BT sent me this great find yesterday, and it left me wondering. The link he sent me was to a book the he found listed on GoogleBooks.
While I won’t buy the book by James Douglas Edgar, a British golfer and writer (1884-1921) nor recommend it (I don’t have a problem with my hips, so I’m not curious), I wonder if this book had anything to do with the development of the modern style “restricted hip” golf swing.
The book’s title is “The Gate To Golf,” and here is the description of it (bolding is my addition) that made BT send me the link:
The Gate to Golf was based on his discoveries made in England. Edgar had an ailing hip which he could not turn freely.
Through a series of experiments, he found that a restricted hip turn still allowed a repeatable swing with excellent power and control.
This book proved to have significant impact on golf instruction, right up to the present time.
First, so it’s a possibility.
Second, doesn’t that last sentence make you want to weep with despair?
Modern (and perfectly physically-capable) swingers are being taught something that was created to help a disabled person swing and play?
Does anyone not want to join me in pulling whatever’s left of my hair out?
This illustrates the robotic and unthinking way the general golf student has accepted anything presented to them with regards to the golf swing, to the point (if it’s true) of trying the swing of a man who didn’t have full physical capabilities when he wrote the book.
Think about it and imagine, if this book influenced the modern golf swing, that you tried this in another sport:
Edgar had an ailing hip (with) which he could not pitch freely.
Through a series of experiments, he found that a restricted hip turn still allowed a repeatable throw with excellent power and control.
OK, so let’s imagine that this experiment had been with the baseball pitch.
And you’ll have to remember that Edgar’s claim of “excellent power and control” is certainly open to interpretation – perhaps “excellent power and control for a person with a physical ailment and who couldn’t swing naturally?”
Certainly, I would bet you dollars to donuts, it wasn’t “excellent power and control compared to a physically-fit person swinging freely with full hip motion.”
Because there is no way on this earth that (except in golf) anyone would take a motion designed or built for a person with a major physical limitation and use it themselves while they were perfectly physically-capable.
Because that would be insane.
Or, to put it another way, because Terry Fox was one of my childhood heroes, no one is teaching Olympic sprinters or marathoners how to run like Terry Fox…
The man who wrote this book, even if he did win the 1914 French Open, was physically unwell, and lived to the ripe old age of 37.
Edgar’s book is about finding a way to still play golf and swing with a bad hip (among other physical ailments that he had, I’m sure), not about how to swing athletically or powerfully.
Can no one see this point?
And that theory (the notion that you can swing equally well, powerfully and accurately with restricted hips as with unrestricted hips) is insane.