Friday, October 31, 2008

Ted Williams - The Ben Hogan of Baseball

"I just shook a hand that felt like five bands of steel" (Ted Williams upon meeting Ben Hogan in 1951)
If Williams said that I can't imagine how strong Hogans hands must have been. It is interesting to me that both Williams and Hogan the best hitter in baseball and the best ballstriker in golf exercised their hands in the same manner by incessantly squeezing balls and that they both used the same basic stance. Back foot square forward foot flared. In Follow The Sun the first thing Hogan works on after the accident is hand strength, basically because it was the only thing he could work on while in bed recovering from the rest of his injuries, but nonetheless he did it. Ken Venturi described Hogan as a "hands and hips player" and I think that in many ways that is accurate. Who would question Venturi? When you watch Williams you are also watching a hands and hips guy. A lot to be learned about swinging just about anything from watching Williams here and a lot to learn about golf too if you pay attention. Enjoy

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Moe Jones?? - Something I Will Talk About Soon

The photo of Ernest Jones was from Swing The Clubhead published in 1952 I believe and somewhat of a rehash of Swinging Into Golf 1937. I asked Moe about Jones' books. What did Moe say...."No one ever got good out of a book!!" ; )

Found a Very Old SloMo From When I Hit It Good!!

video

A bunch of people were asking if there was old footage of me from the time I was playing my best before I quit in 1999. There isn't a whole lot of video of me from then, but here is something that I found from 1998. A little fuzzy but you can see the action. I'm hitting a driver. Torqued the snot out of the shaft back then. I hit it a fraction now of what I did then but I was strong and 40lbs. lighter and I practiced every day.

Sevam1

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MOE - The Early Pro

This is a picture of Moe in the late 1950's. You can find this photo in James Barclay's fantastic book Golf in Canada : A History which I would reccomend buying if you can find it. It is often available used for a reasonable price.
There are a few things to recognize and to notice about this photo. First the grip which is more like the grip he showed me in the mid 90's which I illustrate in the chapter on Playing With Moe that I wrote for my upcoming book. Moe's using the big tee that he was reprimanded for using on the PGATour. This picture was before he was confronted by a top pro which shattered Moe and caused him to leave the tour. Note that the stance width was much less dramatic also. He is also using the same wrap on rubber grips that he showed me the day we played together and that you will see still in use on the Callaway club in the Autographed picture below.

At the time the above photo Moe already had a reputation as an extraordinary ballstriker. He had won back to back Canadian Amateurs and had shown himself already of capable of going ridiculously low. In the 1956 Canadian Amateur he defended and could not be touched shooting 31 under par for the week. He had also already shot his first of 3 rounds of 59 at this time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tommy Armour - The Silver Scot


I’ve got a special spot in my heart for Tommy Armour. Not just because he won the Canadian Open 3 times but because I’ve got a soft spot for underdogs and the overlooked and "The Iron Master" was probably the most underappreciated player of his era. While Tommy was winning all those Canadian Opens along with the 1927 US Open and the 1930 PGA Championship and the 1931 British Open Championship nobody seemd to notice because in those days the amateur circuit got all the attention and respect (Hey the pro’s weren’t even allowed in the clubhouses!) and a kid named Bobby Jones was writing a new history of his own. The Silver Scot also won all of these tournaments with a steel plate in his head, another in his arm and with sight in only one eye due to injuries sustained in WWI. And you thought your handicap was a bitch?

Armour was also a brilliant and dedicated teacher and his classic book How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time
is one of the finest instructional texts ever written. I will do a review of that book in an upcoming blog. How could you not love a golf book where Chapter 1 is called “Why This Book Is as Short and Simple as It Is”?

From the Tommy Armour Golf site:

During golf’s golden age, a flash of silver appeared from across the sea: Tommy Armour, the Silver Scot. While he gained renown as a world-class raconteur, drinker, and gambler with an eye for the ladies, Tommy Armour was also a wounded and decorated veteran of World War I. He was a master bridge player. A concert-level violinist. A best-selling author. And, in his later years, the most respected—and expensive—golf instructor of his day.
Ultimately, Tommy Armour was a champion. And his 25 PGA victories—including three Majors—have earned him a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Career Highlights:
1920 Winner: French Amateur
1927 Winner: U.S. Open
1929 Winner: Western Open
1930 Winner: PGA Championship
1931 Winner: British Open
Winner of 3 Canadian Opens

For more information on Tommy Armour and his brilliant and somewhat overlooked career check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Armour
There is also some great info at the World Golf Hall of Fame: http://www.wgv.com/hof/member.php?member=1018


Monday, October 27, 2008

Say A Prayer For Seve


When I was a kid the most exciting thing in golf was Seve Ballesteros. My friends who I played golf with actually called me Seve instead of Mike. Not because I was a magician with a golfclub the way Seve was, but because of the dark olive skin I had in the summer and because I was pretty long and loose with the driver.
In his prime, Seve was the nerviest and most creative player in the world. Who before Seve would have even thought it would be right to try to make a birdie from a parking lot?
It was Seve's mind that made him so great. It was as if he could will the ball into the hole or out of a tricky lie. That is why the brain tumours that are being worked on right now seem like such a tragic irony.
Here is a link to an article about Seve that I thought was interesting by Brian Doogan over at ESPN.com http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/columns/story?columnist=doogan_brian&id=3661739
In the article he talks about Seve's heroic putt on the final green of the 1984 Open.
"I had my deepest emotional experience in my golfing life when I played [and won] the 1984 Open at the cradle of golf, the Old Course at St Andrews," Ballesteros said in his autobiography. "The putt [on the final green] had a clear borrow to the left but, as I struck the ball, I felt I had overdone it. I hadn't. It rolled sweetly towards the hole, then seemed to hover on the edge of the cup before finally going in as if in slow motion, perhaps impelled by my powers of mental suggestion, so strong was my desire that it should drop in."
Only a wonderfully creative mind could have done what Seve could do. Here's hoping with all my heart that Seve pulls through.




The photo at the top is a creative commons photo from the Wikipedia page on Seve. Here's link to that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severiano_Ballesteros

Sunday, October 26, 2008

MOE NORMAN -

Moe Norman in action. Niagara on the Lake sometime in the late 1960's. You are looking at one of the finest moves in the history of golf. I had the pleasure and privilege of playing with Moe in the mid-1990's and speaking with him about golf on a good many occassions thereafter. We'll be talking about Moe a lot in this Blog.

Born July 10, 1929
Died September 4, 2004
Career highlights
Canadian Amateur Champion 1955, 1956
55 career Canadian Tour event victories
Canadian PGA Champion 1966, 1974
Canadian PGA Seniors' Champion 1979 - 1985, 1987
33 course records
17 holes in one
Inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 1995
Inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2006

Welcome To The SEVAM1 Blog

Hello everyone and welcome. This Blog will be dedicated to basically to my personal interests and in particluar golf, the swings of Moe Norman and Ben Hogan and the clasic instruction and writing of people like Ernest Jones, Bobby Jones, Tommy Armour and many others. I will also be expounding on my own swing ideas, reviewing books, videos, equipment and golf gadgets as we go along and I will provide links to those items that I think would be worth picking up.

To get things started off right, here is a scan of one of my dog-earred copies of Ben Hogan's classic book. Five Lessons : The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.

For any of you who know me from Youtube http://ca.youtube.com/user/sevam1 or the Golfwrx.com Forum on the Ben Hogan / Moe Norman Secret? thread http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=175341 you already know that I feel that this is the one indispensible golf swing text. I have read a great many books and have come to the conclusion that this book is the ultimate starting point in learning the golfswing. If you don't own it you should!! In fact you should own more than one copy. One to be kept on your bookshelf for posterity and one that you should freely annotate as you progress through your reading and practice sesions. I will do a broader review of this and other books written by or related to Ben Hogan very soon.

You can buy this book at amazon.com or at your local bookstore.