Review: Brandel Chamblee’s “The Anatomy of Greatness” – Buy It Now

chamblee book coverI imagine Jack Nicklaus has reason to smile broadly today.

And I imagine that the ghosts of Hogan, Snead, Nelson and Bobby Jones have stopped spinning, at least for the time being.

I have been reading Brandel Chamblee’s newly released (and sure-fire bestseller) book on the swing, “The Anatomy of Greatness,” having been sent a copy by his publisher Classics of Golf with a request for my thoughts on it.

As for disclosure, I have received nothing for my agreement to review the book, and it wouldn’t matter – if I hadn’t received the book, I’d have surely browsed through it at the store, and would have run home with it.

I have been waiting to see a return to sanity from the madness of the Modern Golf Swing principles, and my lonely struggle is over – Brandel has written a masterful piece of analysis of the classic swingers, the same ones upon which I base my swing theory, and has outlined why following the Classic Golf Swing principles is the way to swing.

Mrs. DJ took the bottom picture as I was engrossed in my morning read, and before I began to take notes.

I will be reading this book again from cover to cover, but my primary focus was on the technical aspects of Brandel’s writing – the golf swing, and I have the following notes to make.

First, if you have any past history with Wax Golf and the MCS swing research, you’ll know that I have spent 11 years researching how to swing with athletic and mechanical correctness.

So, it seemed to me that every page I turned was yet another visual assault of mechanical-correctness upon my senses.

If you are looking for a book right now that is out there, by a recognized golf instructor or analyst – Brandel has nailed the essential points:


Review – The Anatomy of Greatness

The Grip – very straightforward and shows how the best swingers gripped their clubs.  I call the proper grip a “neutral grip,” but it doesn’t matter what you call it – you will see exactly how the past classic swingers and some of the best modern players (like Tiger Woods during his dominant phase) gripped the club.

The Setup – What can I say about this section?

Chamblee really gets going in this section.  Pg. 35, he shows an illustration of Ben Hogan’s bent right leg at address and explains how the best classic players had the same “kicked in” right leg – sound familiar?

Of course it does!

Ball Position – On pg 40, Brandel quotes Bobby Jones on how Jones instructed one to place the ball on the line of the left or leading instep.  Sound familiar?

Of course it does!

Chamblee discusses how some of the greatest players had the same ball position for all clubs, but allows that others had a variable ball position based on the club being used.

The premise remains the same – the only ball position for the driver and longer clubs is forward of the stance center, and even the variable ball position moves the ball away from the leading instep from Driver to wedge.

Posture – Absolutely nailed. I have been accused of being “slouchy” in my own address position, and I have always maintained that a proper address contains the same relaxed upper spine as you’ll see in the setups of Nicklaus, Snead, Hogan, etc. In this section on pg 45, Brandel tees it up and smokes it – exactly what the classic players did, you should do.

Generic Nicklaus Picture



Spine Angle – Relentless. Pg 63. Brandel shows again how the center and left-biased setups of the modern fad swing models are just wrong.  He shows how all of the great swingers had the rightward spine angle, and again, how am I supposed to review a book from such a noted swing analyst and commentator, whose research comes to the same conclusions that I have reached after 11 years of independent swing research?

Other than to say, “Nailed it,” that is…

Let’s keep going. Pg 77 on the section that addresses initiating the back swing – you can call it whatever you want, a “one-piece” takeaway, or something else. I call it the “full-body pivot,” but the essence of Brandel’s instruction is the same – you don’t “separate” the body, Modern Swing style, on the takeaway.

Pg 95 – Chamblee absolutely excoriates the Modern Golf Swing fallacy of resisting the back swing pivot with the hips.  Don’t believe me? Here:

The premise of this theory is so massively incorrect and its problems so numerous that for over thirty years it has almost completely divested the PGA and LPGA Tour players of their ability to build on the methods of a previous generation, not to mention their athleticism, rhythm and health.

Lest you think those words are mine, blog followers – no, that’s Brandel!

He continues:

This capital crime of expository commentary has been packaged and sold to amateur and professional alike and it is pure myth.

Oh my… so like, when I wrote years ago that Modern Swing instructors and proponents were bordering on malpractice, teaching this garbage – don’t look now, but that seems to be what Brandel just said in his book. Or I don’t know what “capital crime” means.

Full agreement, of course.

And here, in this section of the book, you see all of the greatest swingers (barring Tiger Woods of course, and we all know that the greatest modern swing player in history is kaput at 40, and because of his modern style swing) had a “floating heel” on the back swing.

Pg. 99 – Brandel shows Jamie Sadlowski! And he asks the question that mirrors one from a post of my own, with the same answer:

If it were really true that resisting with the lower body made for a more powerful swing, then why don’t long drive champions follow this axiom? Because, very simply, it’s not true.

OK, slightly different from my answer, “Because they’re not insane and are intelligent and talented athletes,” but you get it…

Pg 101 – This man gets it.  You know that video short I created last winter about the “Secret of Separation?”  Well, Chamblee shows here with different wording the same premise, that the proper downswing accomplishes the purpose of what people call “separation” of the lower and upper body.

That’s right – you don’t do it artificially on the back swing, as it occurs naturally on the down swing.


So, that is my review of the technical swing aspects of Brandel’s book, and I would not disagree with the phrase “Holy Grail,” if you are lost in the Modern Swing and need a return to fundamental and basic swing principles.

In this book, I was shocked to see time and time again the same pictures from the internet, upon which I’ve based my blogging.

In fact, Mrs DJ, when she told me (while I was in Arizona) that the book had arrived, she had cracked it herself and all she had to say was, “You’re going to love this book!”

So: Chamblee came to the same conclusions researching the same swingers and using many of the same pictures I’ve used.


It’s absolutely stunning.

But it only proves that unbiased minds should reach the same conclusions, given the same research material on a given subject.

As Brandel found with his research, there is no need to re-invent the golf swing – it was figured out a century ago and carried forward by the great Classic era players.

I give this book an A++, and if you think I’m being cynical in my grading because I happen to agree with just about everything in it – that’s absolutely right.

This book validates my own 11 years of independent research, and in turn, my 11 years of research vouch for the findings in The Anatomy of Greatness.

Go get this book, my friends – whether you need a respected voice to tell you how best to swing a golf club, or are already proficient in the mechanically-correct swing principles I’ve advanced for years.

You will want a piece of what is sure to be golf swing history – get it now, on the first printing.

And now, to figure out how to get BC to sign my own copy – this is a future collector’s item, for sure, and one I will be putting beside Curt Sampson’s “Hogan” on my bookshelf.

DJ’s Home Office – Morning Read

dj-home office





13 thoughts on “Review: Brandel Chamblee’s “The Anatomy of Greatness” – Buy It Now

  1. bigtoilet

    Brandel doesn’t get into EVERY swing thought he has on GC (probably asked not too) so he had to write this book. And after this glowing review from Master Watts, I will be picking up my OWN copy ASAP! I’ve always been a Chamblee fan and nobody can change my mind. Definitely not now!

    1. D Watts Post author

      You won’t be disappointed, BT.

      You know how you say you won’t listen to what anyone has to say about the golf swing besides myself? Well, I’ll make some room for Brandel, ’cause you’re gonna love it.

      Fair warning 😉

  2. Jason

    Great to hear DJ. Looking forward to having a look at the book.

    What I love about all the MCS theory is that it provides a rhetoric of sorts for what constitutes a quality golf swing. It’s not about whether you’re Tiger Woods or Jordan Spieth or Brandel Chamblee or just the average joe on the street talking about and practicing the golf swing – it’s about the things it takes to not only produce good golf shots, but how to efficiently achieve that goal in a way that is natural to the body and bio-kinetically sound. I think many golfers get to the point where they can consistently hit good shots and they stop there without taking that extra consideration for how one’s body is achieving that.

    As much as I disagreed with some of what Brandel has said previously about Tiger Woods cheating, etc., I cannot and would not ever deny some of the very sound things he has to say about the golf swing. Similarly, I wouldn’t blindly follow everything you might say about golf, just because it was you – I love that you seem to understand and appreciate that the MCS is bigger than you. It’s bigger than Brandel Chamblee (I almost wish Brandel didn’t have a picture of himself smiling on the front cover of the book, but hey….). It’s simply about producing a mechanically correct swing. And I’ve loved the process of finding my OWN MCS through many, many golf swings. I’ve never actually taken a golf lesson in my life and I, sadly, wonder whether I’m fortunate. Good teachers promote self-discovery. I’ve seen so many students at golfing ranges and golf courses blindly listen to teachers who teach them things without adequately explaining why they are advocating those things – I feel fortunate that I somehow escaped that pack that preaches that golf is only one way. That’s why I loved that you developed several models of MCS swings – MCS isn’t one type of swing. It’s a collection of principles. And I’ve found out many of the same things you’ve found through studying older swings, reading books, visiting blogs such as waxgolf and trying to listen and try as many things are possible. I enjoy the science of it. It’s strange to think that golf, with all the technology invested in clubs, ball flight measuring devices, etc., has created swing models that aren’t safe and, at worst, can cause serious injury. The exclusive focus on ball flight and copying others without having an understanding for what constitutes a good quality golf swing from both a ball flight and biokinetic perspective has been injurious to the golfing population at large.

    I recall something Tiger Woods said about owning his swing and how only three people in history have owned their swing. I think it’s so fascinatingly, comically wrong for him to portray the golf swing in that way. Fascinating in that he hints at the great mystery and journey that one does take, but wrong in that I honestly believe that anybody can understand the principles of a mechanically correct swing and own their swings (I think Ben Hogan alluded to this when he said he really believed anybody with an understanding in the fundamentals should be able to break 80). Glad to see it take another step forward with this book and all the great things happening at wax golf. Keep up the great work!

    1. bigtoilet

      – Good teachers promote self-discovery. I’ve seen so many students at golfing ranges and golf courses blindly listen to teachers who teach them things without adequately explaining why they are advocating those things – I feel fortunate that I somehow escaped that pack that preaches that golf is only one way.-
      Right there Jason is a great statement. I tell my students, “If I EVER say to do something without a “why” then please stop me and I will explain it. The why is what get’s them to own their swing. Also, self discovery is a CRUCIAL part of the learning process. After one gets the MCS principles, the player has to self absorb them in a way that works for them. DJ and I talk about this a lot.

      1. Jason

        Thanks BT. Encouraged that there will be a new generation of golfers who will have the best of both worlds: the guidance from good teachers and the ability to find their own swings for themselves. Keep sowing those seeds!

  3. targettom

    Seems the Big 3 need to read this book/visit WAX asap.

    p.s. I admire any man secure enough to display his club and purse collection on the den wall ;- )

    1. D Watts Post author

      On the wall and love seat situated in the corner, behind my desk – persimmon clubs, art work, plates, paintings, Mrs. DJ’s collected purses – it’s a full wall! 😀

  4. major tom

    had a rare day yesterday in the zone firing on all cylinders. nearly shot par on 9 holes except for the putter (3 putted an eagle putt for par, etc., ouch!). one thing I realized was that I never really consciously thought about the swing, just free & natural with tensionless release. far too many mechanics on tour these days.

    it is disturbing and tragic to see all the glued heel torqued back clones out there. nailing the leading heel to the ground is not natural as dj has pointed out with his comparisons to other sports, e.g., swinging a bat. also, if there is so much power in the over torqued back, why don’t major league pitchers plant the leading heel during windup for greater speed and accuracy?

    I hope brandel can get through to a few tour pros since they model this nonsense every week on tv. he definitely has name recognition. I wonder if he’s ever perused the pages of this site? if so he should cut DJ a commission! there are a few other voices of reason in the wilderness as well. last week I heard Johnny Miller question how much longer Dustin johnson’s back would hold out. have you seen the picture in the M1 driver promotion? makes me cringe every time I see it (hips parallel to target line with spine grotesquely stretched to the limit). also, gc’s Martin hall occasionally has some sound advice. btw, is that a guitar neck I see leaning up against the famous wall. nice!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Mrs DJ’s guitar – sent to her by Daddyo, a Wax Golf follower who came up from Oklahoma for a few days three years ago.

      She loves it.

  5. buddhabob

    good to see dj reaping some kudos and karma from all his studies. I think of greatest benefit in teaching the floating heel is the fact that so many older people and people who are not so athletic will be massively benefited, find golf far more accessible and avoid any number of repetitive stress injuries.

    I suspect Tiger plays by feel now and may have always played by feel, he may , being as he is obsessed with power, feel as if cranking brings more power when in reality it yields less power. we all know how playing from feel can lead to serious mistakes and bad compensations.

Comments are closed.