By: John Lombardo PGA of America
My fascination with Secretariat has crept into my quest for a functional golf swing. Ever since I saw the movie I have had this feeling that this horse is a key in golf swing evolution. I have watched over and over again the video of the Belmont Stakes world record performance from 1972, and watched in awe a once in a lifetime athletic performance.
I have always been fascinated with world class athletes, particularly the athletes that seem to function on a level or plane above and beyond their peers, those athletes that have an extra level of awareness, physical ability, or just plain athletic ability. I have downleaded pictures of Secretariat. Stop action photos of the horse in action dirt flying all four hooves off the ground seemingly flying through the air having more fun than any living being ever deserved to have. Secretariat was a genius a running freight train at runaway speed. There was no laboring, no weight, just pure speed, pure effort, pure peerformance, pure totality of effort.
If you measure that performance against the other horses, it is hard to understand how Secretariat could have opened such a lead and maintained and increased it over that length of race. What is more the jockey said Secretariat was actually accelerating past the finish line for another quarter of a mile before he was able to slow him down. What un-encumbeered exhiliration! Strength of body and spirit.
It became part of my journey to learn the path of least resistance in my golf swing. It took a while, but one day I discovered a simple move in my takeaway that enabled me to swing in a more fluid unencumbered way with a total accelerating release of the club head at and through impact. It actually occured to me during a quick punch out shot from behind my golf cart.
My goal is to swing the club the way Secretariat ran. I used it for an 18 hole round without even practicing and the results were astounding. Iron shots flying 20 yards further than at any time this year. Driver shots longer and straighter. Approach shots flying high and at the flagstick. It was a revelation and a great feeling.
I say now that if I can maintain this awareness I will start playing in tournaments again and I will win money. I still get goose bumps watching Secretariat run, or just looking at the pictures. What a role model.