Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Timeless Swing, by Tom Watson - Average Golfer Book Review

The Timeless Swing  
by: TomWatson
with: Nick Seitz

Photographs by: Dom Furore

I've read a hundred golf instructional books. Literally. I will admit that I've quit reading instructional articles in golf magazines though when I found conflicting advice in the same issue(s). Hogan's Five Lessons... is frequently mentioned as the holy grail of tutorials. I read it at least five times and found it to be a confounding mix of biology and physics, neither of which were ever a strong point for me. So, due to my instructional overload I opened Tom Watson's The Timeless Swing with a large dose of skepticism, Mr. Watson's stellar reputation notwithstanding. 

What I found was golf instruction I could see and understand. For the most part there's no new "a-ha!" discoveries left in the golfosphere.  Watson doesn't pretend to present any, rather he builds on sound principles and has a touch for presenting them in simple fashion. That's probably the best concept I took from the book. Golf is really much easier than I've been making it. As you would expect, the fundamentals are given great weight and are well represented. Grip, posture, aim, etc. are described in suitable detail. Takeaway, backswing, and downswing are dissected, but not overly analyzed. Watson shares his ideas on shotmaking, maintaining your swing as you age, (hit a chord with me), and includes his favorite drills gleaned over his long career. Mr. Watson is quick to give credit where credit is due by mentioning the effect others have had on his game, including Nicklaus, Nelson, Snead, and particularly his longtime coach Stan Thirsk.

Aside from the advice I could glean from an eight time major championship winner, there's another feature of the book that made it really stand out among the crowd of instructionals. Dom Furore's superb photography is evident from page one. The photos are numerous and complement Watson's instruction perfectly. I found myself reading a section, moving to the accompanying photos, and seeing the concept I just digested. Being a visual sort, this was just the type of instruction I should be able to translate to my own game. The photos alone make the book a great read.

Consider lessons from a guy that's collected eight majors, been Player Of The Year six times, and recently, at almost sixty years young, contended for the 2009 Open Championship, fully twenty one years after being elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Timeless Swing is the perfect descriptive for one of the most timeless of golfers. Allow him to lend his timeless philosophy to your game.    

The Timeless Swing, Atria Books, Available at 

* The review copy was provided to Average Golfer by the publisher.
** My review is being submitted in the Simon & Schuster sweepstakes.

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