Legends of Lake City: Homer Kelly

Homer Kelly

Homer Kelly pictured with a golf club.

Legend of Lake City: Homer Kelly

If you walk the new Jackson Park Trail you will see and hear golfers on the course, refining their swing. While researching the history of Jackson Park Golf Course, I ran across some information about a local golfer by the name of Homer Kelly who wrote a book in 1969, called, “The Golfing Machine: Geometric Golf: The Computer Age Approach to Golfing Perfection.”

Homer Kelly taught golf lessons at Jackson Park Golf Course starting in the early 1960’s. He lived in a modest little house in the nearby Wedgewood neighborhood, which is just south of Lake City. The golf course was just 10 minutes away from their house.

I read, “Homer Kelley’s Golfing Machine: The Curious Quest That Solved Golf” written by Scott Gummer, and discovered that Homer was something of a local character with a dogged, relentless pursuit of trying to understand the physics of golf. According to the book, he was one of the first persons to apply scientific principles to golf.

Now I know that golfers are sensitive and they take their game very seriously (my father-in-law was a golfer and I still have his clubs sitting under the stairs in my basement) so I have a great respect for the game and the players. (I only golfed once at Jackson Park – golf is hard.) Homer Kelly took the “stroke” very seriously and, starting from our little neighborhood, this very down-to-earth guy, started a golfing system that encircled the world.

Here are some quotes about his book from Amazon.com: “The Golfing Machine”, by the late Homer Kelley, is one of the most fascinating and thorough books ever written about the game of golf.  It also has become something of a cult classic, with both devotees and detractors praising and debating its merits in every corner of the world.  As controversial as it is interesting, Kelley’s book was first published in 1969 after 28 years of diligent research, observation and testing, often by hitting balls into a small net he set up in his studio in Seattle, Washington. He continued his research for another 12 years, (a total of 40 years) until he died addressing the Georgia Section PGA.” Another quote: “This is a must read for all golfers with IQ’s over 120.  Below 120, you’re too dumb.”

With the help of the Friends of Jackson Park Trail, we now have a perimeter trail around the golf course. On Saturday April 27th at 10:30 a.m., Arthur Lee Jacobson, will be leading a guided tour along the trail.  He is a plant specialist. Although, I may never try golf again, we can all appreciate the beauty of Jackson Park and I hope to see many of you along the trail or on the course. Please be respectful of the birds and the golfers. Listen and you will hear the sound of the clubs hitting the golf balls: Crack!  Swoosh; and you will hear the sounds of the birds chirping in the trees.  It is a beautiful course and trail.

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About Nancy Catone, Lake City of Seattle History

I live in Lake City up on a hill and watch the everyday events of our neighborhood unfold as they should. There's not much that happens in the world that doesn't happen or influence what happens here. By mixing current events with history and stirring a little of our charm into it., my writing brings out the robust flavor of Lake Ciy. We make our own history. I'm a history buff, one of the many here, our motto "Current Events are tomorrow's history. You are making history."