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Swing Like a Pro: The Breakthrough Scientific Method of Perfecting Your Golf Swing combines the styles and techniques of top golfing professionals and presents a method for emulating the perfect golf swing. Authors Dr. Ralph Mann and Fred Griffin spent 17 years researching scientific findings and perfecting the ideal teaching method for passing on this information to fellow golfers to provide the ultimate guide. The authors bring their own areas of expertise to the book, namely Dr. Ralph Mann as the scientist, and Fred Griffin as the teacher. There are detailed introductions by both.
Dr. Ralph Mann, PhD offers his perspective as the scientist. He explains that the purpose of this book is to make the reader a better golfer. The unique selling point of this product is that it claims to be a scientific method, brought about by "making objective measurements of the phenomena they [studied] and developing a theory or model that predicts behavior." Top golfers who participated in the laboratory studies included Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Kite, Brad Faxon, and Ben Crenshaw. The idea is to pass on their findings and help readers gain a better understanding of the golf swing. Mann argues against the application of sports psychology when it is used without actually improving technical elements of your game. He argues that golf is traditionally a stagnant sport; that unlike other sports where participants have over the years developed ways of improving their performance, golf remains an undeveloped sport. He blames elitism, money, teaching and complexity for this unique sporting phenomenon. Mann claims that because of the complexity of the technique of playing golf, much is left to opinion rather than fact and matters become fuzzy. This book is designed to put this right by bringing about a true model for students to follow.
Fred Griffin's introduction talks about the book from a teacher's perspective. He says that golf is a difficult game to master, and whereas an understanding of the facts are needed, this must also be combined with a lot of work in the form of practice. Some readers have commented that the detailed methods taught in this book take up a lot of time and are worth it in the end, but you may want to invest in some practice kit including a practice golf shaft, metronome, net and mat. You may need six hours or more a week to practice the drills, and this could be expensive at the club, so it is worth setting yourself up at home. Griffin discusses work with the computer generated programme that they used to analyse golfers' swing and develop the golfing model. There are several ways to swing a golf club, and each player has an optimum way depending on their physiology. Using the computers, Griffin and Mann could help identify problem areas within an individual golfer's swing in order to come up with a universal model based on general principles of the human body interacting with the club in this unique way.
Since the publication of this ground breaking book there have been more of the same vein. More traditional books deal with the fundamentals and some with psychology and the enjoyment of the game. Swing Like a Pro does not cover psychology because its aim is to be a technical guide. Beginners might find this rather hard going. Compared with other books higher in the category, this guide may be a bit heavy on the technique, but rather than a gimmick it will appeal to the technically minded. It is a quality guide for the serious golfer.
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