The Training Of Travis, By Henry Leach

"How young all the world of golf seemed then, in 1896!

In Britain Freddy Tait and Harry Vardon had only just become champions for the first time, and in America the championships were only two years old, Mr. Whigham being the reigning prince of the amateurs while Foulis was the Open Champion.

Mr. Travis is largely a self-made golfer; he took no lessons from the professionals, a spirit of independence and the desire for research in a personal and direct way being largely responsible for this mode of procedure, while professionals, of course, were not so numerous in those days as they have become since.

Again, he is a personal contradiction to the stupidity often expressed by those who should know better that no great good can come from attempting to learn golf from the books.

They need to be read with intelligence and discrimination, and the reading has to be accompanied by the most thorough practice and deep personal investigation into the mysteries and difficulties of this pursuit, but, with so much assured, the books may be of much good to the man.

So they were to Mr. Travis. He brought them home with him from England, the Badminton book, which is a collection of short treatises by various writers, the manual of Willie Park, and others.

He says that it was either his misfortune or his good luck to take up golf without the assistance of professional coaching or the aid of any good player, and that, too, at a somewhat advanced age, regarded from a golfing standpoint.

Then Mr. Travis says

"You will find, on the other hand, that a young golfer who models his game on the system and methods of first-class players will improve only slowly, but when he has at last developed a correct method and adheres closely to it, he is sure to get on, and he will have the satisfaction of knowing that he has acquired a style which will inevitably lead to an improvement in his handicap."

Reference : 'THE TRAINING OF TRAVIS', Some Landmarks In The Story of Twenty-One Years of Golf The Manner, The Method And Some Counsel By Henry Leach. Copyright, 1917, in Great Britain and U. S. A. by Henry Leach. The American Golfer, May 1917. Vol. XVIII. No. 1. Walter J. Travis, Editor. U.S. Amateur Champion 1900, 1901, 1903. British Amateur Champion 1904.

The Training Of Travis

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"There are the same number of hooks as slices, their actions and causes being just the reverse of those of the slices, so I will not go into the details of hooking at length. Slicers should learn to get the club head through on time with the handle. In this way the slice will be cured and distance gained instead of lost." Seymour Dunn



"To be able to correct our faults through knowledge and not through the good fortune of finding a tip to suit the occasion is to provide a cure which is never going to fail in the long run." Joyce Wethered


Insights

by Henry Cotton - He was 59 years of age

"GOLF is a game for all ages to play and enjoy.

There is no age-limit at which golf can no longer be played - the individual's physical condition and enthusiasm alone decide this, as has been proved by some extraordinary feats by your veteran players. In amateur golf, 18-hole knock-out championships, the most brutal and exhausting tests, rarely allow an old horse to win, for with the large entries, a whole week of golf is required. Even so, the Hon. Michael Scott won the Amateur Championship at Hoylake a few years ago, at the age of 55.

In 1929 Jimmy Braid got in the final of the News of the World Tournament at Walton Heath, and was beaten by Archie Compston, and he was 59 years of age at the time; that was some feat.

I played early in 1948 with old Jimmy Braid (in his 79th year) at Walton Heath. He did a 74 on his birthday, and the nine holes we played together he did 36 from the back tees. He does this so often that he takes no notice whatsoever. Remarkable !"

Reference : Henry Cotton 'This Game of Golf' First Published in 1948 by Country Life Limited, 2-10 Tavistock Street, London, W.C.2, made and printed in Great Britain by Sun Printers Ltd., Second Impression 1949 Third Impression 1949 Fourth Impression 1949. 'Beating The Years' Page 157.

by Daniel Kahneman - Professional golfers putt more accurately for par than for a birdie

"Amos and I often joked that we were engaged in studying a subject about which our grandmothers knew a great deal. In fact, however, we know more than our grandmothers did and can now embed loss aversion in the context of a broader two-systems model of the mind, and specifically a biological and psychological view in which negativity and escape dominate positivity and approach.

We can also trace the consequences of loss aversion in surprisingly diverse observations: only out-of-pocket losses are compensated when goods are lost in transport; attempts at large-scale reforms very often fail; and professional golfers putt more accurately for par than for a birdie.

The negative trumps the positive in many ways, and loss aversion is one of many manifestations of a broad negativity dominance. Loss aversion refers to the relative strength of two motives: we are driven more strongly to avoid losses than to achieve gains. A reference point is sometimes the status quo, but it can also be a goal in the future: not achieving a goal is a loss, exceeding the goal is a gain. As we might expect from negativity dominance, the two motives are not equally powerful. The aversion to the failure of not reaching the goal is much stronger than the desire to exceed it.

The economists Devin Pope and Maurice Schweitzer, at the University of Pennsylvania, reasoned that golf provides a perfect example of a reference point: Every hole on the golf course has a number of strokes associated with it; the par number provides the baseline for good - but not outstanding - performance. For a professional golfer, a birdie (one stroke under par) is a gain, and a bogey (one stroke over par) is a loss. The economists compared two situations a player might face when near the hole:

  • putt to avoid a bogey
  • putt to achieve a birdie

Every stroke counts in golf, and in professional golf every stroke counts a lot. According to prospect theory, however, some strokes count more than others. Failing to make par is a loss, but missing a birdie is a foregone gain, not a loss.

Pope and Schweitzer reasoned from loss aversion that players would try a little harder when putting for par (to avoid a bogey) than when putting for a birdie. They analyzed more than 2.5 million putts in exquisite detail to test that prediction.

Who would have thought it worthwhile to spend months analyzing putts for par and birdie? By Daniel KahnemanThey were right. Whether the putt was easy or hard, at every distance from the hole, the players were more successful when putting for par than for a birdie.

The difference in their rate of success when going for par (to avoid a bogey) or for a birdie was 3.6%. This difference is not trivial. Tiger Woods was one of the "participants" in their study.

If in his best years Tiger Words had managed to putt as well for birdies as he did for for par, his average tournament score would have improved by one stroke and his earnings by almost $1 million per season.

These fierce competitors certainly do not make a conscious decision to slack off on birdie putts, but their intense aversion to a bogey apparently contributes to extra concentration on the task at hand.

The study of putts illustrates the power of a theoretical concept as an aid to thinking. Who would have thought it worthwhile to spend months analyzing putts for par and birdie?

The idea of loss aversion, which surprises no one except perhaps some economists, generated a precise and non intuitive hypothesis and led researchers to a finding that surprised everyone - including professionals golfers."

Reference : 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' Daniel Kahneman Winner of the Nobel Prize Penguin Books First published in the United States by Farra, Straus and Giroux 2011 First published in Great Britain by Allen Lane 2011 Published in Penguin Books 2012 Copyright © Daniel Kahneman, 2011. Part IV. CHOICES 28. Bad Events Page 302.

by Ling Hongling - A game in ancient China

"Chuiwan ("chui" means hitting and "wan" means ball in Chinese) was a game in ancient China.

When playing, the competitors would drive the ball into each of a series of pits dug in the ground.

The game was quite similar to modern golf, so Mr Hao Gengsheng called it Chinese golf.1

But how much alike the two games are and whether there is any relationship between them are the questions that call for further study and discussion."

Reference : Verification of the Fact That Golf Originated From Chuiwan Ling Hongling, Professor of Physical Education, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, P.R. China, 1991.

by Walter Hagen - How a real professional must dress

"I was in Buffalo long enough to carry away one big impression: how a real professional must dress.

For it was there that I saw Tom Anderson, Jr., a brother to Willie, winner of the American Open Championship in 1901, 1903, 1904 and 1905. Right then, I was far more impressed with Tom's clothes than I was with Willie's record.

Tom had class! His outfit just about knocked my eyes out. His shirt was pure whitesilk with bright red, blue, yellow and black stripes. His immaculate white flannel pants had the cuffs turned up just once. If he'd rolled 'em twice, he would have been a hick. He wore a red bandanna knotted casually around his neck and a loud plaid cap on his head.

In my small-town life he was the most tremendous personality I'd ever seen!

His white buckskin shoes had thick red rubber soles and sported the widest white laces any two shoes could carry.

I decided right then to copy that outfit from white buckskins to bandanna.

I had saved enough money to cover my expenses for the Open at Buffalo, but now I'd need to use that for the Canadian Open. The only item I could afford just then was the bandanna."

Reference : 'The Walter Hagen Story' By Walter Hagen With Margaret Seaton Heck Heinemann Melbourne London Toronto First published 1957 Printed in Great Britain at The Windmill Press Kingswood, Surrey Part One: The Tee 3 The Professional Page 17.

by James M. Barnes - The golfer to improve must study his game

Hows Your Slice James M Barnes 1922"You can understand how the average golfer feels about the slice when he knows that any one of twenty things may be causing it.

He is generally so helpless that he gives up in despair, aims the ball for the left of the course and hope it doesn't go out of bounds to the right.

The golfer to improve must study his game carefully and if he is slicing he can soon find out which one of these faults he is committing.

He can see -

  1. That his left hand is over.
  2. That is right hand isn't gripping too tightly.
  3. That his backswing is starting inside the ball, close to the ground.
  4. That he is using the square stance, not too far back from the ball.
  5. That his left shoulder is being held in place, turned in on the backswing.
  6. That the weight isn't all on his right foot.
  7. That he isn't hitting too soon, getting the hands in too quickly.
  8. That he isn't too far away from the ball.
  9. That he isn't lifting his head."

Reference : 'How Is Your Slice?' By James M. Barnes Western Open, Philadelphia Open Champion 1917, U.S. Open Champion 1921, British Open Champion 1925 (beating Archie Compston and Ted Ray), The American Golfer January 28, 1922. Courtesy LA84 Foundation.

Download : 'Hand Position on the Club Hints That May Help You to Get Away to a Better Start for the Coming Season'. 'The Five Most Important Tips, The Main Foundation Upon Which the Golf Swing Is Built', By James M. Barnes, Open Champion of the United States. Courtesy LA84 Foundation.

by Lutz Jancke - A step-wise structural and not a linear change

"Abstract

Background: Several recent studies have shown practice-dependent structural alterations in humans. Cross-sectional studies of intensive practice of specific tasks suggest associated long-term structural adaptations. Playing golf at a high level of performance is one of the most demanding sporting activities. In this study, we report the relationship between a particular level of proficiency in playing golf (indicated by golf handicap level) and specific neuroanatomical features.

Principal Findings: Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of grey (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes and fractional anisotropy (FA) measures of the fibre tracts, we identified differences between skilled (professional golfers and golfers with an handicap from 1–14) and less-skilled golfers (golfers with an handicap from 15–36 and non-golfer). Larger GM volumes were found in skilled golfers in a fronto-parietal network including premotor and parietal areas. Skilled golfers revealed smaller WM volume and FA values in the vicinity of the corticospinal tract at the level of the internal and external capsule and in the parietal operculum. However, there was no structural difference within the skilled and less-skilled golfer group.

Conclusion: There is no linear relationship between the anatomical findings and handicap level, amount of practice, and practice hours per year. There was however a strong difference between highly-practiced golfers (at least 800–3,000 hours) and those who have practised less or non-golfers without any golfing practise, thus indicating a step-wise structural and not a linear change."

Reference : 'PLOS One The Architecture of the Golfer's Brain' Lutz Jancke, Susan Koeneke, Ariana Hoppe, Christina Rominger, Jurgen Hanggi Published: March 11, 2009, Volume 4, Issue 3, e4785. Division of Neuropsychology, Institute of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 2 Department of Biology, Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

by Betty Hicks - The Burning Desire

"Edgar Jones, head golf professional of Reno, Nevada's, Hidden Valley Country Club, introduced Patty and I in 1971. She was a sturdily-built 13-year old Hidden Valley junior golf star.

As a member of the Wilson Sporting Goods Company's Advisory Staff, I was at Hidden Valley to present a golf clinic and to play nine holes with Ed Jones. "Betty," Ed said on the practice tee as I was warming up for my clinic, "I'd like you to meet Patty Sheehan."

I recognized immediately that the kid possessed the consummate motivation, the "B.D." as Betsy Rawls and I called it, borrowing a phrase from former Notre Dame football coach Frank Leahy. The Burning Desire.

This B.D. is the foundation upon which an athlete's achievements are built. This 13-year-old girl had the B.D.; she exuded it. Thus, I was not surprised as I stepped into the grand ballroom of Reno's Hilton Hotel on November 13, 1993, to attend with 500 other friends and fans of Patty Sheehan her induction into the LPGA Hall of Fame.

The influences, the events, the inspirations, the traumatic disappointments that Patricia Leslie Sheehan experienced between 1971 and 1993 are described in Patty Sheehan on Golf.

- Betty Hicks."

Reference : 'Patty Sheehan on Golf', Patty Sheehan and Betty Hicks. Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas. Copyright © 1996 Patty Sheehan and Betty Hicks.

by DT - Maurice Flitcroft on finding "fame and fortune"

"In 1976 the 46-year-old Flitcroft bought a half-set of mail order clubs and set his sights on finding "fame and fortune" by applying to play in the Birkdale Open "with Jack Nicklaus and all that lot".

He prepared by studying a Peter Alliss instruction manual borrowed from the local library and instructional articles by the 1966 PGA Championship winner Al Geiberger, honing his skills by hitting a ball about on a nearby beach.

He obtained an entry form from an unsuspecting Royal and Ancient, which organises the championship, and, having no handicap to declare as an amateur, he picked the other option on the form: professional.

Invited to play in the qualifier at Formby, he put in a performance which one witness described as a "blizzard of triple and quadruple bogeys ruined by a solitary par", achieving a total of 121 - 49 over par, the worst score recorded in the tournament's 141-year history. In fact, this was only a rough estimate, his marker having lost count on a couple of holes. His playing partner, Jim Howard, recalled his suspicions being aroused almost from the word go: "After gripping the club like he was intent on murdering someone, Flitcroft hoisted it straight up, came down vertically and the ball travelled precisely four feet," he said. "We put that one down to nerves, but after he shanked a second one we called the R&A officials."

Under the rules of the tournament, however, nothing could be done. "It wasn't funny at the time," Howard recalled. Others demurred, and Flitcroft's performance dominated the next day's sports pages, while stars such as Jack Nicklaus found themselves relegated to the small print. Flitcroft was interviewed endlessly.

The score, he maintained, "weren't a fair reflection" of his play. He had been suffering from "lumbago and fibrositis, but I don't want to make excuses", and he blamed the fact that he had left his four-wood in the car: "I was an expert with the four wood, deadly accurate."

When an enterprising journalist visited Flitcroft's mother and told her about her son's record breaking performance, she asked: "Does that mean he's won?" When informed of the true state of affairs, she replied: "Well, he's got to start somewhere, hasn't he?"

Source : The Daily Telegraph Maurice Flitcroft 31 Mar 2007 - © Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2014

by Deng Yinke - A technique to ensure the stability of arrows in flight

Ancient Chinese Inventions Deng Yinke"Archeological discoveries have shown that archery in China dates back 20,000 years.

Practical archery requires three elements:

  • a bow strong enough to propel arrows;
  • arrows that are sharp enough;
  • and a technique to ensure the stability of arrows in flight.

The bow and arrow of ancient China fully met these three conditions."

Reference : 'Ancient Chinese Inventions' by Deng Yinke. Translated from the original Chinese by Wang Pingxing. Archery, page 134. Cambridge University Press. © China Intercontinental Press 2010. © Cambridge University Press 2011.

by Harvey Penick - The Prettiest Swing I ever saw belonged to MacDonald Smith

"THE PRETTIEST SWING I ever saw belonged to MacDonald Smith.

Smith was born in Carnoustie and learned to play golf in Scotland.

In 1926 Smith won the Texas Open, Dallas Open, Metropolitan Open, and Chicago Open.

I was flirting with playing on the tour in those days and was fortunate to know and watch Smith in his peak years.

His swing was full and flowing and graceful. It didn't break down into parts any more than a wonderful poem breaks down into words. After 1926 Smith went on to win enough tournaments to be named to the PGA Hall of Fame.

MacDonald Smith At Top of The Backswing My System of Teaching Golf By Ernest Jones June 1932

But in the ten years after the Dallas Open, he never won again in Texas.

The reason is that the Great Depression hit and our Texas courses received even less water than they had been accustomed to, which was very little. This left us playing off bare lies, and we had to hit down on our iron shots.

But Smith didn't hit down on the ball. He swept it away without a divot.

At clinics Smith would hit full 2-irons off the putting green and there would be only a brushing of the grass."

Reference : 'Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf' Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake. Introductions By Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth, Betty Rawls, Mary Lena Faulk, Dave Marr, And Byron Nelson. Simon & Schuster Copyright © 1992 by Harvey Penick and Bud Shrake, and Helen Penick. The Prettiest Swing page 94.

Source of Photograph MacDonald Smith : My System of Teaching Golf By Ernest Jones June 1932, The American Golfer.

by T. Henry Cotton - Providing you are proceeding on the right lines

"When practising remember that quality and not quantity counts. It is useless hitting thousands of shots anyhow ; hit a few well.

Think of what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish all the time, and take one part of the stroke at a time and master it.

While you are growing there is no reason that you should not spend a lot of time out at practice even with clubs in which you have confidence, for I am sure the more swings you do the stronger will become the golf muscles and thus the better your golf may become.

It is possible to find that you appear to get no better and that the more you practise the worse you seem to get.

Providing you are proceeding on the right lines there is no need to be discouraged, for I know by experience that it is possible to practise right through a bad spell; so keep going.

There have been some weeks when I could have cried, especially just before a big competition.

As the time of the event approached I seemed to become worse. I used to work myself almost into a panic and practise feverishly - almost in desperation - but I did no good.

But now that I am "seasoned" I just let these bad spells go, continue to practise and hope for the best, and trust that the golf will come back to me when I get keyed up to it in the competition. It nearly always does."

Reference : 'Golf Being a short treatise for the use of young people who aspire to proficiency in the Royal and Ancient Game' by T. Henry Cotton. Part I. Chapter V Early instructions and practice, page 42. The Aldin Series, Eyre & Spottiswoode (Publishers) Ltd. First published 1931.

From Amazon : Golf, Being a short treatise for the use of young people who aspire to proficiency in the Royal and Ancient Game

by Norman Von Nida - When golfers set out to win the Open they would do well to

"It seems that some men are born to be champions and others are merely destined to come near to winning.

But for sheer bad luck in the Open, Irishman Harry Bradshaw's experience in the 1949 Open at Sandwich would be hard to beat.

There seems to be no doubt that he would have won the championship outright but for an extraordinary piece of bad luck. If golf were the sole thing, then he would have won, because he led the qualifiers with a 67 and 72, and he was still in front after the first round with a brilliant 68.

He started off in the second round, still playing scintillating golf, with four fours, and at the 5th his tee shot found the rough for about the first time.

But it found more than the rough. When he reached his ball he saw that it had actually gone into a broken beer bottle. The neck and shoulder of the bottle were off, and the bottle was upright with his ball at the bottom.

A chance in a million had come off; his ball had run along the ground into the bottle and tipped it up. Bradshaw studied the shot for some time and in the end decided to play it, fearing that if he did not he might incur disqualification. He took a sandblaster, and his shot shattered the bottle and knocked the ball less than 50 yards. He took a six for the par four.

Naturally, this wretched bad luck upset him, and for four holes he played raggedly and finished with a 77, his highest score for six rounds. Nevertheless, he still tied with Bobby Locke, who later won in the replay.

But some might say that Locke was destined to win, because he had to finish a three-four-four to tie with Bradshaw.

When he dropped a shot at the 16th it seemed all over, yet miraculously he recovered it at the 17th with a perfect iron to within 10 feet of the pin. After a great putt, sent down when the pressure was really on, he got a four at the 18th. This finish by Locke was undoubtedly a great one, and it does seem that when a man is going to win nothing can stop him.

So when golfers set out to win the Open they would do well to remember that they don't have to beat only old man par, but also Dame Fortune, and if one of them is destined to win then nothing can stop him!"

Reference : 'Golf Is My Business' By Norman Von Nida With Muir Maclaren Frederick Muller Ltd. London. First Published By Frederick Muller Ltd. In 1956 Copyright © 1956 Norman Von Nida And Muir Maclaren Part II Chapter Seven Golf In Britain page 116.

by Dr. Karl Morris - Mental Game And Effective Practice

"As a leading sports psychologist I have the privilege of working with some of the best golfers in the world as well as some of the upcoming amateurs.

In this Pocketshots™ edition I aim to share with you some of their secrets and how they practice in the right way to improve their game.

Ask Yourself?

Am I going to continue practice in such a way that I play great golf on the range or am I going to start to practice in such a way that I become the best player that I can be on the golf course?

Ask Yourself?

Are my patterns and habits giving me what I truly want and deserve, or am I just running around the wheel doing a variation of the same thing, getting the same results and the same frustrations?

Ask Yourself?

Am I prepared to act now to develop new habits and patterns that will take my game in a new positive direction?

Dr Karl Morris Mental Game - Effective Practice

Actual Size 7.8cm x 10.8 cm

Effective Practice

Effective practice contains the following ingredients:

  1. An element of consequence
  2. Is more difficult than the game
  3. Has a degree of emotional impact
  4. Is backed by statistical proof.

In this edition Dr. Karl Morris explains:

  • Why your current practice regime doesn't improve your game
  • The importance of effective practice
  • Developing a practice routine
  • Effective practice drills
  • Effective mental tools and techniques for practice and play."

Reference : 'Dr. Karl Morris Mental Game - Effective Practice' Pocketshots™ Edition. Includes 'Before golf - mental practice. During golf - concentration. In-between shots. After Golf - self assessment. 4 mental quadrants'. Copyright © Pocketshots™ and Dizzy Heights™. As a consultant to the PGA of Great Britain and Europe he has presented seminars all over the world and has worked with players such as Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Graeme McDowell, Alison Nicholas and Trish Johnson, Karl holds a PhD in Sports Psychology. He is a qualified Master Trainer of NLP and is also a qualified PGA Professional.

Buy on Amazon : Pocketshots - Mental Game - Effective Practice

by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr - Hello, golf!

"I could tell a lot of investment-banker stories, but perhaps the one that stands out in my mind the most was the proposal from one bank that IBM acquire Compaq Computer. The summary of the transaction that was included in the front of the ever-present blue book showed IBM's stock price going up forever after completing the transaction.

Who Says Elephants Cant' Dance Louis V. Gerstner Jr Hello golfSurprised at how this tree would grow to heaven, I rummaged through the appendix and found that IBM 's profits for the next five years (roughly $50 billion after taxes) would be wiped out by this transaction and we would show huge losses over that entire period. When I told my CFO to question the banker about how this could be viewed as positive by the investment community, the answer came back: "Oh, investors would all see right through this. It wouldn't matter."

Ah, if only the elixir peddled by investment bankers worked, then CEOs would never have to worry or even work. Hello, golf!"

Reference : 'Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?' Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. HarperCollinsPublishers Copyright © Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., 2002. Lessons Learned, page 221.


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