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Tom Watson’s Lessons of a Lifetime II

(available as ‘with advanced lessons’ to include the 2 instructional DVDs of a few years ago along with the new one; or as a single DVD, as ‘the new advanced lessons’)

The earlier two DVDs are worth owning if only to see what was surely one of golf’s most spine-tingling, goose-bump-inspiring moments – Tom Watson’s famous chip-in from green-side rough into the 17th at Pebble Beach in 1982, when he went on to sink a long-ish left-to-right putt on the 18th, to win from an already-in-the-clubhouse-and-being congratulated Jack Nicklaus! To hear, once-again, the commentators’ very natural doubts about his chances of winning, after Watson’s 17th hole approach had put him into rough next to the green.

If most golfers are asked, ‘what is the most exciting shot you remember from golf history’ it will probably be this one.

Disc one mainly explains all the parts of the full-swing – grip, set-up, backswing, impact, and followthrough, and then explains how to make hooks and slices, high and low shots and how to hit off uneven lies.

The second disc is about chipping and bunkers and putting, with trouble-shooting included.

The third (new) disc discusses the full-swing ‘secret number 2’; includes a lot of information on the mental approach to golf; includes some useful short-game drills; and imparts Watson’s insights into teaching kids and seniors.

Between the three discs, every aspect of everything you ever read in golf instruction books from the 70s, 80s and 90s, or hoped had been written about, has been included!

Given that Tom Watson’s knowledge is the collective wisdom of the best players and teachers that the game has ever seen, a lot of the ‘innate’ knowledge involved is very true in science.

For instance, all golf instructors talk of the ‘fingers’ vs the ‘palm’ grip, but Tom Watson goes ahead and explains why the ‘palm’ grip is not as efficient. He is, actually, describing the ‘active insufficiency’ of muscles. That is the property of muscles which act on more than one joint, which makes them unable to simultaneously exert the same amount of force at both joints. Try making a firm fist with your wrist bent forwards and then backwards. Which direction of movement allows the fingers to close more snugly? (The ‘palm grip’ involves an insufficiency as muscles common to the wrist and fingers have to act on both of them to hold the club).

Why does it matter that the science of every piece of golf instruction be known?

Basically to rule out which aspects of so-called instruction do have a scientific basis and which are merely a result of the subjective experiences of the best pros! Is it wrong for information to  be subjective when the instructor has the experience of say a quarter century to back it up? Often, without any scientific rationale to back up their teachings, many pros will develop the instinct to know what is right and what is wrong, and see it work on many, many players. That takes the chances of what they see closer to being causational rather than merely correlational. However, there will always be outliers. Suppose YOU are the outlier!

Watson’s preferences for grip, takeaway, wrist-angle and downswing shoulder-plane show an instinctive feel for what science can corroborate. However, in any subjective field, as many things that can be right can also be wrong.

For instance, besides his agreement with the often stated ‘swing inside a barrel’ theory, his ‘secret number 2’ is sure to have caused his left-hip-replacement surgery, because, a look (see pic below) at Watson’s downswing shows how, past-impact, he has tried to avoid lateral (sideways) movement and rotated ‘backwards’ (away from target) on his left hip, putting a lot of compressive force on the joint.

Screen shot 2014-06-07 at 10.03.22 AM

Overall, you will own a piece of history with this 2 or 3 disc set, and be privileged to have, revealed to you, every secret he ever knew to his own success, as Tom Watson very generously shares all possible aspects of his lifetime of lessons from the best!

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