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Golf: Two Turns With A Swish In The Middle

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“The feeling of wanting to take the club straight back, rather than on an arc, is intuitively human, but it's the core of many faults. We think the longer we can make a straight line, the straighter the ball will go. But golf is a side-on game with the ball on the ground, so it's the opposite.” This is from Jaime Diaz’s interview with John Jacobs.

I’ve rediscovered the simplicity of John Jacobs’ teachings thanks to a book loaned to me by a good friend. John Jacobs’ Impact On Golf – The Man and his Methods by Laddie Lucas.

Two turns with a swish in the middle seems too simplistic as a guide to creating a good golf swing. But it’s a good thought to keep in mind for those golfers John calls, “The rockers and blockers.”

Jaime quotes John, "After Hogan and beginning with Nicklaus, good players gravitated toward a more upright swing, thinking this was progress. But it led to more players than ever taking the club back too straight, with the corresponding compensation of excessively driving the legs. This dropped the club underneath the correct downswing plane, causing a massive push-fade off the tee (or sometimes big hooks) and poor contact from the fairway. I called it rocking and blocking, and after the 1971 U.S. Walker Cup team couldn't handle the tight lies at St. Andrews, The American Disease.

And sad to say just as I was taking up golf, and while viewing the rockers and blockers who came to Muirfiled for the Walker Cup in 1959, I caught “The American Disease”. To make matters worse the Square-to-Square theory caught on in the UK and the disease spread.

I was also a big fan of Ben Hogan, the man and his methodolgy of which John says, “Ben Hogan’s The Modern Fundamentals of Golf kept me in business. High-handicappers would buy the book and immediately weaken their grips and begin rolling the club open. After that, all they could do was hit a glancing blow 50 yards to the right. The book should have been called How I Play Golf, and it would have been a great anti-hook book. But the title suggested it was good for everyone.”

John Jacobs’ Practical Golf was named by Golf Magazine as one of the 10 best books ever and comes recommended by Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter, Hank Haney, Jim McLean and Jim Hardy, who, “name Jacobs as one of their most important influences.”

Commenting on Tiger, John says, “I don’t know if he's going to pass Nicklaus. My guess would be no, because I doubt whether he'll ever get that super confidence back. But he might if he can get a good golf swing that he believes in and stays with. He's been extremely good technically before, but he's never quite been satisfied with it. He needs total belief that he doesn't need to change his swing again another time."

Here’s the link to Jaime Diaz

Quote of the Day
“Golf is not played exclusively with the hands, nor is it played exclusively with the body. The whole art of the game is to synchronize body action with hand and wrist action. You just can't play well enough with either one alone. It's a swinging wrist cock. I like to call it two turns and a swish. That's the correct coordination of movement.” – John Jacobs

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