Swings of the distant past.
Bringing young Tommy`s swing to life.
120x160cm"The first Superstar"-Acrylic on canvas painting from 2015.
Recreating the young Tommy swing through animation is a challenge. It needs careful assessment, as there is virtually nothing in the way of photographic images showing Tommy in an action pose. Only a couple of artificial, studio-posed positions with him taking the address stance. They had to be stiff, the position needed to be"held" for seconds to avoid any blur on the large gelatin plates.
Tommy`s action, using the descriptions of the social media of the day and others that had seen him play.
There are not even any artists' works that gave a suggestion of his swing finish, or a proper full swing address position looking at him from straight on.
Sketch for superstar 1 painting
Fortunately, we do have a number of live comments about how he approached the game. His swing was often a topic in the press of the day.
It was said he would take the game by the scruff of the neck and viciously attack the ball.
He would hit the ball as hard as he could, even to the point of his cap falling off his head as he used every ounce of his strength to gain maximum distance. Also, Tommy had large hands, perfect for speed and creating leverage.
Tommy would hit the ball so hard that his cap would fall off his head. Tommy would often catch the hat before it landed and place it back on his head with a smile for the ladies in the crowd.
"All I`ve got." 100x135cm acrylic on canvas (click on image to expand).
The biggest influencing factor on Tommy`s "modern" swing was the introduction of the gutty ball around the middle of the 19th century.
The legendary story of how, in 1848, Tommy`s father (old Tom) fell out with Allan Robertson the featherie ball-making king, indicates how popular the gutty ball was even before Tommy`s birth.
Old Tom had broken his promise never to use the new ball in play, which Allan Robertson was convinced would ruin his trade. As a result, the two colossuses parted company, with old Tom then setting up his own shop in Prestwick to make both types of golf balls.
Young Tommy grew up with the gutty ball and ensured his swing would not be a replica of his father's languid, flat, softer action; an action that was sympathetic to the long-nose club's fragile construction.
Playing regularly and studying the best players of his day meant that even by twelve years old Tommy had an impressive game. When he won his first Open in 1870 at just 17 years old he was already fully street-hardened.
Tommy grew up in a period when the irons started to find favor. Unlike the easily broken woods, they were not liable to break when striking the ground or shatter from the hardness of the new gutta-percha ball. The introduction of driving cleeks ( 3 iron) and jiggers(chipping wedges) for the approach shots meant a standard set would soon have as many steel-headed clubs as wooden.
Tommy`s swing. Sketch on 21cmx29cm art paper(250g). Click on the image to expand.