Contradiction & Confluence

By: J.D. Cline

It seems to me that, above all else, golf is a game of contradictions. In my career I have been trained by the likes of Jim McLean, whose book "The Eight Step Swing," is, or should be, the golf instructor's "go-to" text for improving their teaching techniques.

In detail and accuracy McLean's research has given me a solid technical foundation to base my own style upon. However, during most of the time I was working for McLean at Doral and PGA West I pretty much glued myself to the hip of Jerry Mowlds who, while not as publicized, is equally influential to those who know him. Jerry is, to those who know and love him, the "King" of the 15-minute fix.

My style falls somewhere between the two, depending on the learning tendencies of the students before me.

Contradictory teaching methods (and teachers) stand out. Jim Flick states emphatically that "The arms swing the body," McLean counters with the "The body swings the arms."

I've come to believe that, while both statements can be true or false depending on the context, the real solution lies somewhere in the middle. If a particular student is stiff with excess grip pressure and little wrist hinge, he probably needs to learn to swing his arms more freely and release the club. If he (or she) is a hand-flipper who camps out on their back foot, more lateral movement is the likely solution.

Lately we've been hearing about the "stack and tilt," while six months ago it was Jim Hardy's one-plane swing. I believe that all of this information on the golf swing is, for the most part, beneficial.

However, I also think that moderation in all things is worthy living by. Harvey Penick's words should ring as true today as when he said them: "If I give you a pill, don't take the whole bottle."

Is all the information that is available good for you? Maybe I can help sort out the contradictions.

If you have questions about the different swing philosophies or the best way to proceed, I'll direct you to the simplest path to success for your golf. I will do what I can to help you learn more about your game and, ultimately, to enjoy golf and have more fun in the process.

Question of the Week

Did it annoy anyone as much as me how uber-critical Gary Koch and Johnny Miller were during the recent U.S. Open telecasts on NBC? Miller can maybe get away with it, but Gary Koch - PLEASE. I could at least do without the sanctimonious, disparaging comments by the erstwhile journeyman ex-Tour player. But that's just my opinion.

J.D. Cline brings an extensive playing and teaching background to golf instruction. He's an experienced teacher who has appeared on The Golf Channel and as a featured instructor on Dr. Craig Farnsworth's best-selling video, "See It and Sink It." J.D. has trained and worked with some of the best instructors in the world, including Jim McLean, Carl Welty, Jerry Mowlds, Bill Harmon, Jackie Burke Jr. and the late Rick Acton.

In addition to his duties as Director of Instruction at Bear Creek Country Club in Redmond, Wash., and J.D. Cline Golf, he also coaches and advises touring professionals on the PGA, LPGA and Asian tours.

J.D. has over 20 tournament victories in his career and was a participant in 1999 U.S. Senior Open. While still a competitive player in the Northwest Section of the PGA, J.D.'s first love is teaching golf to others. He is a motivator blessed with an aptitude for working successfully with every level of golfer, from beginners to touring pros. With his unique blend of technical expertise and well-developed sense of humor, J.D. can help you play better golf and enjoy the game more.

For more about JD Cline, visit