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Optimising Clubhead Speed - Is this the real way?


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This is again for those mainly interested in the biomechanics of the golf swing (ie. what is going on rather than how). Just thought it might interest others who are trying to figure out what many of the pros are doing to drive that ball 300+ yards.

Lets use  DJ as an example about optimising clubhead speed.

JohnsonHandArcPath.jpg

The secret to his high clubhead speed seems to fit in with physics.

1. From Image 1  to just before image 3  , he has somehow made biomechanical movements that have created a hand path on a 'straightish'  path (or an arc with a long radius).

2. Along this 'straightish' path , he has increased his hand speed as much as he can.

3. He has retained left 'wrist cock' angle (angle between shaft and forearm) from top of backswing to just before image 3  (where one can see the 'release' of that angle happening- increasing). Physics proves that more wrist cock before a 'natural' release , the faster the clubhead speed.

4. The 'natural release' of that angle happens due to 'pseudo CF forces', because he has performed biomechanical moves that change his hand path from straightish to a more curved path. His wrists just before image 3  act as oily hinges and he is basically letting the 'momentum' of the clubhead (ie. evoked by pseudo Centrifugal Forces) uncock his wrists (ie. a natural release).

A simple 'imperfect'  analogy of point 4 is like driving in a car (ie. your hands) on a straight road increasing your speed and then taking a very tight corner turn. Any objects (ie. the clubhead ) in the back seat will go sliding across the seat very fast. 

The counterintuitive part  is that his 'wrists/hands' end up actually restricting the 'angular velocity' of the clubhead because it is rotating faster than the hands can keep up.  This is proven by physics which says that forward shaft bend into impact means 'negative torque' at the hands (see image below).

image.png.b3704164c965de02cfb5ce06ec9f3d29.png

 

So now we know what DJ's hands are doing , the puzzle is figuring out 'how' he is moving his body parts to create the dynamics and geometry of his 'hand speed/path'.

Obviously , the above is just about creating clubhead speed and not the biomechanics involved in squaring the clubface (a different matter altogether).

So has anyone got any ideas how DJ creates that straight path in the downswing?

PS.

I thought it would be a good idea to show the hand path of Bobby Jones (in red below) which shows a more circular hand path , where he also had an 'earlier' natural release. He couldn't replicate the hand path of DJ because of the limitations on the strength of hickory shafts . If he tried stressing the shaft  using  DJ's hand path (ie. straight path and then speedy acute 'corner turn') the shaft would have broken.

 

Bobby Jones golf swing with red and blue curves to illustrate

 

Edited by Wildthing
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I have no idea what your saying. But it’s cool.

My though on DJ getting the straight path is because belly button is facing the target before his club is anywhere near the ball.

That 4D model of him today at the PGA was nuts. If I tried to turn that fast, far, and powerful I’d be in a wheel chair.

Has to be a super hero, that’s the only way to explain it.

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13 hours ago, Shankster said:

I have no idea what your saying. But it’s cool.

My though on DJ getting the straight path is because belly button is facing the target before his club is anywhere near the ball.

That 4D model of him today at the PGA was nuts. If I tried to turn that fast, far, and powerful I’d be in a wheel chair.

Has to be a super hero, that’s the only way to explain it.

There is a possible explanation for that straight path but its a set of moves that I cannot do without being put into traction .

Cameron Champ does it too:

ChampHandArcPath.jpg

 

Look at :

a. Their left shoulder 

b. Their upper right arm 

c. Their right lateral side bend 

d. Their right elbow.

To get that straight path they do the below almost simultaneously:

1. Pull their left shoulder towards target (this helps brings their left arm down)

2. Adduct their upper right arm towards their right side ( also helps bring the left arm down)

3. Pitch their right elbow towards their right hip (shallows their downswing plane and also stops their right arm getting blocked behind their torso)

4. Perform a lateral side bend (also helps shallow the downswing plane )

Basically , both DJ and Cameron are performing moves that help create that straighter downswing path and also shallow out their downswing planes (at the same time). So much more complex and requires great flexibility but also puts a great deal of strain on the spine. 

Bobby Jones didn't do the above and I can imagine he never had too many back problems, contrary to what I've heard about Cameron Champ  who is already suffering bulging discs at such a young age.

PS.

Just been looking at Wikipedia about Bobby Jones to see if he did have back problems as a player . He actually died of a back related disorder.  What a sad tragic end for him and his family:

Incapacity and death

In 1948, Jones was diagnosed with syringomyelia, a fluid-filled cavity in the spinal cord that causes crippling pain, then paralysis; he was eventually restricted to a wheelchair. He died in Atlanta on December 18, 1971, three days after converting to Catholicism. Jones was baptized on his deathbed by Monsignor John D. Stapleton, pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, and attended by the Jones family was buried in Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery. Jones was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

His widow Mary died less than four years later in 1975 at age 72, following the death of their son, Robert T. Jones III, of a heart attack in 1973 at age 47.Daughter Clara died in 1994 at age 68.

 

 

Edited by Wildthing
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  • 1 year later...

Been looking at the physics of the swing for a few years now and things have changed .  I first though that the sudden change in the hand path caused the increase in clubhead speed but its just an enabler to create tension in the shaft.

In fact , its the pull on the club that creates the clubhead speed  (Duh!) .  What's really happening in simplistic terms is the clubhead is made to move in one direction (ie. hands start it down and outwards away from the target) but then the hands start moving in another direction (down and out targetwards), this creates tension in the club and pulls at the clubhead (ie. centre of mass) accelerating it .  This increased tension in the shaft  also pulls on the hands/arms slowing it , therefore there is an exchange of energy from the arms to the  club (the hands acting as a conduit).  But obviously , there is  no point just creating speed , one has to ensure the club orbits around the wrists so the alignment of the club in space becomes more vertical so that the clubface can hit the ball.  So you have to ensure your hands go up and allow the wrists to uncock and your forearms to swivel enough to get the clubface on the ball.

So basically the increased speed is due to the actual pull/push on the club , while that acute change in hand path does assist in increasing tension in the shaft and a pull force on the clubhead  but it also has to move in such a way as to redirect that clubface to the ball .

Hope this makes sense.

So maybe a good thought to create speed is to pull the club along the the line of the shaft  , create as much curvilinear speed as possible before changing your hands direction (to increase the speed even more) before allowing your wrists to uncock and your forearms to swivel and square the clubface.

Edited by Wildthing
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  • 11 months later...

@WildthingI've just discovered this feel that started with "pressure on the handle" trying to get more shaft lean, hands ahead, etc.  This led to awareness of needing handle pressure at the top as I started the downswing.  This explanation you give is perfect for explaining what I'm feeling in my swing that is giving me unbelievable results in accuracy and distance.  It also reminded me of the "pulling the arrow out of the quiver" feel I never related to until NOW.  Of course squaring and delofting the face  is a matter of performing any number of feels as you start down too e.g. Hogan Roll, right thumb pressure on the left thumb, turning your right palm down towards the ball, turning the shaft down, turning the thumbs down, etc etc.  Thank you again for your explanation.  richardwstevens@me.com

 

From Wildthing:

Been looking at the physics of the swing for a few years now and things have changed .  I first though that the sudden change in the hand path caused the increase in clubhead speed but its just an enabler to create tension in the shaft.

In fact , its the pull on the club that creates the clubhead speed  (Duh!) .  What's really happening in simplistic terms is the clubhead is made to move in one direction (ie. hands start it down and outwards away from the target) but then the hands start moving in another direction (down and out targetwards), this creates tension in the club and pulls at the clubhead (ie. centre of mass) accelerating it .  This increased tension in the shaft  also pulls on the hands/arms slowing it , therefore there is an exchange of energy from the arms to the  club (the hands acting as a conduit).  But obviously , there is  no point just creating speed , one has to ensure the club orbits around the wrists so the alignment of the club in space becomes more vertical so that the clubface can hit the ball.  So you have to ensure your hands go up and allow the wrists to uncock and your forearms to swivel enough to get the clubface on the ball.

So basically the increased speed is due to the actual pull/push on the club , while that acute change in hand path does assist in increasing tension in the shaft and a pull force on the clubhead  but it also has to move in such a way as to redirect that clubface to the ball .

Hope this makes sense.

So maybe a good thought to create speed is to pull the club along the the line of the shaft  , create as much curvilinear speed as possible before changing your hands direction (to increase the speed even more) before allowing your wrists to uncock and your forearms to swivel and square the clubface.

Edited August 30, 2020 by Wildthing

Rick Stevens

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  • 2 months later...
On 8/16/2021 at 10:13 AM, RichardWStevens said:

@WildthingI've just discovered this feel that started with "pressure on the handle" trying to get more shaft lean, hands ahead, etc.  This led to awareness of needing handle pressure at the top as I started the downswing.  This explanation you give is perfect for explaining what I'm feeling in my swing that is giving me unbelievable results in accuracy and distance.  It also reminded me of the "pulling the arrow out of the quiver" feel I never related to until NOW.  Of course squaring and delofting the face  is a matter of performing any number of feels as you start down too e.g. Hogan Roll, right thumb pressure on the left thumb, turning your right palm down towards the ball, turning the shaft down, turning the thumbs down, etc etc.  Thank you again for your explanation.  richardwstevens@me.com

 

From Wildthing:

 

Been looking at the physics of the swing for a few years now and things have changed .  I first though that the sudden change in the hand path caused the increase in clubhead speed but its just an enabler to create tension in the shaft.

In fact , its the pull on the club that creates the clubhead speed  (Duh!) .  What's really happening in simplistic terms is the clubhead is made to move in one direction (ie. hands start it down and outwards away from the target) but then the hands start moving in another direction (down and out targetwards), this creates tension in the club and pulls at the clubhead (ie. centre of mass) accelerating it .  This increased tension in the shaft  also pulls on the hands/arms slowing it , therefore there is an exchange of energy from the arms to the  club (the hands acting as a conduit).  But obviously , there is  no point just creating speed , one has to ensure the club orbits around the wrists so the alignment of the club in space becomes more vertical so that the clubface can hit the ball.  So you have to ensure your hands go up and allow the wrists to uncock and your forearms to swivel enough to get the clubface on the ball.

So basically the increased speed is due to the actual pull/push on the club , while that acute change in hand path does assist in increasing tension in the shaft and a pull force on the clubhead  but it also has to move in such a way as to redirect that clubface to the ball .

Hope this makes sense.

So maybe a good thought to create speed is to pull the club along the the line of the shaft  , create as much curvilinear speed as possible before changing your hands direction (to increase the speed even more) before allowing your wrists to uncock and your forearms to swivel and square the clubface.

Edited August 30, 2020 by Wildthing

 

Hi Richard - sorry for the delay in replying as I've been busy with other issues for many months .

I'm glad that I have provided some information that has been useful to you.

Regards

Wildthing

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