Beginners Guide To Golf By Mr. X – Vintage Golf Book

Beginners Guide To Golf By Mr. X - Vintage Golf BookI recently rescued a forty year old golf instruction book from the trash bin in a store-room at my school: The Beginners Guide To Golf by Mr. X

Miller Barber was known on tour as “Mr. X,” but this is another fellow entirely.

According to the book jacket, Mr. X, who died in 1974, was a writer for Golf Monthly who kept his identity a secret. A retired London businessman, he took up the game in his late forties and got his handicap down to eight. Then he had a revelation about differences in posture between professionals and amateurs.  Professionals, he concluded, play better golf because they have a straight spine at the waist. After meeting with physiotherapists and exercising, he was able to become a scratch golfer in his fifties.

In The Beginners Guide To Golf, Mr. X advocates a “K” position at address and goes into quite a bit of discussion on the role of the various parts of the body in the swing. For example:

Their chief duty is to CONVERT the THRUST from the RIGHT foot and right knee during the down swing into HORIZONTAL PUNCH — and ROTATION referred to as hitting into the BOW. The shuttle action of the hips carries THE BASE OF THE SPINE along with them, this in turn ROCKS THE SHOULDERS as they rotate and swing is established by way of the spiral sweeps of the shoulder EXTREMITIES.


Most late beginners turn their shoulders in flattish sweeps, because their conception of shoulder turn is ROTATION, but unfortunately rotation does not necessarily produce a rocking movement as part of the turning action. On the other hand, if the concentration is focused on ROCKING THE SHOULDERS then their rotation will take place quite automatically and in proper proportion to the amount of rocking applied. The KEY therefore to correct shoulder action is to ROCK THE SHOULDERS into ROTATION beneath a STILL HEAD.

All of this is accompanied by a photos, a great many hand drawn illustrations and often inscrutable diagrams.

I found the whole effort to be very confusing and found myself wondering how anyone could learn to play from this volume. I think people would have been better off reading Hogan’s Five Lessons.


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