Saturday, September 12, 2009

3Jack's Translation of TGM: Part 2

The first part of the sequence that Homer Kelley prescribes reading is all of Chapter 1, then read section 12-0 and 14-0.


Homer Kelley has put Chapter One 'Introduction to the Game' into 9 different parts.

1-0 General
1-A Law
1-B Simplicity
1-C Geometry
1-D Structure
1-E Pattern Development
1-F Right Arm or Left
1-G Approaching the Game
1-H Miscellaneous Notes


Homer asks the question 'is Golf an easy game or a difficult game?' He states that it is both. It's easy in the sense that no amount of ignorance about the game or the golf swing will prevent a golfer from finishing a hole or a round of golf. Comparing this to say, completing a jigsaw puzzle, somebody who is ignorant about jigsaw puzzles may struggle to complete the puzzle. With golf, even if a golfer takes a 17 on a par-3 and shoot 150 for 18 holes of golf, they have still completed the hole and the round of golf.

Homer states there are shortcuts to golf improvement, but typical of short-cuts, they can easily turn out to be the longest route to golf improvement. Much like the golfer who opens his clubface wide open at address to prevent his hook may get that to work for a short time, but in the end it may just make the golfer worse and take even more correction to fix.

Homer then stats that it's a difficult game in the sense that total perfectiion is virtually unattainable because the Golf Stroke is fantastically complex and implacably demanding of mechanical precision and ruthlessly deviats with every slightest stretching of tolerances during application.

That's why I think it's important for the golfer who takes a mediocre swing and gets a decent result to NOT dwell on the mediocre swing because in one of the few things I like about Dr. Bob Rotella's is not about being perfect because being perfect does not exist in the game of golf because of the minute margin of error in the swing, the chip, the putt, etc. Just take note that the swing needs to improve and be happy that the result was decent enough to reward a possibly good score on the hole.


The laws operating the golf stroke are the laws of Force and Motion, Geometry, Trigonometry, Materials and Structure, etc. Every golfer must comply with these laws.


I'll just quote the entire paragraph here since it's easy to understand, yet so important to note:

Treating a complex subject or action as though it were simple, multiplies its complexity because of the difficulty in systemizing missing and unknown factors or elements. Demanding that golf instruction be kept simple does not make it simple - only incomplete and ineffective. Unless this is recognized, golf remains a vague, frustrating, infuriating form of exertion. - Homer Kelley

When it comes to Geometry in the golf swing, geometric theory is not utilized. Instead, it's a practice and study of shapes and lines of Plane Geometry.


"Besides being geometrically correct, a structure must not be loaded beyond the strength of its materials" - Homer Kelley

Homer goes on to use the analogy of a vertical wall and a leaning wall. But what he's getting at here is that the length of a golfer's swing should vary from player to player depending on there speed, strength and thrust demands of their particular swing.

Somebody like Bubba Watson has a very long backswing, but a 'smoother motion.'

Nick Price has a much shorter and quicker swing.

Both swings are geometrically correct, but their stroke length is different because they have different speed, strength and thrust demands.


Deals with golf instruction and practice. The instructors job is to adjust, compensate, interchange and correct every component and to detect imprecisions. The student only needs to know the components of THEIR particular golf swing which has been recommended and/or put together by the instructor. One of the reasons why I wanted to learn TGM is so I could learn all of the variations of the golf swing so I would better understand the components of MY golf swing. Instead of focusing upon say Ben Hogan's pitch elbow on the downswing, I need to understand that I use punch elbow and what punch elbow looks like.

Homer states that the student should approach instruction as a step-by-step process. If building a good golf swing is like building a house, every board and panel of the house must be cut to fit its place and fit in with the overall design of the house. Just like every component must fit within the overall design of the swing.


This is talking about whether a golfer is being a 'swinger' or a 'hitter.'

The Right Arm is always 'driving.'

The Left Arm is always 'swinging.'

However, this does not seperate hitters from swingers. Swingers can actually 'swing' the club with either arm. However, the right arm can only operate a 'hitting' function.

The right hand should be used for sensing and controlling the acceleration of the clubhead. The left hand is used for sensing and controlling the alignments of the clubface. Only the right arm and the right shoulder can 'push' the club. Everything else will 'pull' the club.

Here's Lee Trevino explaining how the left controls the alignments of the clubface, just like Homer Kelley wrote about in 'The Golfing Machine.'


Pretty explainable stuff, but another classic quote from Homer here:

Hitting the Ball is the easiest part of the game -- hitting it effectively is the most difficult. Why trust instinct when there is a science?


Here Homer explains his use of unorthodox terminology in the book as he says 'the appropriate term promotes communication.' He then says for the average weekend golfer they should not be forced to eliminate a tendency that they have in their swing and instead they should develop a swing that compensates for the tendency.

The rest of Chapter 1 talks about why he capitalizes some of the words and his chapters and subsets of those chapters.

Another classic quote from Homer, which really truly describes his purpose in writing this book:

There is no effort to classify any Stroke Pattern as best or worst, except on the basic of Mechanical Advantage. But there is undoubtedly a best 'central' Stroke Pattern for each individual. - Homer Kelley



Chip Putterman said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this project. I read TGM a year ago. Once I learned TGM my scores went down and my enjoyment of the game increased.
Thank you for your fine work.

Greg Brown said...


Thats really good stuff, its not an easy task to break down that book.