Monday, November 24, 2008


Oh Little One
By Michael Cortson
Having had the misfortune or fortune, depending on your point of view, of surviving a collision with most certain death, my observations of even the most basic of good and evil, right and wrong, and all of the core values upon which we all place our foundational beliefs were, to say the very least, violently shaken to rubble only to be rebuilt to a new and enlightened view. When I look back to a time when I was little and the world was filled with every possibility, dream and fantasy one could imagine, I see clearly now just how, at a glacier’s pace, my life evolved into a morass of confusion, fear and pain. Not that I was ever mindful that these most unwanted aspects were to be afoot, but how these virtues of success, safety and security were never more than a belief and illusion in the first place. That is to say that all the while that I studied and worked tirelessly to build a life, wealth and a family somewhere along the way that little person who I had been became lost and forgotten and thrown into the dust bin mostly likely never to be seen again. Perhaps it was the adult thing to do. I was to put aside childish thoughts and virtues and become a man taking the world head on without regard for anything more than my success, wealth and family. So there I was battering away day after day, month by month, year after year climbing some imaginary mountain to nowhere which at its peak there was to be some glorious reward.
Well, this journey came to an abrupt halt and I landed smack in the middle of the absolute end of it all staring helplessly at a ceiling which was to be my final view of all this. Frightening, wouldn’t you say, but of course. The end of it all is not something we wish to ponder at any length and that is due to our absolute fear of all fears, certain death and the unknown of it all. I look back now, having lost all that what was once so dear to me that I would tear the eyes from someone’s skull should they threaten my success, wealth and especially family. After all, I had devoted a lifetime to building these things and woe is to the one who dared threaten any of it!
So the little boy, that fragile harmless lad, scampering about the yard, dreaming dreams of becoming the world’s greatest baseball player, squeezing the joy out of every precious minute of daylight he could get, I would tell him now; you never left. You have been here all the time. You are the one that this living is about. To live and live as large as your imagination will take you! To be happy and laugh until your sides ache. To cry as if it were your last moment. To love as heartfelt for all, as you love the new puppy, your catcher’s mitt, and the promise of the new sunrise. Never lose yourself, little one. Live proudly in joy and happiness throughout your life. Bring a smile where there is sadness. Bring hope where there is despair. Let your innocence and love for all things be a light, a beacon to all who seek the same. Now I hear my mother’s voice asking me again, “Whudja learn?” And I can say without a doubt, “I was at the top of the mountain all along! Welcome back, oh little one.”

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Leverage vs "Swing"

Leverage vs "Swing"
By Mike Cortson
I have been a student of the golf swing for over 20 years. I have been a PGA Tour player manager for some of the best players over the years including Australian Hall of Fame golfer, Bruce Crampton. Needless to say, I have been around the best players up close and personal where I never wasted the opportunity to study. I am a lawyer, now retired. I was also valedictorian of my law school class and law review editor. I am a research nut. My golf library is loaded with every important golf book, article, and video I could get my hands on. I truly have left no stone unturned.

Having had the good fortune to learn what Ben Hogan was actually doing in his golf swing as it was taught to his only pupil, John Schlee, I have been amazed at how other teachers, and I mean big name teachers, have totally misunderstood just what it was Hogan was doing. Pictures and films can guide you to what it was that Hogan was doing, but only if you know where to look. If you don't know what you are looking for it is hard to know it when you find it.

Ernest Jones author of "Swing The Club Head" is the father, if you will, of the swinging versus hitting school. Much like Count Yogi, Jones was a proponent of allowing the club head to swing freely to generate as much speed as possible to create force. The force equation of F (force) = M (mass) x A (acceleration). Nowhere in that equation do we see F as part of its own creation.
Yet there is a school of thought on leverage as the method to be used to create force. Leverage in and of itself is a force and by the law of physics has no business in the equation F = M x A, as it would tend to fly in the face of physics making the equation F = M x A + F, or some such thing. So by applying force on the wrong side of the equation actually defeats the outcome.
There is more going on in a golf swing than just F = M x A so it would seem. To sort is out I had to break this down even further to clearly understand how this all worked. And I must tell you without having had the benefit of knowing what Hogan was actually doing I would probably be floundering around expounding "swing theories" rather than science.
Joe Dante, in his book "Four Magic Moves", came as close to understanding what Hogan was doing as anyone of his day. Unfortunately, his focus was on leverage in "delaying" the hit by locking the "backward wrist break" from the top of the back swing on through the hitting area.

That truly uncomfortable feeling of breaking the wrists twisting them under and holding them tight in that position will indeed get you into Hogan's impact position albeit in such an uncomfortable and contorted position that a student will quickly give up on that method. He discussed Conservation Of Angular Momentum (COAM) but didn't express how it works in the golf swing. He did mention the ice skater using COAM to spin fast by holding her arms in close to the body to speed up but did not understand how that actually works in a golf swing. Hogan called it "loading up", as Schlee told me. How it got released was a mystery to Dante. So "leverage" is actually part of the "A" in the F = M x A equation. Getting your body in the proper position to maximize COAM is the key, and it doesn't need to be all that uncomfortable.

In 2003 I was terminally diagnosed with cancer and the shortly thereafter had a massive stroke landing me in and end of life hospice program in a nursing home. I managed to overcome all that and hobbled out of the nursing home on June 11, 2004. I was indeed and still am totally and permanently disabled with all sorts of residual maladies. Yet I still had the golf bug and was determined to teach this beaten body to play golf again. I have little physical strength left and I am not all that big at 5' 9". So I can't generate a lot of power. But I knew that "power" had to do with electricity and not mechanics. In the golf swing we are trying to create force not power.

When I focused on the mechanics of the swing and allowed the club to swing allowing my body and wrists to flow naturally into the proper positions to create speed and what appeared to be leverage, I found that it was just a matter of getting myself set properly for the Hogan impact position at the finish of my back swing and then rotating my body back toward the target keeping the "launch sequence" in order; knees, hands club head all going to the target in that order that I was able to apply the club face dead square to the ball hitting it dead straight with appreciable distance. The faster I rotated keeping the proper sequence the farther I hit the ball.
Hogan deliberately hid what he was doing and I know exactly where he made his "secret" transition. Like a magic trick; once you know how it is done you can't help but see it happen. I actually demonstrate this "secret" in my DVD "On Target Power". COAM plays a huge roll in creating force. COAM is part of the "A" in F = M x A. Also what is further misunderstood is what constitutes the "M", mass. Mass is not just the club head alone. Mass constitutes every bit of who is swinging the club, not just the club head. If you merely swing the club head using solely its mass you are what I call hitting the ball with a bicycle rather than a dump truck. When you can get your entire body moving along with the club head now you are putting as much mass as you have times the acceleration you are generating with COAM. When your hands get down close to your right hip you are now in the ice skater's position and the faster you can rotate from that point them more COAM you can apply to the "A" part of the equation. It is literally FREE power and now for you, no longer a mystery.

If you want to learn how to do this properly I would strongly suggest that you get my book, "The Secret to a Great Golf Swing" as well as my DVD "On Target Power". You can order the book at your local bookstore if they are out of stock or order it from my web site. The DVD is available only from my site, with a direct link to the DVD at . You can also book a lesson with me either here in Southwestern Michigan, indoors during the winter by calling me at (269) 326-0736. I do travel and you can call me to discuss the details.

Hit 'em straight!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The power of thought

Ten years ago had anyone told me that thoughts alone had the power to change people not only mentally but phyically as well I would have dismissed it as nonsense. Now after overcoming what was certain to be terminal cancer and a massive stroke I have to admit that thoughts indeed shape us physically, both good and bad. After looking at my thinking and all of the choices I made up to my illness striking me down it became abundantly clear that my thought patterns which determined my choices and actions certainly did lead me on a collision course with near certain death. Actually I did die twice during surgery when I was first hospitalized April 1, 2003. There was no light, no nothing. I was sent home to get my affairs in order which I reluctantly did. I made my funeral arrangements July 16, 2003 and the arrangements are still in place as I will indeed have one eventually. I withered away to about 110 lbs when on October 16, 2003 I had the stroke. My hospice counselor found me on the bathroom floor and called the ambulance.

In January 2004 my lucidity returned only to find me still hopeless lying in a nursing home. Coming to grips with the finality of all of this was quite overwhelming to say the least. I finally resolved that if this was all I had left then I would make the best of it. I decided to find joy in wonder in all that I saw. The view from my window was the garbage dumpsters behind the home. Yet I still admired the snow and the ice and was truly grateful for the opportunity to still be alive. As my thoughts focused on positive things exclusively I began to feel better emotionally and physically. Mind you this was not some program I conjured up to battle. It was just a change of my thinking to make each moment happier. Since my focus was on finding happiness low and behold that is exactly what I began to find. There was no time to think about illness or pain. I didn't complain.

I realized that if all of my past thinking had led me to illness there was no reason that my thinking couldn't lead me away from it. And so it did. The more I focus on happiness the more of it I get. By the same token, if my focus were to be on negative things the more of that I would get. The great thing about putting your thoughts on the positive is that you begin to attract more positive people around you which is exactly what I needed at the nursing home. The doctors, nurses, therapists and everyone were happy to assist me. Why? Because I was indeed genuinely happy and resolved to get back on my feet. Had I been an old grouch no one would have come to my aid. They most likely would have stood by and counted the minutes before I was gone and had a celebration.

So it is this resolve to find good and happiness that is the starting point. Regardless of your situation once you start looking for happiness, even in the tiniest places, you'll find it. The giant snowball starts with a single flake.

So where is all this happiness? It comes from within. How you feel is always your choice. And that is what winning thinking is about; choices. It is about taking 100% responsibility for how you feel and how you choose to be affected by the people and things around you. If you are set on looking outside of yourself for your happiness you will never find it there. It is always your choice. Taking 100% responsibility for your feelings is indeed frightening at first. We all would love to blame others for how we feel but you can't be insulted or hurt without giving your consent. So when I feel bad I look to myself to see what it is I am thinking that is causing me to feel that way. If someone pushes a button that makes me play a bad thought, I simply find a new thought for that button. I can't stop people from pushing my buttons but I sure can rearrange the records in this juke box of my called the brain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ben Hogan's secret

I was fortunate enough to have been taught Ben Hogan's actual swing secret by his only pupil, the late John Schlee. In 2003 I was dying from cancer then had a massive stroke to boot. I managed to get myself out of that mess and hobbled out of the nursing home end of life program on June 11, 2004. I had been a PGA Tour player manager for tour pros including Bruce Crampton. My legal career was at and end and my disabilities left me with little hope of doing anything without being in a lot of pain and at best awkwardly at best. I loved golf but had never really been much of a player before my illness. Now that I had time to do things I decided to try to swing a golf club again. I adapted Hogan's secret to what I was able to do and after the winter of 04/05 I hobbled out to the local course to give it a try. I could hit the ball dead straight with acceptable distance for my age (mid 50s) and my physical disabilities. My scores were regularly in the 7os which came as quite a surprise. The local members all knew of my situation and were amazed that I even tried to play in pain much less as well as I did. People sought me out to teach them what I did and before long the word spread. I am able to teach people this simple technique and they improve.

One of my students from Chicago helped me get my book, The Secret to a Great Golf Swing published. The book has been well received. There have been a few who refuse to believe it is so simple and continue to seek simplicity through frustration on their own. My DVD, On Target Power lets me actually give my lesson as clearly and simply as possible and has been a success.

I have students come to see me from all over the US now and they all manage to improve dramatically. It has been very rewarding to be able to help even the most frustrated person to finally be able to hit a golf ball straight and with authority.

I now do a weekly radio show on WRHC-FM in Three Oaks, MI on positive thinking and the law of attraction. It was my thinking that got me through my health ordeal as I was not a candidate for surgery or treatment. I have a web site where you can download my shows for free . Just click on the podcast download link. Bruce Crampton was kind enough to be on my show and share his thinking techniques which he used to win 7 times in his rookie season on the Senior Tour (Champions now).

If you have any questions about golf or just want to say hi feel free to email me at .

Hit 'em straight!