Attached are comments from Joe Norwood concerning his relationship with Alex Findlay. Incidentally, Joe was the first person on record to refer to Alexander H. Findlay as The Father of American Golf. That comment would be picked up by sports writers and researchers alike for the next 100+ years. Joe uttered those words in the year 1906 when he was but 14 and Alex was 41.
Alex Findlay was Joe Norwood's boss at Wright & Ditson. Joe Norwood and Francis Ouimet worked together at Wright and Diston and regularly played rounds of golf together. Alex Findlay gave Joe his first lesson and mentored Joe over the next 5 years teaching him how to play golf, teach golf and make golf clubs. Findlay told Joe there are only two ways of hitting a golf ball, outside in or inside out. Inside out is Joe’s swing. Findlay told Joe to study the anatomy of the body so he could teach the separate parts of the body individually so they could all work together as one unit.
Joe loved baseball. He wanted to play professional ball. It was Alex Findlay, Harry Vardon, Walter Travis and Walter Hagen who convinced Joe that teaching golf was his destiny. Imagine sitting in on a conversation with Alex Findlay, Harry Vardon, Walter Travis and Walter Hagen, all legends, talking to Joe Norwood about his future. In 1910 Joe Norwood turned professional teacher. Alexander Findlay and Wright and Ditson were instrumental in getting Joe his first professional teaching job at The Brookline Golf Club in Boston, Ma. Joe taught golf at The Brookline Golf club from 1910 to 1914. As stated earlier Francis Ouimet, Joe’s friend, beat the famous Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at The Brookline Golf Club in the 1913 U.S. Open. This particular tournament had to be extremely meaningful to Joe Norwood as his friend was competing with the very men whom he patterned his golf swing after. What a spectacle it must have been. I can imagine my grandfather cheering on with intensity and awe as Ouimet and his 10 year old caddie battled the iron veterans of the day. Vardon was in bad health and the weather was bad. The young warrior was up to the challenge of both nature and the competition.
Joe Norwood was fortunate to watch Harry Vardon play. Joe saw Vardon practicing by swinging his right arm to his right heel and so the Vardon move was born into the Norwood swing. Joe said Vardon would spend hours practicing this move.
Francis Ouimet and Joe Norwood worked at the same store. Alexander H. Findlay was the manager of the golf department. Alexander Findlay ranks among the game's greatest players. Among his many golfing feats, Findlay was the first golfer in history to record a 72, or an average of four strokes a hole over 18 holes; this he accomplished in a championship match in Montrose, Scotland held August 6, 1886, when he was only twenty years old.
Findlay is thus credited by golf historians with establishing the standard score for par (72) on a regulation course. Prior to Findlay's score the standard or target score (par) for 18 holes was an average of four and one-half strokes a hole, or 81.
Now if you are really interested in understanding how the golf swing works I highly recommend that you check out Joe Norwood's instructions as presently taught by his grandson Dan Norwood. The reason I am giving this unsolicited recommendation is because of my wife's golf education through the Norwood system, but more importantly since Joe was taught by Alex, my wife and I are actually benefiting from AHF's instruction. Give it a look, you will be impressed.