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"The Golfing Machine" by Homer Kelley

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Are you saying that the best way to become better at golf (or a more efficient ball striker) is to go it on your own...and practice and experiment for hours/days/months/years until you can hopefully 1) get it correct and 2) make it "automatic" to perform that correct motion?

RE: "Are you saying that the best way to become better at golf (or a more efficient ball striker) is to go it on your own...and practice"??

There's a certain amount of irony in that, because, come to think of it, what you said above is in some ways analogous to what the pros do for 6-8 hrs a day, but with 98 percent emphasis on practice and probably only a little on very small degrees of experimentation. But, of course, many also get a lot of regular help from their own teachers/swing coaches, too. But, as far as getting better that does describe what they do in a way. That said, I started late in life (45) and even though I've played ball striking sports a lot before, lessons were a great timesaver (years of time sometimes). For some reason it seems there's a lot more that can either be counterintuitive or go awry with a golf swing than, field/ice hockey, tennis, cricket, etc.

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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.

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The yellow book has baked in the back seat of my car for three years. Until it is translated into English I won't waste the time of resuming from where I left off on page 12.

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After reading Bobby Clampett's "The Impact Zone", Bennett and Plummer's "The Stack and Tilt Swing" and a few other great instructional books who acknowledge TGM as being the cornerstone of their golfing education, I got myself a copy of the book in March of this year.

I'll have to agree with Dr Stangeclub in a couple of places. Firstly, it's a sh*tter to read. The introduction recommends you read the book by to-ing and fro-ing through the chapters in a particular order... and on your second reading, to and fro through the chapters in a different order.
Immediately, that made me think "Well, why didn't they just put the chapters in that order in the first place if that's how to read it?". In the end, I ignored the suggested route through the book and just read it consecutively- and had no issues with it.

The constant cross referencing is a nightmare. It's completely over the top, and starts from the beginning of the book, referencing concepts that you haven't yet read about. Instead of the references being helpful reminders of what you've read previously, or the occasional direction to a more thorough understanding of a particular concept, you're left feeling frustrated and end up glazing over sentences because in order to understand what's being written, you need to flick forwards to the references.

The pictures.... Now I've also read the biography of Kelley and TGM by Scott Gummer. This explains who the model in TGM is (a student of Kelly he met at a driving range). The book also says how awful most of the pictures were and that the ones in the book were the best of a bad bunch. Fair enough for the first few editions, but it's been 40 years and the book is in its 7th edition. I respect the want for tradition, and not to "water down" the instruction within the book, but surely it's about time for new clearer pictures, or even drawings.

I don't know what Dr Strangeclub is getting at in his penultimate paragraph. TGM in all its guises has never been particularly prosperous, hence the fact the book is published in relatively small numbers and poorly distributed. Testament to that, look on Amazon for the book. Unless you're buying it direct from the company for $38.95, you're having to pay over $100 from several other private sellers.
As for a "profusion" of instructors and schools, look at TGM machine website for a comprehensive list of them. They're hardly on every street corner. I'd hazard a guess that only a handful of people on this forum have even met a qualified TGM instructor, much less parted with money for a lesson with them.
I understand the skepticism at the book's impact when at first glance it's incomprehensible and devoid of value, but to compare it to the Emperor's New Clothes and claim it's a profiteering conspiracy isn't fair.

Personally, TGM hasn't done much for my game. But that's because, to use an analogy, it doesn't teach you how to drive a car, it teaches you how the car works.
At least that's what I tell myself.... maybe I'm just too thick to read it and apply it to my swing ;)

The introduction to the book warns readers of it's complexity;
"Treating a complex subject or action as though it were simple, multiplies its complexity because of the difficulty in systematizing missing and unknown factors or elements.
Demanding that golf instruction be kept simple does not make it simple - only incomplete and ineffective."

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I don't know what Dr Strangeclub is getting at in his penultimate paragraph. TGM in all its guises has never been particularly prosperous, hence the fact the book is published in relatively small numbers and poorly distributed. Testament to that, look on Amazon for the book. Unless you're buying it direct from the company for $38.95, you're having to pay over $100 from several other private sellers.

Wow. I seem to remember paying $10 for mine. (I actually wrote most of this review some 15 years ago...) I had to send a letter to his wife to get it, since there was no Amazon (or at least I wasn't aware of it at the time).

I understand the skepticism at the book's impact when at first glance it's incomprehensible and devoid of value, but to compare it to the Emperor's New Clothes and claim it's a profiteering conspiracy isn't fair.

I think I was misunderstood to some extent. I don't consider it a conspiracy at all. I consider it an "extraordinary popular delusion," along the lines of the search for The Philosophers Stone or The Fountain of Youth. As for the Emperor's New Clothes, Homer is fully clothed, he's just at a formal function wearing a white short-sleeve shirt and a plastic pen holder in his front pocket, the bridge of his glasses held together with a bandaid. There was a chapter in the book which dealt with fads and popular sayings that flourished in London in the mid-19th Century. More apropos to this situation might be those among us wearing the tattered "Five Lessons".

"What a shocking bad hat!" was the phrase that was next in vogue. No sooner had it become universal, than thousands of idle but sharp eyes were on the watch for the passenger whose hat showed any signs, however slight, of ancient service. Immediately the cry arose, and, like the what-whoop of the Indians, was repeated by a hundred discordant throats. He was a wise man who, finding himself under these circumstances "the observed of all observers," bore his honours meekly. He who showed symptoms of ill-feeling at the imputations cast upon his hat, only brought upon himself redoubled notice. The mob soon perceive whether a man is irritable, and, if of their own class, they love to make sport of him. When such a man, and with such a hat, passed in those days through a crowded neighbourhood, he might think himself fortunate if his annoyances were confined to the shouts and cries of the populace. The obnoxious hat was often snatched from his head, and thrown into the gutter by some practical joker, and then raised, covered with mud, upon the end of a stick, for the admiration of the spectators, who held their sides with laughter, and exclaimed in the pauses of their mirth, "Oh! what a shocking bad hat! .... What a shocking bad hat!" Many a nervous, poor man, whose purse could but ill spare the outlay, doubtless purchased a new hat before the time, in order to avoid exposure in this manner.

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As a career software engineer myself, I hoped for a good manual of instruction, well-organized and clear.

It's not really an instruction manual. If you're going to compare it to The Physics of Golf then you're not even in the same category of book. TGM classifies just about everything you can do in a swing, which methods and components work well together (and which don't), and provide a framework for understanding.

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?

Well, to be fair, the reasons Homer capitalizes certain words is explained fairly early on in the book.

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.

And you'd be wrong or at least not properly understanding TGM. Are you talking about 6-C-1? Pressure point 3 is how you express control of the third accumulator, which is largely a rotational one. Look at 6-B-3-0 and the turned or rolled position(s). Simply put - thrust isn't always a motion meant to propel the ball (though there's a tiny bit of propulsion to be had from expression of PA3).

The photographs in _TGM_ are possibly the worst in golf instruction history.

They serve their purpose, and the folks who have taken over TGM after Homer's death have honored the work he put in by maintaining the images. Again, they serve their purpose and do so well enough.

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.

Suffice to say Lynn Blake, Brian Manzella, and a whole bunch of other people would blow you out of the water with their knowledge of the golf swing and its components.

Its most damning trait, I think, is its utter unenjoyability.

I find it incredibly enjoyable. Every answer to every question is there. Why does your right wrist fold while your left wrist cocks? The answer is in TGM.

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.

Nobody said you did.

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.

As you are in talking about it, which is why I'll save myself the time and aggravation of responding to you.

Personally, TGM hasn't done much for my game. But that's because, to use an analogy, it doesn't teach you how to drive a car, it teaches you how the car works.

It doesn't have to do anything for your game, but the instructional world has benefitted from it. If nothing else (and there's more to it than this), it provides a common language instructors who know the lingo can use to communicate simply and effectively. Again, EVERY move you can make in a golf swing is catalogued. TGM won't teach anyone how to swing - but it's the bible or textbook for every way anyone can swing, which ways work together, and so forth.

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After reading Bobby Clampett's "The Impact Zone", Bennett and Plummer's "The Stack and Tilt Swing" and a few other great instructional books who acknowledge TGM as being the cornerstone of their golfing education, I got myself a copy of the book in March of this year.

I don't want to start cross referencing posts because I know there's a "The Impact Zone" thread out there too and this is a TGM thread, but I'm curious if reading TIZ and then TGM (and possibly the Stack and Tilt book) would complement each other? I have TIZ and TGM sitting on my desk as we speak and had started reading TGM first. Honestly I was having a difficult time reading it but realize you have to study it and eventually it will make sense.

I'm wondering if I should go read TIZ first and then go back and study TGM?

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I'm wondering if I should go read TIZ first and then go back and study TGM?

I don't think you'd get much more out of it.

The Impact Zone is largely a constant reminder to hit down on the ball and to utilize the Aim Point Homer discusses in TGM. It's a good book, but it's a subset of TGM. Also, the Stack and Tilt book specifically excludes a lot of TGM terminology because they want it to be as accessible as possible. TGM isn't really a book for the golfer. It's a book for the golf instructor (or, at the least, the golfer who is incredibly interested in the golf swing as a whole as it applies to everyone and not just himself).

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TGM isn't really a book for the golfer. It's a book for the golf instructor (or, at the least, the golfer who is

That helps me a ton! Thank you.

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The Impact Zone is largely a constant reminder to hit down on the ball

I agree. I admired his focus on dynamics, it was a breath of fresh air. But overly simplistic. Since then, better dynamics have been discovered (or re-discovered since Hogan ?) to prevent deceleration, the core issue.

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Suffice to say Lynn Blake, Brian Manzella, and a whole bunch of other people would blow you out of the water with their knowledge of the golf swing and its components.

Many times last year I visited Brian Manzella's series of youtube instruction videos. Found them very valuable, although the gems in his instructions can sometimes be buried very deep.

Think more in terms of a "treasure hunt" and "ah-ha moments" and not a ABC 123 blueprint. Caveat: to some right-brained, get-to-the-point immediately folk, Manzella might be frustrating to listen to, since his vids they may seem rambling and unstructured, and occasionally cluttered with too much detail. However, My left-brained being had no problem following Manzella's stream-of-consciousness digressions and way of getting his point across. He has a natural conversational style that takes you into the discovery process of what's going on in the golf swing as if you were making that discovery together, right then, right there for the first time. I think I'm going to have another cup of coffee and another dose of Manzella just for pure entertainment -- it's been a while. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW0BbCzdPOk Heck I even just like watching his swing. Something real nice about it...but there's the interesting anecdote in the vid above about his own independent discovery of what he later found out were some TGM ideas. As well as an amusing dig at Jim Flick, and one of the more memorable illustrations/explanations of the divot in front (ie. target side) of the ball.

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Yesterday I went to the local library and checked out The Golfing Machine for the third time in the last several years. I tried to read it with fresh eyes and, as before, couldn't make the slightest bit of sense of it. Would someone tell me how you're supposed to read this thing? I can't find a basic set of principles, a foundation, upon which understanding could be based. It seems like everything he says references something else, and when I check the references they have other references and it just goes around in circles without ever saying, "This is what to do." It's like a puzzle without the box. Help! Someone tell me how to make sense of this book!

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"This is what to do."

It's not an instructional book. It's more like a textbook, or a catalog, that details just about everything you can do to hit a golf ball. Some fits, some doesn't, but understanding all of it is important to some teachers and very, very few golfers.

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I think I'm going to have another cup of coffee and another dose of Manzella just for pure entertainment -- it's been a while.

Thanks for that link! Great stuff. I'm very interested in TGM ideas, but it sounds like they're best conveyed through an interpreter to players at my stage of development. Rainy day here, so I'm settling in for a Manzella marathon. :)

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Here is a great site that makes TGM less complicated: http://www.golflagtips.com/focus-on-...l-lag/#more-24
This guy explains swinging and hitting very well. This site decreased my scores by 8-9 strokes on average. It is very well done and the best thing is that the guy who created it, did it for the love of the game, and no monetary reasons.

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It's not an instructional book. It's more like a textbook, or a catalog, that details just about everything you can do to hit a golf ball. Some fits, some doesn't, but understanding all of it is important to some teachers and very, very few golfers.

I sometimes dip into a novel that I know is great literature, but wasn't written for readers like me. Try Elias Canetti's

Auto da Fe sometime. So I guess The Golfing Machine isn't for golfers like me, either. Good to know. I won't spend any more time on it. I got interested because I heard Brad Faxon refer to it on one his Golf Channel Playing Lessons shows.

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Thanks for that link! Great stuff. I'm very interested in TGM ideas, but it sounds like they're best conveyed through an interpreter to players at my stage of development. Rainy day here, so I'm settling in for a Manzella marathon. :)

You're welcome. If you're a 16, and you follow a lot of the instruction info around here, you'll be fine.

I came back to it after about a year, with a lot of water and instructional theory and practice later, and got even more out of it. But the Manzella gems can be buried deep, and you come on them almost by surprise.
I sometimes dip into a novel that I know is great literature, but wasn't written for readers like me. Try Elias Canetti's

I seem to remember Voltaire wrote about an Auto Da Fe in his work "Candide," and they weren't a good thing. Spanish inquisition nastiness if I remember correctly. Highly unpleasant. I hope Mr. Canetti's book is not as wicked.

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