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Born August 6, 1922 in West Haven, Connecticut – Died in May 14, 2018
Doug Ford turned professional in 1949 and won 19 PGA Tour events including two majors, the Masters in 1957 and the PGA in 1955.
He also played in four ryder cup teams in 1955, 1957, 1959, and 1961.
As a youngster Doug Ford was an excellent baseball player, and was given a contract offer to join the New York Yankees.
Ford had an excellent swing, although some might say a little short on the backswing.
Ford was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
William Earl Casper Jr. (June 24, 1931 – February 7, 2015)
Casper built his game as working as a caddie and earning money to buy his golf balls and equipment.
He emerged from the junior golf scene of San Diego, California having been started by his father at the age of five.
Casper turned professional in 1954 and went on to record 51 PGA Tour wins, with his first coming in 1956.
Although not short off the tee, Casper was never able to achieve the length that fellow competitors of the sixties Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer had at their disposal. Instead, he was known as one of the best putters and chippers of his era.
The swing of Casper had one or two mannerisms, which some teachers may see as a fault. It started with a very strong left-hand position with the thumb set very much on the right of the grip. He also held the clubface square to the ball for a longer period than most in his start away from the ball. Nevertheless, he started forward in the right sequence and releases the clubhead naturally through the ball.
Casper was a member of the United States team in the Ryder Cup eight times: 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, and a non-playing captain in 1979. His fierce competetive spirit helped him to score more points than any other American player in the biennial events history.His reward and recognition for such a fine career was finally given to him in 1978 when he was inaugerated into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Born February 26, 1947
There are two things that come to mind when thinking of Steve Melnyk. One is the Amateur champion who devastated the field hitting the ball a mile with his huge body frame. The other is the popular on course reporter who worked for CBS and ABC television in the seventies and eighties.
The Steve Melnyk that I want to discuss is the one who was never able to emulate the same playing standards as an amateur after he joined the professional ranks.
Rather than sharing my limited thoughts on the man from Brunswick,Georgia I am going to use a wonderful article Irv Schloss published 40 years ago.
Take a step back in the past with this wonderful articleWhen Steve Melnyk won the United States Amateur Championship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last August, it was neither a fluke, nor unexpected. Melnyk had been gaining stature, almost minute by minute, as he led the golf team of the university of Florida to victory, time after time, during his last two college years.
The set of pictures that accompany my words testify to the soundness of his swing. It is difficult to fault it in any way. As a matter of fact according to my standards, it has superstar quality.
Oakmont has the reputation of being one of the best tests of golf in the United States. Melnyk is one of only a few players, professional or amateur, ever to par it for four rounds in a national competition. According to Steve he was at his very best in winning the United States Amateur. I was there and can testify. He just looked great.
While the accompanying photographs tell a very accurate story I must add thet Steve`s tempo, during the week of the championship, was superb. Tempo cannot be documented by still photographs, but it could be seen if you were able to look at the strip of cine film from these photographs that were printed( supplied in this article).
Confidence and good tempo go hand in hand. When a player has confidence he swings leisurely. A leisurely swing CANNOT be practiced by slowing down.
There is a difference-and I would state it this way. I once watched Ben Hogan practicing. In thirty minutes he hits three balls. When he did get to hitting one, he approached it with all the confidence in the world, as if to say,
"Little ball; you're going for a long ride when I get good and ready to swing." That is quite different from the player lacking in confidence who, when he strikes the ball-not too well-with his normal swing, then tries to slow his swing down to pick up a leisurely tempo. The result is not the same at all. Slowing down is NOT the same thing as a leisurely tempo.Now to the photographs:
More coming soon
Curtis Person Sr.The greatest winner in American Amateur golf history
Person with Bob Hope
Curtis Person Senior was one of the most formidable Amateurs in the history of American Golf from 1930 to 1970, winning Tournament after Tournament with a terrifying natural ease. In that fourty year period Persson won an unequalled 129 Tournaments.
Born April 25, 1916 – September 23, 1994
The young Jerry Barber was one of nine children. As a small child who only reached 5 ft 5 inches tall.
The combination of very large family and small stature meant he grew up with a fierce fighting spirit, which was needed to hold his own with brothers and sisters.
Barber turned professional in 1942, and won 14 times on the PGA tour, playing in two Ryder cups.
At only 5ft 5 inches you would have expected Jerry Barber to use every sinew in his body to gain leverage and create more length. He should have been following a young competitor only a little taller than himself, by the name of Gary Player as an example.
Instead Barber used a narrow arc born out of a very early wrist hinge when starting back. Although Barber made a sound movement through the ball his swing was unable to generate much clubhead-speed. Consequently Jerry Barber was one of the shortist, if not the shortest, hitters on the tour.
Born -September 23, 1928 in Meyersdale Pennsylvania and died in 2006
Bill Collins playing in the 1961 Ryder cup
Bill Collins joined the PGA Tour in 1958 and won four events between 1959 and 1962. He had seven PGA Tour wins and played in the 1961 Ryder cup. He had to end his tour career early after needing back surgery in 1963 and took a club job in New York until 1981 when he retired to join the senior PGA Tour, where he managed one further win.
Although a powerful driver off the tee the film shows how Bill reduced his swing for accuracy. His action with the irons was more a "punch" rather than swing. His driver swing was full, but inhibited by a very narrow stance that is not suited to a man of his size (6ft 4 inches and 205 lbs).
Born August 7, 1935 – March 13, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
After a successful amateur career Ragan turned professional in 1956 and played on the PGA Tour in the late 1950s and 1960s, winning three times.
In a PGA Tour career that ran from the late 1950s through the ’60s, Ragan compiled stats that showed great consistency: 278 starts, just six missed-cuts, 54 top-10s and those three wins.“Ragan and I played a lot of golf together through the years, especially during our early years on the Tour. Good player. He was long … a good solid ball-striker. And a good guy.”Jack Nicklaus
Ragan took part in the 1963 ryder cup team.
Born July 13, 1937
Charles Coody is best known for winning the 1971 U.S. Masters tournament.
Coody had already come so close in the 1969 Tournament but with three holes left he finished bogey-bogey-bogey to tie for 5th place.
However, his Masters triumph did not serve as a catalyst for Coody to become one of the greats in the game. While he posted nine top-3 finishes through the 1970s and early 1980s, he never won on the PGA Tour again.
Charles Coody at his prime was seen as one of the better ball strikers on the tour, particularly regarding his irons. Noticeable in the Coody set-up was how he used a relatively narrow stance for his driver, which created a rather 'bunched up' appearance; the combination meant his swing back was not particularly wide.
At the top of his backswing summit his hands were high over the head rather than extended to the right, which had no adverse effect on the movement.
The start forward is perfect and creates a powerful release into and past the ball.
Although I would not describe his forward motion as being a `flat footed twist,' he gets close.
The finish was natural and there were no signs of a delayed right foot response.
A swing study of Jerry PateBorn 1953 in Georgia
When you win a major as a 22 years old rookie you are likely to feel confident about your abilities. Jerry Pate was the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since Walter Hagen, Jack Nicklaus, and Bobby Jones, who all achieved the same feat at the same age.
With a swagger and a confident smile, Pate had no problem showing everybody how confident he was. His cockiness and good humor (he would tell people later he was actually not so sure about himself ) earned him the label of "mouth of the south," and it was Jack Nicklaus, after listening to the constant quips and theatrics who simply called him "The Lip." Unfortunately for big Jack, in the same year of Pate`s Open win, he was forced to endure the rare indignity of watching a rookie squash his title chances on the last day as Pate finished with a 63 in the Canadian Open to win his second title of the year.
Jerry Pate not only talked a good game but played it as well. Many admired both his ball-striking ability and silky smooth swing. The film above (taken in the same year Pate won the U.S. Open, 1976) may display the reverse `C` that ages and dates a swing to the seventies, but a closer look shows near-perfect swing mechanics. Long and flowing, the action of Pate was esteemed for its quality by all swing experts of the time. It may be that the 9-year-old Jerry was influenced for life by the black caddies of his local club, as he would spend hours watching their natural swings while they practiced in the early hours of the morning. Starting the game at about six years old the infant Pate was exposed to a competitive platform, as all of his five siblings were active golfers. In addition, both father and grandpa played off scratch! His education as a golfer was mostly visual rather than verbal, and intuitive before technical. Jerry would particularly enjoy the visits of the top Professionals who would visit his club to give exhibitions. He especially remembered a visit from Julius Boros, who had a wonderful smooth swing himself.
Julius Nicholas Boros (March 3, 1920 – May 28, 1994) was noted for his effortless-looking swing and strong record on difficult golf courses. Boros was particularly successful in the U.S Open
Leaving his teens behind Jerry was still not really sure of how good he was and preferred to take the safe road of studying business in college. It was only his significant amateur successes that convinced him that he could compete professionally and was capable of beating anyone.
Perfectly balanced over the ball and fully coiled from feet upwards you can sense the body is ready to spring back and unwind in perfect sequence.
Jerry Pate went on to win a total of 8 PGA tour events and represent his country in the Ryder cup team, but his career was cut short as a torn shoulder muscle destroyed his beautiful flowing action. He returned to golf in his later years and joined the senior tour (winning one event) after successfully changing his career to broadcasting analyst and course architect.
Born March 9, 1941
Jim Colbert turned professional in 1965
Colbert in 1974 with lengthened graphite shafted Ping
He won eight times on the PGA Tour, including twice in 1983 when he finished a career-best fifteenth on the money list. As a senior Colbert has won 20 tournaments on the Champions Tour, including a senior major championship, the 1993 senior players championship.
He never won a major although he came closest in the 1974 Masters when this film was taken. He started the back nine on Sunday a shot back and missed a short putt for a birdie at the 10th hole and failed to recover.
At 5ft 9 inches tall Colbert was not the longest off the tee and created a game to suit his strengths, something he always recommended others to do.
Colbert was inducted into the Kansas sports hall of fame in 1998
Born 1952 in Austin-Texas
Ben Crenshaw joined the tour in 1973 and won 19 PGA titles throughout an illustrious playing career. The most notable achievement was the two-time Master's wins. He represented America four times and captained a successful team in 1999.
Ben`s swing was a long and flowing action, Although this film only records a wedge shot it demonstrates a movement without effort. Ben`s swing is natural and uncomplicated, a result of using sound mechanics.
Many claim Ben to be the best putter of all time
Famous coach Harvey Penick contributed the most to Ben`s game and is given credit for his beautiful putting stroke.
Ben was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2002
Mike Hill was born in 1939 in Jackson Michigan.
He joined the PGA tour in 1967. His older brother Dave also played on the tour.
Hill won eight times in regular events but had the most success later playing on the champions tour. He won a total of 18 times.
Mike Hill was inducted into the Michigan sports hall of fame in 1998
A tall body posture and wide stance provide the base for Mike to create a wide and fully coiled body turn on the backswing. His lower body responds to the tension created on the backswing through a dynamic forward leg drive. Apart from a slightly curtailed finish, Mike Hill`s swing holds up to most modern players.
How many teachers can claim to have been successful players on the tour? The answer is very few.
Is it an advantage, probably? Bob Toski was able to demonstrate his information perfectly. Shaping his shots while describing what he was doing at the same time. Yet the combination of a tour player and a good demonstrator with great communicational skills is the rarest of all.
Enjoy the film taken when Bob Toski was in his prime.
For Curtis Person Sr., winning golf tournaments was just like breathing – it came naturally. Starting in 1930, Person began a long and distinguished playing career which would last over forty years. During that time he would go on to win 129 golf tournaments, making him the winningest amateur in the history of golf. His crowning achievements came as a senior when he won twenty major championships, including a USGA National Senior Amateur Championship in 1968 and 1969. No surprise then that “Golf Digest” ranked Person as the Number One Senior Golfer in the United States for five consecutive years from 1966 through 1970. His remarkable achievements did not go unnoticed by his home state either, and after winning the Grand Slam of Senior Golf in 1968, Person was named Tennessee Athlete of the Year. Perhaps the most important and satisfying honor in Person’s career came in 1969 when he was selected by the Golf Writers Association of America as the winner of the Ben Hogan Award. This honor is presented annually to the golfer who has overcome a physical handicap and returned to championship golf. In 1961 Person was told by doctors that he would never play golf again and would have extreme difficulty walking for the rest of his life. Through sheer determination, he proved the doctors wrong and returned to become the greatest senior golfer the game has ever known.