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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Manuel de la Torre Dies at 94

I have always respected Manuel de la Torre's approach to golf, and I've mentioned quite a few of his tips in this blog. Golf Digest said he was one of only a few teachers to make their 50 Best Teachers ranking every year since it debuted in 1999.

Manuel de la TorreIt really saddened me to learn he died Sunday in Wisconsin at age 94.

Golf Digest did a short tribute to him that you can read by clicking this link, but I'd like to mention a couple of things I really liked about him.

For one thing, he persisted in teaching a very simple golf swing. His teaching was based on the work of Ernest Jones, who adapted the hickory shaft swing of the early 20th Century to steel shafts. I guess his two most famous professional students were Carol Mann and Sherri Steinhauer, both LPGA major winners and Mann is in the Hall of Fame.

I just loved the way this Spanish teacher -- the son of Spain's first teaching pro -- made things so simple for players. There were no complex drills, no obsession with positions; he always focused on motion and shotmaking. And Golf Digest's tribute gave me a new reason to respect him -- he tried to keep his lessons affordable, especially for junior golfers. (For those of you who wonder, the reason my instruction books are so inexpensive is because I wanted to make them affordable for folks with jobs that don't pay a lot of money -- and that's most jobs nowadays.)

Here's a short video I've posted before, of de la Torre hitting some shots back in 1990, which would have been in his late 60s. He taught a swing that looked this good at that age -- that's a teacher worth listening to!



And for those of you who are interested, there's now a paperback edition of his book Understanding the Golf Swing available. ( Here's a link to the book at Amazon, if you want to see it. It's available from other sources, of course, and I don't get any kind of commission if you buy it. I just really like the book.)

The golf world is going to miss Manuel de la Torre. Rest in peace, SeƱor.

2 comments:

  1. Sad news. I had heard of Mr. Manuel de la Torre many times over the past few years but know very little about his or Earnest Jones's swing methods. Only that both were highly regarded despite teaching what many consider an Old Time or Classic swing in this Modern age. Were their swing methods in any way similar to those taught by Leslie King.

    Thanks
    Jeffrey

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    Replies
    1. Jeffrey, I'm not as familiar with King's teaching but, from what I do know, the primary difference is that King seems more focused on left arm swing while Jones and de la Torre expected both arms to play an equal part in controlling the swing. That sounds more like a matter of feel to me, rather than a technique difference.

      Most of the other things I know about King's method sound very much the same.

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