Synopses & Reviews
The remarkable story of a curious genius whose lifelong quest to unlock the science behind the perfect golf swing changed the game forever.
In 1939, an average Joe named Homer Kelley played golf for the first time and scored 116-a respectable score for a beginner, but frustrating for a science-minded perfectionist like Kelley. He did not play again for six months; then when he did, he carded a seventy-seven. Vexed, he grew increasingly obsessed and devoted over the next thirty years to solving the science behind the perfect golf swing, self-publishing his findings in 1969 in a book titled The Golfing Machine. This revolutionary book explained golf, unlike every other tome that merely described it. Unfortunately, the majority of golfers dismissed the book because it was all but unreadable, too thick with physics and geometry and scientific vernacular. The Golfing Machine seemed doomed to obscurity until visionary teacher Ben Doyle and superstar-in-the-making Bobby Clampett brought Kelley's teachings to prominence-only to witness Clampett implode on golf's most public stage. Validation finally came seventy years after Homer Kelley's lifework began, and twenty-five years after his death, when a teenage prodigy named Morgan Pressel became the youngest golfer, male or female, ever to win a major championship.
In Homer Kelley's Golfing Machine, veteran journalist Scott Gummer brings to light the untold story of golf's most curious genius. A colorful portrait of obsession and an enlightening look into the nuances of the game, Kelley's amazing journey illuminates an important but underappreciated chapter in the history of golf.
"Homer Kelley for years loomed as one of the games last great mysteries, an obscure but important man who reshaped our perceptions of the modern swing. In this substantive and stylish book, Gummer unravels Kelley's elusive personal history and sheds light on his considerable influence. It's a story that will enlighten teachers, enthrall serious players, and entertain golfers at all levels."
-Guy Yocom, Golf Digest
"Scott Gummer has done a masterful job at a daunting task: solving the riddle of the man who solved (he thought) the riddle of the golf swing. Homer Kelley's Golfing Machine is a sad and funny story beautifully told."
-Curt Sampson, Author of Hogan
This remarkable story tells of a curious genius whose lifelong quest to unlock the science behind the perfect golf swing has changed the game forever.
The remarkable true story of a lone genius whose quest to unlock the science behind the perfect swing changed golf forever
In 1939, Homer Kelley played golf for the first time and scored 116. Frustrated, he did not play again for six months; when he did he carded a 77. Determined to understand why he was able to shave nearly 40 strokes off his score, Kelley spent three decades of trial and error to unlock the answer and to recapture that one wonderful day when golf was easy and enjoyable. In 1969, Kelley self- published his findings in The Golfing Machine: The Computer Age Approach to Golfing Perfection.
The bestselling instruction books of the day required golfers to conform their swings to the author's ideals, but Homer Kelley configured swings to fit every golfer. He found an enthusiastic disciple in a Seattle teaching pro named Ben Doyle, who in turn found an eager student in 13-year-old prodigy Bobby Clampett. Clampett's initial success in amateur golf shined a bright spotlight on Homer Kelley and The Golfing Machine, but when the young star suffered a painfully public collapse and faltered as a pro, critics were quick to blast Kelley and his complex and controversial ideas. With exclusive access to Homer Kelley's archives, author Scott Gummer paints a fascinating picture of the man behind the machine, the ultimate outsider who changed the game once and for all of us.
About the Author
Scott Gummer has written for more than forty different magazines, including Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, LIFE, Fortune, Departures, Golf Digest, GOLF, and Travel + Leisure Golf. He is also the author of The Seventh at St. Andrews. He lives, works, and plays a middling game of golf in the California wine country.