Wednesday, September 21

Playing Clinic: Harry Cooper

By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

While interviewing golf legends for my book Playing with the Pros: Golf Lessons from the Senior Tour (1990), I arranged some of their answers into a separate chapter I called "Playing Clinic." Following are words of wisdom from some of the best players.

Next up is Harry Cooper (August 4, 1904 - October 17, 2000). Nicknamed "Lighthorse Harry," Cooper won 30 PGA Tour titles and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992. He also was awarded the inaugural Vardon Trophy in 1937, a year in which he won seven times on tour.

Q: Do you ever master the game of golf?

COOPER: No. I don't think so. I'm 85 years old and have been a professional since I was 18, and I'm still trying to get it right.

Q: Is there more than one good golf swing?

COOPER: Of course. Just look at the likes of Lee Trevino, Walter Hagen, or Jack Nicklaus. There is no perfect swing. All that matters is the grip and the address. Make your own swing as simple a physical movement as you can. Then go practice that swing.

Q: How much time should I spend practicing?

COOPER: Go to the practice tee to develop a swing you can trust. Go to the golf course to develop the confidence you need to play. If you are a good player already, spend more time on the golf course than on the practice tee. However, always loosen up before you play.

Q: How can an average golfer improve his game?

COOPER: Take some lessons from a PGA professional. He'll get your score down.

Q: How far away from the ball should I stand?

COOPER: Make sure your arms are extended but you're not stretching for the ball.

Q:  What's the most important part of any golf swing?

COOPER: The first 10 inches. The greatest player in the world is Jack Nicklaus, and he establishes his tremendous swing in the first foot. It all happens there: the club head speed, timing, and tempo.


More Playing Clinic:
Bruce Crampton

John Coyne is a bestselling author of three golf novels and more than 20 other books. Pay him a visit at John Coyne Books.

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