Archive for April, 2012

Recommended Reading

Please splurge on a copy of the May 2012 issue of Golf Digest Magazine. Why? See the section on ‘birdies and bogeys’!

The Chip Shot – a la MGS

The Chip Shot – a la MGS!

What exactly is the chip shot? It has variously been defined as:

A lofted shot in which the ball travels further along the ground than it does in the air.  OR

A short, low-trajectory shot played to the green or from trouble back into play – the shot of choice when a putt is not possible as a result of an unpredictable surface immediately in front of the ball.   OR

A low trajectory shot played to the apron, or green, or around the green, in which the roll is longer than the carry.

Bottom line: the ball must get a bit of loft – just enough to clear any ‘trouble’ and then run on the ground just like a putt does. It should therefore be made with a CLUB which gives it the minimal loft required and a STROKE which keeps it running after it lands.

If the ball has some amount  of ‘check’ after it lands (created by imparting extra spin on the ball), instead of just roll, the shot becomes unreliable and unrepeatable, as the amount of backspin the ball gets can vary. So, as usual, the idea is to keep it MINIMALIST and make as simple (and putt-like) a stroke as possible. The shot is described in the ebook DIY (do-it-yourself) GOLF in detail, but here is validation for why it should be kept simple.

Ever since the dog-wagging-tail theory, people “rotate their bodies towards target and finish tall”.

They often hinge the wrists in the backswing too. Wrist-hinge is a small sin – not ideal, not MINIMALIST, but not unforgivable, if the golfer is somehow able to have straight wrists during the follow-through.

However, the stand-up-and-turn finish is absolutely absurd.

Why? The clubhead is (hopefully) approaching the ball from the inside (yellow line) so that it can square up in time for impact. Now you suddenly start to move the arms and hands ‘inside’ the target line and stand up in preparation for ‘finish’ too. Can you guarantee that you do all this after and not before impact? Time after time? Whenever split-second timing is required in golf, things become less consistent. So many joints to be moved, so many muscles to be triggered into action by so many nerves, all in perfect sequence! What’s wrong with straight back and straight through chip shot (with efficient joint-placements the MGS way).

PS: no doubts, I hope, on MGS being ‘la’ and not ‘le’.

Test Your Understanding of MGS

A great response from Bill. Have replied with useful TO DO thoughts in order to get into the positions suggested by Bill.

And a picture from the new MGS-er himself:

Test Your Understanding of MGS

Calling all MGS Practitioners. Test YOUR understanding of MGS, and, at the same time, help a rookie MGS-er ‘get-it’.

Tell this golfer what he should do with his 1. Set-up 2. Backswing to be swinging MGS. Post comments here.

Also, the easiest, most pain-free way to ‘get’ MGS is to have it personalized for you – check the ‘learn MGS in a day’ section of this blog, and visit St Louis this summer to become fully immersed – painlessly – in MGS.

OR even become MGS certified, so you can teach as well as swing MGS (for both full-swing and short-game) – see the section on ‘get MGS certified’.

The Minimalist Golf Swing SYSTEM

The Minimalist Golf Swing SYSTEM

For those MGS followers who believe MGS is all about the full-swing, it is NOT. The Minimalist Golf Swing System basically assesses the body position which will deliver the club to the ball at impact, according to the type of shot the golfer wishes to make, (ie. straight-far-high or soft-high or soft-low or quick-roll depending or whatever is desired) and then recommend swing/top-of-backswing positions which make correct club delivery easy and effortless.

A new section ‘mgs short game’ will discuss many short-game concepts and answer any short-game questions.

Of Birdies and Bogies

Of Birdies and Bogies

A new section in this blog, with tongue in cheek comments on the many birdies and bogies of golf – and life. Which, for most people who’d visit this blog mean the same thing!

The famed and dreaded OTT

The famed and dreaded OTT

Never realized until I heard a ‘formal’ description of Over-the-Top by Greg Rose of Titleist Performance Institute at the March 2012 World Scientific Congress of Golf that there are at least 12 different definitions of the phenomenon!

The typical OTT definition is of the clubshaft being over – in normal language higher – than the shaft-shoulder plane cone during the downswing (when seen from down-the-target-line).

The TPI definition for the shaft to NOT be over-the-top may be seen when the lead arm is approximately horizontal, during the downswing. At this stage the shaft should be under the shaft plane, and maybe form a parallel line to it.

So, if the above definitions make two, thought searching for a couple more of the dirty dozen, just to look for any differences, might be fun.

One of the first google results was this blog: 

and the blog’s author’s first quote was a reply to his question on the subject of OTT by Brian Manzella: “I thought Brian did a pretty good job giving a simple explanation of ‘over the top’: Simply means the downswing starts OVER THE TOP of the backswing plane.”

The author then continued, “However, I don’t think I’m quite satisfied with that definition because I do believe an OTT swing is a bad thing, but this definition leaves it so the golfer can come over the top and be just fine.” Finally he stated, “….there is a thread that I started trying to generate a definition in the difference between ‘swinging left’ and ‘coming over the top.’ After some thought and deliberation, along with asking some sharp golf minds, I think I have a pretty good definition between the two”.

So, check out more from the two D-Plane experts mentioned above.

Or read on if you believe D-Plane is too complex and too un-necessary to wish know more about. (For the Minimalist Golf Swing it truly is, because MGS is very simplistic and always forces an ideal clubpath, angle of approach and face angle along with maximum possible speed, so why bother with paths and angles which may be less than ideal!).

The MGS method simply places the body into positions at the top from which it cannot help but drop down to impact in order to present the club to the ball ‘from the inside’, ie FTI. Regardless of how people define OTT, I’m sure all will agree that if a club swings FTI it can never be OTT!

So, my simplistic description of OTT is one in which the right shoulder-arm complex or even the right thigh move forward, and maybe downward, at the start of the downswing (ie. before the lower body can commence the downswing). This body movement in turn will always cause the club to arrive at the ball steeply and out-to-in, and thus swing path and angle of approach are inevitably linked. In the ‘good old days’ (before the discovery of shaft/shoulder planes) OTT meant coming over the top – of the ball!

And guess what? Does MGS care about OTT or early-release/casting? Not in the least, because neither evil can take place with MGS. Why worry about bad shots when one can always make ideal shots.

For the disbelievers who’re about to ask, “what about when I need to pull the ball”. The simple answer to that is, why on earth would anyone EVER wish to pull a ball? Why not simply aim left and hit it straight? Who ever decided to name 9 ball-flights did the world a dis-service. The pull-group (pull, pull-slice, pull-hook) are so senseless that we may as well add shank and top to the list if we wish to name all possible ball-flights!

The reason the pull-group makes no sense is because those shots are only ever caused by incorrect body-sequencing, that is by OTT as defined here. OTT, incidentally, is also the cause of most golf injury, but that’s a story for another day.


Feeling nostalgic about Disney? No time to visit Coney Island?

Never fear, MGS will give you all the ferris-wheel and merry-go-round rides you could ever want! The arms will go ferris-wheel and the body merry-go-round, and you’ll never be left in mid-air wondering if you’re suddenly on a ferris-go-round or a merry-wheel!

How? All golf swing problems begin when the body starts to move up-and-down or side to side; or the arms move around the body or forwards and backwards.

For a scientific yet simple explanation, see the ‘science and the golf swing’ section of this blog.

Beginner Golfers – and MGS

Beginner Golfers – and MGS

A recent purchaser of the ebook DIY (do-it-yourself) GOLF from my website, emailed to say that, “As to the attractiveness of the book for beginners, my own gut feeling is that most beginners will prefer to be taught the most orthodox golf swing possible because, as with most people in most things, they will not want to be seen to be “different”.  In the case of golf, I feel that it is more likely that the experienced but frustrated golfer is the type who will be willing to abandon orthodox teachings in the hope of eventually playing the kind of golf he/she feels capable of playing.  (What every player, whatever his/her handicap, wants is more consistency; and that, I feel, is what the MGS would seem to offer above all else.)”

The above is the quote in its entirety. So, beginner golfers, please go ahead and be orthodox.

Learn a swing that’ll twist your body like a corkscrew but expect your arms to go more ‘up’ than ‘around’, but not too steep, mind you, and neither too shallow/flat. Also, please make sure your wrists bend till you redefine ‘limp wristedness’. At the same time your club shaft, then your right elbow and finally your left forearm must all stay on the shaft plane, at different times going back. That’s just the backswing, and I hope you know I made it simple for you by not even mentioning swing fundamentals aka grip-aim-alignment-posture-ballposition-stance, quite a scandalous omission on my part. Do read on, we’ve only got to the top of the backswing. The downswing must transition correctly, the legs should separate but the body should not bump sideways towards target (or TPI and all great golf gurus will consider it a ‘slide’, a major fault because you have physical limitations). You should have an x-factor stretch during the downswing so that your proximal parts (believe it or not your legs) move before your distal parts (shoulders followed by arms and hands). I do hope you had the x-factor during your backswing, I forgot to mention it in my hurry to go through the list of things you should be doing. Also, failed to state that you should have been holding onto your wrist angle for dear life, during the downswing (no casting or over-the-top swings please, or once again it’ll be known that you have physical limitations just like 48% of all golfers), so that you can ‘release’ through impact. (Sorry, I cannot tell you whether wrist-release means straightening out the bend in your trail wrist or rolling the trail forearm over the lead one, have never seen it defined in so many words during my 37 years of golf!).

And, hey, don’t forget to hit the golf ball!

If all of the above seems too complex, simply be ahead of the game, look at the last entry in the section on this blog titled ‘the minimalist golf swing – what it is’ and learn a swing which is so simple it’s unbelievable. This section gives it in a very step-by-step manner, ideal for the beginner. (The existing golfer does not even need that much). It is also repeatable because all un-necessary movements have been pared off; it is not subjective but is based on research and science; and it comes from someone who has been trying to bridge the gap that currently exists between professor-researcher-poor-golfer and golf-pro-no-bio-and-no-mechanics-background! All the minimalist golf swing videos elsewhere on this blog, show that different skill levels of golfers ‘get it’ – instantly! If you use it, do post a nice testimonial!

Finally, until the 14th Century people thought the earth was flat –  I rest my case!



Many MGS users think the trick is in the set-up. Some feel it is a wrist-less arms-only stroke which cannot produce power. Some think MGS is counter-intuitive because it requires positions which are not used in other sports.

The answer to all of these statements is that MGS WORKS (to a great extent) because of it’s MAGIC MOVE, which is a continuation of the set-up but an important independent part of the actual swing movement.

Look at the 2 pictures here: The ‘normal’ swing – which most instructors consider very important and Titleist Performance Institute considers the absence of as one of 12 major ‘faults’. The left side of the body is below the right (in golf terms a steep shoulder tilt of the left side, and in anatomical terms a left lateral flexion of the trunk – both with respect to right-handed golfers).











Even with no technical knowledge, one can imagine that to un-do this top of backswing position, the body must, at some stage in the downswing achieve 3 things:

  1. Unbend the left side so the right side can be lower than the left at impact (because the right hand is lower while gripping the club)
  2. Rotate the arms forward from behind the body
  3. Drop the arms down so the club can reach the ground

[In anatomical terms, trunk flexion happens in the frontal plane, which at the top of the backswing backs the target. So, the golfer must make the 3 moves described above or find a compensatory move which can being the right side back down and the arms forward of the chest simultaneously. This compensatory move is always a complex one; does not work all joints in their anatomical planes of movement; and is not easily repeatable to the minute level required when a small club must contact a smaller ball while moving at great speed!

With the MAGIC MOVE – keeping the right waist, arm and shoulder lower than the left – there are many advantages.

  1. No longer are 3 separate moves required to be clumsily ‘rolled into one’
  2. The upper and lower bodies remain connected forever, so the lower body can fire at the correct time. This ‘connection’ is the only thing preventing MGS from becoming an all-arms move
  3. The wrists are able to set, pre-impact, at the appropriate time – neither too early or too late, while allowing width of backswing through ‘no intentional wrist-set’
  4. The right heel remains grounded, and the head stays behind the ball at impact, for more push-off-the-ground power, and fore-arm roll-over, especially with the longer, lighter clubs

Watch out for future posts in the ‘mgs for the pros’ section, which shows how ‘transitional’ moves (going from top of backswing to downswing) are not power-producing but inconsistency-producing! And we, lesser mortals, are expected to copy them!!!!

The Chicken-and-egg conundrum in Golf

Which matters most?

Should the golf swing be club-centric or body-centric? A debate as old as which comes first – the the hen or what she hatches?

If the swing is club-centric, then any-body, including that of a gorilla, or no-body should be able to make the club move!

If the swing is body-centric, does it allow/help, or better still – force – correct club positions?

Usually one gets either one or the other. MGS gives one both – correct body positions (correct not subjectively, but because the body’s joints are placed in positions they are DESIGNED to work from), which have been reverse-engineered from required club-positions.

The same reverse-engineering process takes place with the MGS pitch/bunker; chip and putt strokes.

After all, we golfers are greedy. We want both the chicken and the eggs – both the club and the body to be positioned for effortlessly correct impact.

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