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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Champagne Tony Lema

Tony Lema just might have become one of the greats of the game had he not been killed in a plane crash. His book, Champagne Tony's Golf Tips, lay on a bindery platform ready for shipment as he perished that Sunday in 1966. He never had a chance to hold the final product in his hands.

You just never know. The older I get, and the more I play golf, the more I am inclined to wonder about predestination, or fate, as did Bobby Jones. It may all just be a great coincidence, or accident, but you really have to wonder. But I digress.

What I picked up from Tony's book was that he was yet another top hand player, who believed the key to success was the back of the left hand, and therefore the clubface, driving straight down the target line through impact. He had plenty of company among the greats of the game in this respect--Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus...

He also stressed balance as being key. And I liked what he wrote about the stance. He suggested that, for the full shots, you place your feet as you would if you were going to do deep knee bends. That is the most balanced and stable stance for any of us. I tried it and found it to be great advice. I have been inclined to use the Hogan stance, often toeing the front foot out as much as forty five degrees, and squaring up my back foot. This effectively shortened my swing and restricted my hip turn.

It's funny how you never stop learning in this game.