Maximum Golf by John Schlee

Just wanted to ask if anyone here in ABS has read Maximum Golf by John Schlee? The cheapest I can find online is $150 so if you’ve read it, maybe you can share some of the info. I’m tempted to buy it, but I’'m saving my money for John Erickson instead. :smiley:

Yes, I have it. I got it back in the 1980’s when it came out. It also has a videotape. It is not a book, but rather a spiral bound manual.I don’t know what to tell you about whether it is worth 150 dollars …I would think you could get it cheaper than that. It has to be one of the first “Hogan” books. He says he asked Hogan to endorse it, and explains what Hogan told him about why he would not. It sounds plausible.

I think Lag or Two would be a better judge of the content than me. Schlee claims a close relationship with Hogan, with what sounds like a fair amount of personal instruction.

If Johnny Miller had not shot that 63 at Oakmont, then Schlee would have had a US Open win…so he could play. Tom Bertrand, who used to work with Schlee , is now “carrying the torch”, as Schlee has passed away.

There are some good pictures of Schlee, such as showing the him on the 4:30 line…but Schlee never discusses that. There are no pictures of Hogan, but plenty of stories.

I don’t recall him getting much into ground forces, but he does emphasize getting onto what he calls the “turning point”. He also discusses the “Cupping” and the “Power move”( vertical drop).

It is interesting that VJ Trolio( Final Missing Piece of Ben Hogan’s Secret Puzzle) sites this book and the story it contains telling of Schlee finding a machine at the Ben Hogan Company and that Gene Sheeley told him Hogan worked with it in the 1950’s to figure out how to generate maximun clubhead speed. Schlee says it was by getting himself onto “his turning point” and spinning his left hip left…level left.

I remember that Schlee used to teach out of Industry Hills in Los Angeles, probably the toughest course (the Eisenhower) I played in my entire life. One of my junior golf friends used to take lessons from him and used to practice with a right wrist contraption called the Secret. Don’t know if Greg Norman copied it or not, but the product looked the same. Thanks for the feedback Eagle, I’ll have to really think hard about dropping a buck and half for the spiral bound.

both the book and the tape are listed on ebay

Not sure if this would be of any interest to those on the forum, but I’ve had some “experience” with John Schlee (and his methods):

In 1985 I attended John’s Maximum Golf school in Carlsbad, CA. Tom Bertrand assisted John during the course of the 3 day school. I was intrigued by the fact that John was one of the very few whom Hogan actively attempted to help. I spoke with John quite a bit during the 3 days. Also working with John during the 3 day period was aspiring pro Mickey Yokoi (former UCLA golfer). John mentioned that he worked with David Ogrin as well. Most of the help I got from him was in the area of the short game as Schlee was one of the best chippers and putters when he played the tour. As far as the long game is concerned, he focused in on set up and hammered away on us that a disciplined set-up procedure was vital to handling tournament pressure. The guy really was a hell of an athlete. One day he passed by my practice area and took a look at the clubs in my bag and said “How in the hell do you expect to improve with that Sh*t!” I was playing Dunlop Australian blade irons at the time. John picked up the 5-iron and raked a ball over to hit and then proceed to hit one of purest shots I had ever witnessed. I could see how he would have finished runner up in the '73 Open. On the last day of the school he put on a ballstriking clinic that was quite impressive to see (I noticed that the shafts and clubheads on his irons were pretty rusty - obviously he hadn’t played much…he mentioned that on the first day of the school. He also stressed finding the slot at transition and turning level (while keeping the left knee flexed) through the ball. He wanted us to really feel as though we were turning the right palm down through impact.


In 1987 at the old Guaranty Bank tournament in Hattiesburg, Mississippi - I followed David Ogrin (he won the tournament that year) - hoping that I would spot some of the “Schlee/Hogan swing” in his technique. He actually did use many of the techniques John had in his Maximum Golf book. Furthermore, he practiced using the plastic device John gave us at the school that held the curve in the back of the right wrist. The device was called “The Secret”. I also learned that a young Tom Lehman had sought out Schlee’s advice.

In 1989, I took some lessons from Mike Hebron on Long Island and he asked who I had seen in the past and I mentioned attending Schlee’s school in Carlsbad. Mike seemed very interesed and mentioned that he too had studied Schlee’s book and found some very useful information in it. I later visited Mike’s house to see his incredible book and memoribilia collection and - sure enough - Schlee’s book (with many sentences highlighted and quite a few notes written by Mike on many pages ) - was in plain sight on Mike’s coffee table!

Pretty cool stuff Cypress…envy all the guys here that have had the opportunity to listen or be exposed to “name” instructors in person.

The purest shot I ever saw or heard came from Tom Watson @ Oakland Hills @ the '96 Open during a practice round. He pushed a drive and I knew exactly where to stand so I wouldn’t have to move. I was about 4 feet from him as he was deciding what to do. There was a large tree blocking his line of direct flight. He and his caddy talked a bit, then he turned to the group and said…"what do you guys want to see…a fade or a draw. Some guy yelled “draw”.

I have never heard or felt anything like that in my life…the freaking ground shook…I’m not kidding. What a pure shot and what pure class that man has…good stuff Cypress :laughing: RR



I followed Watson when he played in New Orleans for 5 straight years and watched every shot he hit. The guy is incredible. I believe the story an old tour caddie told me that - in the late 70’s - Watson went 2 years without missing a shot. I personally never really saw him hit one that wasn’t very solid. Padraig Harrington mentioned several years back in the Open Championship that he was practicing and he suddenly realized that a person over his shoulder was making an impact so pure that he’d never heard sounds like that before…he turned around to see who it was…to his amazement, it was (then) 57 year old Tom Watson.

Purest shot I ever saw or heard was in 1965 - Ben Hogan - 5th tee at Champions in Houston, Texas. I managed to get myself positioned directly DTL about 10 ft. behind him. I have never seen or heard a drive like that before or since. Jack Nicklaus was in that group as well and I can tell you he couldn’t hit it like that. These moon balls with low spin they hit with the frying pan heads today can’t even come close to the look and sound of Hogan’s drive that day.


Great stuff, RR… that guy is a pure ball striking machine…what a thing to see…
I’ve seen, heard, and felt some ball striking but never Watson… someday I hope… I still can’t accept that he didn’t win The Open last year… maybe I never will… how must he feel?!..


A 59 year old man completed 72 holes of a major championship with no one beating him… so that is good enough for me.

Industry Hills was the toughest track on planet earth at one time… certainly during the persimmon age. That 4th hole if I remember correctly was not only the longest par 4 I had ever played, but also the tightest!
I never worked with Schlee, but Mickey Yokoi was a hell of a player back then. He was on the most amazing college team of all time… Tom Pernice, Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf, Steve Pate, Jay Delsing, and Mickey had qualified for the US Open and was in and out of that lineup! Crazy…


Thanks for reminding us about the sound of Hogan’s shots, compared to what we get today… I think there are people here who think I’m crazy when I talk about the sound of masterful compression. It’s very real when you can hold shaft flex that long with such acceleration and a forceful strike with a properly weighted club.

Doing some research on Schlee and found this on the Manzella forum…

Aiguille: That is really good, good stuff you found. Thanks much.

That super-slow motion of Hogan on Youtube clearly shows that laid off position…especially when the shaft is just above his waist on the downmove…the face of the club is nearly looking skyward and the shaft nearly horizontal to the ground…if my memory is correct.

The right palm facing the sky at that point of the motion would certainly appear to result with being laid-off—although the move from the top starts the process.

Great stuff…go have a glass of wine…well deserved :slight_smile: RR

But Hogan was 5’ 6" and suffered from the Mother of all snap hooks… unless you’ve got these two things ‘going for you’ I’d proceed with caution with that swing thought…
Just my opinion…

Here are a couple of excerpts from Schlee’s book, he places a huge emphasis on the setup, the turning press and the laying off of the shaft on to a flatter plane with a tighter and more concentric downswing arc.


I never tire of watching the Hogan slow motion video on the beach…


I agree with Bom… if you don’t know what you are doing, then the drop the club behind you, open and laid off will cause you hooked and fat shots…

However… if you really want to become a fantastic hitter of a golf ball, and you know what else needs to accompany that downswing load, then it would be an essential move.

While certainly Hogan was a firm body, hitter, the article clip here of Schlee would indicate a lot of swinging protocols, such as relax the body and so forth. This again is not incorrect if you are in fact “swinging”

I have not read Schlee’s work, but on initial impression I would suggest that maybe Schlee was swingerizing Hogan’s method to his own interpretation, and this may be why Hogan did not give his endorsement.

I did have a quick chat with Al Barkow about it today, and he said Hogan at one time was very unhappy with Schlee claiming to be peddling Hogan’s methods as factual. He also said his work with Schlee was very brief.

However, Schlee was a fine player and I would think his insights would be a good read and certainly have credibility based upon his own accolades.