“About time” was Doug Ford’s response when P.G.A. Tour commissioner Tim Finchem called to tell him he had been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 at the age of 88. Doug Ford, nee, Douglas Fortunato, belongs in the Hall of Fame because he won 29 times on tour including the PGA Championship in 1955 and the Masters in 1957. Ford beat Sam Snead to win the Masters, including a final day 66.
My sudden interest in Ford’s golf books came from being introduced to Doug at this year’s Masters while sitting in the crowded Champions locker room. Aside from being stunned to learn that he was still alive, I found him to be quite spry and still sharp.
Ford was a fast player. Herbert Warren Wind describes him as follows, “After a shot, he plunges his head and neck forward and lunges ahead, eating up the fairway with vast muscular strides. It is quite a sight and has inspired many highflying descriptions, but none as graphic as “Ford always looks like he’s playing through the foursome he’s playing in.” Wind never disappoints in his descriptive ability.
Ford also played on four Ryder Cup teams between 1955 and 1961. In the Game of Golf and the Printed Word Donovan & Jerris describe Ford’s swing as “short and awkward, but nonetheless effective.” When asked what the key to golf is, Ford answered “Imagination. Visualize shots.”
Ford wrote six golf books, all of them related to instruction, although not focused on the swing or mechanics, but focused on how to play and get around the course:
Start Golf Young, 1955
How I Play Inside Golf, 1960
The Brainy Way to Better Golf, 1961
The Wedge Book, 1963
Getting Started in Golf, 1964
Golf Basics, 1972
The Wedge book was published as part of a three part series: The Golf Trilogy: The Driver Book, The Wedge Book, The Putter Book was written by Sam Snead, the Wedge Book written by Ford and the book on Putting was done by Bob Rosburg.
In a section on the Caddie in How I play Inside Golf Ford writes, “The less reliance I place on my caddy in the selection of clubs the better off I will be.” This was obviously in the era before professional caddies. He tells a story about at the 1949 U.S. Open at Medinah when he was playing with Gene Sarazan who scolded his caddy, “Son, let’s get this straight. I didn’t ask what club I should use. All is want to know is your estimation of the yardage.”
Doug Ford’s sage advice of the swing, “You don’t hit anything on the backswing, so why rush it?”