Dean Reinmuth had something to do with all of that.

When I looked at Phil’s golf career year by year, noting the statistics, I noticed that he started off slowly, and then once he got his game together, and this was the time he began working diligently with Reinmuth and when he fully absorbed the philosophy of Dean Reinmuth in “Tension Free Golf,” his career wins soared, the money and fame rolled in, and he actually seemed to be a more mellow fellow. I do not think the money of fame were the reasons for this, but inversely they were the result of a more tension free life.

The idea of playing a very challenging game such as golf (it may look easy at first glance, but have a round or two before you make that call) in a tension free style seems perhaps difficult to grasp at first.

Then perhaps upon a bit of reflection, it might occur to one that doing anything in a tension free manner should inherently improve the potential outcome. Banging a square peg into a round hole has always been a great challenge, splintered wood flying about and so forth, but lo and behold, the round peg reduces the tension, and works better. A similarity appears. How about racing down the road late for an appointment or just harried generally? Blasting the horn at every intersection, giving half a peace sign to your fellow drivers, yelling at no one in particular, these are not tension free responses being late or driving. If you are out for a Sunday drive, tension free, it is pleasant to drive. Another similarity arises. It would stand to reason the ride would be more enjoyable if the tension element were reduced. Working in an environment that is filled with tension is uncomfortable, and I would wager a great sum, less productive in the long run. If the tension element were removed from work, would we get more done, and be happier. I would say so. These ideas apply to everything we do. How we find the peace and reduce our tension is food for another discussion.

If you are a golfer, or just interested in a very informative book about golf, focusing on the motion of a good swing, the shape of a good swing, and solid practice techniques to play a freer and sounder game of golf, please seek out “Tension Free Golf – Unleashing Your Greatest Shots More Often” by Dean Reinmuth and perhaps you will enjoy the game of your life, or at least a few more great shots.

Mr. Reinmuth shares a wonderful little story in his introduction about burying Campbell’s Soup cans in the backyard of his parent’s home as a youth, and chipping across the yard, over the flower beds, and around the house. I wonder if he ever did that in the snow?

Enjoy and read on!

Kerry Wholey is a freelance writer in Narragansett.

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