Re: "The Golfing Machine" by Homer Kelley
The book comes with so many recommendations, I decided to order it to see what had caused all this G.O.L.F. (Geometrically Oriented Linear Force) hubbub. What lies below many will see as merely the grumblings of a curmudgeon, who's rigid brain can no longer assimilate anything new, who's made-up mind blinds him to change. Whatever the case, I do have a take on this book that I have yet to see hit the fan.
As a career software engineer myself, I hoped for a good manual of instruction, well-organized and clear. For some reason, perhaps numbed by the cascade of neologisms in the forward to the book, I went for the diagrams. (They seemed okay, but not as impressive as the more exhaustive "The Physics of Golf".) There isn't much to question there, but nothing new either. I went for the annotated photographs, straight for those Pressure Points.
6-C-1. PRESSURE POINTS The force to be applied for the movement of the Lever Assemblies -- both ways (opposite pressures 6-B-1-D) -- is exerted against the Club (7-11) through Pressure Points -- of which there are four.
Holy Help Files! Let's just look at that picture...nah...no help there. Any information in the annotations? Nope, just numbering the arrows...AH! Okay. Here they are.
#1. The heel of the Right Hand where it touches either the Left Hand thumb or the Clubshaft (as required by the Grip used).
#2. The last three fingers of the Left Hand.
Okay. I think I get it, but what's with the German capitalization? By now, page 77, shouldn't we be using LH and RH?
#3. The first joint of the Right Hand index finder where it touches the clubshaft.
Homer and I have an immediate disagreement it seems. Chapter 6, POWER PACKAGE -- THRUST. Any thrust delivered by the right index finger will slow the clubhead, according to Jorgensen (The Physics of Golf), as I understand it. Practically speaking, there are drills to stop a player from making this mistake, for example hitting shots with your thumb and forefinger off the shaft completely.
#4. Wherever the straight Left Arm Contacts the left side.
Ah, yes. Hit shots holding a towel under your left arm, firm left side, etc.
I soldiered on for a solid hour.
The photographs in _TGM_ are possibly the worst in golf instruction history. The woman is wearing a skirt which prevents her from taking a sufficiently wide stance, making it almost impossible to envision any sort of adequate legwork in the shot. You can't do the Sam Snead "squat" position with that skirt on, for sure. She looks unathletic and graceless. For all I know, she was the #1 female golfer in the state, but she looks like she's "coming over the top", "casting" and "leveraging" a little, in ol' timey terms. Possibly from that bad idea of using the right index finger to add THRUST at one of those Pressure Points. The example photographs pose an impediment to understanding whatever one might accidentally decipher in the text, rather than elucidating it.
I don't doubt that Homer thought a lot about the swing. The book looks like he expended a lot of hard work in writing, but to my mind it is eccentric and of little real value. Its most damning trait, I think, is its utter unenjoyability. Hogan, at least, had the presence of mind to hire a professional writer to co-author his work. By contrast, this presentation of golf mechanics is cripplingly boring and opaque.
Homer Kelly, judging from this book, seems as if he might have had the sort of mentality required to dutifully collect string over a period of years, until the giant twine ball had to be moved into the barn. Because a subject is methodically, laboriously, nouveau-taxonomically presented does not make it profound or correct. Diligent, dedicated, industrious chap that he was, he was out of his water.
After looking at this very odd treatise, I couldn't help but wonder about the profusion of prosperous enterprises surrounding it: instructors, schools, websites with linked references to its sacred pages, videos, testimonials to its efficacy in imparting golf wisdom, and paeons in praise of a its thoroughgoing treatment of all aspects of a difficult subject. I cannot help but be reminded of the many examples in Charles Mackay's, _Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds_, written in 1841. And of course, of P.T. Barnum's famous line, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
All in all, I'd say that _TGM_ is not a required food group. You don't have to swallow any of it to play well.