ben doyle
06 January, 2015 by Bobby Clampett

Ben Doyle- A Tribute to a Renowned Instructor

Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle was one of Bobby Clampett’s earliest coaches and helped him to achieve great success at an early age. He taught Bobby one of the most important things any golfer can ever understand: the most important thing in playing better golf is proper IMPACT. A Golfing Machine instructor, much of his teaching has influenced Bobby as he has set out to grow the game. Watch Bobby’s tribute to Ben, and leave a story of your own in the comments. 

My personal Ben Doyle Story memory…

To participate in this tribute, simply enter your memories and stories in the comments section below… or email them to info@impactzonegolf.com. We will be sure to share the finished Tribute project with all of you and Ben’s family.

Categories: Clampett's Corner


  1. Studied with Ben all through high school and college and one of my first memories when I was 15 was as I was picking up range balls he told me not to stare at the ground but to look up because that’s where life is. What a great man!!!
    he sure had the full IMPACT on my life
    He will be missed

  2. I play at the Quail Golf Club in Carmel, CA. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Doyle, his impact on players at the club still resonates. There’s no doubt that he was a legendary teacher to many. May he rest in eternal peace.

  3. Hello , we had Ben and Joanne , training us in Germany 4 times , I have great memories, as he helped us with learning TGM , and coaching students . Thanks Ben , you will be missed .

  4. Thanks Bobby for putting up this page!

    When I first got started with TGM I sought out everyone associated with it and eventually got to Ben.

    I spent time with Alex, who has also recently passed, Tom Tomasello and many others.

    They all had their take on TGM and all were quite different from one another.

    When I finally got to Ben, he was also different. I spent 30 days on his lesson tee and spent everyday, all day with him watching how he taught and communicated to players of all different abilities.

    His drills are famous and no matter the talent level of the player they had to produce and execute what Ben was looking for or they didn’t go any farther.

    He would challenge them to not only learn what to do but to able to understand it and talk to him about it.

    I can remember one fellow asked him which swing he liked the best and Ben told the guy, “I like all swings!”

    The teaching community lost a legend when Ben passed and he will be missed by many.

  5. I took quite a few lessons from Ben from 1984 to 1998, but the lessons he gave me were like ‘timebombs’. About a week would go by, and BING!, I suddenly understood what he was trying to teach me. This is true genius teaching. He didn’t just give answers, he ‘taught us to fish’.
    I remember watching a Mike Tyson fight with him, and he kept saying, “Watch him. He’s a professional. He gets in there and just DEALS WITH IT. No time wasted.” and Michael Spinks was down in about 20 seconds.
    At the dinner table, Ben would demonstrate the rotation-induced throwout by shooting salt out with a mini golf swing. He was showing us that we all lived the interplay of forces at all times.
    I once asked Ben to speak up and he replied, “Listen harder.” Point taken.
    When I asked him which swings on the PGA Tour were good, he said, “They’re all good. All swings that work are good.” And when I asked him about Jim Furyk’s swing he said, “Everyone is seeing the strangeness in his swing, but I see why it works–the beauty of his swing.”
    My favorite thing he ever told me, though, was when I qualified for the AT&T in 1995 and went to see him the day before the first round. I’d noticed that the other players were taking shallower divots than I was and told him that. He said, “You’re the one doing it right. They should all be coming over and watching you.” Of course, this was the right thing to tell me at that moment (even though the next day I walloped a huge divot from that Polo field right onto Jack Nicklaus’ beautiful yellow cashmere sweater. I just thought of what Ben said and had a little laugh.
    Ben changed golf teaching more than anyone, but he also changed my life substantially. When I was a senior in college I told him I was thinking about applying for the FBI. He said, “Why would you want to see so many ugly things in life? One crime after another. If you become a golf professional, you’ll have a life filled with beauty and helping people.” And here I am 25 years later, living that life of beauty and service to the game.
    Thank you, Ben. You live on in every shot I hit (well), in every lesson I give, and most importantly, in my heart and mind.
    Rest in Peace, Teacher.

  6. Chip after chip after chip….. Flat left wrist , bent right wrist, can’t have one without the other son.

  7. A few years ago I contacted Ben, to purchase a copy of “How to Build a G.O.L.F. Game” CD. Having been a teacher of the game for over thirty years I was eager to get his understanding of “The Golfing Machine”, since I was having little luck getting through the book myself. I received the CD, and wire bound pamphlet with Ben’s thoughts working with Steve Elkington. A nice hand written note inside, signed by Ben, with the salutation “Sustain the Lag”. I was quite impressed that he would take the time for the personal note. I was very impressed a week later when my phone rang, and the person on the other end said, “Hello, this Ben Doyle”. We had a very nice chat. He wanted to know how I was playing! Could not believe that he would take the time from his busy schedule, to find out if the information helped me. He was more interested in enriching others, than enriching himself. That’s why he’ll always be revered by golf instructors.

  8. Dear Readers,

    My tribute to Ben Doyle is about the faith he and Sally Kelly (Homer’s wife) introduced me to. Although Scott Gummer’s Book on Homer Kelly mentioned, I believe, in just one line of text, that Ben and Homer enjoyed Christian Science together, I can assure you that their commitment to the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy deserved a much more proportional reporting.

    Ben, Sally and I were “brothers-in-healing” during the first few years of a condition I now call CFIDS/Lyme. My symptoms were a complete breakdown of all human energy systems, fatigue so bad that just getting the mail would be an entires day accomplishment plus I was suffering from a brain fog that put a dead-stop pallor over life in general. This condition still lingers on from when Sally, Ben and I were on the phone seeking healing through Christ, but I am so much better now. I often praise the benefits received from Ben and Sally’s efforts and I can say that my Christian Science practice was one of the steps I took that worked in returning me to functioning and happiness. Thank you Ben.

    I am a golf pro and one of my students and I made a pilgrimage to see Ben a few years ago. Although Ben and I logged many hours on the phone this weekend was to be the only time I had on the range with him. Most of our phone time was about my healing through Christ, but golf, teaching golf, and Ben’s products (his mat specifically) were the topic of many conversations. Ben and I remained in touch but I drifted away from Christian Science and so did our relationship but there is a part of who I am as a golfer, golf teacher, and disciple of enlightened teaching that is 100% attributable to Ben. How lucky am I?

    Lucky enough to invent and patent a left and right handed golf ball based upon the geometry of Homer Kelly and teachings of Ben Doyle and my background in spherical trigonometry. Lucky to have a deep understanding of Homer Kelly’s work so that my own golf teaching is suffused with wisdom from wise men. But it was Ben’s humility and humanity and his smile so rich in sincerity that made you feel so loved by the man. These types of people are rare and precious and I am so grateful to have had my time with Ben and grateful that he taught me the meaning of Christ and the Science of Mary Baker Eddy.

  9. I had the honor of e-mailing Ben in my journey to understand the golf swing.I learned of Ben through Steve Elkington’s webpage secret in the dirt. I have treasured my copy of “The Golfing Machine” signed by Ben. He was a very special person in the golf world.

  10. Ben helped me in so many ways. I would go spend days with him at Carmel Valley. I would stay there take a lesson watch him give lessons then play so he not only taught me how to swing correctly with lag but also taught me how to instruct others by letting me observe him instruct others. He was enamored with how far I hit my driver and I was completely amazed he could coach a dummy like myself who wanted to constantly smash the ball as far as I could with all my clubs. I think I was hitting my pitching wedge 160 yards stock at the time. He got a big kick out of that. After he taught me the correct swing fundamentals I was so much longer I was carrying the ball with older technology 340-350 yards no wind warm day. I went on to win many long drive championships over 40 including 2 World Long Drive Championships. Thanks to Ben I have made a wonderful career from golf playing- coaching earning much more than I would have if I never had him coach me. You will be missed my old friend. Thank You Ben.Gerry James PGA Pro 2X World Long Drive Champion.

  11. The last time I saw Ben at the PGA Show he was with Brian Manzella. They came to my booth at Demo Day to say hello and as usual, he shook my right hand, bent my wrist back, look me square in the eye and said, “What is the equivalent of a bent right wrist?” Of course, I had to say, “Hello Ben, a flat left wrist!”

    Bobby, thanks for putting this together. YOU are a classy guy. Hope to see you at The Show.


  12. Two indelible memories that, I think, reflect the joy Ben took in teaching. I visited him at Carmel Valley to watch him teach. His full and fascinating array of teaching aids were laid out on the ground. He used anything and everything to help him get his points across. It was all about communication and helping his students understand what he was trying to transmit, and to helping them feel, really feel, what he was teaching.

    Then there was the time I was flying out of Atlanta the day after the Masters. I ran into Ben and we chatted about the golf swing while we waited for our respective flights. He rose from his chair to demonstrate various points, and got more and more into it the more we chatted–and he was very enthusiastic from the start. I think we’d have chatted the rest of the day if we didn’t have flights to catch. I enjoyed every minute of our encounter.

  13. In 1999 I was vacationing in the Carmel area. I had tried to read the book The Golfing Machine a couple of years prior to that but did not understand it at all. When sightseeing I drove past the Golf Club where Ben taught. I had heard of Ben and thought that he taught at that Club, so I stopped in and inquired in the pro shop. The young man in the shop pointed to the end of the range and there was Ben with his cart full of teaching aids and video equipment giving a lesson. When the lesson was finished I talked to him and made an appointment for a lesson the next day. What an experience! In his own unique way he taught me lag thru basic motion and aquired motion without calling them by their names. He had me in the bunker teaching me lag and pre shot routine by hitting the lip of the bunker and also drawing a line in the sand he showed me how and in what order to place my feet and the club and making sure that I hit the sand on the target side of the line. Later he told me that I may have read the book but I didn’t have it in my “coconut”. How right he was. I wish that I could have had more lessons with him but I just don’t get to the west coast very often. The lesson was a wonderful experience and I will always treasure my time with this wonderful man and great teacher.

  14. One time I was in Ben’s backyard playing on his little pitching course and he was standing next to this itty bitty green watching us compete and my shot hit him in his nether regions! He grimaced and said “you missed your aiming point by a half inch!” He was always teaching and I miss him very much!

  15. One of my favorite Ben Doyle stories is about a10 handicap player. He was scheduled to take 2 hours the first morning and 2 hours the next day. He took his first 2 hour lesson and ,as you can clearly imagine, they spent a great deal of time working on the dynamic pitch. A pitch with “wallop”! That is so impressive and so informative.

    After his morning lesson this gentleman played 18 holes at Spyglass. The next morning he was so excited to share with Mr Doyle that he had played one of his best rounds ever! He shot 78. Mr Doyle looked at him as only he could, and said “Oh, I am. so disappointed! If you would have hit the shot we practiced you would have shot 300 but you would be so good at it by now!”

    When it rained “Drops of Divinity” he would say.

    Unfortunately, only now, after his passing, will the depth of his reach and his influence be understood and appreciated.

  16. There are two stories that come immediately to my mind when thinking of Ben.
    One is the Quail Lodge story/legend that a litter of kittens was born amid all of the gadgets/thingamajigs that Ben had on his legendary cart. And Ron Read is right, Ben’s cart belongs in the USGA Museum.
    Second story defines Ben the man. My wife and I were leaving the Monterey Peninsula for a trip. While waiting at the Monterey Airport, I ran into Ben. He made absolutely sure that he met my wife and that I met his wife. We ended up all sitting together and talking about our destinations.
    Ben was always one of my favorite people to talk to. He’ll be missed.

  17. I recently heard the news of Ben’s passing which brought back fond memories of the brief time spent with Ben on the Monterey Peninsula. I was very fortunate and had the tremendous opportunity to meet Ben after graduating high school in British Columbia. Ben’s love of the game of golf was very evident and I learnt so much about the golf swing from him. I still remember the time during a lesson when Ben told me to look at the mirror on the tree at Quill Lodge Golf Club while he went inside to take a call. I thought what the heck is this but the next day my ball striking was much better. Ben’s swing aids from mops to oil cans is stuff of legend which Ben is ” A Golf Legend”. Very sorry to hear the news but what a life. I do recall my first handshake which lasted about a minute. The handshake was a golf lesson. Rest in Peace.

  18. Hi – my name is Don Svelander, I live in Coquitlam, B.C. Canada. I wet to the same high school in Coquitlam with Ben Doyle, I was in grade 10, Ben was in grade 12. Ben would take a small group of us younger kids over to the Vancouver Golf Club and give us golf lessons. I remember Ben using a floor mop as a teaching tool. In 1954, the Doyle brothers donated a trophy to the Outstanding Grade 12 Student in Athletics. This is still being awarded. Thanks to Ben, I still play golf 2 or 3 times a week and walk the course.
    Sincerely, Don Svelander

  19. I first met Ben Doyle at the PGA Teaching Summit in 1996 where he was holding court to a group of interested golf professionals. I was immediately attracted to him by his passion, enthusiasm and non conventional style and mannerisms compared to the khaki wearing, saddle shoed politically correct, polished golf pros that seemed to be more story tellers than real world golf teachers.
    He ask me the question straight away after he shook my hand with a bent right wrist: “What’s the principle of golf? I tried to give my best answer by responding with rhythm . He said ” nice try but not quite correct as that’s an essential of golf. The principle of golf is the line of compression!”

    From that very moment I was intrigued. These were phrases and terminology that I had never heard before and in Ben’s true plan he had planted a time bomb which created more investigation from me.

    I made many special trips from my home in Melbourne, Australia to Quail Lodge to spend days at a time with Ben on that famous driving range with the tree phone, the golf cart and all of the visitors I met from all over the world that had also made their golfing pilgrimages like I had to see Ben.

    My teaching and golf swing continued to become as Ben said “more precise” after every session. Our friendship and bond grew also as I became a sponge for all of the knowledge wisdom that Ben had to offer in the way that he used his unique right brain artistic flair to to teach and convey left brain technical information.
    From 2000 onwards I had the honor of rooming with Ben at all of the PGA Teaching Summits and Golfing Machine Summits. I met great fellows pros that also shared a similar journey to mine such as Gregg McHatton, Billy McKinney, Bobby Schaeffer, Brian Manzella, Michael Jacobs and Michael Finney just to name a few. Brian Manzella aptly named all of Ben Doyle’s protege’s as part of the “Ben Doyle tree.”
    I also had the pleasure attend the Golfing Machine Teaching Summit in Birmingham, Alabama where Bobby Clampett presented Ben Doyle with a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to golf

    The more I knew Ben Doyle the more I knew how special he really was and as Ben was approaching the age of as he called it “one-over par” I went about organising a trip for he and his wife Joanne to Australia to travel and conduct some golf schools. This was a really special time as Ben and I taught pros and amateurs alike in three cities over four schools and a series of private lessons. Joanne and he had a great time and this allowed Southern Hemisphere golfers to learn from Ben that would not have otherwise had the opportunity to experience some of Ben’s genius.

    In October of 2011 Brian Manzella, Michael Jacobs and I made what turned out to be our last trip out to Quail Lodge to see Ben. After reminiscing about our experiences with him on the driving range he had a very special dinner at the clubhouse with Ben and Joanne.

    Joanne sadly passed away the following year and when I heard the news of Ben’s passing I got out all of my golfing machine books and read the inside front covers (shedding a tear or two) where Ben would uniquely sign his name and add his unique phrase. ” May your G.O.L.F. game rise higher and higher from G.O.L.F.’s boundless basis. Sustain The Lag! Ben Doyle.

  20. In the mid-eighties I was fortunate to be one of Ben’s sometimes serious students at Quail Lodge. I was hitting balls on the range and he approached me and told me he would teach me all i needed to know abut the golf swing in 20 minutes for $20. That first lesson lasted 1 1/2 hours; he arranged so that i could pick the range one day a week in exchange for practice and playing privileges along with six others of his students. I never really took to the Golf Machine technology and its “interesting” physics, but i did take to Ben. he was a delight, a real human being. We frequently ended up talking philosophy/religion as he was a pious man with a unique and golf oriented handshake. I am a better person for having known Ben Doyle.

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