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This book is the quintessential "when the student is ready, the master will appear" book. This book is not for everyone, seeing as out of the 115 pages that make up the book, less than 3 are really about any sort of technique. This book is about the mental side of the game, how a player can break through to that next level of golf (ie. breaking par for the first time, breaking 80, etc..), and win tournaments.
The reader is taken to a remote golf course in Iowa, where we are introduced to John Smith, a frustrated golfer. The enlightened teacher he meets is named Linc St. Clair. Despite the requests of Smith, St. Clair makes it very clear that these lessons will not be about technique. He makes it very clear right off the bat that traditional, or classic, technique is important but will only get you so far. It is playing Quantum Golf that will get you to the next level.
Our hero goes through a series of lessons that dramatically improve his game from that point forward. The first is feeling, then the teacher moves on to other lessons that compound on the first lesson. The point of the lessons are to get all of the analytical thoughts out of John's head. The teacher wants John to experience the feeling of a balanced, smooth swing. When thoughts of technique are removed, all you're left with is the swing. You just hit the ball.
The book is a fascinating story, one that I can personally relate to, and a quick read. I think I finished the whole book in a couple of hours. The imagery found within this book, along with the breathing exercises, make for some great takeaways for when you're out on the course again. Shooting par is not about left hand here, right shoulder there. It's just about playing golf. This book reveals that type of thinking through Linc St. Clair, as he in turn conveys the message to an average golfer just trying to break through to the next level of golf.
Like I said, I don't think this book is necessarily for beginners. There is little, if any talk of technique in this book, and for good reason. If you're a golf who's trying to break 80, or trying to break par for the first time, or you're wondering a little bit about the mental side of the game, I would recommend this book. But the fact is, if you've never picked up a golf club, you do need to learn technique. Even "naturals" like Tiger woods, Rickie Fowler, etc.. went through a long period of trial and error before they could go out and play well in difficult conditions.
The crossover period, however, is when you've read the books, played with great players, and you want to go out and win tournaments and shoot low scores. At that point, thinking about technique will do more harm than good. What this book does is it completely removes any thought of technique from your head, and plants the idea in your mind that the absence of analysis equals good golf. It's a really great message, but not one you should believe the first time you pick up a club.
If you're looking for a golf book to set your mental game right, this book is for you.
For those interested, here's a link to the book on amazon (some copies are going for $.01): Quantum Golf
The History of Caddies
Andrew Dickson is said to have carried the clubs for the Duke of York in 1682 at Leith, becoming the first caddy in history.
The word caddie appears in English in the 1630's, and by the 1800s it was used to describe "errand boys" in Scottish Towns. In 1857, the Dictionary actually uses the word "caddie" to describe a person who carries golf clubs. In the early 1800's, caddies were usually the best players because they were the only ones that actually made a living off of the game and were constantly surrounded by golf.
The following excerpt from "Carry your bag, sir?" by David Stirk illustrates this point quite clearly:
"On one occasion, a local caddie at St. Andrews was carrying for a visitor from North Berwick. In the course of the round the golfer asked the caddie if he had ever carried for any famous men. 'Lots of them', said the caddie, and went on to mention Mr. A.J. Balfour; Mr. Balfour was not only a very good amateur golfer but was, at that time, the Prime Minister.
The caddie said that he had carried for Mr. Balfour regularly, and had a very close acquaintance with him. The golfer, amused by the caddie's presumptuousness, asked him exactly what he meant by a 'close acquaintance.' 'Joost this', said the caddie, 'I am weering a pair o' Mr. Balfour's troosers!' "
The Secret in the Dirt site search is a list of the most relevant content related to popular topics on Secret in the Dirt. New content is constantly being added to these posts, so feel free to check back frequently. This post is about Lie Angle and other similar content
On this edition of the Secret in the Dirt Podcast, Mike, Jimmy, and TO talk about the PGA Championship, the swing of Jason Dufner, and cover an entire week of golf history
Here's a picture of the great Henry Cotton showing the equally great Jimmy Bruen his idea of proper left hand action through the ball. "Who's Jimmy Bruen?" you may ask.
Jimmy Bruen Played on numerous Walker Cup teams and his mere presence on the 1938 team is said to have simultaineously inspired the GB&I boys and shook the Yanks up sufficiently to deliver a win for the UK team which would be the last until 1971.
Bruen was the last amateur to lead qualifying in the British Open and also won the 1946 British Amateur after a 5 year hiatus caused by WWII. It is almost certain that Bruen's trophy cabinet would have been crammed to overflowing were it not for the war.
In 1946 Bruen injured his left wrist lifting a heavy garden tile making necessary numerous surgeries on the damaged limb. He was never really the same and that is a shame.
Cotton is said to have worked with Bruen to develope a more conventional swing path and stated that Bruen was eqally impressive with a conventional swing path, but that the Bruen Loop delivered a power that even Cotton was hard pressed to explain. To quote the British I'm "gobsmacked" also.
Below is a beautiful and moving video of Jimmy Bruen. Behold The Bruen Loop!!