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Is "Ben Hogan's Five Lessons" really the golf Bible?


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#31 drewspin

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 11:41 AM

View Postgolfpros1, on 22 March 2011 - 02:05 AM, said:

there's something to be said about not saying much, people think your know something they don't.  certainly helped the iconic nature of his status.  can you imagine if tiger woods never talked to anyone?  no one knew what he worked with his swing, while blitzing fields by double digit win margins?


Hogan said a LOT about the swing, he wrote Power Golf himself, and worked with Herbert Warren Wind and Ravielli on 5L, and did interviews with Life and other publications.  He let people video his swing on occasion if they approached it in a respectful way.

I think after reading all of the biographies, what really comes across is someone who EARNED IT HIMSELF.  He learned from others, but he assimilated it himself.  He did not have a coach, did not use his caddy for anything related to performance, etc.

He was a private person, but he said a lot in his way.   He valued other people who were similarly willing to do the hard work and he valued loyalty.  He put what he knew out there with Power Golf, 5 Lessons and the golf equipment company he built and was personally involved in.  He was generous to up and comers, and to the public by giving autographs and pioneered some technology advancements in irons and shafts.  He gave swing advice on the Ed Sullivan show and for Shell's WWoG.

Hogan may have played up the "I have a secret" business while he was still competing, but any mental advantage over your peers can be a significant one.

He did things in his swing that he did not discuss in public (getting onto his pivot early on the backswing) and how he used his internal core movements through the ball.

Anyway, Hogan would not have suggested that anyone model their swing EXACTLY after his, and in fact insisted that John Schlee NOT model his swing as a copy of his when he took him as a student.

Edited by drewspin, 22 March 2011 - 11:46 AM.


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#32 JOEGOLFWRX

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 12:19 PM

View Post6enh09an, on 22 March 2011 - 10:47 AM, said:

Ok, if anyone has a question, sny question, about my swing, what i said and what i wrote, shoot and i will answer them once and for all!

dear 6enjamin,

as you instructed in 5 lessons i have made a personal modification to your ginger ale regimen, mixing it with 2 parts gin. unfortunately of late i have noticed the benefits start to subside around the turn. would you recommend i bring a hip flask to fuel the final push in ?

Edited by JOEGOLFWRX, 22 March 2011 - 12:21 PM.


#33 6enh09an

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 08:55 PM

View PostJOEGOLFWRX, on 22 March 2011 - 12:19 PM, said:

View Post6enh09an, on 22 March 2011 - 10:47 AM, said:

Ok, if anyone has a question, sny question, about my swing, what i said and what i wrote, shoot and i will answer them once and for all!

dear 6enjamin,

as you instructed in 5 lessons i have made a personal modification to your ginger ale regimen, mixing it with 2 parts gin. unfortunately of late i have noticed the benefits start to subside around the turn. would you recommend i bring a hip flask to fuel the final push in ?


Dear Joe,

I can see that you have special access to the IP's.. I thought so... Now to your question...

You must understand that what i put there in 5Lessons are the FUNDAMENTALS. The essentials.. That doesnt mean you cant add on to it.. As long as the ginger ale is there, heck you can put it anywhere and with anything! My personal non- fundamental add-on though is whiskey. That way you dont alter too much the color hue of the ginger ale... If youre really that attached to gin, hip flask is not a good option for confidentiality purposes... Gatorade bottle in Lemon Lime is excellent... Nobody aint noticing anything...

Excellent question, excellent..

Any more questions?

Very truly yours,



6en

#34 gvogel

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:13 PM

View Postmikefjohnson, on 19 March 2011 - 10:19 PM, said:

I have been meaning to read this for yrs, and finally went and bought it today.  I have heard from so many people that it is the golf Bible.  Can anyone attest to that?

It is certainly worth reading, but there is no bible in golf instruction.

5 Lessons is probably a great book for a smaller, very flexible guy with extremely good, and flexible, hand action.  Sort of like Ben.

What you might want to consider is your own physique, and flexibility.  Then, try to find someone who has written a book and whose physical characteristics are sort of like yours.  Short and strong and a bit less flexible  - Watson's video or Nicklaus Golf My Way.  Tall with long legs - Byron Nelson.

Sam Snead had perhaps the most classic swing of all.  But Sam didn't think about it too much from a mechanical perspective.  Perhaps that was his genius.  However, if you pick up a Sam Snead book, the pictures are definitely worth it.
Practice with AP2's,
play with AP1's

#35 morganmonroe

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:35 PM

View Postgvogel, on 22 March 2011 - 09:13 PM, said:

Sam Snead had perhaps the most classic swing of all.  But Sam didn't think about it too much from a mechanical perspective.  Perhaps that was his genius.  However, if you pick up a Sam Snead book, the pictures are definitely worth it.

I love 5L, learned a lot from it.  However, after watching Hogan along with other guys these days with similar builds, I've decided that rolling my forearm in a one-plane motion isn't in the cards for me.  Since I'm 1/2" shorter and the same weight as Snead, I picked up his 1975 book.  Fantastic visuals.  His most helpful direction advocates some deviations from Hogan:

- The swing is a bit more upright swing (between Nicklaus and Hogan)
- Naturally, you will stand a little closer to the ball (a la Hardy nowadays)
- Low, slow takeaway with the left hand, aligning (or flattening) the left wrist with the shaft

This allows me to make a fuller turn and I'm hitting it better than ever. Different from Five Lessons, but equally as valid.

By the way, Snead has the record for the oldest man to make a cut in a major: 67, at the 1979 PGA.  That's unbelievable.

Edited by morganmonroe, 22 March 2011 - 09:37 PM.


#36 drewspin

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:40 PM

Sam Snead could kick the top of  a 7 ft. door frame from standing flat footed in his 70's.  Now THAT is UNBELIEVABLE.

#37 1lovegolf24

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:29 AM

View Postmikefjohnson, on 19 March 2011 - 10:19 PM, said:

I have been meaning to read this for yrs, and finally went and bought it today.  I have heard from so many people that it is the golf Bible.  Can anyone attest to that?

In my opinion, it is a matter of what you get out of it. Now that you have the book, what do you think?

#38 6enh09an

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:11 PM

View Post1lovegolf24, on 25 March 2011 - 10:29 AM, said:

View Postmikefjohnson, on 19 March 2011 - 10:19 PM, said:

I have been meaning to read this for yrs, and finally went and bought it today.  I have heard from so many people that it is the golf Bible.  Can anyone attest to that?

In my opinion, it is a matter of what you get out of it. Now that you have the book, what do you think?


Imo, its a matter of understanding all of what Hogan said. ALL of it. If you miss even one, your swing will be not too great, and eill likely lead you to abandon it bec you feel you did substantially followed Hogan already and theres no substantial improvement. That imo is the reason many didmiss Hogsn's method/lessons.

#39 1982apex

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 08:39 PM

View Postgolfpros1, on 20 March 2011 - 01:22 AM, said:

I know i'm being a little antagonistic, but that's what makes discussions like this fun.
i forgot to mention this also, Hogan would talk about doing things in 5 fundamentals, that he himself didn't even do, as seen in video of his swing.  So the book is filled with concepts that are in fact not literal like people took them, and are just his thoughts and feelings on what's happening.  as we all know, how it feels and what's really happening are not the same.  so the book is hogans 5 fundamentals... not mine, not anyone elses.  sure, there are plenty of good things in the book, but way too much was made of the book imo, and it's drop kicked the golf community into a robo golfer direction that some people think may have created worse golfers.  For that time period, the most insightful book on how hogan plays and thinks.  and when you also consider how many great players and champion golfers there are that don't do the things he says to do in the book, doesn't sound like the end all be all to me.


Well if u make 4 out of 10 shots and I make 5 guess that makes me the champ.Somebody is gonna win every tournament no matter what so really acomplishments like that have absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of the golf swing wich is to put the ball where you want it.NO ONE...NO ONE IS EVEN CLOSE TO HOGAN IN THIS REGARDS.Maybe Moe Norman. Hogan didn't write a book called how to win golf tournaments.His whole premise was to provide people with simple fundamentals that he felt were essential to every good REPEATABLE golf swing that won't crack under pressure. Hobo Joe can win a tournament based soley on his putting but will his swing hit 34 out 34 G.I.R. at the US Open.Are there other ways to swing a club sure but where are the consistent results? Name 1 player in the history of golf that was more accurate with any club over a short or long period of time?

#40 grahler

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 12:05 AM

Don't read Five Lessons if you don't want a powerful repeating swing that is reliable under pressure.
Don't read Five Lessons if you don't think the hips lead the downswing.
Don't read Five Lessons if you don't care much for GIR.
Don't read Five lessons if you don't think core rotation is important in the swing.
Don't read Five Lessons if you already employ high hands and a big armswing.
Don't read Five Lessons if your goal is to draw every shot.
Don't read Five Lessons if you expect Hogan to explain shaping shots.
Don't read Five Lessons if you hate consistency.
Don't read Five Lessons if you want more than the basics.
Don't read Five Lessons if you are looking for a secret.
Don't read Five Lessons if you wanna learn how to chip or pitch or putt.
Don't read Five Lessons if you don't believe that sometimes feel is MORE important than real.
Don't read Five Lessons if you already know all there is to know about the golfswing.
Don't read Five Lessons if you hate practicing.
Don't read Five Lessons if you don't like hitting shots from the fairway.
Don't read Five Lessons if you think you can build a swing by reading a book.



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#41 mcctee

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 12:58 PM

View PostJOEGOLFWRX, on 21 March 2011 - 08:29 PM, said:

View Posthoganfan924, on 21 March 2011 - 02:03 PM, said:

There are so many subtleties and riddles within 5 Lessons for a book that seems to be so clearly and plainly written, that very few people really understand it.  To understand it, you have to read other things he wrote and said and study footage of his swing, IMO.  Still, even taken 100% at face value, it has worth as an instructional book and remains one of the best ever written.

someone here posted a link to just the text, and browsing it online, i found it better without the pictures, once you've read it once with them that is. its more fluid.

That would be a violation of the copyright if the text is posted.  I don't believe the Hogan Estate or the publisher would be very happy with that sort of illegal activity.

#42 mcctee

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 01:03 PM

Gads.  One, read the book, preferably not while drinking.  Two,watch the videos of Hogan.  Simple.

#43 JOEGOLFWRX

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 01:51 PM

View Postmcctee, on 18 June 2011 - 12:58 PM, said:

View PostJOEGOLFWRX, on 21 March 2011 - 08:29 PM, said:

View Posthoganfan924, on 21 March 2011 - 02:03 PM, said:

There are so many subtleties and riddles within 5 Lessons for a book that seems to be so clearly and plainly written, that very few people really understand it.  To understand it, you have to read other things he wrote and said and study footage of his swing, IMO.  Still, even taken 100% at face value, it has worth as an instructional book and remains one of the best ever written.

someone here posted a link to just the text, and browsing it online, i found it better without the pictures, once you've read it once with them that is. its more fluid.

That would be a violation of the copyright if the text is posted.  I don't believe the Hogan Estate or the publisher would be very happy with that sort of illegal activity.

...or you could do a quick search here and see it was a link to sports illustrated archives, I don't believe hogan would be very happy with some of the stuff that was granted permission posthumously.

#44 Petter Player

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 05:24 AM

One can also ask, if The Bible is good read.

#45 rhh7

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 05:23 PM

View Postdrewspin, on 21 March 2011 - 08:16 PM, said:

You have to start by understanding what five lessons is and is not.

What it is is a collaboration of three people, Hogan who supplied the ideas, emphasis and edits, Herbert Warren Wind, the greatest golf writer since Bernard Darwin, and Anthony Ravielli, the brilliant medical illustrator who created from pen and ink a masterwork.  As a collaboration it is a damn good reference.

5 Lessons was done as a serialized set of articles for Sports Illustrated in 1957 after the splash about Hogan's Secret in Life Magazine.  There are really only 4 lessons and a summary recap.

Anyway, for its time 5L  was REVOLUTIONARY, but the modern understanding and "Modern Fundamentals of Golf" have developed dramatically in the last 54 years.

I have read 5 Lessons over and over, read and reread Power Golf and the Hogan biographies, watched the videos, and read many of the derivative works of authors connecting themselves to Hogan.

The moral of the story is this:  Learn from Hogan that if you work hard, nobody can count you out of anything.  To truly own your own swing means understanding it as well as you possibly can, outworking the other guys, being MENTALLY prepared and practiced and NEVER being satisfied with the present.  A rare few are always seeking to improve, refine things, tear things down to a repeatable essence.  Learn that from Hogan.  Earn it, and you will own it.

With all of that said, I think for a right handed player playing righty, the most repeating, consistent, accurate, and predictable swings are produced when you focus on the right side of the swing, not the left side like Hogan and most others teach.  A right hand palm grip and right hand and right scapula-elbow- forearm motion is most consistent with how physics and kinetics understand where torques and angular velocity are produced in the swing.

My opinion is that it is time for a NEW Modern Fundamentals of Golf to build a new paradigm from the lessons of physics, doppler radar, 3D imaging, high-speed video, biokinetics and biomechanics.  Something that will succeed in helping handicaps come down and allowing average golfers to break 80 and actually fulfill the ambitious goal of 5 Lessons.   I believe this is possible.


Absolutely agree, well said!


#46 MizunoJoe

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 01:28 PM

View Postdrewspin, on 21 March 2011 - 08:16 PM, said:


I think for a right handed player playing righty, the most repeating, consistent, accurate, and predictable swings are produced when you focus on the right side of the swing, not the left side like Hogan and most others teach.  A right hand palm grip and right hand and right scapula-elbow- forearm motion is most consistent with how physics and kinetics understand where torques and angular velocity are produced in the swing.


Do you still believe this, 7 mos after writing it?  If so, are you saying Moe Norman should be the prototype?  Once, Norman said he only pulled with the left side, and didn't know what his right side was doing.  At other times, he said other things.

#47 drewspin

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 02:30 PM

View PostMizunoJoe, on 17 October 2011 - 01:28 PM, said:

View Postdrewspin, on 21 March 2011 - 08:16 PM, said:


I think for a right handed player playing righty, the most repeating, consistent, accurate, and predictable swings are produced when you focus on the right side of the swing, not the left side like Hogan and most others teach.  A right hand palm grip and right hand and right scapula-elbow- forearm motion is most consistent with how physics and kinetics understand where torques and angular velocity are produced in the swing.


Do you still believe this, 7 mos after writing it?  If so, are you saying Moe Norman should be the prototype?  Once, Norman said he only pulled with the left side, and didn't know what his right side was doing.  At other times, he said other things.

Thanks for asking.  I cringed a bit when I read it.  Actually, I don't agree with what I wrote 7 months ago and I have learned a lot in those 7 months..

I now think it is possible to be equally good and equally proficient focusing either on the right side or on the left side.  I still think for many players a right hand palm grip can be more consistent, but ...

you can also be trained to use the left side only OR the left side and right side together.

The key is building the correct sequence of motions through impact.

#48 MizunoJoe

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 05:03 PM

View Postdrewspin, on 17 October 2011 - 02:30 PM, said:

View PostMizunoJoe, on 17 October 2011 - 01:28 PM, said:

View Postdrewspin, on 21 March 2011 - 08:16 PM, said:


I think for a right handed player playing righty, the most repeating, consistent, accurate, and predictable swings are produced when you focus on the right side of the swing, not the left side like Hogan and most others teach.  A right hand palm grip and right hand and right scapula-elbow- forearm motion is most consistent with how physics and kinetics understand where torques and angular velocity are produced in the swing.


Do you still believe this, 7 mos after writing it?  If so, are you saying Moe Norman should be the prototype?  Once, Norman said he only pulled with the left side, and didn't know what his right side was doing.  At other times, he said other things.

Thanks for asking.  I cringed a bit when I read it.  Actually, I don't agree with what I wrote 7 months ago and I have learned a lot in those 7 months..

I now think it is possible to be equally good and equally proficient focusing either on the right side or on the left side.  I still think for many players a right hand palm grip can be more consistent, but ...

you can also be trained to use the left side only OR the left side and right side together.

The key is building the correct sequence of motions through impact.

Thanks for clarifying, I only asked because that post was brought forward by rhh7, and I wasn't reading the forum back then.  I, too, have changed my opinion on a lot of things in the past half yr or so.

And back on topic, I will say, in my opinion, 5L is certainly not  the "golf bible", owing to the fact that it doesn't even seem to completely explain Hogan, much less other swing methods.

#49 svsvincenzo

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 09:59 AM

View PostMizunoJoe, on 17 October 2011 - 05:03 PM, said:

View Postdrewspin, on 17 October 2011 - 02:30 PM, said:

View PostMizunoJoe, on 17 October 2011 - 01:28 PM, said:

View Postdrewspin, on 21 March 2011 - 08:16 PM, said:


I think for a right handed player playing righty, the most repeating, consistent, accurate, and predictable swings are produced when you focus on the right side of the swing, not the left side like Hogan and most others teach.  A right hand palm grip and right hand and right scapula-elbow- forearm motion is most consistent with how physics and kinetics understand where torques and angular velocity are produced in the swing.


Do you still believe this, 7 mos after writing it?  If so, are you saying Moe Norman should be the prototype?  Once, Norman said he only pulled with the left side, and didn't know what his right side was doing.  At other times, he said other things.

Thanks for asking.  I cringed a bit when I read it.  Actually, I don't agree with what I wrote 7 months ago and I have learned a lot in those 7 months..

I now think it is possible to be equally good and equally proficient focusing either on the right side or on the left side.  I still think for many players a right hand palm grip can be more consistent, but ...

you can also be trained to use the left side only OR the left side and right side together.

The key is building the correct sequence of motions through impact.

Thanks for clarifying, I only asked because that post was brought forward by rhh7, and I wasn't reading the forum back then.  I, too, have changed my opinion on a lot of things in the past half yr or so.

And back on topic, I will say, in my opinion, 5L is certainly not  the "golf bible", owing to the fact that it doesn't even seem to completely explain Hogan, much less other swing methods.

Respectfully, can you clarify what  5L didn't explain about Hogan?

#50 mesegrn

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 02:32 PM

I think if more people started with the fundamentals and modified if necessary, then more people would have fun playing golf. Trying to swing exactly like Hogan is probably fun, but not recommended for all.


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#51 MizunoJoe

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 05:16 PM

View Posthogangolf101, on 24 October 2011 - 09:59 AM, said:

View PostMizunoJoe, on 17 October 2011 - 05:03 PM, said:

View Postdrewspin, on 17 October 2011 - 02:30 PM, said:

View PostMizunoJoe, on 17 October 2011 - 01:28 PM, said:

View Postdrewspin, on 21 March 2011 - 08:16 PM, said:


I think for a right handed player playing righty, the most repeating, consistent, accurate, and predictable swings are produced when you focus on the right side of the swing, not the left side like Hogan and most others teach.  A right hand palm grip and right hand and right scapula-elbow- forearm motion is most consistent with how physics and kinetics understand where torques and angular velocity are produced in the swing.


Do you still believe this, 7 mos after writing it?  If so, are you saying Moe Norman should be the prototype?  Once, Norman said he only pulled with the left side, and didn't know what his right side was doing.  At other times, he said other things.

Thanks for asking.  I cringed a bit when I read it.  Actually, I don't agree with what I wrote 7 months ago and I have learned a lot in those 7 months..

I now think it is possible to be equally good and equally proficient focusing either on the right side or on the left side.  I still think for many players a right hand palm grip can be more consistent, but ...

you can also be trained to use the left side only OR the left side and right side together.

The key is building the correct sequence of motions through impact.

Thanks for clarifying, I only asked because that post was brought forward by rhh7, and I wasn't reading the forum back then.  I, too, have changed my opinion on a lot of things in the past half yr or so.

And back on topic, I will say, in my opinion, 5L is certainly not  the "golf bible", owing to the fact that it doesn't even seem to completely explain Hogan, much less other swing methods.

Respectfully, can you clarify what  5L didn't explain about Hogan?

The volumes of disagreements on this forum suggest 5L didn't explain Hogan's swing well enough, if at all. :beruo:

IMO, it's just a synopsis of his idea, at that time, of a good golf swing.

#52 Boomermike

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:48 PM

I'm woefully unqualified to an opinion on the matter, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so my common sense response to the OP's question is this:

If you're a world class athlete with otherworldly hand eye coordination and otherworldly explosive, fast twitching muscles in your core, and your natural shot shape is a nasty hook, then yes...it's the golf bible.

If you're an average to below average natural athlete with average to below average turning power in your core, and your natural shot shape is a slice, then no....it's not the golf bible.

#53 isaacbm

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 10:33 PM

View PostBoomermike, on 24 October 2011 - 08:48 PM, said:

I'm woefully unqualified to an opinion on the matter, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so my common sense response to the OP's question is this:

If you're a world class athlete with otherworldly hand eye coordination and otherworldly explosive, fast twitching muscles in your core, and your natural shot shape is a nasty hook, then yes...it's the golf bible.

If you're an average to below average natural athlete with average to below average turning power in your core, and your natural shot shape is a slice, then no....it's not the golf bible.

sounds like you're pretty qualified to me!!  

Well said!

#54 dlygrisse

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 11:06 PM

First set up like Hogan, all of it...don't pick and choose......get the grip stance etc.right knee pointed in, feet, arms turned with elbows at hips etc.  

Next practice the feels and drills, two handed pass, practice drill with the arms connected to chest like he shows in the Ed Sullivan clip, 2nd baseman throw, etc.  

Lastly you gotta stick with it and practice.  

Is it the Bible of golf...NO....is it the Bible of the golf swing?....it is probably as close at comes, if you want to study the swing it is probably the first and best and most logical place to start.  If you want to learn the whole game then Power Golf is probably the best place to start.....but certainly not end.
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