Sean Foley Just Likes to Talk Books

At least that was the tone from the e-mail I received from him today.[photopress:foley_big.jpg,full,alignright] Whereas I asked “Sean Foley: Canada’s Top Swing Doctor or Pretentious Wanker,” Foley, not surprising, didn’t see pick the wanker side. He felt Lorne Rubenstein’s article on him characterized the conversations the pair typically have — which often involve more Chomsky than Hogan.

[Lorne] did an article on a discussion we were having about what we were currently reading, and just basically printed what we talked about. I have a high regard for Lorne and his work and always appreciate his intellect. I guess sometimes intellects in society are perceived as pretentious. I guess people condemn what they don’t understand, and I am fine with that.

Okay, so maybe wanker was a little strong. I’m not comdemning Foley — and perhaps Lorne’s article is aimed at demonstrating Foley is a THINKER with a capital T. This is a guy who can analyze the swing and mass media theory all in a single bound. And good on him. Everyone needs other interests. I’m reading “John A.: The Man Who Made Us,” about John A Macdonald, if anyone cares. But I haven’t read Chomsky since j-school and I’m not about to now.

As far as the Stack and Tilt comment goes, Andy and Mike have a new name for what was previously called Geometry, Physics and Biomechanics. We have always seen eye to eye and are used to having stones thrown at us by the masses of old school teaching pros on tour who are no more than marketing experts.

So apparently Foley is down with the S&T gents. I always suspected that from Ames’ discussion on the subject. Apparently Foley doesn’t call it that. Interesting nonetheless. I personally know a lot of Grade A instructors that have difficulties with S&T, but it appears to have worked for several who have tried it.

As teachers we are making a living off of the players talent, it is not the other way around, and I am very aware of that.

Very true indeed. Next story.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  • How many truly “smart” people classify themselves as “intellects”? It’s terrible that society persecutes him for his brains……..
    Until he becomes the subject of serious quantities of Golf Digest editorial, I’m not sure he should classify himself with “Mike and Andy”. I’m fairly certain that Butch, Lead and the gang in that group aren’t losing sleep poking holes in the theory of the guy that teaches at Glen Abbey.

  • I am interested to know who else Foley is coaching on Tour.

    He is only 32, he might be onto something. He could be the new wave of celebrity instructors down the road.

  • Robert…
    The dictionary defines wanker as follows:
    1. a contemptible person; jerk.
    2. a male masturbator.

    I am not sure of your word choice, but Sean has justification to be upset. I read Lorne’s article, and the word wanker did not seem to come to mind. Obviously, you have some sort of bias or agenda, here. I am sure you would be upset if somebody referred to you as a wanker, for no apparent reason.

  • Brent: I have no sense of Sean’s masturbatory habits, and while I think he’s trying just a little too hard in the interview with Lorne, I have no reason to think he’s a jerk. No agenda, perhaps just trying to be too provocative.

  • IMHO there are teachers and there are coaches. Michelle Wie’s teacher is in Hawaii, her coach is Leadbeater and Company. Ames learned to golf in the islands, his teacher is there. He has a new coach who, if he’s good, will talk to Ames enough so that his talent can regain what his teacher built in. Does Ames know about American Hegemony? Yes, that’s why he lives in Canada. Jack Grout was Jack Nicklaus’ teacher, the others are remoras (better word than wankers).
    I am impressed by Teachers, not by coaches.
    The Teachers usually are club professionals, using tested methods; the coaches are usually side-tracked players, using clever tips (temporary) and “teaching” only persons who are already at the top of the sport.

  • Wow…then IMHO…so by that deductive reasoning…

    Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick learned nothing from Brad Gilbert. Both were exceptionally talented players who were “taught” tennis in their youth and “coached” to 7 collective Grand Slam victories under Gilbert….after being unsuccessful for years.

    A Fields Medal winner learned nothing from their thesis advisors, because they extrapolated on the fundamentals of mathematics they learned in their youth?

    That’s scary thinking.

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  • I just got back from Orange County National with 11 other guys who spent 5 days with Sean Foley and his partner Jeff Hay. These guys are the greatest. Thank you for making this the best golf vacation we all had. To everyone who does not know who Sean Foley is, you soon will.

  • MarkD, you are wrong. Don’t think for a second Leadbetter isn’t up all night trying to dismantle swing theories of many people, he did not get to this point in his career by being lazy. “The guy that teaches at glen abbey” happens to have single handedly allowed Ames’ talent to flourish by teaching him to swing with no back pain, and then coached him to a share of the lead on the weekend in two majors and a win at the end of the year. It seems Ames’ is getting better as time goes on. By your logic MarkD, “the guy who plays at Isleworth” probably isn’t a good golfer because he can be discredited by a categorical description. At some point the few Foley haters are going to have to just deal with the fact that the guy really knows what he’s doing. There are not actually many people out there who hate Foley, just a hack journalist who is pursuing his own agenda after coming to the realization the person he was writing about was smarter than he was.
    gary slatter, the American Hegemony is an essay written by a Chinese intellectual. Does Ames know about it? Um, probably not no. Your point about teachers and coaches has to be, one of the all time most idiotic things I have ever read. You don’t just learn something and then have it in you forever. You obviously have no understanding of modern psychology, instead subscribing to the Disney version of life, where “you got it in you somewhere”. Thats absurd. Smarten up people. RIP SEAN TAYLOR

  • Mt Thompson,

    You say you have not read Chomsky for quite some time and have no plan to. Maybe you should think of broadening your reading material.

    I think it is commendable that someone looks to broaden their knowledge and is not only able to speak about their own line of work.

    Considering how many sports people or people who can influence young minds can often barely string a coherent sentence together I am glad to see that Sean, who works with young golfers, could share more than his knowledge of golf.

  • I have taken numerous lessons with Foley and somewhat know him on a personal level and the guy is a top notch swing doctor and an outstanding all around person.

    I’d agree that Sean is a bit of a talker with a relatively bold personality; however, he can back all of this up due to his fabulous understanding of the golf swing and a an uncanny ability to relate to his students (which explians why he has become a huge figure in Jr golf)

    Anyone who actually believes that good coaching is not important for a professional golfer or tennis player is absolutely out of their mind and has probably either spent way to much time watching bushleague Golf Channel info-mmericals that promise to “fix your slice” or have never picked up a golf club and attempted to play at a relatively high level.

    Sean is definitely an ambitious guy and clearly believes he will get to the top; however, it is much better (in any area of life) to high and miss than shoot low and score.

  • WOW. How do you argue with success. Why dont we all just sit back and look at the results. Sean is doing a great job,he is a real talent and is already at the top of his pofessional.
    Great Job. Sean

  • As a student of Foley, I’d be the first to say he is possibly the all time smartest individual in science of the golf swing, and making analogys that you can relate to, he makes it easy to learn, and knows so much about the swing, and short game areas, its all science, but he simplifys it, looks good on all you haters,
    Doing well Sean.


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