Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review - The Golf Swing

The Golf Swing: It's All in the Hands

By: James Lythgoe
Publisher: James Lythgoe
Publication Date: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0981339207
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 1, 2012

Anyone who thinks they could score an albatross on any course after simply reading a golf instructional would be a fool. On the other hand, anyone who feels they wouldn’t benefit from reading one in an attempt to improve their game wouldn’t fare much better. Many professional golfers who have written books on the subject, have focused on a variety of aspects of the sport they claim makes their game. For example, Ben Hogan once claimed that it “is utterly impossible for any golfer to play good golf without a swing that will repeat.” James Lythgoe would probably agree with that statement after decades of observing amateur golfers, but just how can one get to the point where that swing is consistent?

Lythgoe claims that “By far the most important factor in the achievement of an effective golf swing is the correct use of the hands.” If you think you can master Ben Hogan’s swing, the first thing you’ll need to do is master your hand actions, something that is paramount to the success of your game. Many people feel the grip is the most important thing to master, however, Lythgoe respectfully disagrees. The proper grip, along with addressing the ball, hand action, and the shoulder turn are covered in great detail in this book. Keep in mind, this book is geared toward the right-handed golfer, but undoubtedly the left-handed one will benefit from it’s sage advice, advice that is accompanied by more than two hundred photographs.

In an attempt to be as precise as he can, Lythgoe uses multicolored dots, the letter V drawn on the palm, and clock analogies to drive his points home. The visuals, along with photographs of him demonstrating an exercise, leave little wiggle room for error. When introducing the proper grip, you’ll learn exactly where to place both hands, which are “relative to the clubface.” In this section you’ll learn just why you may be getting that maddening hook or slice. Proper positioning of your hands will eliminate these problematic swings. You’ll also learn about three grips: overlapping, interlocking, and the baseball and which one you should use and why. In addition you’ll receive an overview of the right-hand grip, strong vs. weak grips, the desirable neutral grip, grip pressure, whether or not you should wear a glove, and the importance of practice.

Lythgoe sensibly claims that “when you implement the same solution over and over again you will eventually become an expert in it, and it will become a permanent change.” In addition to that all-important grip, which he doesn’t minimize the importance of, he similarly delves into addressing the ball, examining how you move your hands, and covers the shoulder turn. Lythgoe scrupulously melds his information from his own observations, but also those of numerous professional golfers, including those such as Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus who have opposing viewpoints on golf minutiae.
This amazing golf instructional will be of use to everyone from the novice to the seasoned amateur who wants to tweak his or her game. One thing I felt was particularly useful were the photographs which detailed both the way an exercise should be executed the proper way, but also the incorrect way. A check mark in the corner of the photograph indicates the right way, while the letter X clearly shows the incorrect one. Although not recommended, a full-length mirror would be a useful tool to have. Carefully culling materials from a lifetime of playing golf, Lythgoe recommends that the reader too read everything they can on the game. This golf instructional was one of the best I’ve seen in some time, one that anyone wanting to improve their game should definitely add to their list!

Quill says: Practice makes perfect and if you take James Lythogoe’s advice, you’ll make par for the course!

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