Forty years ago Mr. Homer W. Kelley received the first shipment of his authored book The Golfing Machine. This was a monumental moment for him as he began his quest to solve the mystery of golf twenty-eight years earlier. Homer spent twenty-eight years researching and writing before the first edition was published in 1969 and he continued his research and revisions until his death in 1983. He even left us the notes for the 7th edition which was published in 2006 and it contains over nine hundred changes to the previous published 6th edition. Although there are nine hundred changes and additions to the 7th edition, the one concept that Mr. Kelley continued to stress was Aiming Point. Although much has been written about Aiming Point only a few realize that it is written under the heading of “Thrust”. The misconception about thrust is that in physics thrust is in a straight line – not unlike velocity. Mr. Kelley continued to rewrite and refine difficult concepts in each edition so we could understand them more comprehensively.
Mr. Kelley was a unique individual and researcher and as his book The Golfing Machine explains how the geometry and physics can be applied during the golf stroke. There are many ways to apply the physics and understand the geometry. Each must have the Three Imperatives as the support for the other. Mr. Kelley in his ground breaking first edition and subsequent six editions maintained that golfers must apply the Three Imperatives: a Flat Left Wrist, a Clubhead Lag Pressure Point, and a Straight Plane Line. These concepts are the backbone of The Golfing Machine and the starting point of the golfer’s education.
We have heard from golf announcers during golf tournaments the utilization of the terms “Flat Left Wrist” and “Clubhead Lag” as well as being “On Plane”. Although the term “On Plane” has been referred to for years, it is only in the last few years that these announcers have been using “Flat Left Wrist” and “Clubhead Lag” in their on-air commentary. These terms are defined and described by Mr. Kelley in The Golfing Machine and are based entirely on his research findings. Dr. Aaron Zick, Keith Grochow, MS and Joe Daniels, MS, GSED used the Vicon 3-D system at the University of Washington to explore the concept of the Flat Left Wrist. As theorized by Mr. Kelley, the Flat Left Wrist is a crucial part of Clubface control. Without Clubface control direction and rhythm become difficult to master. Following Mr. Kelley’s research and findings regarding the concept of a Flat Left Wrist is a great first step for a student who would like to correctly control the Clubface.
According to Scott Gummer who has written Homer Kelley’s Golfing Machine: A Curious Quest that Solved Golf, Homer began his quest to solve the puzzle for himself and not for the masses. However, it is “us” the masses who have benefited. Sometime in the 1950’s, Homer’s wife Sally came to the driving range to pick up Homer. As they were leaving Homer turned around and pointed at a man. According to Sally he said, “See that man? He is here everyday practicing the same thing and never getting any better. If he only had a few a bits of good information he wouldn’t struggle so much.” As Homer turned back toward Sally she said to him, “Why don’t you write it down so people won’t have to struggle?” The rest as they say, is history. So, thanks to Sally’s inspiration and Homer’s perspiration we have The Golfing Machine to guide us through the struggle with golf.
Mr. Kelley was thorough in his researching The Golfing Machine. He even makes reference to some of the primary muscle groups and their function in the golf stroke. He also took time to familiarize himself with a few concepts from physics to support how The Golfing Machine System functions. Thus, his research process incorporated many different and important scientific disciplines.
Mr. Kelley paved the way for us to delve deeper into the biomechanical aspect of golf by discussing the role of some key muscle groups. Oddly, even though his anatomical references are few they are, however, accurate. Now, forty years later Dr. Rosman has taken Mr. Kelley’s lead and written a wonderful expose on the biomechanics of the golf stroke. Biomechanical Integration Approach (BIA™) will be a companion to The Golfing Machine (TGM) and serve as an integral support and educational tool for Instructors. These two books will become the basis of golf instruction for the future, placing those who use them with important teaching tools far beyond the norm of golf instructors.
Now, as The Golfing Machine, LLC moves forward educating golf professionals we have begun to solve another of the puzzles which Mr. Kelley broached. The physics of the golf stroke has been talked about for years. However, the simple physics concepts, angular motion, gyroscopic action, and gravity effect have not been placed in golf professionals’ curriculum. Dr. Aaron Zick, who has spoken at three consecutive TGM summits, has begun to pave the way for The Golfing Machine to add a physics text to our education. Dr. Zick, with his simple but elegant manner showed the AI’s at the teaching summit in 2007 how Mr. Kelley’s “inside aft quadrant” of the ball was a fact and not fiction. He showed how the Clubhead would travel down Plane and approach the ball from the “inside aft quadrant”and that at impact the Clubface (on a perfect impact) would meet the ball about 1 dimple inside the plane that divides the ball in half.
As part of the celebration of The Golfing Machine’s 40th Anniversary there has been the creation of the TGM Division of Biomechanics and Sports Science. The first order of business was the development of a Biomechanical Integration Approach™ (BIA™) by Dr. Matthew M. Rosman, GSEM. The BIA™ System begins with the premise that golf technique and golf performance should be merged or undergoes “fusion” by which Golfing Machine technique developed by Mr. Homer Kelley is taught in context with the complete understanding of the biomechanics of “human machine” golf performance.
With a brand new text for 2009 written by Dr. Rosman, new coursework and education, the TGM Authorized Instructor will receive this “fusion-type” of education. This entire material will also be available to health care providers, performance specialists, and fitness professionals as the goal is to implement a coordinated approach for today’s golfer. The key is to create allied relationships, networking, and synergistic partnerships.
Research is a large part of the BIA™ approach. Research which literally is defined as “organized study” or “the use of a methodical approach”, is precisely what BIA™ was created to provide. The methodical approach and organized study are reflected in the entire Golfing Machine text which in essence is a published compendium of Mr. Homer Kelley’s decades of research findings summarized into an organized catalog. The BIA™ process continues this tradition of research based methods and is of a clinical type. By “clinical” we mean to express a methodical, diagnostic, and direct association with the golfer rather than a lab only based theoretical process of hypothesis and assumptions.
The TGM-BIA™ (research) approach utilizes technology tools such as the iClub Body Motion System, and JC Video in a manner similar to a physician’s use of X-ray or MRI to objectify patient complaints with diagnostic data to discover root causes for a “best practices” intervention approach. Amateur and recreational golfers have more in common with a patient than an elite athlete in that they lack overall physical fitness and have acquired biomechanical dysfunctions. Therefore, it is imperative to interview and evaluate the functional status of clients/students prior to any sort of instructional or performance engagement.
The BIA™ research format endeavors to gather comparative biometric data about the individual so that correlations with the appropriate Golfing Machine Components and Variations may be selected for the benefit of the participant in as personalized a manner as possible and with-in the functional capacity of that instructed individual. Here the correlations of diagnostic findings with recommended treatment using a clinical method or “organized study” is being applied by the Golfing Machine Authorized Instructor.