Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Ballad of Jimmy Ballard Article

Happy Holidays to All!

I'll probably be cutting down my blog posts to more of 1 times a day instead of 2 times a day. Mainly because the Doc's orders prevented me from playing golf until now. Tomorrow is supposed to be my first round of golf in nearly 2 years (provided it doesn't rain tomorrow). Also, there's not *a lot* of things to talk about in the game since I've covered a lot of them and some of it will be a bit redundant. Anyway, here's more on a forgotten legend in golf instruction, Jimmy Ballard and his life and the beautiful "left side connection" theory that he learned from the legendary Sam Byrd.

There was one interesting note. I was reading a post on the Web where the poster stated that he either read or saw some interview with Ballard where they asked about Leadbetter's swing theories. Leadbetter essentially aped Ballard's connection theory and marketed it for himself and Ballard had loathed him ever since. Leadbetter has been a big believer in "setting the wrists early" in the takeaway (which I completely disagree with). Nick Faldo was a big proponent of the "setting the wrists early" move and according to Ballard that even though Leadbetter preached "left side connection", by setting the wrists early the golfer, like Faldo loses their connection. Could be one big reason that Faldo, despite having powerful hips and standing about 6'3" tall was pretty short off the tee.

In other words, Leadbetter sucks. There's a reason why he has the nickname of "Lead Poison" from many tour pros and he's probably killed more golf careers than made them or improved play. So here's an excerpt from the article on Ballard (

Ballard's résumé speaks the volumes that he doesn't. During the '70s he worked on the swing of Tour players Mac McClendon, J.C. Snead, Dewitt Weaver, Jim Colbert, and Leonard Thompson. All enjoyed their first professional wins and saw their playing careers subsequently explode. Gary Player and Johnny Miller became ardent believers in the Ballard gospel of connection, as did Jerry Pate, Frank Beard, and Hubert Green. In the early eighties, when Ballard set up shop at Doral Golf and Country Club in Miami, a promising Louisiana golfer named Hal Sutton came to him; Sutton soon after captured the PGA Championship. He enjoyed his greatest year on tour in 1999 and has vowed never to work with anyone else again. "If I do, I hope somebody shoots me," he said. Sutton was followed by Sandy Lyle, who promptly went and captured the '87 Players Championship and the '88 Masters. Most notably, in 1980 Curtis Strange began working with Ballard, who told him it would probably take five years to produce the results Strange was after. As predicted, in 1985 Strange won his first money title; he went on to win two consecutive U.S. Opens in '88 and '89, all under Ballard's tutelage. Peter Jacobsen, who also transformed his career under Ballard, sums it up: "The best teacher in golf. Period."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello,nice post thanks for sharing?. I just joined and I am going to catch up by reading for a while. I hope I can join in soon.