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The man who turned around Greg Norman's game after Norman went two years without a win passes along the most valuable lessons he has learned and taught in his years in the game. Harmon shows how to achieve a winning edge through a balanced approach to the four parts of a successful golf game--the swing, putting, mental preparation and course management, and physical conditioning. 80 photos.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||7.68(w) x 9.58(h) x 0.91(d)|
About the Author
Greg Norman is one of the most popular, charismatic, and successful athletes in history, and his passion for family, golf, business, and adventure has endeared him to fans around the globe. In addition to his remarkable achievements on the golf course, his successes in the business world have been equally impressive. As chairman and CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises, Norman has established an elite international business.
Read an Excerpt
My Game and Yours
ON LEARING GOLF, PLAYING GOLF, AND TEACHING PEOPLE HOW TO PLAY GOLF
On April 11, 1948, members of two prestigious golf clubs -- Seminole in North Palm Beach, Florida, and Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York-clanged glasses of champagne, guzzled beer, sipped Scotch whisky, and sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" at their respective 19th holes into the wee hours of the morning, to celebrate the great achievement of one of their own. Claude Harmon, the same pro who taught them on Sunday mornings how to cure a vicious slice or splash the ball out of sand, had just won the highly coveted Masters championship.
I was 4 years old at the time of my father's victory. I was staying in Augusta, Georgia, where the Masters is played every year, with my mom and dad. Dad came in late after a night of celebration. According to my mom, when he returned, he covered me with the green jacket they give to the Masters winner, a gesture that made perfect sense since Dad always shared everything with his family.
Played over the hilly and highly demanding Augusta National Golf Club course, the Masters, along with the U.S. Open, the PGA, and the British Open, is one of golf's four major championships. For a big-name pro to win this prestigious event was one thing. That was expected. What wasn't expected was a little-known self-taught pro shooting a recordtying score of 279, over 72 holes, to beat his nearest rival, Cary Middlecoff, by five strokes, and such seasoned stars as Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, and Gene Sarazen, by even bigger margins. According to star gazers and golf aficionados, this wasn't supposed to happen. Afterall, club pros watch the bad swings of members all day long, have little time to practice, and are not accustomed to playing under pressure. Claude Harmon sure proved the press, and all other doubters, wrong.
Over the years I asked my dad, hundreds of times, about that victory -- how he clinched it with a birdie, birdie, eagle run on holes 6, 7, and 8 of the final round -- and, as always, he was very modest in his explanation. Instead of taking full credit for shooting scores of 70, 69, and 70, he repeatedly thanked Craig Wood, his former boss at Winged Foot, for teaching him a lot about golf swing technique. Ironically, Wood was the head professional at Winged Foot when he, too, won a Masters -- his in 1941.
Prior to the 1948 Masters, Wood shared his local knowledge about Augusta National with Dad, and told him which shots he should practice. Consequently, Dad was ready for battle.
According to Dad, another reason he was able to hit such spectacular shots and shoot under par the final day to clinch the Masters was that he worked at Seminole and Winged Foot: two clubs with world-class courses that forced him to become an accurate striker of the ball and an inventive shotmaker. To put it simply, at both courses, but at Winged Foot particularly, you had to hit straight drives to avoid playing an approach shot through trees; you had to be a master of sand and an expert chipper and pitcher too, if you wanted to save par from close by the greens.
There are two courses at Winged Foot Golf Club, the West and the East, both designed in 1923 by Albert W. Tillinghast, an architectural genius with a flair for hazards.
Both courses, situated on rolling terrain, feature tree-lined fairways and undulated greens of sundry shapes and sizes. The East Course has been the venue for two women's United States Open championships. The West Course, the longer and the most famous of this dynamic duo, has hosted four United States Open Golf Championships: in 1929, 1959, 1974, and 1984. Both courses are very challenging. The West, however, is the one that demands the greatest degree of controlled length off the tee. It demands cool nerves, too, when hitting approach shots through shoots of tall oak trees to elevated greens surrounded by steep-faced bunkers.
The Seminole Golf Club was started by E. E Hutton, whose Wall Street cronies, along with the duPonts, Baruchs, Kennedys, Phippses, and other socialite families, popularized this winter wonderland. The fact that His Royal Highness, the Duke of Windsor, cited Seminole as one of his favorite courses made the Palm Beach club an even more special place.
The Seminole golf course was designed by Donald Ross, the renowned course architect whose other most famous works include Pinehurst Number Two in North Carolina, Oakland Hills in Michigan, Inverness and Scioto in Ohio, and Oak Hill in New York.
In building Seminole, Ross was influenced by the layout of Royal Dornoch, a spectacular course located in Dornoch, Scotland, his hometown.
One of Ross's trademarks, and a throwback to Dornoch, was the crown green at the top of an upslope. There are several of those to test even the nerves of scratch players and visiting pros at Seminole.
Ross had a flair for creating hazards, too, which is why the numerous pure white sand traps, all strategically placed around Seminole's fairly long layout, are no surprise. Should you be fortunate and play Seminole one day, you'll never forget the 16th hole, a dogleg-right par four that features a sea of sand surrounding a green that has the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop.
Because of my father, I was lucky to be able to play at these great courses with some of the greatest names in golf.
By the time I was 6 years old, I had a club in my hand, a shortened 7-wood that my father gave me. Dad told me to swing this club as hard as I could, because he always believed, as I do now, that it's easier to get a student to slow down his swing later in life than it is to get him to speed it up.
Early on, I was taught the basic fundamentals by my dad and his assistant at Winged Foot, Jack Burke, Jr., another fine player who went on to win the 1956 Masters and PGA championships.
When I was 8, Dad encouraged me to learn to play under pressure. He'd have me challenge the members at Seminole when they played the par-four 6th hole near our on-course home. I would drop a ball down about a hundred yards from the green, then bet the members a package of Life Savers that I could "get home."
As I grew older, I learned much more about the art of shotmaking and scoring. Dad's assistants -- Mike Souchak, Dick Mayer, and Dave Marr, who all went on to win major championships -- shared swing secrets with me. Tommy Armour, one of the all-time greats from Scotland, and Craig Wood both taught me some things about shotmaking as well. Dad, however, who incidentally held the course records at both Winged Foot courses with a score of 61, remained my chief mentor, particularly when it came to the subject of practice.
Like Ben Hogan, Dad was big on practice. Unlike Hogan, however, he didn't spend most of his hours trying to perfect the golf swing. Most of his time was spent practicing the short game. That was also what he encouraged me to do.
When I asked him why he had me hit so many chips, pitches, and sand shots, he explained that 65 percent of all shots are played from 100 yards in from the green.
My practice sessions with Dad were anything but run of the mill. To prepare me for serious competition, he'd have me hit shag bags of balls from different lies: chips and pitches from manicured fairway grass, light rough, deep rough, hardpan, and divot holes. In addition, he'd have me experiment with different clubs.
Furthermore, with the goal in mind to teach me how to become a creative shotmaker, he'd have me set the clubface square, open, or closed, so I would learn how the ball reacted in the air and on the ground.
When it came time to practice sand shots, I didn't learn how to recover from only good lies. I had to play from buried lies, downhill lies, uphill lies, and sidehill lies. Also, Dad would have me hit shots from bunkers using a 4- or 5-iron. That drill taught me
Table of Contents
My Game and Yours
On learning golf playing golf, and teaching people bow to play golf
Ball striking, short game, mental side/course management, and physical conditionig
Like Father, Like Son
The swing secrets my dad taught me
On the Lesson Tee
What I taught Greg Norman, Davis III and U.S. Amateur champion Tiger Woods can help you break your scoring barrier
Serious Faults and Simple Fixes
You can cure golf's most serious shotmaking faults the too fast-swing, the top, the sky, the duck book the slice, and the shank