The Pioneers of The Golfing Machine
The Class of 81
The following article was written by Mr. Alex Sloan (USPGA, GSED)
It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take this opportunity to re-collect my thoughts and let my mind wonder back to the days of January 2-11, 1981.
This was a time when golf Instruction was going to revolutionize conventional teachings of today.
The following is a true account of the times and events that took place at the First Authorized Instructor’s Course in The Golfing Machine which was conducted by Homer Kelley on the 2-11 January 1981. Those present for the course were Alex Sloan, Tommy Tomasello and Larry Aspenson.
Originally ten people had signed up for the course but only three eventually turned up. We were to be the fortunate ones as time was soon going to tell.
This is the story through the eyes of one of those who was present throughout this class which was to become a “Monumental Event” - Alex Sloan (USPGA, LM, GSED).
I had the great privilege of being in Homer Kelley’s first class for Authorized Instructors in The Golfing Machine from January 2-11, 1981. I was with him for nine to twelve hours a day going through Homer Kelley’s Curriculum for The Golfing Machine.
Homer was a true genius, perhaps the greatest teacher who ever lived, a great thinker and student of the game. A man who had a God given talent for solving complicated problems and by his own admission, when he undertook to solve the mysteries of the golf swing, it was the most difficult problem he ever undertook.
He solved the puzzle and gave it to humanity in the form of his book, The Golfing Machine. It was and is the greatest treatise on golf ever written, a 40 year endeavor.
He has given us an infallible way to learn and play golf. I won my first three PGA tournament after only one lesson from TGM.
It will become clear as we follow these course of events how one man Homer Kelley, who dedicated 40 years of his life to the researching of the golf stroke by listing and categorizing, testing, and practicing and then he evaluating his findings to what is now know as The Golfing Machine.
The Golfing Machine Book was first published in 1969 and the following is a quote from Homer on its publication. "I found that by my own thinking and talking to others that they had read many books but they all seemed so much alike. I found that although they go into the subject that there was something better than Feel or something behind Feel that needed to be investigated and I found that there were relationships that needed to be maintained and understood and I found that the best way to describe these relationships was on a Geometrical Basis.
This is very simplified, now this is a perfectly legitimate and necessary element of the game because nothing as complicated as the golf stroke can be handled with any Feel without a Feel System, and I found that the average student was able or unable to then grasp my Feel and that didn’t mean anything to him, and I talked to many pro’s and I found that this was my trouble to. I found that the geometrical relationships I began to take my Feel from the relationships rather than from just how it felt and this gave me something very concrete to go by".
The 7th Edition of The Golfing Machine was published in 2006. All Homer’s written notes lay idle for 20 years after his death and it was only recently that those notes were added and changes made to the updated the new 7th Edition. In today’s high tech world of sophisticated computerization where everything we do is touched by advancement in computers e.g. from the food we eat to the car we drive, from placing a bet to booking our holiday. It is not surprising that our thirst for knowledge seeks a more technical and logical explanation than just “do it this way”.
As Homer Kelley author of “The Golfing Machine” once said “Why trust instinct when there is science”. Scientific studies and recommendations are no substitute for a players experience in learning the golf swing. We must all, as golfers understand the concepts that are involved and how best these can be applied.
It is hard for us to comprehend how one man could stay focused for such a long time on one thing and stay with it for over 40 years. Homer realized that the world would benefit so much by having trained Instructors in The Golfing Machine Concepts instructing their students. So Homer set forth and developed an Authorization Instructors Program that would allow all Instructors to explain the Scientific Concepts to all their students.
The Golfing Machine is based on the Geometry and Physics of the Golf Stroke. These are not just any made up golf Laws but the Laws of the universe, the Laws of Isaac Newton’s “Force and Motion” that govern everybody, everyday and every moment of their lives. Homer Kelley may not have got the recognition that he justly deserves but it is all these years later that his true Genius is being recognized and golfers world wide are reaping the benefits.
Those present for the class were as follows;
Instructor - Homer Kelley, Author and Founder of The Golfing Machine
Attendees - Alex Sloan, Tom Tomasello, Larry Aspenson
Venue- Golf studio at the residence of Mr. Homer Kelley
It is interesting to note that ten people had signed up to attend the Class of 1981 but we were the only ones to show up. Well I suppose you can say we had a lot more personal time with Mr. Kelley. We spent nine grand days with Homer. He left no stone unturned.
As you read through this extract you will notice that I have quoted many reference numbers. These reference numbers will explain in detail more information of what I am discussing and they can be located in “The Golfing Machine Book” by Homer Kelley. I was later introduced to "The Golfing Machine" teaching method and became a Dixie Section Senior Champion after only one golf lesson from The Golfing Machine book, the Secret of G.O.L.F.
As I write this I am just casting my mind back to how and when I first got involved with The Golfing Machine?
I never realized at that time at what an influence that this Golfing Machine and this man named Homer Kelley would have over my golf and yes my life to come. He has certainly been a great inspiration not only to me but so people world wide.
It was Tom Tomasello who was responsible for me going to Seattle in January, 1981 to study The Golfing Machine under Mr. Homer Kelley. It was an experience that has turned my entire teaching outlook around and has broadened my teaching ability to such a degree. It was unimaginable part of the time of what I thought I knew, I didn’t really didn’t know.
Mr. Kelley who wrote the book is a very unique individual himself. He is a Christian, retired aircraft employee with the Boeing Aircraft Company. His job with the company was a problem solver. If Boeing had a problem that they couldn’t solve Homer was the first person that they would call for.
This will gives you an inside to the kind of mind that the man has. Four years ago he went to a local golf professional in Seattle and took a golf lesson. The golf professional gave him a lesson and Mr. Kelley said “Fine, why do I have to do these things”. I am assuming that the golf professional would have told him the same thing that I would have said as that is the way you would have done it. But again the kind of inquisitive mind that Mr. Kelley had, he would not accept that so for the next forty years and actively engaged in writing the book for twenty-eight years he started delving into the golf swing.
What really impressed me when I was in his home in Seattle was that he did so much of his research in a very small one room besides a one car garage and he hit balls of a practice mat like you see at the driving range. These balls had been hit time after time to the extent that there weren’t any dimples left on them. He was hitting balls into a one time, a solid tarpaulin, it was now completely in shreds.
The edge of the platform that he stood on where he reached for and I would say millions of times, he would roll the ball up onto that platform to a point that it was worn just as smooth and round as a piece of granite.
It was amazing to just observe all these little things and the integrity of the man when he started talking to us. I didn’t ask Mr. Kelley how old he was as it was none of my business I didn’t really care but he was like the fountain of youth.
He would pick us up each morning at 9.00 am at the hotel and we would go to breakfast and starting from that point of time to 9.00 pm that night he never ceased talking Golf Machine talk. He would answer all and any questions we had. We all could not at any point in time come across anything about his “System” that was not justifiable. It and everything in the book is covered by Laws. As Homer Kelley states in the Preface in The Golfing Machine Book; “This book can support individual “MY Way” procedures but no “THE Way” theory. So this is not a method by a “System”.
This System is “Infallible” and for the first time in my life I have a System that I can teach. No matter what person walks through my door of my golf shop whether you are a “Hitter” or whether you are a “Swinger” it doesn’t make any difference what, age, sex, Religion you are, it makes absolutely no difference at all.
When you come into my golf shop and take a golf lesson you do not have to worry about a professional changing your golf swing. I am not going to make anyone out of something that they are not. We have simple things that we tell you to do and if you do these things it really does works. It was one day that Tommy Tomasello called into the Professional shop to see me. I can remember him saying to me “Alex, what are you doing with the Machine”. I said, “Well Tom, I have got it at home and every now and then I look at but I haven’t really done anything with it as I am just too busy”. Tom had called into sell me something as he work for a golf manufacturing company and he said to me that if I buy something from him then he will give me a golf lesson. We spent three to four hours together.
I think it may have been three or four months later somewhere in that vicinity that I won Three Professional Tournaments. Was it a miracle, had I learn something, yes I had, I not only learned it but I was able to do it.
It was about this time that Mr. Homer Kelley, who I have been closely in contact with since his untimely death in 1983, was going to hold a G.O.L.F. School for Authorized Instructors in The Golfing Machine as he felt that it was important that the Instructor had the theory behind all of this. You see, you as golfers don’t need to know this; you need the application side of things. You don’t need to know the mechanics of a car that is for the mechanic whereas you just need to jump in and drive the car.
So both Tom Tomasello and I went to Seattle and spent nine days each up to twelve hours every day. The days were so full of theory and towards the last days we actually did practical at the driving range.
Homer started the day by saying that it was a good idea to work along a list of 450 questions from the beginning to the end of The Golfing Machine Book. Homer said “The questions might be a little vague to you at this stage but you are going to get questions from students that aren’t to precise and I would like them answered whereby it goes into the Principle rather than same at the detail where a thing like this.
So that would be a thing that you can keep in mind when you answer the student. It would be the Concept and this is a thing I want to do as I am not teaching you professionals how to teach or how to play golf but just how to use the book and it’s like knowing all the numbers and get the basic principle”.
When Tom and I came back from this Class of 1981 we both conducted our very own Golfing Machine Schools together. Well if I may say so, we did an excellent job as students came from far around, from Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, and other States in search of the Truth about the golf stroke.
When Tom Tomasello and I flew into Seattle on January 1st 1981, Homer was waiting for us at the baggage claim. He was wearing his tweed woolen hat and sweater. I took him for an English nobleman. He was a noble man for sure.
He drove us to his humble home and at midnight he and Mrs. Sally Kelley were treating us to a glass of milk and chocolate chip cookies. We talked until the early hours of the morning. He then took us to our motel and he returned at 9:00 am next morning for us. It became a ritual. Promptly at 9:00 am each day he picked us up. We had had a bit of breakfast and were always ready and waiting for him.
For our lunch, he would take us to his favorite place he called the Beanerie. Everyone knew Homer and called him by name. Evidently, it was a ritual for him to eat lunch there.
First day of class Tommy and I had our tape recorders on ready; as we wanted to capture every word so we could review it in our own time at a late date.
Homer opened the day by saying, "So this very momentous occasion is under way. I am excited as anyone could be because I have been working on this for sometime". Tommy stopped him. He had forgotten to turn on his recorder. That being done Homer repeated his statement.
As this was the first class for Authorized Instructors, it was a special occasion for Homer and indeed, a very auspicious occasion.
The Following are Homer Kelley Opening Remarks
“For prosperity this is the First Official Class for Authorized Instructors in The Golfing Machine and a very momentous day for me and I hope you feel that way to. Present are, Tommy Tomasello, Alex Sloan and Larry Aspenson and we are going to Pioneer the presentation of this subject in a class like this and there will be as much discussion after presentation as there is material for a while, to get this presentation the way we think it will work. I have had a lot of doubters here but I am very very happy that you particular professionals are “The Pioneers”. You will be working with the curriculum. This is our premise. What you want and what I need is a curriculum like this or some kind to guide you along also.I think the student will get a lot out of it because they can see where they are, what’s left and where they are going and they will be checking the book, studying the book like you guys spend all your hours studying”.
Now the first session’s assignment is simply to read the Page “X” (The Golfing Machine Book). Has anyone any questions about these pages, or has anyone any favour of them or studying the reference list in Page “X”?
My very first Golfing Machine Book was the Forth Edition and was sent to me by Mr. Ben Doyle (USPGA, GSED). This particular book was the one I took to Seattle for the course. Ben had written me a nice note in it. I would bump into Ben on trips to Augusta during the practice rounds. He always carried a book wherever he went. One day I was standing behind him on the practice range. We were watching Davis Love getting a lesson from his father Davis Love 11.
I casually said, "Wow, look at that well trained Pressure Point #3". Ben jumped around to see who said that and when he saw me he shook my hand and we continued watching Davis Love bomb the ball out of the range
I actually had that 4th Edition of The Golfing Machine Book with me during the class. I mentioned to Homer that what was being read from the book did not agree with the book that I had. He checked my book and reached up and grabbed a new book and gave it to me. Homer gave me the current 5th Edition.
When I look at my 5th Edition Book today as I write about this monumental event it is so tattered, it is hanging together by a thread after all its use. Page after page has lines yellow highlights of things I want to recall.Homer had a very technical curriculum that we followed day by day and each night Tom and I spent hours into the night studying for next day’s class.
One thing Homer told us in class about conveying the information; we are limited only by our imagination.
My preparation for going to See Homer, I was to know much. We had to study up and familiarize ourselves with the Table of Contents, all titles of Chapter 2 (The Statement of Principle) and what was under each of the Twenty-Four Basic Stroke Components (Chapter 7) and a working knowledge of the Glossary of Terms.
I spent the month of December filling up legal pads with notes learning all of this. And when we were in class, Homer never tested me on any of it. He would lecture daily on each of the Twenty-Four Basic Stroke Components in detail. He fully covered the Three Essentials (Steady Head, Rhythm, Balance) and Three Imperatives (Flat Left Wrist, Clubhead Lag Pressure Point, Straight Plane Line). He mentioned that he almost put the Essential “Rhythm” as an Imperative but then decided to keep it as an Essential.
When we were with Homer in 1981, he told us he came within a gnat’s hair of placing Rhythm as an Imperative. On his last hour on earth he again talked about Rhythm and how it is what gives us the great compression on a solid Impact
When we discussed the suggested Stroke Pattern in the book Homer said he was sorry to have put Snap Loading (10-22-C) as the desired Loading Action. He now felt Random Sweep (10-22-B) was much better but once he put something in the book he would not change it. He might remove it but not change it as was done in the 7th Edition for Zone Three with Component 10 (Hinge Action).
Hinge Action was in Zone #3 (Hands - Direction) in the 6th Edition but was taken out of Zone #3 in the 7th Edition and put under Zone #2 (Arms - Power). I do not believe Homer would ever have made that change based on what he told us about Snap Loading.
The curriculum which he gave us to use when working with students was far too technical for most students to comprehend. It was a very technical curriculum indeed. The people I gave it to soon lost interest. I came to realize I had to simplify it a little for the masses. Had I tried to jam it down their throats, I would have lost all students.
While we were there with Homer we asked him how his game had developed. He said he stopped playing for working on so many things. Also, his eye sight started to decline and he could not follow the ball in flight.
I can that I talked with Homer one particular day in 1982 and he was so excited. Three of the local Professionals in the Seattle area had persuaded him to go play with them. He was 76 at time. He would not give any score on his game. His remark to me on how he played, "The old man surprised them." He had told us in 1981 when he was 75 that he had gotten to the point where he could hit professional type golf shots.
Another thing I learned the hard way. When working with adult men, they did want to hear the terminology Homer gave us to use. It quickly turned them off so I had to change the names a little bit. Ben Doyle had warned us to that when he came to Alabama and lectured us in 1980. On the other hand, young students would accept the terminology. As they are used to hearing new things in school constantly I had no trouble with them. Only the adults of say thirty-five and up for the most part may have trouble with the terminology. I can usually tell if I use Homer’s terminology if it turns some one off. I quickly use some other way to make the explanation.
Of course what Mr. Kelley was trying to do was to eliminate the ambiguity of the English language a tough thing to do. There had never been a golf language before so Homer wanted this terminology to distinguish golfing terms so there would be a golf language all of itself that all players would recognize.
Homer was ALWAYS open for discussion when I would give him a phone call. He never rushed me to get off the phone. He seemed to relish each call so much. Consequently, I never hesitated to call him.
For a man of 75 years of age he seemed tireless in his lectures. But, at the close of the day, I could see fatigue. He would drop us off nightly at 9:00 P.M. at our motel. It was a full twelve hour day for the man. At the end of the day he was exhausted but he tried to hide it.
He was like a Mr. Milk-toast. By that I mean he was the gentlest man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Nothing ever caused him to raise his voice or change his way. He just stayed on an even keel constantly. His phone would ring while we were sitting in front of him in class; he would answer the phone and never rushed the caller but patiently answered what ever question that was being asked.
One day Homer called me. He had just completed compiling The Basic Motion curriculum (12-5-0) and he was very excited about it. I like to use the Basic Motion Curriculum for individual beginner students as it worked great. Homer told me he thought this would become more famous than the book. I follow Homer's suggestions to the tee. I can recall Mrs. Kelley saying to me years after Homer’s untimely death in 1983 that I was the only person who taught as close to the way Homer taught.
Homer started his 40 year research to find out why he had that one great low round after he completed his lessons. Once he discovered that it was his Flat Left Wrist he knew he was on his way. He would work with a student and if that student had a problem with a Bent Left Wrist through the Impact Interval, Mr. Kelley would never give that person another lesson till he could maintain a Flat Left Wrist. A Flat Left wrist is the number one imperative of the golf stroke (Chapter-2). Does that give you any indication to what Homer thought?
One day while we were there we went to his "range" and hanging on a nail was a string with a wood head of an iron. He went into the yard and told us to watch what he was about to demonstrate and as soon as he got the twist got out of the string he swung it around his head time and again on a swing plane arc.
Once I recognized what he wanted us to see I was truly amazed. The iron head came through in perfect Horizontal Hinging every time with Perfect Alignment. Then I begin to see the value of Centrifugal Force. Now I call it "your friend". If we can swing with out too much tension and allow Centrifugal Force to do its thing, we will have great Alignment every time if we have a good grip.
I then realized how trick shot artist could hit balls with a club head attached to a rope. Centrifugal Force was doing its job. If we allow it to happen and do not violate the "Endless Belt” (2-K), we can achieve the same result with little effort.
One of the big moments for me was when he had asked, not expecting an answer, what function the knees played in the golf stroke and I immediately replied,, "To keep the head still". He froze and then turned and made notes on a legal pad he kept ready at all times for notes and then turned to us again and said "Now, why did I not say that?" It came out in the next Edition of the book in those exact words. I am pleased to have added something.
This was so long ago now. I will say this, when I saw Mr. Kelley again in 1983 as we were gong into the Georgia PGA Spring Meeting, I was amazed at how much he had aged in the two years. Of course, I had no idea this was the last time I would be with him. We were on the way to Santee, South Carolina, and he was going to teach a school for twenty golf professionals. Sadly to say, we never made it.
Homer talked at length to us about “The Endless Belt Effect” (2-K) and it was not until I got home from Seattle that I fully appreciated what he had told us. I was on the range hitting balls one day and I started thinking about this. The message I share with all my students is this. Once we start the swing, we must do nothing to try to increase the belt speed before impact. This is established at start down.
I was very guilty of trying to increase belt speed just before impact. As Homer explained it, we will get an increase in club head speed for a brief time but during the impact interval, the club head will actually be slowing down. We want to have the same belt speed from Start-Up (8-4) to the Finish (8-12). Once I was able to do this, it made such a tremendous difference. The lesson is this; do NOT try to add clubhead speed during the release interval. Keep hand speed constant. Once I realized all this, I started calling it the “Million Dollar” golf lesson. Hitting or swinging it is the same.
The only difference is, “Hitters” are accelerating from a slow Start-Down where “Swingers” are starting from a quick Start-Down. I now think only of swinging from Start-Up (8-4) to Finish (8-12) at one constant speed with instant acceleration as a Swinger, Longitudinal Acceleration, Accumulator #4 Motion, Pulling the club through Impact.
For Hitters, it is from a shorter Backstroke, so the Pressure Point #3 does not rotate. With Radial Acceleration, a slow Start-Down (8-7) accelerating through to a shorter Finish with a strong active Right Elbow, Accumulator #1Motion pushes the club through Impact.
I found one picture of me and Homer and Tom Tomasello together in side of his small work area. I am standing in his swing plane and Homer has his back to the camera. I am sorry for that. It was not a posed photo. Behind Homer was the tarp. He hit balls into. In the book it looks solid but what we saw were shreds of it.
Behind Tommy was the string with the iron head on it. The platform I am standing on reminded me of ancient Grecian temples where the marble steps were rounded off from countless times of people using them. The front of Homer’s platform, made of a 2X4, looked the same way. Rounded off from the million’s of times of racking a ball up to hit with the club he was using.
I see no reason why “Execution” (3-F-6) should not apply to everyone and every club on every shot. Homer made the comment that a person may do anything they wish if it produces the desired results.
The unfortunate thing about this statement, many golfers think their way is THE way because they hit a good shot every now and then with no consistency. I am sold on 3-F-6 (Execution) for all shots.
There is a small picture of Homer's back and Tom Tomasello who you will recognize and myself standing in Homer's “Swing Plane”. You can see the small size of the room we are in. That was Homer's driving range.
In the book in some pictures you have a view of the tarp he hit balls into. When we saw the tarp in 1981, it was tattered and in shreds. His range balls had no dimples. Worn off from the many times he had hit them.
Homer, Tommy and I, made up a “Machine” while we were together in Seattle as pictured on in 1-L (Page 10) in The Golfing Machine text book. Tommy made up a small one he used to carry around with him when we did the golf schools together in later years. He put small signs all over the face of the plastic surface that represented the Plane 2-F (Plane of Motion, Physics of rotation and so forth. Actually it isn’t very difficult to make one yourself.
Homer says the ball is gone long before the club reaches Low Point, but, you want to try to have an out of line condition at low Point, meaning, Flat Left Wrist but the Left Arm and Clubshaft have yet to become in line. “Clubhead LAG” this is the secret of Golf.
When Tom Tomasello and I started doing Golfing Machine schools, one day he made the remark, if you want to learn something, teach it. Truer words were never spoken. And I love it. We continue to learn through our experiences as no two students are alike as we very well know.
Mr. Kelley says Start-Down should be INSTANT Acceleration. From my point of view, this means what it says. For me, pivot speed has a LOT to do with this. Age has slowed my body motion and thusly distances loss. Again, from my point of view, working on being able to try to maintain pivot speed is essential.
Homer stressed distance first, accuracy second. Before going to see Homer, I was working in reverse. I had stressed accuracy first. First thing I changed in my teaching was this? Power first followed then by accuracy. I still have to bite my tongue at times as in the back of my mind is still the old way of thinking.
I had called Homer one day and he was very excited. He had just completed his work on Basis Motion Curriculum (12-5-0). His words to me were that he thought this may become more important than the book itself. Of course, I did not think so but I never told him. The book is needed as you cover the stages. With all new golfers, this is how I proceed, I strongly suggest they have the book then explain Stage One (12-5-1) of the Basic Motion Curriculum, and assign home work in the book and on the tee. It works every time.
As I browse through The Golfing Machine Book I keep finding subtle things said by Homer that refers to the Right Wrist. The Right Wrist never cocks, it only bends. Homer was very emphatic about this and we all discussed it at length. Here we referred to Chapters four and five a great deal as “Educated Hands” were so important. I can always remember Homer saying that the Hands are not educated until they controlled the Pivot. This was a Hands controlled pivot stroke
Homer has a way of saying subtle little things of great importance that is easily overlooked if we are not careful.
In regards to the position of the Left Wrist as the club sits behind the ball. Hold your left hand up to eye level without a club in your hand. Palm facing your eyes. Hand in the grip position as though holding a club. Now, watch your hand as you go from fully cocked to fully UN-cocked which is a perpendicular motion only and do this slowly.
There will be a position of the Left Wrist that is in what Homer called the "Level" position. This is when the top of the Left Thumb and Left Wrist are in line with one another. That is where Homer said it should be at address, in the "Level" position.
Adjusting your address posture as needed to acquire this while adhering to the Alignments as described in 2-J-1. Once I learned to maintain a 'Motionless" Right Wrist, I had to hold the club slightly off the ground at address. If I soled the club, I was setting myself up for "fat" or "heavy" shots rather than a flush solid impact as we do not want to reach full UN-cock till the ball is gone and we are approaching the 45 Deg. position as we are executing the desired hinge action for that particular shot.
I am about to say something only as it was explained to us by Homer. I recall this because Tom Tomasello was so impressed with what Homer told us. Tom had been telling his students to cock both the left and right wrist. Homer stopped him. Homer was very emphatic about this to get Tom's attention. Homer said the right wrist NEVER cocks. It may only bend. We talked on this subject for quite some time. So, since January of 1981, I have never used the words right wrist cock, only right wrist bend
Here are a few thoughts on the grip. Firstly, Homer was very emphatic that the Pressure Point #3 and Left Thumb be in the same alignment aft of the shaft. For years it has been said that the Left Thumb be on top of the shaft. Homer said this did nothing but support the shaft at the top of the swing. If it were in Alignment with Pressure Point #3, it gave the strongest support for impact during release.
Another point that I would like to make is to be very sure that the heel of the left hand is above or on top of the shaft. During one of my schools for golf professionals, I had one very tall student who had his grip in his left hand along the life line. With the club in this position, it weakens the Accumulator #3 SIGNIFICANTLY. I show this in the classes by zeroing out Accumulator #3 and them turning the left forearm to the right and left. As this is done the clubhead does not move. Now, by dropping the hands so there is the required angle with a Level Left Wrist (4-B-1) and then turn the left forearm to the right and to the left, the club will swing through a significant arc.
When we study the words of Homer he advocates VVA (10-2-B) which I have used for years. With a TVA Grip Type )10-2-D) the Right Hand is the key hand as it should be in keeping the club on plane and maintaining the correct alignment of clubface, in my opinion.
For years I have told students that the Right Hand is the key hand, not the left. We either have a good grip based on how we place the Right Hand on the club or we mess it up. Most golfers are guilty of placing the little finger of the right hand on first and then curling the rest of the fingers around the grip. This produces many bad Alignments. I want the palm of the Right Hand placed on the left thumb being sure the left thumb in located in relation to the Pressure Point #3, not down the top of the shaft as the old timers used to preach. The Left Thumb and Pressure Point #3 must be aligned together. Homer was very emphatic about this in class.
With VVA, this means the Left Thumb has to be curled around to the right of the shaft to get it so located. This is a very unnatural feeling in the beginning. For the girls, because of their lack of strength in their hands and grips and forearms, it is natural to curl the Left Hand a bit farther to the right and not have it in the Vertical position to the ground plane. But, it is imperative they work on keeping their right hand Vertical so it will have the correct relationship to the club face.
I want to see the Right Hand in the Vertical to the ground plane regardless of the Left Hand location. I tell all my junior golfers to use the strong Left Hand Grip and as they get older and stronger they will find out they will have to gradually adjust their grip for better ball control as Homer tells us. Their Left Hand will have to be gradually moved to the Vertical position as well as their right hand so the Vertical (Left Hand positioned Vertical to the ground) Vertical (Right Hand positioned vertical to the ground) Aft (Pressure Point #3 on the behind the club) (VVA) position will be achieved.
At the finish of the stroke you want your students to hold the Finish Position (8-12) of the swing with the left thumb under the shaft. Homer talked about this a lot. He said the left thumb should be in line with the #3 Pressure Point and if it is the thumb cannot be under the shaft at the finish but aft of the shaft.
The Left Thumb and Pressure Point #3 remains in the same position on the shaft regardless at what point it is viewed in the swing. What might give a different view to it is the condition of the Left Wrist. Regardless, they are always aft of the shaft on the same Alignment.
When Mr. Kelley was showing us this for the first time, I made the comment, "I cannot do that" referring to the left thumb position. His comeback to me was simply, "How many times have you heard a student say that?" Swingers may complete the swing with a Flat Left Wrist but it is doubtful “Hitters” ever will because of their Angled Hinging. I encourage my swingers to keep a Flat Left wrist at all times from Start-Up to Finish. Some do some do not.
This is the Precision destination from The Top ((8-6) to the Finish (9-12). Those that do not are not keeping a "Motionless" Right Wrist and fail to have the Secondary Swivel (From Follow-Through to the Finish) discussed in 2-G. I told Mr. Kelley he had a contorted left thumb.
One thing Homer told us in class about conveying the information; we are limited only by our imagination.
One thing I want to share with you. The first two or three days I was with Homer I kept saying something that made him flinch. Each time I used the word "Position", he would flinch. On about the third day he stopped after I had used that word and made this speech. "Position is what we get when we take a still picture. It is not something we use when talking about the golf swing. As the golf swing is a moving experience using the golf club, it is not an accumulation of positions." Rather than say "Position", let us say "Alignment". This was a very important statement from Homer and never again have I ever used that word when talking to a student or about the golf swing. I always use the word "Alignment." He said it is "Alignments and Relationships." So for what this is worth I share this with you all. I have just left the You- Tube website and heard a professional use the word "Position" over and over. Each time I recalled what Homer had said to me.
I do not think Homer had a preference for “Hitting” or “Swinging”. He certainly made us aware of them and said it was an individual thing. It was a great revelation from my point of view and is a huge thing for students to know the difference and see how they do best and then go full force with that.
Homer stressed many times that everyone is different and therefore they have their own idiosyncrasy to deal with. It is mine and every other professional’s job to assist any way that we can once they know about “Hitting” or “Swinging” and help them make the decision what they want to do. That is not an easy job. Many golfers, even though we spend hours talking to them, cannot decide. It is a tough decision for many but for others, easy.
A huge item Homer made with me, he told me I would NEVER be a “Hitter”. He said it was because I permitted my Pressure Point #3 to rotate at the Top. This is a NO NO for “Hitters”. For this reason, “Hitters” backswing is shorter. They, according to Homer’s plan, must never let the Pressure Point #3 Rotate. I had a man call me from California and talk for 45 minutes one night. I do not know if the man was a “Hitter” or not but he wanted to know what it meant for the Pressure point #3 to rotate. When I explained it to him, he was perplexed. It was so simple; I think at first he doubted me. Anyway, this simple thing of Pressure Point #3 and not letting it rotate if you want to be a “Hitter” is huge. This is just another Gem from Homer.
We went to the golf practice range of the Seattle Country Club; it was a rainy Friday afternoon. This was where Ben Doyle (USPGA, GSED) was the golf professional when Homer went to see him. Homer wanted Ben to evaluate his work. We also went to other ranges and putting greens.
On one of the trips to a range the three of us, Tom, Larry and I got together and decided to have some fun with Homer. We decided to hit balls in unison with one another. On the first shot we each hit a hook shot. On the next shot we would hit slices and on the next one the one in the middle would hit a straight shot and the ones on the ends hit a slice and a hook. We enjoyed seeing the balls crossing in flight doing all we could and we were limited only by our imagination.
When we returned to Homers home to go back to the classroom, the first thing Homer did was to find where his wife Sally was and with a huge grin he explained to her what he had seen us all do at the range. It was the first time he had seen golf professionals work the ball as he had explain in class and see it in action. He was ecstatic with joy. It made our day and we had a great time doing it.
It would have been so good if we had a video of these visits. He stood behind me at one trip to the range and requested me to use a “Hitting” technique with my driver. The point was he wanted to be sure we could demonstrate this to our students. I thought I was doing a great job. Homer was standing behind me shaking his head left to right and clicking his tongue. This was not good. He did not like what he saw. Why? I was over swinging and rotating Pressure Point #3. As a “Hitter” the stroke is shorter and the hands are at Right Shoulder height or just below and Pressure Point #3 is behind the grip not under it in the case of a “Swinger”. Once he explained this to me, I realized I could not be a Hitter and it made me very aware of what to watch for while watching students trying hitting.
Homer Kelley was born in Clayton, Kansas on the 3rd August 1907 and passed away on Valentines Day, 14th February, 1983 at the age of seventy-six. His untimely death has been a great loss to the golfing world. There is so much more that we could have learnt about the Golf Stroke. There are so many questions that we needed to ask him.
There was a packed house of golf professionals that come from far and wide within the state of Georgia to see and hear Homer talk. They thought they were going to get a lesson from Homer Kelley. First thing Homer said was that I did not come here to give you a lesson but to explain why the “System” works.
I do not know how many golf Professionals got the important message that day but Homer was conveying a very important message. I have listened to the tape I made that day of Homer’s presentation many times and then made up the test to pass on to those I gave a copy of the tape.
Tommy Tomasello had signed up twenty golf professionals to take a special school from Homer in Santee, S.C. Homer at first rebelled because of the numbers. His classes all consisted of no more than ten attendees. He had signed up ten for our class with him the first week of January of 1981 but only three of us showed up. None of the others had the manners to call him and tell him they would not be there.
Anyway I will continue about the story of the class for twenty. I called Homer and talked to him about the class. I asked him if he would allow me to video the class. He said it was a grand idea. He said, "I will not be around for ever." Little did we know how prophetic those words would be? He said with the video, you will then have it to use for classes down the road. It was the days before color video.
Dave Smith of the Vestavia Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, had been to see me and I had been to his club to hold a class, he was going with us. Dave Smith had borrowed a camera and I had a box of VCR tapes to use. Unfortunately, it never came to pass. Homer never made it to Santee.
We had planned to drive on the Santee, South Carolina the next day. It is quite a distance East of where we were in Georgia. Probably full days drive at least.
So, instead, because of Homer’s death, we all got in the car and returned to Alabama. My wife and I got tickets to fly to Seattle for the funeral. We stayed in Seattle for several days.
We decided to take advantage of being there so we rented a car and drove to Canada and did a bit of sight seeing. I wanted to drive up into the rain forest on the West Coast of Washington State but after driving most of the day to get there I got on the road that would have taken us up into the mountains to see it, after driving ten miles up this road, a barrier was across it saying a bridge was out. That was after having driven for at least five hours. I back tracked and continued to drive around the sound.
An interesting thing, west of the mountain top the rain fall is about two hundred inches a year and just across the mountain top to the East, it averages seventeen inches of rain a year. I did stop and view a mountain stream coming down the side of the mountain. The water was ice cold from the melt off from a glacier. I did see ferns as large as our house. This alone made the driving worth it. I had read about the rain forest in grade school and wanted to see it so much.
I often think back to those days with Homer as it brings back a lot of things to my mind Homer told us. I do miss him.
I would frequently pick up the phone and call him and quiz him on this or that and he had the patience of Job, as the old saying goes.
While we were in class with him, the phone would ring and it would be a golfer asking questions and he never rushed because of the class but slowly and patiently answered what ever the question may have been. I had the pleasure and privilege to do this for two years before we lost him.
How did I feel on Homer’s death?
I felt all the emotions you can imagine under the circumstances. Lost was probably the strongest. What do I do now? It must goes ON from there.
Sadness came when we, Mrs. Sloan and I, got to Homer’s home and went in and met the family. Mac O'Grady had picked us up at the airport. He talked all the way to the Kelley home.
Tom always called and talked with Homer about anything he was going to say or print to be sure he was on the right track. You will gain good stuff from it. Tom and I always wanted to be sure we were right on track with what we were doing in our schools together.
Joe Daniels the President of The Golfing Machine LLC came to interview me in late of 2008. I am not sure what Joe's intentions are with the video and the interview he did of me on a visit to Alabama. He said it would be edited and I am sure quite a bit of what I said will be cut as I rambled on at times.
On the 3rd December 2008 at The Golfing Machine Teaching Summit which was the fortieth Anniversary of The Golfing Machine, the video of my Interview with Joe was played at the opening dinner. It was about my memories and association with Homer Kelley.
I had mentioned to Joe Daniels that on one of my trips to Montgomery, Alabama to teach celebrities who had come from California with Goober Lindsey. Goober was hosting the Special Olympics money raising golf tournament. He raised several million dollars over the years. I and a couple of other golf professionals were invited down to work with any celebrity who might want a golf lesson. One of them was a man who was in charge of Golf Hall of Fame. I mentioned Homer Kelley to him planting a seed, I had hoped.
It is amazing to me also what Homer accomplished. When I went into his "driving range", the small one room beside his garage, I picked up one of his practice balls and guess what; he had worn all the dimples off. How many times does it take hitting a ball to do this? When I returned for his funeral, I went out to the "range" and picked up all the balls that were left and sealed them up in a small box.
I labeled the box and forwarded them to Joe Daniels, SAVE, THESE BELONG IN THE HALL OF FAME ALONG WITH HOMER.
He was very excited about the idea of working on the Hall of Fame for Homer.
It is hard for us to comprehend how one man could stay so focused for such a long time on one thing and stay with it for over forty years.
That same man died in the presence of over 100 PGA Golf Professionals who had come to spend the day and hopefully get a lesson from the great man.
Most of the times when I recall that day I also recall the speech President Franklin Roosevelt gave when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. I was home alone and had the radio on and was bouncing a ball. I can recall this as if it were only yesterday. I was 12 at the time in December of 1941. President Roosevelt told about the bombing of Pearl Harbor then said” This will be a day of infamy." Those were the words of President Roosevelt and the same thing was and is true when Homer collapsed and dropped dead in front of me and so many others.
However, Homer had completed his mission and unraveled the mysteries of the golf swing. And done this in a way no other sole past or present or future has done or will ever do. He has given us the tools to work with.
Homer told another thing that I would like to share. His vision was to have Authorized Golfing Machine Instructors coast to coast and if you were to take four golf lessons as you cross the country from an Authorized Instructor, the only difference you should notice about the information you receive would be their individual interpretation of the information. That was his dream. And as the years have passed and I look and see the progression of The Golfing Machine today I can categorically say, “Homer, yes, your dream has come true”.
Homer never really got the recognition that he truly deserved and it is only now all these years after his untimely death that his sheer genius is being recognized and golfers world-wide are benefiting from what he achieved.
I say all this because Homer Kelley was the most dedicated man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with and study under.
I look up high on the pedestal into the eyes of the great man, Homer Kelley.
Thank You Homer