ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Brandel Chamblee and the Holy Grail

Anatomy of Greatness coverI couldn't resist that title -- especially since I can blame Golf Magazine for it!

Brandel Chamblee has a new book out called The Anatomy of Greatness, which looks at the things all the great players of the game have had in common. And Golf Magazine has done an article, with a video interview that's pretty interesting, at this link, and it focuses on the one thing that Chamblee believes most weekend players need to know to improve their golf games.
BTW, in the video Chamblee refers to a now out-of-print book called The Methods of Golf's Masters. If you happen to be interested in finding a copy, I've read the book before and you should know that there are two different editions. The original stops with players of the 1960s; Brandel mentions the second edition, which includes Seve and Greg Norman, among others. Make sure you get the one you really want!
I haven't read Chamblee's book but I like a lot of what he says in the interview. His 'Holy Grail' is lifting your lead foot and letting your lead knee move behind the ball during your backswing, which goes against the 'restrict your lower body' advice that is generally given to players today.

Chamblee blames this on Ravielli's drawings in Hogan's book Five Lessons, and he says Ravielli misinterpreted Hogan's words -- that Hogan actually did lift his lead heel. In reality, it's a bit more complex than that. Here is what Hogan says in the text of the book, from pages 74 and 75 in my paperback edition:
THE LEGS. When the hips enter the swing, as they are turned they pull the left leg in. The left knee breaks in to the right, the left foot rolls in to the right on the inside part of the sole, and what weight there is on the left leg rides on the inside ball of the foot. LET ME CAUTION YOU AGAINST LIFTING THE LEFT HEEL TOO HIGH OFF THE GROUND ON THE BACKSWING. IF THE HEEL STAYS ON THE GROUND -- FINE. IF IT COMES UP AN INCH OFF THE GROUND -- FINE. No higher that that, though -- it will only lead to faulty balance and other undesirable complications.

The body and the legs move the feet. LET THEM MOVE THE FEET. As regards the left heel, how much the left knee breaks in on the backswing determines how much the heel comes up. I never worry about the left heel. Whether it comes off the ground a half inch or a quarter of an inch or remains on the ground as a result of my body and leg action on the backswing -- this is of no importance at all. I pay no attention to it.
"This [lifting the lead heel] is of no importance at all." Hogan can't disagree with Chamblee much more than that! To keep his foot that close to the ground, he has to restrict his hips during the backswing. Hogan HAS been treated like a god -- that's Chamblee's description, but I've used it myself at times (I maintain that no one player is right about everything, not even Hogan) -- and Ravielli's drawings accurately depict Hogan's lead heel barely leaving the ground.

I found Chamblee's remarks about the Long Drive champs particularly interesting -- namely, that if restricting your lower body led to longer drives, they'd all do it. But they don't! (I should note that some of the longer hitters on Tour do keep their lead heels on the ground, but none of them routinely hit the ball over 400 yards. Yet many of them also struggle with back problems, which the Long Drive champs rarely do.)

It looks like I may have to pick up a copy of his book just to see what else is in it. I don't always agree with Brandel, but this book -- controversial as it will likely be -- may be just the thing the golf community needs.

The book cover photo came from



  2. What do you think of my counterarguments expressed in my book review paper (regarding Brandel Chamblee's book)? My book review paper is posted in the "miscellaneous golf instructional topics" section of my golf website at


    1. I'm still working my way through it, Jeffrey. It's very in-depth.