The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 10
Golf - easy to be hard?
By Stuart Lindsay
epending on how you approach learning to play golf, it is
either the hardest game on earth (Manuel de la Torre) or
the easiest game on the planet (Tom Shea). Two nights
after his induction into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, I
introduced Manuel de la Torre to Tom Shea. Tom's golf schools
have been named "Golf is Easy" forever and Manuel has been
introducing golf as a very difficult game to his pupils for longer
than forever, so the look on Manuel's face when he saw Tom's
badge was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. This ever
polite, elegant and normally reserved Spanish gentleman set out
to capture this pirate as he came out of the swamp. I didn't think
this was going to end well but what I heard was one of the most
enlightening discussions of golf instruction I'm sure I will ever
Fortunately, relatively early both realized their intent was the
same, to disarm their pupils and relieve their anxiety. Without
tension it's much easier to allow physics and muscle memory to
take care of getting the clubhead where it needs to be at impact.
At the end of an hour and a half, these two great teachers smiled
knowing smiles and Shea left with the truly extraordinary knowledge of an emigration story that rivals the Von Trapp family in
the Sound of Music. If you ask either one of them, they will tell
you their greatest teaching was not done for their most gifted
pupils, but for the number of less gifted people they have helped
enjoy the game.
On the Wikipedia page for Manuel de la Torre, you will
find some very interesting editorial comments regarding "bodyfocused" versus the "club-focused" instruction passed on from
Ernest Jones to Manuel's father, Angel, the first golf professional in Spain.
10 The Pellucid PersPecTive
"For beginners, this means golf is far more comprehendable
and achievable. For experienced golfers, his instruction has been
a relief from their efforts to manage the many parts of the body
and therefore a lifting of the unnecessary burden carried by too
many golfers. For tour professionals, this simplicity enables a
more manageable swing that better withstands the pressures of
competition. He therefore has made a life's career and many satisfied clients by diagnosing and then fixing the motion of the club."
Wikipedia, Manuel de la Torre, last updated May, 2018.
I might add that you only have to get to Page 13 in the well
regarded "Bobby Jones on Golf " (Houghton-Mifflin, 1966 and
still in print) to find another endorsement for Ernest Jones (no
relation). Ernest Jones wrote "Swing the Clubhead" and was a
gifted instructor in the UK in the 1920s. It should be noted that
he was also a fine player even after he lost a leg in WWI.
passing in 2016, the
future of "club-focused"
golf instruction and
its potential to help
beginners enjoy the
game faster is something that needs attention. I know from the
Facebook Group "Old
School Golf with New
Tools" that Ed Le Beau
is doing his best to keep
the method in play.
Another disciple, John
Hayes, is running great
clinics at the Chi Chi
Center in Florida. Current Minnesota PGA
Professional of the Year,
Tom Abts, is a disciple along with Marc Gilmore of Marquette
Golf and CC (also Greywalls) in Michigan.
There are others as well, but there are far more talking about
supplinated wrists, footwork and a host of other body movements
too numerous to think of in the time it takes to make a golf swing.
It is not surprising that many beginners confronted with all these
body movement "keys" find golf difficult and confusing to learn.
If we are trying to get people engaged in golf, we need to be
dedicated to making the game easier to learn. We also need to
have a sense of humor. Manuel had a great memory and a dry
sense of humor - I once asked him how many "perfect" golf shots
he had hit. Without hesitation he said six and when I asked how
many hole in ones he had had, he said seven.
Watch the video above, then take a look at Manuel's Wikipedia page and see what makes more sense for a beginner.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018
Real estate golf supply contraction: Someone’s gotta’ pay
Municipal golf: What’s in a number?
We can do better at welcoming new golfers
Golf - easy to be hard?
July golf weather impact: Solidly sideways
MN operators doing well against tough odds
Back surgery recovery is Tiger’s greatest achievement
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - Real estate golf supply contraction: Someone’s gotta’ pay
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - Municipal golf: What’s in a number?
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 6
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 7
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - We can do better at welcoming new golfers
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 9
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - Golf - easy to be hard?
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - July golf weather impact: Solidly sideways
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 12
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - MN operators doing well against tough odds
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 15
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - 16
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2018 - Back surgery recovery is Tiger’s greatest achievement