COMPANION

Golf

F. M. Alexander

F. M. Alexander never played golf but had a number of pupils who were keen golf players, among them professional golf players. Hence there are several references to golf in Alexander literature. Alexander, in his 1925 lecture, said:

I wrote a technique for golf and I never played golf in my life, and yet Dunn, the famous golfer, said, ‘Ah, yes, that’s right, that is it.’[1]

F. M. Alexander on golf

A comprehensive discussion of a difficulty with golf is given in the third chapter of UoS, ‘The Golfer Who Cannot Keep his Eyes on the Ball.’ Golf is also discussed in MSI (mainly in Part II, chapter 3), in CCC (part II, chapter 6; part III, chapter 2, and in part IV), and in UCL (chapter X).

Alexander also discusses golf in his ‘An unrecognised principle’ lecture, in the ‘Bedford Physical Training College’ lecture’,[2] and there is a brief criticism of golf teaching in the ‘St Dunstan’s Lecture’.[3]

Writings – Articles

John Duncan Dunn, a professional golf player, was the first to write about the Alexander Technique and golf. In an article in 1920 for The Golfer’s Magazine he wrote that MSI would be one of the best books for the “beginning golfer and the older player.” He writes that “conscious control is one of the absolutely necessary requirements of the golfer” and also quotes from MSI on the subject of faulty sensory appreciation.[4] Alexander writes how gratifying it was to have Dunn’s endorsement of his technique in CCC in part II, chapter 6. Although Dunn does not make specific references to Alexander and the Technique in A. B. C. of Golf (1916), Intimate Golf Talks (1920) and Natural Golf (1931), the influence of the Technique is seen, for example, in his emphasis on ‘correct body poise,’ not allowing the head to move ‘off centre,’ and allowing the muscles to work in ‘perfect harmony.’[5]

  • ‘The Fearful Foozler’ by Sir Ernest Holderness (1890-1968), first published in The Evening Standard (London, 17 March 1928), introduces the Alexander Technique and recommends CCC.[6] Sir Ernest was an Amateur Champion in 1922 and 1924, and Surrey County Amateur Champion in 1925. Alexander quotes from this article in UoS.[7]
  • ‘Golfing with the Alexander Technique’ by Martyn Jones describes his workshop at the 2004 Oxford Congress on golfing, for Alexander Technique teachers, with emphasis on releasing before moving.[8]
  • A large booklet, Golf Myths and Misunderstandings by Jørgen Haahr and Neil Holman, contains very little on the Alexander Technique.[9]
  • ‘Sensing a new golf movement’ is on teaching the Alexander Technique to golfers and how to bring the Technique to golfers.[10]

Writings –Books

  • Golf Sense by Roy Palmer.[11]
References

[1] ‘An unrecognised principle’ in Articles and Lectures by F. Matthias Alexander, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1995), p. 156.
[2] ‘Bedford Physical Training College Lecture’ in Articles and Lectures by F. Matthias Alexander, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1995), pp. 165-66, 179.
[3] ‘St Dunstan’s Lecture’ in Articles and Lectures by F. Matthias Alexander, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1995), p. 186.
[4] ‘Conscious Control and the Lofting Shot’ by John Duncan Dunn in The Golfer’s Magazine (March 1920), pp. 19–20. Republished in A Means To An End – Articles and Letters on the Alexander Technique 1909–1955 edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2015), pp. 147-153.
[5] Articles and Lectures by F. Matthias Alexander, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1995), p. 312.
[6] Published as ‘Where golfers go wrong’ in The Alexander Journal edited by Edward H. Owen, no. 3, 1964, pp. 14-15.
[7] The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932), p. 46, footnote.
[8] ‘Golfing with the Alexander Technique’ by Martyn Jones in The Congress Papers 2004, Exploring the Principles edited by Anne Oppenheimer (STATBooks, 2005), pp. 167–69.
[9] Golf Myths and Misunderstandings by Jørgen Haahr and Neil Holman (Gorst Publishing, 1998).
[10] ‘Sensing a new golf movement’ (no author) in Direction vol. 3, no. 9 edited by Paul Cook (Direction Journal, 2015), pp. 27–31.
[11] Golf Sense by Roy Palmer (FrontRunner Publications, 2010).
Taxonomy: