The Dirt Blogs
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Back a couple of years ago now when Elk and I first started to go over a lot of historical information about the golf swing, he was visiting just prior to the Canadian Open and I gave him a copy of one of my favorite books. My Golfing Album by Henry Cotton. Ironically he had a copy of this very book on in bookshelf but like many of the hundreds of golf books he'd collected over the years he had never really had the time to really scour through it. That changed quickly and it soon became a favorite talking piece for us. So much so that many of the first videos we did For Secret In The Dirt were inspired at least in some ways by what Cotton was all about in this book.
Some of you may remember a piece that we did called "11 Things" which we released on New Years 2010 as a single web page and a PDF. This was the point when we decided that we would begin to build this website.
What I loved about Cotton was how detailed he was with the particulars of his own swing and his own swing ideas and yet how inquisitive and inclusive he was about what others were doing. If he observed someone doing something well he wanted to figure out why. Cotton understood that there were many ways to skin this cat.
Each golfer, in the end, must come up with the bits and pieces necessary to create his or her own authentic swing. Given their strengths and weaknesses, their stature and their build each must assemble the best version of themselves as a golfer. There are fundamentals, of course, but golf is a sport for the curious and there is room always for experimentation. Cotton knew and accepted this. Every great golfer has gone through this process of self construction.
Ever the experimenter and always curious have a look at Cotton in these two pictures. In one he is tinkering with an elaborate ball rolling device to analyse putts and greens. In the other he is demonstrating the grip of Harrison Johnston. Cotton concludes "A good enough grip to win the Amateur Championship in the U.S.A. in the days of Bobby Jones...I show the double-handed palm grip." In the book you will also see Abe Mitchell's hold on the club and Gene Sarazen's and Henry Picard's and on and on. He even goes into an analysis of the adjustments that a golfer had to make after suffering severe burns to the hands. To Cotton, all acceptable, not necessarily ideal in his mind, but acceptable. I don't know if I would advocate this as the best hold on the club and neither would Cotton but why are we so quick to dismiss things so quickly as unsound. Is Ricky Fowler unsound, or Sergio, or Bubba Watson or Tommy Gainey for that matter? I don't think so. In a world of cookie cutter golf swings and advice it is refreshing to see the swings that have evolved from perseverance and making a bet on oneself. Below is are a couple of videos from 1940. In them you will see swings from dozens of great golfers and many major champions. The whole thing is a real corn ball piece and "of the time" I guess mixing celebrities and schtick but take a watch and take in how differently each of these greats got 'er done.
Hit 'em straight.....
or perhaps this time I should say "Get 'er Done!!",