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Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Golf Lesson with Henry Cotton (Video)

I'll come back to this post at a later time, because I discovered this video quite unexpectedly and wasn't ready to write extensively about Henry Cotton. But Cotton, who is considered one of England's three greatest golfers -- the other two being Henry Vardon and Nick Faldo -- was the man who most emphasized the use of the hands in the golf swing.

This video, which is apparently from 1986, shows one of Cotton's favorite drills for strengthening your hands and teaching you the correct way to use them at impact. I read once that Cotton could hit a driver over 175 yards with either hand. Yes, you read that correctly -- using only one hand at a time!

There is also a link below this video on its YouTube page, which I'm including here. This link takes you to a page that documents a wide variety of instruction on using the hands, dating from 1900. It includes the above video, and the number of great players quoted here is amazing.

While some of it overemphasizes forearm rotation -- remember, many of the early quotes come from the days of hickory shafts, when the club shaft itself twisted during the swing (we call that torque) -- there's still a lot of useful stuff there for modern golfers.

The one thing I'd like to add to this video is this: If you decide to try this version of the tire drill, take it easy at the beginning because it would be very easy to hurt yourself if you get too... ambitious too soon. It's meant to help strengthen your hands and forearms, so you need to start slowly.

But I have to admit, it sure looks like a lot of fun!


  1. In the video mr cotton talks of a push shot or a throw shot which seems to me to be a flip of the wrists which is now frowned on.I would like to better understand how he actually hit with the hands

    1. Your understanding is correct. Henry Cotton used his hands more than just about anybody in the history of golf. I believe I read that bit about Cotton hitting 175 yard drives with either hand in an old book called The Methods of Golf's Masters.

      That kind of hand action IS frowned on these days. It seems to me that you would hurt your wrists trying to get them that strong. But I don't know that anybody else has ever been able to use their hands as effectively as Cotton did.

      If you're interested in knowing more about how Henry Cotton taught his students to use their hands, check out the next post (Feb 19, 2017). It has a video with Cotton teaching his students a drill using an old tire that he said would strengthen their wrists and teach them the proper use of their hands.

    2. Correction: That next post has scenes from the video in this post, but I tried to explain why you might want to try the drill and how to avoid hurting yourself when you use it.