The QATSPY Sports Page 4 Golfers
An Incidental Encounter with a Vietnam POW Hero
Before I retired, I worked with a utility in Mississippi as an Grid engineer. in March of 2002, I was attending an ALCOA meeting on fiber optics for SCADA. In the clubhouse at Hattiesburg, I noticed a Vietnam Vet that was setting up for a charity golf tournament for the weekend. The coincidence of being in Hattiesburg, MS, of being in a golf clubhouse, and seeing a Vietnam Vet could only point to one thing, this had to be Colonel George Robert Hall.
What was significant about Colonel George Robert Hall was that he was held at the infamous Hanoi Hilton for over seven years after being shot down on September 27, 1965, flying a RF-101. Six weeks after his release in February of 1973 from the Hanoi Hilton prison he was asked to play in the Greater New Orleans POW Pro-Am Open in March, weighing 100 pounds less than the date he was captured. This tournament is now call the Zurich Open.
Colonel George Robert Hall, Held as a POW for 7.5 years at the Hanoi Hilton. Possessed a handicap of four (4). Use the game of golf to survive his captivity.
If surviving seven-and-a-half years of mental and physical torture, starvation, solitary confinement, and beatings at the Hanoi Hilton wasn’t impressive enough, Colonel Hall shot a 76 in that Pro-Am that was just as impressive, six-weeks out from being released. Shooting a 76, was Colonel Hall’s handicap of four (4) before being deployed to Vietnam.
Even a professional golfer in professional ranks shooting a 76 would have been an outstanding accomplishment being out of golf for over seven years and being in his mental and physical condition. Colonel Hall’s accomplishment could even be compared with Ben Hogan returning to golf after his vehicle accident in February of 1949.
What was unique about Ben Hogan return to golf in 1950 was that he, Ben Hogan, won the 1950 U.S. Open. He played in the group behind my distant cousin, J.P. Boatwright, Jr.
MCI Training Technique Used by Colonel Hall
Colonel Hall while a POW used a little known self-coaching technique to not only used to maintain his sanity, but his golf game. This proven process is referred to as Mental Continued Incrementalism, or MCI. In the Japanese language, MCI is referred to as Kaizen, which means continuous improvement. Even in my indoor training facility, I’m constantly discovering new ways to improve my golf game, and that’s after 45 years of playing the game.
NOTE: Golf can provide a significant advantage to our Veterans returning home from the battlefield to deal with their anxieties and PTSD. I developed Operation Dog Tag for Veterans and communities to use to help our Veterans transitioning to civilian life. Please refer to details at the end of this article.
Another article on Colonel Hall was written for Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum by Rick Cleveland.
I never could imagine having an opportunity of meeting Colonel Hall, a hero of my, much less having an opportunity to sit down with him for a Q&A session. Most Veterans are usually reluctant to talk about their dramatic experiences. But I decided to give it a try. I had my attaché case containing my steno pad and pin. I don’t go anywhere without my pin and steno pad, which are tools of my trade. Engineering is my profession, but writing and golf are my two passions.
I approached Colonel Hall to introduce myself to him and to make a donation to the Vietnam Vets Golf Charity that Colonel Hall was sponsoring. As soon as I mentioned my last name, Boatright, in the introduction, he was more than willing to take 20 to 30-minutes for an informal Q&A session.
This informal interview turned out to be fascinating, one that I have included at the end of this article. This interview shed light on Sir Nick Faldo’s YouTube video on the Preset Technique, David Duval’s wrist action in the golf swing that Charlie Rymer called That Wrist Thing, and three simple techniques that I call Sync, Preset, and Yaw. Of all coaching components, Syncing/Presetting the wrists technique is one of the most important components in the golfer’s swing. Not only does it link the hands with the golfer’s body, but it links the golfer’s conscious mind with their subconscious mind that runs the show.
The golfer might very will use their conscious mind to practice their golf game on the practice range, but I can guarantee the golfer once they step foot on the golf course their subconscious mind will take over their golf game.
How many times do we have a rare opportunity to sit down with a Veteran and especially a Veteran who survived for seven-and-a-half years as a POW that was held at the infamous Hanoi Hilton, one among 12 other prison camps where POW’s were kept during the Vietnam War?
Background Information on Colonel Hall
Colonel George Robert Hall was born in Hattiesburg, MS, on 18Jun1930. He first attended Ole Miss, The University of Mississippi, for one year before attending the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1949. While at Annapolis, Colonel Hall was captain of the Academy’s golf team and had a handicap of four (4), remember this statistic. Upon graduation in 1953, Colonel Hall accepted a commission in the U.S. Air Force.
Colonel Hall was shot down over North Vietnam on 27Sep1965, captured by the North Vietcong, and was held at the Hanoi Hilton for seven-and-a-half years. Prisoners were routinely subjective to torture and to malnutrition. Upon Colonel Hall’s release from the Hanoi Hilton on 12Feb1973, he weighed 100-pounds less than the day he was captured. This was due to a 300 calorie-per-day diet that the prisoners were fed.
Upon Colonel Hall’s release from the Hanoi Hilton, the first thing that he wanted to do was to play his first round of golf, and have his first cup of ice and Coca-Cola on board the transport plane. This was the request of most POW’s for ice and Coca-Cola.
Colonel Hall did a little better than that in both accounts. In less than six weeks, he was playing on one of the biggest stages in golf a PGA Pro-Am Tournament. Then he became Vice President of Coca-Cola in Hattiesburg operations and was also one of Coca-Cola corporate pilots.
The POW Pro-Am at the Greater New Orleans Open, is now called The Zurich Classic of New Orleans. What wass fascinating about his participation in a PGA Pro-Am, besides not playing regularly for over seven-and-a-half years, and being a hundred pounds lighter, was his score. Colonel Hall shot, his shot his handicap of four (4). Not many pros could have laid off over seven years and comeback and shoot a score of 76 under those conditions. Just recall the transition it took Tiger Woods coming back from back surgery.
Our responsibility to our Veterans is to record and retell their story of their Love and commitment to our country, the heroic life that they live(d), and the sacrifice they made for our Freedoms and Liberties. My job is to retell Colonel Hall’s story and to shed light on how one POW Veteran took the game of golf to survive his experience. This, for me, was like having access to the definitive approach to the mental game of golf and life and the techniques Col. Hall used. In a lot of ways, Col. Hall’s techniques were similar to the way my grandfather taught me. As Charlie Rymer referred to as That Wrist Thing.
My Interview with Colonel George Robert Hall
Like anyone that has played the game of golf will attest to, golf is a mental game, played on a five-inch course, the distance between the ears. Colonel Hall proved the quote made by Bobby Jones, Sr. Colonel Hall offered a very rare opportunity to isolate and various mental techniques that Col. Hall used and be documented as the definitive book on Sports Psychology, based on his experience at the Hanoi Hilton. This wasn’t just about an athlete’s performance, but his survival.
He used golf to not only survive conditions at the Hanoi Hilton, but to offer mental techniques to improve the golfer’s game. Also, don’t forget that golf offers Veterans Cognitive Based training (CBT) to address the effects of PTSD.
My interview with Colonel Hall:
Question No. 1
Boatright: “What did you use as a golf club?”
Colonel Hall: “I used a stick and my left thumb to represent the handle of the club, and placed my right hand around the left thumb or a stick. This also gave me the opportunity to maintain the correct grip pressure on the handle of the club. This also allowed me to preset my wrist action in the golf swing, as I did when I played golf on a regular basis stateside. My main objective was to feel my wrist action in the golf swing.”
Question No. 2
Boatright: “What was the key component in your golf swing to give you the most realistic feel, since you did not have an actual golf club or experience the results of your golf shots?”
Colonel Hall: “Everything had to be associated with my left hand, thumb, left Pinky Knuckle, and wrist. I could not think about the floor as the ground for my point of reference. I realized if I could preset my left wrist action in the golf swing sequence properly based on specific techniques, I knew that I had followed the correct golf swing sequence. If I could feel how the my left Pinky Knuckle pointed toward my right big toe, and how my wrists looked and were set in the golf swing, I could virtually set and execute my golf swing.”
Question No. 3
Boatright: “So, your point of reference was waist level at your hands and how your wrists were set?
Colonel Hall: “Yes, to be more specific, my thumbs and Index and Pinky knuckles were set. I kept all the impact, essentially, at the level of my hands, knuckles, and thumbs, similar to how a baseball player uses a bat to take batting practice. Matter of fact, I thought about playing what they now refer to as tee ball in my cell.”
Question No. 4
Boatright: “I have centered my muscle memory on three (3) points, the base of my thumbs (called the Thenars), the left and right Index Knuckle, and Pinky Knuckle. Did you center or keying in on a particular points or muscle to execute your golf shot?”
Colonel Hall: “Yes, I read about how Ben Hogan described how he used his Thenars as being a key part of his golf swing to pronate and supinate his wrists and hands. This allowed him to open and close his clubface properly.”
Colonel Hall’s Question: “How did you determine the significance of the Thenars in your golf swing sequence, I wasn’t aware of many people knowing about the Thenars in golf?”
Boatright Answer: “In Kinesiology, my professor, Dr. Bunch, stressed the importance of three points that could be used in the baseball-type swing to produce base hits and reduce injuries to the wrists, lower forearms, and lower back. The wrists can be preset using both Index Knuckles to perform what I call the Palmar-Dorsiflex and in my case the left Pinky Knuckle to perform what you reference as Pronation and Supination. These three components are essential in presetting the golfer’s wrists and the Thenars.
These points presets the left and right Brachio-Radialis Muscle which is a particularly unique muscle in the entire golf swing sequence since these muscles can pronate and supinate and flex (or bend) the forearms at the elbow. The Thenars are unique in that they are the strongest and most dexterous muscles in the wrist action and in the golf swing that have direct contact with the golf club handle.”
Colonel Hall: Now you gave me some validation to why I concentrated on the muscle memory that I used in my golf swing sequence of the wrist.
Boatright: Yes sir, I refer to my muscle memory sequence as The Critical Swing Path, keying in on the wristband muscle and my left Pinky Knuckle. Another training technique that I use are a pair of kickboxing gloves, because of the wristbands. I showed Colonel Hall the training photograph that I use in my training. Look how the two wrists synchronize with each other in the left and right wrist to preset the proper wrist action in the golf swing, called Sync/Preset maneuver.
Colonel Hall: Looking at the photograph, Never cross my mind to mentally use kickboxing gloves to preset my wrists. How did you ever consider comparing the baseball swing vs. golf swing?
Boatright: That was a technique my grandfather, H.Q. Boatright, taught me in setting up my baseball swing and later in my golf swing sequence. He believed that the baseball swing and golf swing were essentially the same swing. I have a time-lapse photo comparing the wrist action in the golf swing to that of the baseball swing. The baseball swing was virtually the golf swing, but in a horizontal position. The challenge and obstacle facing the golfers he taught was transitioning from a ball on the ground, or home plate, to a ball that is waist-high in baseball, traveling between 80 to 90 mph in a strike zone.:
Colonel Hall– The transitioning maneuver of presetting the wrists was a key in my golf swing sequence also. Without the preset, I wouldn’t have been able to determine that I had a correct golf swing sequence set up. How did you establish your transition maneuver?
Boatright– I focus on both my Index Knuckles to perform the Palmar-Dorsiflex and my left Pinky knuckle to CAM-Back my left Pinky Knuckle back toward my right big toe. I took out of my backpack another laminated page illustrating the preset wrist technique, shown below.
Colonel Hall– This is the very similar to the mental image and maneuver that I wanted to set up in my wrists before I took my stick to the top of my swing. But I never seen time-lapse photos of the wrist action in the golf swing compared to the wrist action in the baseball swing before, side-by-side in this manner. They are actually the same.
Boatright: Yes sir they are the essentially the same wrist action technique. My final project for my Kinesiology class was the Ergonomics evaluation of the golf swing compared to the baseball swing.
Boatright: You mention your left hand, wrist, and left forearm, if there was one question I’m asked more than any other, it is what you do with the right forearm?
Colonel Hall: I treat my right arm like a navigator for support, along just for the ride.
Boatright: That was the same philosophy of my grandfather. The left leads and the right rides. That is the only way I remember my grandfather’s golf swing technique. Left- Leads; Right- Rides.
Question No. 5
Boatright: “Have you ever read or seen a video series by Mr. Eddie Merrins, aka The Little Pro, where he focused on swinging the handle of the club and not the club. Similar to how you use your left thumb or stick to represent the handle of the club and how I use my right thumb to represent the clubface?”
Colonel Hall: “No I haven’t, but that is interesting how you use your right thumbs to represent the clubface. The more I think about it, that goes along with the same technique of having a strong or weak golf grip by the placement of the right thumb. I was doing the same thing, but I didn’t consciously go to that level or detail, like you did.”
Boatright: “If you think about the difference between the weak and the strong grip, most generally, it entails the placement of the right thumb on the handle of the club. This produce a open or close clubface at impact. That was the reason I think swinging the handle of the club is an important part to improving the golfer’s game and in what you have proved.”
Question No. 6
Boatright: “So you interface with your golf swing by moving the virtual golf ball from the ground, up to your hands?”
Colonel Hall: “I found out by moving the ball from the floor of my cell to my thumbs gave me a better point of reference and feel in executing my golf shot. I had a more realistic golf shot and sound.”
Boatright: “You definitely proved that during the Pro-Am.”
Question No. 7
Boatright: “I’ve got to ask this question. What were your guards thinking when they saw you making a virtual golf swing with your hands, wrists, forearms, arms, and shoulders in your cell?”
Colonel Hall: “Probably, they were thinking that they have finally broken me, and I lost all touch with reality.”
Boatright: “If I had been your guard in a country where golf wasn’t a popular sport, or even heard of, I would think the same thing. That you lost your mind!”
For a more in-depth story of Colonel Hall’s story as a P.O.W., please refer to my article written in November of 2015: IMPROVING YOUR GOLF GAME WITH SIMPLE MENTALIZATION TECHNIQUE!
The Xerox Box Golf Project
Talking with Colonel George Robert Hall provided me with the important background information that I needed for my Xerox Box Golf Project, that later became my book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach. One of the biggest obstacles in golf is practicing how we mentally play. What the golfer thinks works one day doesn’t even work the very next day. This is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome that I discussed my Xerox Box Golf Project.
Colonel Hall: (Before we ended our interview), Colonel Hall asked: “What is this Xerox Box Golf Project?”
Boatright: I explained to Colonel Hall that I had three Xerox boxes full of data, consisting of time-lapse photography and research data. Two boxes were labeled, “THIS DOES NOT WORK.” One three-quarter-filled Xerox box was labeled, “THIS WORKS.” The partially filled box, “THIS WORKS,” contained techniques that I was able to replicate day-after-day, without fail, for a consistent golf swing that we performed each and everyday.
Colonel Hall: Which box does my interview go into?
Boatright: In the Xerox Box Labeled THIS WORKS, because you proved what I was taught by my grandfather, Homer Q, Boatright, worked that I have used since I was 12 year old.
Colonel Hall: With a last name of Boatright, are you related to P.J. Boatwright, Jr.?
Boatright: He was my distant cousin, his 4 X great-grandfather and my grandfather were brothers.
What Colonel Hall provided me was his repetitiously practiced golf swing in his prison cell that proved the importance of the mental game of golf. Colonel Hall, playing on one of the biggest stages in golf, at a Pro-Am just six weeks after his release from North Vietnam’s Hanoi Hilton, proved Bobby Jones’ quote.
Colonel Hall also proved that downtime, or not being on a golf course, does not have to limit your golf practice or workout routine. Focusing on the wrist action in the golf swing proves two quotes by Yogi Berra:
- Baseball is 90 percent mental, and the other half is physical.
- You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing and Technique, it’ll go.
My grandfather added and Technique to Yogi Berra’s quote, because the golf swing comes down to TIMING and TECHNIQUE.
NOTE: Colonel George Robert Hall pasted away on 16Feb2014
Another Memorial Day Hero:
When I enlisted into the Army, going into the Combat Engineers (12Bravo) in June of 1978, I enlisted with a long-time friend and high school classmate, Donovan L. Briley. Donovan L. Briley went into the Rangers as a helicopter pilot who served in South Korea and later in Somali. He was killed in Mogadishu, Somali on 03Oct1993. He was one of the helicopter pilots that was killed in Operation Gothic Serpent. This operation was the basis for the Movie Black Hawk Down based on the book written by Mark Bowden by the same title.
This interview with Colonel Hall, along with my grandfather’s Red Book, and three videos by Ken Duke, David Duval, and Sir Nick Faldo’s YouTube Video substantiated what I referred to as my Xerox Box Golf Project that I used to write my book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach. To take advantage of the mental game of golf and apply it to the golf course, purchase your copy of The ESPY Golf Swing Coach from the links below, or visit your local bookstore:
While you are visiting my Online Store, please look over the apparel and other items I have in my Online store. I’m an Authorized US WINGS Dealer that features the classic A-2 Leather Jacket that you can have personalized. I display my leather jacket below as an example of the personalization you can have done. Also, don’t miss the tailored Chino Khaki pants that you wear on the golf course. Just click on the image of my jacket and pants below:
To help develop a more effective golf training exercise in your backyard or vacant field, I would recommend purchasing a dozen or more of the Almost Golf Balls® from LIBERTY Health Supply. Please select one of the products below to purchase these golf balls that simulate the actual golf ball without the concern for property damage or personal injury to others. These balls only travel a third of the distance of an actual golf ball.
Pack of 10:
Pack of 36:
If you use the Promo Code: ALMOSTGOLF you will receive free shipment on any order of Almost Golf Balls® from LIBERTY Health Supply.
I have a utility bag full of these Almost Golf Balls that I practice with three to four hours per day, four days per week.
Health and Fitness Program Golf Exercise for Power
This book is based on a self-coaching forum (ASPEN Pyramid). The ASPEN Self-Coaching Technique provides the beginner and advanced single-digit handicap golfer with a safe, ergonomic classic golf swing mechanics. The ASPEN forum for coaching golf provides basic skills for more power and control in the golf swing sequence without debilitating injuries that are common with some modern-day golf swings. As part of The ESPY Golf Swing Coach forum is a workout program that includes golf exercises with medicine ball designed especially for golfers.
I have also included a FREE SR925 Diet program that anyone can access, where I lost over 40 pounds and 7.5-inches in my waist within nine-months. I went from 37.5 inches in November of 2014 down to 30.0 inches in July of 2015 with the effective SR925 Diet Program that I developed, see detailed below.
Please take advantage of my SR925 Diet Program, where I lost 6 inches in my waist in 3- months (FREE of CHARGE) with the CASPER Fitness Program, detailed in Section 20 of my book, great golf swing workout:
One component in my CASPER Fitness Program that I follow is using a Medicine Ball golf swing workout to perform what I call Stocking the Shelves, illustrated below in the figure:
A part of the CASPER Fitness Program are golf exercises with medicine ball – that includes Stocking the Selves and medicine ball exercises Burpees. For endurance and a full body workout, I also include a boxing glove-punching bag exercise.
Please include an exercise routine in your weekly schedule.
Remember there are three factor that can prevent cancer, diabetes, and the onset of Alzheimer’s: Diet, Weight, and Exercise. These three factors can be addressed by following The SR925 Diet Program and the CASPER Workout Program. Please select on the links above using the icons of both the SR925 Diet Program and the CASPER Workout Program.
Additional Motivation to Develop a Fitness Program
If you need addition motivation, which the subconscious mind works from and consist of 90 percent of the classic golf swing, include a fitness and exercise program designed for the golfer daily schedule. This type of exercise provides the critical overload underload training to improve the golfer’s power and speed in the golfer’s game, please look at another golf fitness enthusiast: The Fit Golfer Girl
Operation DOG TAG
Sports, such as golf, along with fitness and an exercise regimen that includes yoga, has been proven to be a great Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for trauma victims. Veterans and those who have experienced a traumatic situation where the mind has been traumatized and disrupted can use golf and yoga to help re-establish connection and pathways in the brain. Golf also provides an excellent opportunity for trauma victims to reconnect in a social setting to develop a dialogue without the pressures of clinical visits.
Section 2- Operation DOG TAG | Objectives and Scope
Section 3- Operation DOG TAG| STRUCTURE GUIDELINES
ESPY Golf Swing Coach- Rhythm Without the Blues
ESPY Golf Swing Coach- ESPY Golf App Develops the golfer’s Rhythm w/o creating the golfer’s Blues. The ESPY Golf Swing helps the golfer establish the correct wrist action in golf swing demonstrated by David Duval in an interview with Charlie Rymer on Golf Channel.
Also, learning The ESPY Golf Swing Coach process is an excellent way to develop natural Rhythm without experiencing the Blues in your golf game to build confidence; learn how to take your baseball-style swing from the batter’s box to the tee box.
THE LOCKER ROOM a source for golf tips
Please visit “The Locker Room” for an Index of all my golf articles to improve your golf game and life. Discover how you can take your baseball swing from the batter’s box to the tee box.
Learn How to take your baseball-style golf swing from the batter’s box to the tee box.
Sir Nick Faldo demonstration of the Preset Golf Swing Technique
One of Sir Nick Faldo’s first golf swing fundamentals that he learned as demonstrated in this YouTube video entitled The Preset golf swing technique. Nick Faldo discussed the WHAT, but didn’t explained the HOW in his YouTube video.
The Sync/Preset Elements in The ESPY Golf Swing Coach explains how to setup the classic golf swing maneuver to place the wrists into the key Lock Position. This was the same golf swing technique used by David Duval during an interview with Charlie Rymer on Golf Channel. These two Videos are probably two of the best Videos to discuss the wrist action in the golf swing.
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Once you learn WHY, you don’t forget HOW!
Two decisions that you can make for yourself and your kids are to get a copy of my book and place the book and a golf club into their hands. You will never look back, but only forward. You will not miss with this for yourself and/or your kids.