"Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie Merrins
TheSandTrap.com Top Picks
Re: "Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie MerrinsSwing the Handle - Not the Clubhead by Eddie Merrins (with Dick Aultman and the editors of Golf Digest) copyright 1973.
This short book - 128 - pages is quite old so many, if not most, Sand Trap members likely have never heard of this book.
To me, it's a very good book that I just decided to take off the bookcase and re-read - and think about what I'm reading. In the past it's proven to be a good book for me; it generally gets my mind back on track, to the basics.
Since I've been on a roller coaster lately and a ton of inconsistency - a 47-38 round last week followed by 83 and 96 [43-53 - I'm hoping Mr. Merrins can help me regain some or a lot of consistency.
Re: "Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie MerrinsI have the video. The testimonials are longer than the teaching. The Little Pro keeps it simple and his stuff tends to work. I like it. I was initiated with the left hand and arm pulling but following surgery that cannot happen any more. Swinging the handle works for me.
Re: "Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie MerrinsThis book is out of print and pretty expensive used. I got a copy on interlibrary loan and photocopied it.
I gave his method a good try, but found that I was focusing too much on what my hands were doing. For me, that's bad medicine.
I do re-read it from time to time to remind myself of the playing tips he mentions. His chapter on rhythm and tempo is first-rate in terms of getting the difference between the two correct (something that Tour Tempo does not), though he has not one word on how a golfer can find the correct tempo or rhythm.
The "swing the handle" method seems to have had some influence, but it confused me more than it helped, so I let it go.
Re: "Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie Merrins
In reference to the comment regarding tempo and rhythm, you must find your own. Everyone is different, which is why he would not tell you what you must do.
In the video, Eddie speaking style is simple, slow, and calculated. This can be sometimes difficult for us ADD types to follow, and sometimes it seems possibly over simplistic, but IMO the way he speaks exemplifies the way your brain should operate on the course. Keep it simple, be patient, and let it happen.
I've been out of golf for a few years, but have been practicing hard recently. I used to play a slight draw, but lately it's turned into straight balls and fades. I couldn't for the life of me get that ball to move left. After watching Eddie's videos, I went back out, got all the mechanical crap out of my head, and started working the ball left, and right, at will. Thinking too much about hands, legs, planes, blah blah- it was killing the trust in my natural abilities and clouding my mind over the ball.
I'm a believer now in "swinging the handle".
Re: "Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie MerrinsHe's right this is one of the effective ways to swing a club 1) keep the handle pointed at the target line throughout the swing led by a flat left wrist and 2) accelerate it slowly (don't overaccelerate from the top) NEVER letting it decelerate. Your body moves the handle in fulfillment of these two goals. Nothing else matters.
Re: "Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie MerrinsEddie Merrins is one of the game's all time gentlemen -- a truly nice guy, and his little book is a good way to think about a simple approach to the game. Some teachers are more positional and mechanical, and some are simple and intutitive. Eddie and Harvey Pennick are two I put in the this latter category. Just because one talks about the swing without detailed biomechanical information does not make it less useful. I think you have to know both types of approaches to really understand your swing.
Re: "Swing the Handle - Not the Clubhead" by Eddie Merrins
I just went through the DVD's yesterday. Firstly for anyone contemplating the purchase, they are produced with a "HollyWood Like" quality, sound picture quite good (which isn't always the case with instructional videos).
Second, to be fair to the other posters & reviewers (here and elsewhere) they are correct, Eddie Merrin's style and pace of speech can be "Maddening" at times (slow, repetitive challenging to stay focussed if you are a quick speaker).
The DVD's could have been condensed into half the time they run (without any loss of material).
That said, there are plenty of absolute Gems in these lessons:
Merrin's treatment of bunker shots alone is worth the price I paid ($32.00 delivered from Amazon.com).
His hammering home of the "Swing the Handle" mantra is just a good teacher teaching.
The concept of of the use of forearms with the parameters of the distance covered being Hip to Hip is sure to help those students that require a small set of concise instructions (as opposed to those that are more desirous of eight step, X factor type, instructors).
His style reminds me of the writing of Manuel De La Torre. (simple, but packed with information when read more than once).
I split the viewing of the DVD's with about 11 holes of play between sessions. An empty course here mid-day (it's been brutally hot in Florida this summer) allowed me to hit a couple of balls on a few holes; and also to take the time to hit a few shots out of the thick grass and experiment with different lies in a couple of bunkers.
I am pleased with the results (especially since I had only viewed the set once and hadn't even gotten to the bonus DVD on Tip's & Drills).
I play to about a 15 of late, I drop a few strokes when the humidity goes down and the rough isn't like the US open.
I was very surprised to see Merrin's forearm concept can be adopted without much fuss; it appears to be very easy to focus on my lower arms and I was very comfortable with his swing thought (Swing the Handle) almost immediately.
I am going to give his ideas a healthy 2nd going over, the rest of this weekend. I play today in a small money game and will be "Swinging the Handle, not the Clubhead" :)
His opening discussion of the grip is a bit weak (pun intended), ball position and alignment could have been fleshed out better. The manner in which he teaches the student to either fade or draw appears to be counter to what the "Doppler Radar of Trackman" has told the golfing community of late (he advocates a simple hit the outside or inside of the ball to accomplish the curve you desire). There are no discussions of the "D" plane here, and maybe that's a Good Thing???.
Interesting thing, I believe Eddie gets more comfortable with the cameras, and begins to loosen up a bit as the lessons go on; he is clearly more comfortable with Jack Wagner, Bob May and Helen Alfredson than he is with Craig T. Nelson or Robert Wagner.
The section with David Fehrety in my opinion may be fast forwarded completely (it is out of place in this set, and Mr. Merrin's style of speech does not suit the role of TV talking head or interviewer.
Overall if you're looking for a simple "Game Plan" from which to start playing the game; or a good basis from which to plan a rebuild of a swing gone awry, I think these lessons are a very good choice.
That's an interesting concept. Now that I think about it, I normally swing the handle, but I try to concentrate on which way my club head is facing on the backswing and follow through. I'm going to go through some of the testimonials a little more to see what I can decipher. Thanks for the intro to this book!