Monday, November 1, 2010

The TGM Dilemma

One of the things that caught my eye was a post by 3Jack Top 50 Instructor, Michael Jacobs, over at Brian Manzella’s forum. Jacobs went to Seattle to purchase Sally Kelley’s TGM company and proprietary rights from here years ago before she finally sold the company to current owner Joe Daniels. According to Jacobs, Sally said that whoever bought the company should have the book ‘constantly updated’ because that’s how Homer Kelley wanted it.

I have no reason to not believe Jacobs and Homer Kelley’s work suggests that he would have wanted the book constantly updated after his death. There are seven editions of the book which wasn’t published until 1969 and Mr. Kelley passed away in 1983. Thus, seven editions in 14 years certainly suggests a book whose author wanted it constantly updated with new information.

The major problem with TGM is that the book and name is so incredibly synonymous with its creator, Homer Kelley. I’ve never met Joe Daniels, but I can see the dilemma he has with Sally Kelley’s message and the ties the book has with her husband.

Of course, one of the things you will hear critics say is that Daniels (who I have never met or talked with before) doesn’t want to make updates to the book because money is involved. While I think it goes beyond that level, we do have to remember that Daniels did put in a pretty penny to buy the company and the rights to the book (IIRC, $100K) and until you fork over that much money and try to recoup that money and hopefully make some sort of profit, then you can really start to understand the position he is in.

But the bigger issue that I see is that if one were to constantly update the book, that would weaken the ties between the book and its creator, Homer Kelley. And there are many people who do not want that. They want to know what Homer Kelley said and thought.

And that’s not a bad or ‘evil’ thing. The Homer Kelley story is a compelling one and IMO, I think it was clear that he was a genius to some degree.

In the book ‘Homer Kelley’s Golfing Machine: The Curious Quest That Solved Golf’, it was apparent by those who knew him (and had no knowledge of his golf endeavors) that they saw him as a brilliant individual. He was brilliant enough to write up very detailed instruction manuals at Boeing and it’s easy to see the brilliance of his work in ‘The Golfing Machine’ if you are open minded enough about it.

I made a suggestion about a week ago that the Golfing Machine may want to have keep the 7th edition around and then write their own version with any updated work and findings from the scientific community. But then TGM LLC would run into issues of people just wanting to read and understand Homer’s work instead of the new findings. Also, I think you would get the ‘who the hell are you to make changes?’ attitude from TGM followers and even prospective students and Authorized Instructors.

And all of that costs money and if you drive away people, you lose money and you can go out of business easily. So then the issue becomes, ‘if we change to make constant updates of the book, can we sustain that economically?’

Like I stated earlier, I don’t think people got into this for the money (although there’s nothing wrong with making money). But there’s a difference between losing your money and making (or not making) additional wealth, so there’s a huge risk with the possibility of trying to update the book. Plus, if you make the wrong choice and it makes the company go belly up, then the book and Homer Kelley’s work will likely be killed off unless somebody else takes the company over.

If I were TGM LLC, my choice would be to update the book constantly. Still though, it’s a giant risk and not for selfish and greedy reasons, but for self perseverance reasons. Like most things in life, it’s far from a clear cut issue and it is more complex than meets the eye and complex problems are always difficult to solve because if every problem was clear cut, the world would be an easy place to live in. Still, I would look at it like a gamble, but a gamble to fulfill the wishes of the man who created the TGM world in the first place.



Anonymous said...

They're better off selling the mystique of Homer Kelley than a single book with the "truth".

It's always been more about the mystique, the hidden riddles, the "lifetime journey", than actually getting it right.

It's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to put "all we know" in one single volume. An on-going journal, yes, but that's a totally different marketing approach than the TGM approach.

TGM will just be another fish in a big pond, up against the big boys, if they take that approach.

If they do go that way, then they'll abandon the mystique of the yellow book and cannot look back.

You can't have it both ways....

Erik J. Barzeski said...

The seventh edition wasn't published until 2006. I seem to recall that it was based on Homer's notes and scribbles and things. The last version Homer published was the sixth edition - which many consider the best (that or the fourth, both IIRC) - in 1982.

Six editions or seven in 13 years, doesn't really matter. Both are capably described as "updated frequently:" 1969, 1971, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1982... and then 2006.

As to the question you pose, my answer is this: why doesn't someone write a new thing from the ground up. Use as much modern science as you can, use Homer's terms where they still fit, and perhaps try to organize it a little bit better (I don't know how, but I think it should be possible).

In other words, what's stopping someone from being the modern day Homer Kelley? If someone out there - and there are plenty of this type - thinks TGM is wrong, outdated, or just too dense to be of much use - write your own.

Include better images.

It wouldn't be a labor of money, but of love... I think the best you could hope for would be to break even.

You could even do a "Web 3.0" type thing and make it a collaborative affair with one main editor and a few editors at large. Create a wiki, gather the info, and get a book out of it in the end.

Heck, I've almost talked myself into doing it. :-P

Rich H. said...

Problem could be that if you were to try and build upon the book yourself, the TGM LLC could block that because of the rights. Lots of possible violations of copyright and trademarks. Plus, for somebody else it could be a lot of money invested for little reward. How many instructors have that much money to risk?


Erik J. Barzeski said...

There are ways around it - particularly if it's a work of science and not fiction - including just starting from the ground up, defining your own terms, etc.

It could be a lot of money invested, but more likely it'd just be a matter of time. Homer didn't put a lot of money into it and we have the Internet these days.

Odds of it happening? Pretty much zilch. Just sayin'. :-)