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Golf Lessons

  Brookline 1913

I highly recommend the movie:
"Greatest Game Ever Played"

Whether you play golf or not, you will enjoy this very detailed and TRUE story of the 1913 US Open.

.....I sure did.

Editorial Reviews

You wouldn't think a movie that uses the game of golf as a metaphor for class struggle could be so entertaining. The Greatest Game Ever Played stars the charming Shia LaBeouf (Holes) as Francis Ouimet, a golfer who, in 1913, rose from caddy to U.S. Open champion at the age of 20--despite the resistance of the powers that be, who thought it unseemly for a lower-class plebian to play the sport of gentlemen. Ouimet's main competitor is Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane, The Hours), a British professional, still considered one of the greatest players of all time, who fought his own class battles.

The two go head to head in a genuinely gripping match, deftly balanced against the juxtapositions of their personal struggles. Is it sentimental and formulaic? Is the outcome a foregone conclusion? Yes, but it doesn't matter--formulas exist because, when executed with verve and dexterity, they work. Bill Paxton, best known as an actor (One False Move, Apollo 13), steps into the director's chair and hits all the right notes, aided by an excellent cast playing colorful characters, a vivid recreation of the time period, glowing cinematography, and an expert pace. The Greatest Game Ever Played works. --Bret Fetzer

  The REAL players --F. OUIMET-- H. VARDON --T. RAY

Francis Ouimet


Frances Ouimet's U.S. Open success is credited for bringing golf into the American sporting mainstream. Before his surprising win over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, golf was dominated by British players. In America, the sport was restricted to players with access to private facilities—there were very few public courses. Ten years after his 1913 victory the number of American players had tripled and many new courses had been built, including numerous public ones.

His victory after an 18-hole playoff against Vardon and Ray was widely hailed as a stunning upset over the strongly-favored Britons who were regarded as the top two golfers in the world. He was the first amateur to win the U.S. Open.

In 1913 Ouimet won the Massachusetts Amateur at the age of 20. Soon afterward he was asked personally by the president of the United States Golf Association, if he would play in the nation's championship; the U.S. Open. The event was played at the course Ouimet knew best, The Country Club where he had been a caddy.

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Harry Vardon


He basically pioneered accurate and reliable hitting techniques that are still the basis of the modern golf swing. Many swings of today are results of Vardon methods.He began playing golf while working as a manservant for an affluent amateur golfer on the island of Jersey in the English Channel. Realizing both his own talent and the money that could be made in the game, he turned professional at age 20. He subsequently achieved dominance in the sport, winning the British Open in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911, and 1914 and the U.S. Open in 1900. The Vardon Trophy, named for him, is awarded annually by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America to the professional with the best scoring average.

Vardon owed his success largely to new methods that revolutionized golf’s medium- and long-distance hitting techniques. The traditional style was to drive the ball at great speed and at a low angle, or trajectory, thereby achieving great distances but sacrificing any real ability to aim and control where the ball would come to a stop. Vardon, by contrast, hit the ball high in the air so that it would land at a steep angle and come to a stop quickly, without excessive bouncing and rolling. This method, along with adjustments in his stance and swing, enabled him to land the ball within quite short distances of the flagstick. Vardon became such a trendsetter that his name was adopted for the Vardon, or overlapping, grip, which he helped popularize but did not actually invent.

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Ted Ray


Ted had an unorthodox-wild style,with a graceful rhythm while always trying to hit the ball HARD.

Ray stood well over six feet, was big in proportion, and very strong. Never a stylist like Harry Vardon, he had a long and slow swing and stood like a rock. At the end of a full shot, however, especially when hitting woods, his finish appeared anything but classic; for after the ball had been hit but classic; for after the ball had been hit he was often seen standing with only his right foot on the ground and his left foot in the air.But this finish was deceptive, for at that vital split second when his club face met with the ball, his position was, in fact, entirely correct and orthodox.

However, he owned a very skillful "recovery" game from those wild shots, which means he also had a deadly short game.
He would win the 1920 U.S. Open and British Open Championship at Muirfield in 1912, was runner-up, at Presrwick in 1925.

Ted was never a good teacher of the game. Indeed, he disliked giving lessons and I think he realized that it was not in him to impart instruction to others. When asked for advice on, for example, the drive, his main contribution consisted in the words "'it 'em 'ard, mate, like I do." If the pupil complained that he did hit hard but still did not obtain the desired result, Ted's comment was, "Well, then, 'it 'em 'arder." There ended the lesson.

Ted was loved by many, and was known for being entirely straightforward in all his dealings.

** picture left is from movie

  the Greatest Game Ever Played

The end of what was perhaps one of the most significant rounds of golf ever played.
To the left, Frances Ouimet lines up the four-footer with which he decisively defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, who are leaning on their putters just to the right of Ouimet.

Before you think how high the scores were, consider the clubs and BALLS used, along with the golf course conditions in 1913.

I'd say a solid 10 stroke disadvantage compared to today's hot stuff and good playing surfaces.

How good is that 72..... in a playoff!

Frances Ouimet's home was right next to The Country Club of Brookline in 1913. He served as a caddy.

another movie review:

THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED is a sports movie slash Horatio Alger rags-to-riches tale with undertones of class consciousness and social critique. The story is based on a real-life event--the 1913 U.S. Open golf championship--at which two equally sympathetic young men, both of whom grew up economically and socially disadvantaged, go club to club in one of the most exciting and dramatic athletic events of the early 20th century. The film focuses on the competition between the British star Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane) and the young American prodigy Francis Ouimet (HOLES star Shia LaBoeuf). Though they hail from opposite sides of the Atlantic, the struggles that the two young golfers have had to overcome are markedly similar; both grew up in hard-scrabble, working-class homes that happened to be adjacent to golf courses, and both were preternaturally disposed to the game. In addition, both must defy the disdain of the golfing gentry. Vardon is already a reigning champion and international darling when Ouimet makes it to his first tournament to battle him. Though enough backstory is provided to connect the viewers to the characters, the meat of the film is the dramatic unfolding of the tournament. With expert editing and fluid camera work.

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