Entries Tagged as 'Sam Byrd'

WHO THE HECK IS SAM BYRD – PART 2

In our last blog we were discussing Sam Byrd and hinted at his connection to Jimmy Ballard, Ben Hogan and Babe Ruth. If you missed our last blog you should read it first before continuing with this current one.

NOW THE GOOD STUFF

Byrd owned and operated a par-three course and driving range in Birmingham, Alabama, and hired Jimmy Ballard, then seventeen and a state amateur junior champ, as his teaching assistant.

Byrd, Ballard says, was Babe Ruth’s roommate on the road, “and it was Ruth who taught Sam the trick of holding a handkerchief beneath his left arm in order to keep his left arm ‘connected’ to his body throughout the swing.”  Let’s understand that statement!  Every golf teacher emphasizes the relationship between the arms and the body and uses the handkerchief drill as a training aide to correctly maintain the relationship. The drill and the connection theory were taught to Sam by  Babe Ruth who used it in his powerful swing. Amazing!!

Byrd also became convinced that a good golfer, like a slugger, “braced” with his right leg on the backswing, moved the head slightly to the right as the body naturally “coiled,” and obtained power by “firing” the right side of the body at the target. “One swing was on a level plane, the other on a tilted plane,” says Ballard, relating Byrd’s gospel. “Other than that, they were totally identical.”

It was Byrd who first told Ben Hogan about the handkerchief and a proper coil, ideas that clearly had a major impact on Hogan’s thinking about the swing. Before Byrd, Hogan had suffered from a chronic duck hook, which nearly caused him to abandon the professional game and resign himself to being a club pro. Instead, armed with Byrd’s ideas about connection and his own dogged persistence, Hogan went on to become the finest shot maker in the game and author of (almost) the best swing-instruction book ever: Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.

Hogan’s book is simply the predecessor of Jimmy Ballard’s classic How to Perfect Your Golf Swing Using Connection and the Seven Common Denominators published in 1981 now out of print.

Now that we know about Sam Byrd and the amazing man he was, it is a shame he has not gotten more credit for his contributions to the game of golf. Every player owes a debt to Sam (and the Babe) for bringing the connection theory to the game of golf.

Who The Heck is Sam Byrd – Part 1

In our last blog we featured a reader’s comments on our choices of the top three all time greatest golf instruction books. (Just as a reminder ; the  number three book was Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus, the number two book was Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf (blasphemy ) and the number one greatest golf instruction  book ever written was  How to Perfect Your Golf Swing Using Connection and the Seven Common Denominators by Jimmy Ballard) . He described a common element between Ben Hogan and Jimmy Ballard – Sam Byrd!

It got me interested in who the heck is Sam Byrd. If I do not know I assume most of our readers also do not know. So I decided to do a little research on Sam and found out some fascinating information.

First the Basics  

Samuel Dewey Byrd (October 15, 1906 – May 11, 1981) born in Bremen, Georgia, moved to Birmingham at an early age. A star athlete, he originally played major league baseball from 1929-1936. He played 744 games-with the Yankees in 1929-34 and with Cincinnati 1935-36, hitting .274.

He was on the New York Yankees during their greatest era and was Babe Ruth’s road roommate. Byrd’s nickname

Sam Byrd Baseball Card

was “Babe Ruth’s Legs”, a reference to the fact that he often would appear as a pinch runner at the end of games toward the latter part of Ruth’s career.

In 1936, Byrd quit baseball to pursue a career in professional golf. He won over 25 events on the PGA Tour. He nearly won the Masters twice and lost the final of the 1945 PGA Championship to Byron Nelson, 4&3, in match play.

Byrd is the only person to have played in both a World Series and competed in the Masters Tournament.

Impressive stuff! 

In our next blog will have amazing infromation about the connection between Sam, Jimmy Ballard, Ben Hogan and Babe Ruth! Don’t miss it. (Sounds like a TV show cliffhanger)

As always do not forget to check out our TheEscapePlace stores on eBay, Amazon and Bonanza.
They will help your golf game and more!

Remember to keep  ‘em in the fairway.

A Reader’s Comments on The Greatest Golf Books Ever

We have been receiving a number of comments on our choice of the top three all time greatest golf instruction books.   (Just as a reminder ; the  number three book was Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus, the number two book was Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf (blasphemy ) and the number one greatest golf instruction  book ever written was  How to Perfect Your Golf Swing Using Connection and the Seven Common Denominators by Jimmy Ballard) .

 One readers comment was so good we have decided to share it with you. He sums up a commonality between Hogan and Jimmy Ballard that we did not know and you probably do not know about.   

“If people only knew that Ballard had the same teacher that helped Hogan make his swing changes (between1945-50), Sam Byrd, they would be able to understand that Hogan’s book were HIS feel for the common denominators described by Ballard.

It’s no surprise that Eerie’s (Jimmy’s?) pick of great golfers has players with all the denominators in them. Sadly Annika was left out and nobody has ever done it better that she did. Also, sadly Tiger went away from his great swing and his results are the proof in the pudding. People seem to forget Tiger won the US Open by 15 shots (only player under par -12) and is now considered playing well if he has a good round during a tournament. If he and Ballard got together the golf world would change considerably. 2nd place would be a major victory.”

Thank you for the comment and keep them coming!

As always do not forget to check out our TheEscapePlace stores on eBay, Amazon and Bonanza.
They will help your golf game and more!

Remember to keep  ‘em in the fairway.