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Wildthing

Is Golf Instruction Teaching Us To Learn PGA Pro Swing Errors?

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Posted (edited)

I have been looking at all these new instructions/opinions about :

1. Shallowing the clubshaft

2. Bowing the left wrist 

3. Reverse Motorcyle Move. 

etc , etc

They all seem to be based on individual interpretations on 3D data of PGA pros , with the big assumption that if they do it , then it must be correct and therefore we must advise all golfers that this could be the most optimal way.  When I look at some of the extra corrections that golfers may have to perform (when doing the above 3) to  get the clubshaft back 'on plane' (ie. the 3rd Imperative mentioned further below),  the instruction advice seems to be teaching swing errors (ie. moves that will require countermoves to get the clubshaft back 'on plane').

I'm tempted to say that Homer Kelley (The Golfing Machine Book) got some of his 'Qualitative' opinions correct regarding the 'Essentials and Imperatives' of a golf swing (stated below). It's a pity that golf scientists haven't tried monitoring these opinions to collect quantitative data to either approve or disprove them.

Essentials

1. Stationary Head 

Why should one have a stationary head during the golf swing? Well, it’s not so much the head that’s important, it’s what the head is attached to; the spine. Specifically the part of your spine just between the shoulders. In medical terms it’s known as the Seventh Cervical Vertebrae, or C7 for short. If you run your hand down the back of your neck, the C7 is the first prominent bump you feel at the base of your neck.
This part of your spine is the centre of your pivot, from where your arms rotate. On the backswing, the clubhead rotates around the left hand, the left hand rotates around the left shoulder, and the left shoulder rotates around the C7.
If, during the backswing, you were to move your head (and C7) by an inch away from its address position, you would have moved the left shoulder, left hand, and clubhead by an inch also. An inch makes a lot of difference during impact. It could mean the difference between hitting the ball fat (the ground before the ball), thin (hitting with the bottom edge of the club), and also affect the ball’s shot shape. Any movement of the head away from its address position on the backswing, needs a counter-movement to place it exactly back in its original position on the downswing prior to impact. This is fiendishly difficult to do and leads to inconsistent shots. For that reason, it’s best to keep the head, and by virtue, the C7, in a stationary position during the back and downswing!

NOTE: The head is allowed to swivel in the backswing and downswing up to impact. After impact the head is allowed to move forward with the body onto the lead leg.

 

2 Balance

This is perhaps the most obvious of the six key features every good swing should have. Mr Kelley defines balance as “holding the centre of gravity of the body inside the stance without moving the head”.That is to say; you can shift your weight around during the swing, but not so excessively that it makes you uneasy on your feet

3. Rhythm

Usually an ambiguous term in the golfing world, relating somewhat to the over all speed or tempo of the back and downswing. In Golfing Machine terms, rhythm is defined asholding all components of a rotating motion to the same RPM”. That is to say, on the downswing especially, the shoulders, hands and club should all be turning with about the same RPM (revolutions per minute). That’s not to be confused with speed, however. If you imagine two points on the second hand of a clock face. One point at the tip of the hand, closest to the numbers, and another point near the bottom of the hand, closest to the pin. Both points move at the same RPM. That happens to be 1 Revolution Per Minute. However, the speed of those two points on the hand are very different. That’s because speed is distance divided by time. Although the time taken to make a revolution for both those points is the same (one minute), the distance which those points travelled were different, the tip of the hand traveling much further than near the base of the hand.
The downswing should be much the same, with the shoulders, hands and clubhead, although all traveling at different speeds, should remain at about the same RPM. When rhythm is off, it means the clubhead tries to overtake the hands, and the hands try to overtake the turning of the shoulders. This leads to a loss of power and control.So there we have the Three Basic Essentials of a precision golf swing. Strictly speaking, they’re not 100% necessary but without them you’re going to struggle to perform the Three Basic Imperatives.

Imperatives

1. A Flat Left Wrist

A flat left wrist occurs when the back of the left hand and the left forearm are in line. This alignment ensures the clubshaft and the left arm form a straight line. This straight line is best viewed from a “face on” perspective when the left arm is vertical, usually just after impact. If a golfer is performing the first Imperative correctly, at this point you would see the left arm and clubshaft in a straight line. 

2. A Clubhead Lag Pressure Point   - Golf science has proven Homer Kelley to be wrong for this imperative (especially  for long clubs) but might apply to short irons only (or specialist type shots out of rough, etc).

Clubhead lag isn’t, as many people assume, just the clubhead trailing behind the hands. It’s more importantly the bending of the clubshaft as the clubhead resists the change in direction and / or velocity at the start of the downswing.We’d learnt from the “Law of the Flail” how by maintaining the flat left wrist through impact we can avoid the clubhead decelerating. A flat left wrist however, is no guarantee of “sustaining the line of compression”.
In order to master the “secret of golf” and “sustain the line of compression” during impact, we must be accelerating the clubhead as it collides with the ball. The only way to do this effectively is to maintain this flexed shaft through impact.This is because during impact the clubhead exerts a force on the ball, but the ball exerts an equal and opposite force on the clubhead.
If the clubshaft isn’t flexed during the impact interval, it will flex because of the impact, softening the blow, decelerating the clubhead and make sustaining compression impossible. As Mr Kelley explains; “The prestressed clubshaft will resist the added weight of the ball during impact, instead of cushioning the impact with an unstressed clubshaft”.

We can use our hands to feel where the club is and how it’s behaving during the swing. This is an important concept in The Golfing Machine, one Mr Kelley refers to as having “Educated Hands”. In order to accelerate the clubhead and bend the clubshaft, we must apply force to the club. Where we apply this force we can feel pressure in our hands as the clubhead resists the change in velocity. So long as we can feel this clubhead lag pressure, we can be sure the clubshaft remains flexed and the clubhead is accelerating.

3. A Straight Plane Line

The plane line Mr Kelley refers to is the line traced along the ground by the clubshaft during the swing. If this traced line is straight, as opposed to curved, then we can be sure the golf club is being swung on a two-dimensional plane. Basically , the nearest end of the clubshaft to the ground throughout the swing must be pointed to and tracing the 'ball target line'.

plane%20line.gif

 

 

 

Edited by Wildthing
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I think you’re generally correct. Shallowing and all that... that’s what Tiger and Butch worked so hard to get rid of in his swing... coming to hard inside getting stuck and then having to over rotate the club face to compensate.

I don’t care for your last point 3 about the plane... it doesn’t look like that exactly and the diagram gives one the idea that club, hands, and arms all fly directly at the ball. That simply isn’t true. The hands are on a steeper plane than the clubhead. But it’s very difficult to visualize multiple planes with your mind and try to do consciously... but if you just relax and swing you can do it easily enough.

Been watching a bunch of Manuel De La Torre videos the last couple days. He tries to get you to focus on simply doing a simple task and not consciously dealing with the million complicated parts joints and sequencing that is the golf swing. Good stuff. Bet it would be right up your alley. He had the notion that a lot of golf instruction was bogus and people were copying the wrong stuff. Watch the 1987 clinic with him on YouTube.


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It's an interesting topic - and there will definitely be opposing viewpoints in here - but I generally agree with the premise that watching the pros, trying to reverse engineer their mechanics and then trying to explain it all to a recreational amateur and get him/her to mimic it all ... too often results in only frustration for both parties....

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, bluesmandan76 said:

I think you’re generally correct. Shallowing and all that... that’s what Tiger and Butch worked so hard to get rid of in his swing... coming to hard inside getting stuck and then having to over rotate the club face to compensate.

I don’t care for your last point 3 about the plane... it doesn’t look like that exactly and the diagram gives one the idea that club, hands, and arms all fly directly at the ball. That simply isn’t true. The hands are on a steeper plane than the clubhead. But it’s very difficult to visualize multiple planes with your mind and try to do consciously... but if you just relax and swing you can do it easily enough.

Been watching a bunch of Manuel De La Torre videos the last couple days. He tries to get you to focus on simply doing a simple task and not consciously dealing with the million complicated parts joints and sequencing that is the golf swing. Good stuff. Bet it would be right up your alley. He had the notion that a lot of golf instruction was bogus and people were copying the wrong stuff. Watch the 1987 clinic with him on YouTube.


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Yes , I agree with your comment regarding imperative number 3 . The diagram is suggestive of  a 'one plane'  type of swing and that is incorrect.

Here's a better diagram showing at least 3 different planes that the clubshaft could traverse in a golf swing.

ClubshaftPlanes.jpg

Clubshaft planes - using Aaron Baddeley as a model golfer

Imperative number 3  applies even if the the golf swing moves through different planes . That is , the end of the club nearest to the ground will always trace the ball -target line (or the Swing Plane Line) for the clubshaft to be 'On Plane'.

PS. With regards MDLT , yes , I've watched all the you-tube clinic videos and he's very good at 'qualitative' golf instruction. Personally,  I never think about golf mechanics/theory when I swing a golf club (paralysis by analysis). I think the  'essentials' and some of the 'imperatives'  should be beneficial enough for non-academic golfers to use without getting overly involved in complex biomechanics.  But sometimes there is a need to understand the complexities to argue against possible flawed golf instruction , especially certain instructors who 'cherry-pick' golf science research data to back up some of their claims.

 

Edited by Wildthing

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Posted (edited)

Actually found an old you-tube video with something called a 'Smart Stick'  which looks like a reasonably good teaching tool for 'imperative 3 '  mentioned above. Probably don't make them anymore and looks expensive.

 

PS. Actually found a website but it costs £199.99 !!!!!

 

Edited by Wildthing

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I can't drink enough beer to worry about all that. I'll just go out and play.


I second that. Used to watch swing tips all day long, but I think that hindered my game at the time. Now I just go play, and don't worry about it too much.
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Swing your swing.


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Actually found an old you-tube video with something called a 'Smart Stick'  which looks like a reasonably good teaching tool for 'imperative 3 '  mentioned above. Probably don't make them anymore and looks expensive.
 
PS. Actually found a website but it costs £199.99 !!!!!
 

I really don’t like Martin Hall’s instruction. He’s too gimmicky for me. The Dr. Oz of golf. “Keep the mouse in the house”? WTH? Uhhhh... I’ll keep my money in my wallet, thanks. This gimmicky contraption is just the sort of thing Manuel would have despised, I think.


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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, bluesmandan76 said:


I really don’t like Martin Hall’s instruction. He’s too gimmicky for me. The Dr. Oz of golf. “Keep the mouse in the house”? WTH? Uhhhh... I’ll keep my money in my wallet, thanks. This gimmicky contraption is just the sort of thing Manuel would have despised, I think.


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I don't follow Martin Hall but I wouldn't mind one of those contraptions if it was more representative of a real golf club. I suspect one could buy a few laser lights and attach them to a golf shaft. The 'keeping the mouse in the house' is a strange phrase (almost childlike) and wondering why he didn't just say 'retain lag'  by delaying the poking of the arm between the 2 forearms. 

Edited by Wildthing
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As for me, golf instructions are useful not only for beginners who are just learning to play golf, but also for professionals who can forget the basics after some time. The same goes for writers. So you think that you can make a good paper, but if you try to write an essay about yourself, it will not be as perfect as professional writer who work for the best essay writing service https://orderessay.net/writing-an-essay-about-yourself.html (that also propose writing essay that has a type "essay about yourself"/"essay about myself") can do!

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On 5/27/2019 at 6:31 PM, bluesmandan76 said:


I really don’t like Martin Hall’s instruction. He’s too gimmicky for me. The Dr. Oz of golf. “Keep the mouse in the house”? WTH? Uhhhh... I’ll keep my money in my wallet, thanks. This gimmicky contraption is just the sort of thing Manuel would have despised, I think.


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I started watching him a few years ago - but gave up quickly. I can just imagine bringing all of his 'tools' to the range or practice green. 

I prefer a couple of quick lessons for tune-ups or if I want top watch instruction I go back to my Leadbetter videos. 

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The golf like a baseball swing or stance, a QBs throwing motion are unique to the individual. The one that perform at a high level at certain points in the motion achieve the same positions. Furyk and Fowler are on opposite sides of the spectrum at the top of the swing but when you put them at impact they are pretty much in the same spot at impact.

lots of coaching philosophies out there about how to do things but from what I’ve seen they all  try to accomplish being in a good position at impact. 

Find one that works best for your swing and body 

 

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I think its a pretty reasonable thing to do to study all of the best players.  If there are things that every single one of them does, those things are probably important.  Things like a relatively still head and weight forward at impact.  As for shallowing, or the reverse motorcycle move, not all of the pros do those.  Those may be appropriate and useful for some players, and completely wrong for others.  I think any instructor that insists that there's only one correct way to do things is most likely wrong in many situations.  As I said, there are a few things that every good players does, those should show up in every level of teaching.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2019 at 3:49 PM, DaveP043 said:

I think its a pretty reasonable thing to do to study all of the best players.  If there are things that every single one of them does, those things are probably important.  Things like a relatively still head and weight forward at impact.  As for shallowing, or the reverse motorcycle move, not all of the pros do those.  Those may be appropriate and useful for some players, and completely wrong for others.  I think any instructor that insists that there's only one correct way to do things is most likely wrong in many situations.  As I said, there are a few things that every good players does, those should show up in every level of teaching.

 

I agree that there are a lot of similarities between good players, especially :

1. The way they rotate their pelvis

2.  Their downswing between P6 and P7

Obviously the exception to point 1 are players who use Stack n Tilt or a subtype.

The art of golf instruction is teaching 'How' to achieve that motion rather than describing 'what' is happening. For example , look at the 'Athletic Motion Golf' you-tube videos by Shaun Webb and Mike Granato. They use wonderful Gears 3D graphics saying this is 'what' pros do compared to amateurs , but their opinions on 'how' to perform those movements is quite sketchy and doesn't make any logical sense.  Its almost 'here is the what, now just get on with it' !

 

Edited by Wildthing

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