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One of my resolutions for 2012 is to read at least 100 books this year. Throughout my life, I’ve read about 40 books on golf, and I hope a good chunk of the 100 this year are golf related. On my most recent trip to the LA 84 Foundation, I happened upon a copy of the Golfing Machine, one of the books that has slipped through my fingers during this quest. I decided to take the plunge, and after skimming through the book a few times, I’m getting excited.
I’ve no problem with golf being taught through a book - part of the fun of golf will always be trying to “put it all together;” we just have to put it together in our own unique way using whatever sources we can find. And nowadays we can get 5 great golf books for the price of one golf lesson. Hmmm…
The only problem I have is when I read a book I’ve never read before, and yet I HAVE read it before, if you know what I mean. Here’s a short summary of most of the golf books out there:
“Chapter 1: The first thing you want to do is make sure that your clubs are fitted for your body type. The last 15 years have produced great strides in technology - spend a day at a golf shop and see what you can find.
Chapter 2: There are three grips you can choose from - Vardon, Interlock, and 10-finger. Jack and Tiger use interlock, but I recommend the Vardon. And remember, point those V’s to the right shoulder!
Chapter 3: Imagine you are lining up on a train track running straight towards the flag or fairway. Bend at the knees a little bit and let your arms hang from your shoulders naturally. For an iron, you are hitting down on the ball, and for a Driver, you’re hitting up on the ball, slightly.
Chapter 4: At the midway point in the backswing, the club should be parallel to the ground, with the face “toe up” or “slightly closed.” At the top of the swing, check to see if the clubface is parallel to your left arm. That’s good.
Chapter 5: Start the downswing with your hips, and at impact, make sure your weight is primarily on your left foot and your hands are leading the ball. Here’s a drill to practice impact…
Chapter 6: Make sure you have a nice high finish at the end of your swing, with your weight 100% of the way on your left foot, with good balance. At the range, don’t hit just one type of shot shape; mix it up a bit with draws, fades, low shots, and high shots. Then you’ll be able to take your range game out on the course.”
Sound familiar? I don't mean to knock on any specific books, but I see this type of golf book way too often. While some of this information is technically correct, what’s the use in buying a new book if the information is the same? Why didn’t I get it the first time? When am I going to have my “tipping point” or “aha” moment and break 80? Break par? Win my club championship? What’s missing?
My theory is that in the next 10 years, we’ll see a resurgence of more golf books like The Golf Machine come out. Books like Down to Scratch, Five Lessons, and the Short Game Bible. Love 'em or hate 'em, all these books have something to say about golf, and they lay it out. I haven’t read The Golf Machine yet, so I can’t give my honest opinion of this particular book, but I think we’ll see books like this that take much more of a stand on golf.
Books that say, “This is exactly how I hit the ball well, time after time, and let me show you why it works for me, starting from square 1.
Books that say, “This is how I get up and down from jail and this is why it’s so easy for me to do it under pressure.”
Books that say, “This is what I am feeling internally during my swing, this is how it shows up on film, and after talking with the top 50 players in the world, I know their thoughts are the same on this matter.”
I think you see where I’m going with this. We’re going to see books with tested methods and systems that took years to develop, refine, and release to the world; groundbreaking research. Teachers, writers, and players that sacrificed to make 100% sure that the golfers who read it are getting the best information available to their students that they can.
No more tips, suggestions, or “sounds good” information. Let’s see the data. Let’s see how many people on tour do this. How many low handicap golfers do this? What do high handicappers do differently, and why? How did these changes specifically make a difference? Why is he so good at ball striking, yet lousy at putting? Why is he good at the short game, but has no power? Can anyone have it all?
Let’s see some cold hard facts, interviews, and first person accounts of what the best golfers are doing, and lay it out for all to see.
Here’s to re-starting a journey into the world of great golf, and searching for the best that golf research has to offer, now and in the future.