The Efficient Golfer
by Robert Anthony Prichard
Teacher’s Comments: The book actually isn’t bad, but a bizarre “licensing agreement” totally turned me off.
Robert Pritchard has found a new angle with his book, The Efficient Golfer.
And that’s a good thing, because what the world absolutely does not need another book on basic golf instruction. There already are so many—and so many written by the barely qualified—or the barely literate—that the market has become a confused jumble. I counted twenty on a single shelf on a recent trip to the bookstore, and know of dozens more available online and as ebooks.
What anyone writing a golf instruction book needs is a new angle. Jim Hardy—eminently qualified and smart enough to hire a ghostwriter—has done that with his Plane Swing series. John Novosek has done it with Tour Tempo.
Add to the list Robert Pritchard. His contribution is a book that explains to the reader how to use videotape to analyze their own golf swing.
There are a couple of different things going on inside the covers of The Efficient Golfer.
At one level, much of what’s in the book has been covered before. There are bits on alignment, grip, stance, flexibility, sequencing, weight shift and so on. The book takes a bit of a different tack than some in recommending a greater backswing range.
The Efficient Golfer also has quit a bit on muscle development and flexibility. It’s got explanations of how muscle development works and exercises to build strength and flexibility.
But that all has frankly been done before.
Where The Efficient Golfer stands out is in telling the reader how to use a videotape to analyze their own swing. It’s interesting enough that I wanted far more information than the book offers. A little less on muscle development and more on the videotape.
I can’t really tell you more, though, because there’s an unusual and frighteningly restrictive “License Agreement” in the front of the book, threatening legal action if I give out any of the secrets.
Strange. I’ve checked a dozen other golf instruction books and can’t find a single one with a license agreement. Under standard laws, if you buy a book, you can use the material, lend the book to friends, reasonably quote from it, etc. Every instructor I’ve met quotes from Hogan’s Five Lessons, Jim Flick’s eight step swing, etc.
But the publishers of The Efficient Golfer have taken a dangerous page from the playbook of the software industry. When you buy The Efficient Golfer, you don’t buy the book—you buy a license to use the ideas in the book.
If you haven’t noticed—unlike purchasing a book—when you buy a piece of software, you don’t own the product. You own a license to USE the product. And if you read the fine print, you will see that the company controls every aspect of your usage and threatens draconian punishment if you use it otherwise.
In the same manner, The Efficient Golfer’s “License Agreement” prohibits you from using the information in any commercial or educational way without written permission; from lending the book to anyone outside your immediate family; from using any analogy in the book and so on.
As a golf coach, I realized that I really shouldn’t have read the book because one of the ideas might work its way into the education of my young golfers. If you’re a teaching pro, you don’t want to read the book, because you might let one of the ideas slip to a paying customer. And if you play for money in any way shape or form, the license prohibits you from using anything you might have learned:
“Purchaser agrees not to use any of the methods of measurement and analysis, analogies, illustrations, drills or exercies in this book for commercial or educational purposes without the express written permission …”
Even more: Anyone even coming “into possession of this book agrees to be bound by the terms of the license agreement.”
If you don’t agree to the “License”, you are supposed to return it unread to the bookseller.
I find the license absolutely absurd and until they change it, recommend that you look elsewhere.