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Henry Cotton

Greetings Golfers,

I hope you watched some of the Open Championship last week at Royal St. George. Collin Morikawa is the real deal - he’s only 24 and could/should win a bunch of Majors.

Louis Oosthuizen was in the hunt again … but just can’t seem to close the deal. 

A guy who could close the deal was Henry Cotton. Cotton won three Open Championships … his first was at Royal St. George in 1934. His second round 65 was the course record until 1993.

Henry Cotton is known as the ultimate “hands player”. He was an obsessive practicer and claimed to have tried every style in search of the perfect swing. 

He was described as “independent, controversial, and self-assertive” … until he died in 1987 at 80. He gave golf lessons in Portugal until the very end.

You’ve probably seen or used an “impact bag”. Well, that’s just a slicker version of Cotton’s method of hitting an old car tire (not on a car). He believed in strong hands and fingers … and developing a powerful hit at impact. 

In fact, he emphasized hitting “past” rather than “with” the body. This is how he explained it: “Through impact the left hand gradually turns down and over as the right hand hits past it. The action is a rolling or turning of the hands, NOT an inward collapsing of the left wrist or a forward bending of the right wrist.”

I agree with Cotton. I also agree with Cotton that other methods work - simply that the hands method, once mastered, is the easiest, most effective, and longest lasting.

If you do decide to be a “hands player” … you need to not move past the ball during impact … as you move into the shot, you need to feel that your left side has hit a wall.

I recommend the old-school “K” setup to give yourself that firm left-side. When you setup to hit a shot, just kick in your right knee … and that should put you into the “K” position.

Even if you don’t decide to be a hands player like Henry Cotton … developing your hands will help your golf game.

And try the “K” setup … it can help your backswing, your turn, and minimize “coming over the top”.

Now you’ll be ready to “close the deal”.


Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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