Wednesday, August 8

Aussie Joe Kirkwood's 14 Points for Golf

By John Coyne
Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

RECENTLY I HAVE BEEN READING Joe Kirkwood's autobiography, Links of Life. Kirkwood was an Australian golf professional who won 13 times on the PGA Tour and was also known as a trick shot artist. His book was published privately in 1973. Kirkwood told his story to Barbara Few and the story has an introduction by Lowell Thomas, the famous news commentator, one-time chairman of the American Golf Hall of Fame and a friend of Kirkwood.

On the back jacket cover are words of praise about Kirkwood from Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon.

Ike writes, "My golf game shows the benefit of his magic touch….Joe Kirkwood—a real artist."

Nixon is quoted, "I recall vividly the day he taught me some of the things I know about golf when we met at Quaker Hill, and I shall always be grateful for his kindness on that occasion."

In his introduction, Lowell Thomas asks Kirkwood, while they are playing a round of golf at the Western White House at San Clemente, if he recalled President Wilson's famous Fourteen Points which Wilson believed could lead to world peace and then Lowell Thomas suggested, "How about summing up golf in the same way?"

Kirkwood took the challenge and dictated 14 points that Thomas had framed on the wall of the locker room at the Western White House golf course.

Thomas added the 14 points to his introduction of Links of Life. Here they are:

Joe Kirkwood's 14 Points

1. Relax, relax, relax!

2. When addressing the ball, stand almost straight, sitting back slightly on your heels.

3. Extend hands, arms and club out straight. That is, don’t drop your hands as though putting them in your lap.

4. Grip should always be the same. If you want a hook or a fade, a low shot or a high one simply alter your stance.

5. For instance if you want a high shot, open your club face and stand behind the ball.

6. Get biggest arc possible. Slow backswing. Slight hesitation at top.

7. Stay almost flat footed through swing until after ball is in flight and club head is out where it should be on the follow through. It’s okay to sway a light as you pivot, but your head must not move too much. On your pivot be sure to bring left shoulder way under.

8. Imagine you are looking underneath the ball. Avoid closing club face.

9. Whatever you do don’t let your body get ahead of your hands and the club.

10. Don't fight the wind. For example, on the Quaker Hill course, in playing the 7th where the wind often is from the West, hit a fade to the left and allow wind to bring the ball around. This way you will get more distance.

11. On pitch and chip shots keep arms still. Arms, hands, club all on piece.

12. On pitch and chip shots use slow easy rhythmical stroke, with a follow through. Don’t snap at the ball!

13. In rough, or any bad lie, open club face in order to cut through trouble.

14. In getting out of traps spank the sand with club head. Use light touch; easy stroke. Don’t bang at it. After rain, or in any hard sand, use a very light touch, caress it.

Relax! Be Loose! But not loose as a goose.

John Coyne is a bestselling author whose most recent golf novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

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