Percy Boomer

Percy Hugh Boomer (1885-1949), golfer and pupil of F. M. Alexander.


Percy Boomer and his brother Aubrey Boomer (b.1897) were professional British golfers and won several championships in the 1920s. According to Wikipedia: ‘Boomer was one of the top teachers of golf in Europe and spent the majority of his professional career at St. Cloud Country Club in the Paris suburbs. He was a proponent of muscle memory in the golf swing and reminded his students to block out negative thoughts in favor of more positive ones in order to play better golf.’


Percy Boomer’s On Learning Golf (1942) contains several distortions of the concepts and practice of the Alexander Technique. Boomer expresses his indebtedness to ‘Professor’ Alexander for demonstrating the psycho-physical unity of all acts in UoS. However, concepts are confused when Boomer says that Alexander’s conscious control replaces thinking – for Boomer ‘thinking’ means emotional thoughts. Boomer’s description of conscious control is of ‘building up feel’. In golf this is done, not by thinking, but by ‘constant repetition of the correct action’, which will build up a ‘comfortable and reliable feel’. Instead of thinking of where the ball is to go, one should concentrate on the swing by getting the ‘feel’ of the swing. To be in psycho-physical ‘unison’ the golfer must feel his swing as ‘all one piece’. One should memorize these muscle sensations. In this way the process of giving the directions ‘one after the other’ becomes, for Boomer, ‘a cycle of sensations’. Boomer recommended that to obtain a good preparatory position for the swing the golfer must ‘feel’ that the ‘hips and shoulders are all braced.’ Directing upwards is equivalent, in Boomer’s language, to generating an ‘upward brace’. Other concepts of Alexander’s featured are ‘inhibition’, ‘end gainer’ and ‘means whereby’, which are just as misleadingly explained.[1]


[1] A Time to Remember by Walter H. M. Carrington (The Sheildrake Press, 1996), endnote 33, pp. 85–86.