Thursday, 21 September 2017

Improve your golf, with Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming was fond of golf manuals. His favourite was How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time by Tommy Armour, which he also placed on James Bond’s bookshelf, along with Ben Hogan’s The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. And The Golfer's Manual; Being an Historical and Descriptive Account of the National Game of Scotland by Allan Robertson is among the volumes that made up Fleming’s collection of books ‘that had started something’.
 

So one can imagine that, when he himself appeared in some golfing instructions, Ian Fleming was thrilled to say the least.
 

Henry Cotton’s Golf Notes were syndicated around the world. The pioneering golfer’s notes that were published in Farm and Country on 30th September 1959 focused on the golf swing and the importance of good position of the legs and feet. To illustrate Henry Cotton’s various points, the article includes photographs of golfers in action. Golfer no. 1, for instance, ‘does not know how to use his toes or his hips’, while the legs of golfer no. 2 ‘have worked against his arm swing’.
 

Golfer no. 3 was none other than Ian Fleming. So what was his golfing malaise? ‘Celebrated author Ian Fleming,’ Cotton wrote, ‘is caught at a later point in his swing, and whilst his arms could be coming to a position of rest, both his feet are firmly anchored on his heels. In all three cases the body is nowhere near completely facing the hole; it is locked by the hips and “dead feet”.’
 
Ian Fleming's golf swing and 'dead feet'
Despite Fleming’s faults, Henry Cotton admitted that Fleming ‘is quite a golfer’ with ‘a good hard action, which could be put to even better use with some “educated” footwork.’
 

Rather like James Bond, indeed. Bond shares a nine handicap with his creator, and similarly has trouble with his swing, which we know from Goldfinger (1959) is flat. Bond would do well to take some tips from Henry Cotton, with a little help from Ian Fleming.

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