Thoughts on TGM

TGM is quite different from other golf instruction books…

TGM is based upon law, physics, mathematics, geometry and so forth. LAW. If you argue TMG principles, you’ll have to win arguments with the likes of Einstein, Bohr, Gamow first.

Most golf instruction books should be in the fiction section of the bookstore, and might rightly be “for entertainment purposes only”

. Most instructors teach with smoke and mirrors… Why? The same reason people go to see a magicians showcase… it captures the imagination.

“Complexity is far more simple and workable than mystery” TGM

The only mystery of TGM is that it was written from an observation based perspective, and not from the perspective of a great striker like Hogan or Snead.
What the great strikers can tell us is how these things need to feel within the body…

Although I have great respect for Homer’s work, it is not without it’s oversights… in particular, the complete omission regarding vertical and horizonal
ground forces that need to be both addressed and applied to properly strike a golf ball. There are several options available here just like other component
variations.

Swingers and hitters also have different protocols for sensing body connection and cohesive body tension applications. Even grip pressures should have their own
component categories. These are very important concepts and should not be overlooked… even the 5th accumulator.

Regardless, there is a lot of wonderful information in Homer’s work, and I give much credit for what I learned in my youth under the watchful eyes of both
Ben Doyle and Gregg Mc Hatton. Their vision of a pure unadulterated CF strike upon the ball is very admirable… however I question it’s practicality for most.

The greatest “swinging” protocol I ever saw was Moe Norman. I have no doubt that Moe’s procedure for ball striking from a swinger’s platform is the most
fundamentally sound action one could apply.

From the hitter’s platform I would say Ben Hogan. From direct and personal knowledge I would say Peter Senior in the late 80’s and Greg Norman. Of course
Lee Trevino I saw as well.

Golfers attraction to TGM is admirable.

The golf swing is a very complex series of events that leads to a “moment of truth”, and that moment of truth is dependent upon what precedes it, and also what follows it. TGM itself fills a niche in the collective of human golf minds, for those who are interested in really understanding the why and how. The vast majority of golfers don’t really care about the geometry and laws that govern ball flight.

This thread, post or rant, is really for the searchers of truth that do in fact care about such lofty ideals. Explaining the golf swing can take time, and any detail left on the table can leave a golfer pulling out their hair for weeks if not months or even years.

Golf is not simple, it is not natural, it is not easy to learn for most,
but with the application of TGM it becomes more simple, more natural and MUCH easier to learn than just HOPING that the one great swing you made last week is suddenly going to repeat itself over and over again and become the new pattern your body produces on call each time you prepare to strike a golf ball.

The new “forgiving” clubs further enhance the myth.

The bottom line is that TGM is not the same as discussing the majority of trivial affairs that clog the internet. The intention to nail down the science behind
the swing is admirable.

The golf swing is a very complex series of events that leads to a “moment of truth”, and that moment of truth is dependent upon what precedes it, and also what follows it. TGM itself fills a niche in the collective of human golf minds, for those who are interested in really understanding the why and how. The vast majority of golfers don’t really care about the geometry and laws that govern ball flight.

Golf is not simple, it is not natural, it is not easy to learn for most,
but with the application of TGM it becomes more simple, more natural and MUCH easier to learn than just HOPING that the one great swing you made last week is suddenly going to repeat itself over and over again and become the new pattern your body produces on call each time you prepare to strike a golf ball.

The new “forgiving” clubs further enhance the myth.

The bottom line is that TGM is not the same as discussing the majority of trivial affairs that clog the internet.

It’s interesting to look back on the days with Ben Doyle. But I just really have to wonder why Ben was so in love with swinging only? I might guess that it’s just what he learned, or maybe he saw it as the best way to get a beginner off the ground and into reasonably good golf fairly quickly. I might also speculate that it is tough to really have a handle on both within your own motion.

My own swing has been completely transformed into hitting that going back to those swinging drills would be very counter productive.
I completely understand swinging being a former swinger, but if you were to ask me to hit shots the way I used to, I am not sure I could do it very effectively, nor would I want to. I don’t hit the odd space ball anymore, and as a hitter, I love the feeling of the firmness, tightness
and control of the clubface that feels so much more reliable and repeatable to the point I no longer have to practice to go out and enjoy a round of golf.

My point being that Ben may not have been able to demonstrate hitting in a way that would be impressive to his students… other than some kind of little punch shot or something.

I certainly could teach someone to be a swinger, but it would not be by my own awe inspiring demonstrations. I would not do well re visiting those feelings in the body.

This is where I think TGM gets confusing for people, because each instructor really seems to heavily favor one way or another, and as most of you might guess, I would probably favor teaching a hitting procedure, because of my conviction about that method being far superior based upon my own experiences having used both methods.

But I can never forget the great golf Bobby Clampett played almost 30 years ago as maybe the purest swinger of all time. What he accomplished is still honorable and worth a serious consideration for the validity of the swinging protocol.

At least with Ben in the early years, all we had to do was look at Clampett to see how it should be done. Ben had Bobby in his hip pocket to point to, and he used him as a reference all the time. It gave credibility to what he was saying in a big way, in a huge way. There was no inconsistency in the message. Bobby does this, Bobby does that, and when Bobby was putting well, we all believed he could beat Nicklaus, Watson, Langer, or anyone the world could throw at him. That’s why the cult grew so big, and Ben’s following still has clout even to this day to some degree.

Take Mac O Grady, he was both the teacher and the poster child.
Their was a time when nobody hit is as good as Mac… and for a while he had half the PGA tour working with him while he was on tour! It’s almost comical really. He could really demonstrate it himself, and that can make a believer out of people really fast.

I had a long talk with Sam Randolph a couple weeks ago, who was a good friend of mine from Junior golf days, we are the same age and both grew up in Southern California. For those who don’t know the name, he won the Junior World title, was a four time All American, Collegiate player of the year, won the US Amateur, and won on the PGA Tour right out of college. He was a guy who had his sights on being the best ever, and he felt that he needed to get a little bit better so he could dominate on the PGA Tour as he had at the amateur levels. He sought out the help of people like Hank Haney,
Ledbetter, Peter Costis, and so forth. These were the guys who supposedly knew the golf swing.

Sam holds to this day that he made the right decision to seek help,
he wasn’t TGM or a technically inspired player, so he had to trust
the so called experts. The problem with these experts is that they
never explained to Sam why he was as good as he was. Sam was a hitter and had a great natural home made and extremely effective action. These different instructors had some kind of model in their heads that everyone should swing like Mark O Meara or whoever.
Sam made a great point to me in our conversation in that these so called experts just couldn’t answer his questions, questions like “why am I in the bunker and not 10 feet from the pin like I used to be?

I’ll take a lesson from Ledbetter or Haney when they can take me out on the course and kick my ass and show me how to do it much better than I do now… or if they speak the same language such as TGM, then we can talk theory and the application of law that is based on objective things like physics and geometry, not smoke and mirrors, or personal opinion or preferences.

Homer certainly wrote an epic book to say the least. I have great respect and admiration for his work. However, it would not be good science for us not to contemplate and question what has been put forth to this day as the Magna Carta of scientific golf analysis.

There are a lot of things at work in TGM.
We have an author that is sitting in an observation chair, not living in the body of Ben Hogan.

In no way does an engineering and scientific background guarantee long term results any more than the designers of the space shuttle did. Things can go wrong even with good education and intentions.

It should be acknowledged that from any reference or vantage point there will be limitations due to the very nature of where you are coming from.

A great player who writes a book based upon feel is not necessarily wrong, but may not be able to fully communicate what is happening due to simply not being fully aware of his or her actions. A lot of things I believe are taken for granted. Lots of assumptions.

I really believe that some fine strikers find the golden pathway through impact often stumbling by chance, and then just grind it into muscle memory without really knowing what it is they are experiencing on a more scientific or objective level. Likewise, an observation based instruction book might visually see what is going on but have no idea how to describe the forces that create such visual geometry and are only left guessing as to how the fine striker comes to such observable apparent reality.

Best thing I have heard about ‘experts’ so far!

I just found this site this evening and I posted a coule of things before I read the background and remembered meeting you, John. We played together once I believe at Pasatiempo while I was playing for SCU or shortly thereafter. I know Shane was there and I think Thor from Sunol. I have no idea who shot what but I know few beat me at Pasy back in the day, so I will by that point qualify myself as a Player, since according to you my opinion only counts if I can beat you. I’m sorry but it is possible to learn something from someone who isn’t necessarily a tour player. Dr Cary Mumford is the best authority on the mental side of Golf I ever met and he couldn’t break 90 with a gun to his head. And how about Charles ‘Bud’ McVey? If he were alive today he’d be over 100, ask some of the old timers around the O, Cal Club or SJCC. I didn’t even meet him until he was over 80, when I was in high school; little did I know at the time way back when he ran around with Everybody…Nelson, Hogan, Middlecoff, Bolt, Snead, Littler and more than held his own. Hell John, before we were both born he and Lema owned Kenny and Bud Ward in their prime. But if this old man couldn’t beat me how could I listen to him? I mean who really cares about trivial things like the difference ball-striking and shotmaking, the definition of a Player, strategy and course management, eliminating the left side of the course, working the ball into the pin, defining the hole from the green back to the tee, etc., etc… I’m not saying by this that Kostis and Leadbetter are good teachers, far far from it, they both stink, but to make a ridiculous grandeous statement like I ain’t listening to nobody who can’t whoop me is ridiculous and very closed-minded.

I gotta say its nice though to know that I’m not the only one who knows that the teckno-garbage being sold everywhere is crap. It made me quit the game for a long time after my set of Hogans were stolen. But the posts I just read about all this adoration for of all things ‘The Golfing Machine’ put a bad taste in my mouth. I remember reading it once until it gave me a headache, I think that was page 8. That doesn’t make it a bad book, or the theories improper, but it wasn’t for me. It is a very good instructional tool for those with a highly analytical approach to the game. My personal approach is just different. I can still think Mac is certifiable. I mean anyone who thinks that they are a professional right handed and an amateur left-handed qualifies as a nut in my book. Different strokes for different folks. Do not though, use someone like Sam, or Bob Tway is another who has been ruined by bad teachers like Leadbetter as proof positive that any one method of teaching the game is absolutely the only way to master it. I still haven’t found word one here on target orientation, nor the quaifiers of an automatic preshot routine or the subjigation of the conscious mind in regard to the autonomic nervous system in fight-or-flight situations. And just because I come from the Ballard School doesn’t mean I don’t know the Golf Swing inside and out. I’ll put my knowledge, resume and my trophy case next to anybody’s any day. Proudly.

What it comes down to is that Golf is an impossibly difficult game which can never be mastered. The only reason anyone ever has any level of success at it is because they believe they do. Technique is only a foundation. The real reason Tiger beats everyone is that Tiger thinks he is the best and everyone else thinks he is the best too. Alpha male. The same reason Doug Sanders could never make that putt to beat Nicklaus. You can analyze until the end of time but more times than not we deal with simple animal action. I try to abide by my Grandfather’s advise and so often it rings true, Keep It Simple Stupid…

lecouerdevie,
There is a private student forum where much more in depth wordings and ideas are given on the many facets of the game. The mental side included.
I wholeheartedly believe that what Lag was getting at by talking about not listening to someone that couldn’t beat him was as such:
There are many parts to the game. And unless you have played to a high level and can kick most people’s butts in the heat of competition, then something is always missing from the potion. Theory is great but experience is better. I would listen to anything a great player has to say because they aren’t drawing lines on a computer saying you have to have a 45 degree angle or hinge and cock exactly here in the swing. they are transmitting their own feelings (even if what they say isn’t entirely what they may do!!). It’s their feeling and the flight of the ball proves it works.
It is great in theory to say this or that- but have you tried it under battle and seen the results. Homer was a hack golfer who thought it all too mysterious why he could play well his first time out and then stunk it up the next time. The mystery is a million parts and like you said that’s why it is a hard game.
We may never know what goes on in Tiger’s head as it is HIS thinking and his alone. His technique we can critique because it is all laid out in front of us to view. But unless we get inside his mind we don’t know what he thinks that makes him mentally strong.
I have spent many hours with Bob Rotella on the mental side. He stated to me --“I will tell you NOTHING you don’t already know. I will only re-enforce it and have you trust what you already know”.
So how some people think or react is entirely their own doing. There are no guidelines to that- it is only enhancement that aids with the improvement. I do know however that once the technique and body motion is improved and running a confident race the level of thinking to succeed is much more engaged and operational and easier to cross over into a round of golf.
It’s like driving. You can have your hands on the wheel and be there moving down the highway- but if you are scared to death of changing lanes you will never get there no matter how switched on the brain is.
Just like golf theory. You can have all the ideas in the world but if they don’t function together then the results are less than satisfactory. The best head in the world will never over power poor body function or technique especially when it is all laid on the line. Some people thrive on it- others go the fear and run route. Best for us to get the jig saw pieces in order before we can start putting the picture together. A strong foundation holds the building up and that’s what Lag is teaching his students.
He thoroughly states- “He is teaching his students nothing new”… what he teaches just got lost in the mix with over zealous teaching and theories mainly by people who were studious of the swing but not of the actual PLAYING OF THE GAME.

lecouerdevie,

Welcome to the forum here…

My point on instructors is that I am a firm believer that the golf swing must be learned from pressures and sensations within the body… and it is in the execution and application of those pressures and forces that create the positions everyone drools over.

I learned a lot more by being on tour and getting to watch and play against the games best, than anything I ever learned from an observation based arm chair instructor that couldn’t strike it well themselves. I just don’t believe that an instructor can fully understand the golf swing if they never at anytime in their career could really deliver the goods.

Here is an example…

There are many Hogan experts that think he dragged his right foot passively. I can tell you he didn’t. Why? because I strike the ball well enough to understand how the ground pressures actually work, and variations upon that.

A guy who shoots 90 is simply not going to understand how certain things need to feel within the body at certain times. How the laws of opposing forces and pressures must be activated and supported with resistance. Homer Kelley and other armchair observers who may have had engineering or scientific backgrounds, but have never experienced within the body how these things need to feel, are limited in their ability to fully understand the swing.

I am not a one way method teacher… I teach pressures, forces and resistance, and let each swing blossom a different fruit. But no blossom gives fruit unless there is sufficient sunlight, water, and proper soil content.

You can talk aiming and shot shaping, visualization till the cows come home, but if your golf swing is not put together well, you won’t go far in this game, anymore than a moped is going to do well on an Indy track or Nascar loop.

I’ll take a great golf swing and learn my confidence from that, rather than from a tragically flawed swing, where one is gleaming with confidence and belief, but simply doesn’t have the hotrod to ever really make it happen.

People and the media are quick to categorize a tour player who wins with a bad swing as a guy with guts and a heart of armor… but I rarely if ever see that. Peter Senior who is not as well know here in the States, would beat anyone down in Australia with what most believed to be a bastardized golf swing. But if you know what to look for, it’s one of the most fundamentally sound golf swings I have ever seen. Trevino, people didn’t get that one either… or Moe Norman… there were guys even on mini tours who would clean up on these underground circuits with very unusual swings… if not ghastly to an untrained eye… Jeff Lewis comes to mind… but for others it’s Jim Furyk who gets the scorn, but I really admire his swing. I see it as much better than most of the guys on tour…but I am not looking at pretty backswings or perfect textbook setups as my basis for top shelf ball striking.

When I had to evaluate my performance on tour, and how things were feeling to me… I came to a point where my instructors were not able to answer my questions… so I had to move on… because they simply couldn’t relate to what I was going through… they were not… or had never been seasoned tour players. You can’t teach what you don’t know.

An old timer who was a great player back in his day WILL get my ear… because they will understand, because they experienced it… within their body… you can’t unlearn what you mastered… you might forget… yes, but not unlearn it.

When I work with tour players… there is a lot of “Oh yeah, that’s right… you mean like this!” they know… just re hatching the dragon.

I guess we just come from two schools of thought when we think about the game, which is weird because I agree with all I’ve read on lines and mechanics. I’ve been playing 5 flat since I was 19, Jimmy Ballard and Tom Quinn taught me to swing flat to make the game easier, to reign in my shot pattern, not to over-analyze every joint and muscle in my body. Once I learned the move, all I have to do is maintain it through very basic drills and logging different misses on the course and such. I think of it like a race car. If Tiger is a Ferrari, I’m like a Mustang or something. It runs good and I can tell what I need to fix way before it breaks. There’s no need to disassemble every part and component every time I drive it and then put it back together…I got better things to do with my time, and it would totally screw everything up anyway.

An I’m sorry but my thoughts and memories in regard to tournament play are not nearly as romantic as most others. I wouldn’t trade my time on the road in college and chasing the mini’s for anything, but I remember all of it, not just the very few perfect golf shots I’ve hit in State Opens, on the Hooters, or wherever. I’ll bet the actual time of every really great swing I’ve ever made totals more than a minute and a half. So what makes up the rest of the time? Bad food, dirty motel rooms, endless car rides sometimes alone, sometimes with strangers, sometimes with people you can’t stand, having to ask what time is it here? so you can reset your watch every Monday, endless nagging aches and pains from banging way too many hard balls off of bare plastic mats, loneliness and stress. Stress over money, over hitting it great and still missing the cut by 5, stress of having to look like you are a professional on top of your game when you have no game, stress over realizing you haven’t called your folks in 3 weeks and they think you were killed (Jewish Mother of course) and stress that if you get sick or hurt your career may be over and your only family is thousands of miles away and they don’t really think this is a real job anyway. This is not a litanny of complaints. This is real. These were my 20’s.

And to make it work you gotaa worry about way more important things than your swing. If you’re worried about that, go home. You have to make it work. You have to figure out how to beat the best locals on their home track even if you’ve never seen it before. You have to stay positive and stay in the present tense. You have to make putts. Every day.When you’re five under you gotta get 6. When you’re 5 over you’ve gotta get 4. Six days a week you wake up at 5:45 and do 2 sets of 50 push ups and 3 sets of a hundred sit ups before you even brush your teeth. On your one 'day off you can have one beer with lunch. the rest of the time no alcohol, no caffeine, no cigarettes, (and not kill anyone), no sodas and watch your sugar intake. Carb load 5 nightsin a row. Bobby Jones said he lost between 5 and 10 pounds every time he played a tournament. You have to figure out how to do 8 in a row without ending up in the hospital. And all this costs anywhere from 60 to 100 thousand dollars per year, and some or most of that money may not be yours. I wish I just had to worry about my golf swing. What a pleasure that would have been…

Wow! What a post! I am glad my game defaulted and opted out!