Thursday, September 10, 2009

3Jack's Translation of TGM: Part I

I've gotten a few e-mails recently asking for more help in regards to 'The Golfing Machine' and some people telling me that they tried TGM and just couldn't even grasp it and gave up on it. I've done the fundamentals of TGM, but it's apparent that a lot of readers want to understand as much as they can about the book.

One of the big complaints I've read in the e-mails is that the readers are afraid of information overload and 'paralysis through analysis' and that turns them off to TGM. That's very understandable, but this is where golfers have fallacies and mistruths about the book. First, grasping the book doesn't take a rocket scientist or a world class physicist. Secondly, once you have a pretty good grasp of it, it actually helps prevent 'information overload' and 'paralysis through analysis', particularly in comparison to popular instruction. Even more than Hogan's famous book '5 Lessons.'

This is in part what drew me to TGM, it grasped the concept that there is almost countless ways to swing a club and hit the ball effectively and in order to 'clear the fog' for me, I needed to know all of the different components of the golf swing and all the variations of those components. For instance, one time I was struggling and felt that I needed to emulate Hogan's pitch elbow on the downswing (at the time I didn't know it was pitch elbow). I tried that and couldn't get it to work, so I kept trying and trying instead of keeping my punch elbow and work on other problematic components of my swing. Essentially, popular instruction is woefully incomplete whereas TGM is close to being complete (tough to call it complete with what we know about Trackman and other technologies of the golf swing).

So what I want to do is go over TGM step by step, hopefully one post a day (or every other day) referencing Web sites and books. Hopefully in the end people can better understand TGM and at the very least it can eliminate some of the misconceptions towards book.

First, I suggest that you get the book and Peter Croker's TGM Downloads


When trying to understand 'The Golfing Machine' I think it can help to understand the man behind it, Homer Kelley. If you can understand Homer Kelley, then you can better compehend some important parts of 'The Golfing Machine' such as learning feel from mechanics. Here's a great post from Lynn Blake over at his forum

Homer didn't work in an 'area'. His bosses had tried that years before, and from the shop foremen to the engineers, it didn't work. What was most important to him was to be proven right, and, early on, that mindset did not win many friends in the ranks. But he had the unusual talent of being able to solve "rather intricate problems", and ultimately -- under the time and production stresses of war -- people 'got it' and left him alone to pursue his work. He went where he was needed.

In his last years, he had no title.

Nor did he want one.

He was a maverick.

In more modern times, talents such as his have been institutionalized as 'skunkworks' by large companies drowning in bureauracy but still desperately seeking innovation. As an example, see Lockheed in the Viet Nam days when the C-130 was the big dog. Things couldn't get done fast enough within the corporate flowchart, so major changes had to happen apart from it.

Bottom line: Homer Kelley was outside the norm . . .

And treated as such.

He was motivated by Achievement and Love.
Homer Kelley was not an engineer, but at best he had the title of an engineering aide. In reality, at its base form he was a 'problem solver.' He looked at golf as a problem where he was trying to figure out how a golfer can hit the golf ball effectively. And this is his work to provide a complete solution to that problem.


Kevin said...

This is going to be really fun!!!


Rich H. said...


Do you know a web site that has a good illustration of straight plane lines?

Kevin said...


I had a GREAT one that VJ Trolio put together on his website. Wonderful pics as well as easy to understand descriptions. Now I can't find it... I'll keep looking.


John Graham said...

Read the book 5 times but not lately since my involvement with online forums. I feel like I understand the goals of the book.

This should be very informative in terms of the terminology.



Rich H. said...

Thanks John. While I'm a big believer in Trackman and the physicists that are refuting some of the technical aspects of the book...mainly the physics side of it...I do believe that if you can operate the machine according to the book it works. I really wish I had a TGM AI up in NY when I was in high school, so a big part of it is for those people that have the same love and passion for this game that I do and only want to get better.

I have no qualms with the flaws of this book, but I do not like how it's thought of by a lot of people, most of who have never taken the time to try and understand it.

The big issue I often have with many of the critics of the book is that they completely contradict themselves. They'll say 'there's no one way to hit a ball and that's what TGM is telling you' when it's actually saying the complete opposite and saying that from the very beginning of the book and making that as clear as it can...then you see the critic go out and teach 'the way' and use 'position golf' instruction and 'learning mechanics from feel.' Doing the same thing that they erroneously criticized the book for.

Hopefully I can clear a lot of this up for people. It is my tribute to Homer and Sally Kelley.