Archive for May, 2012

Useful Bits and Pieces of Information

Useful bits and pieces

1. Remember the ‘chip’ question of last week? See the answers in the short game  section.

2. One student who’d already being trying MGS through internet resources alone wanted the total MGS ‘package’ – full swing, pitch/bunker, chip and putt, all personalized for him, and he was one of the fastest learners I ever met in my 23 years of teaching. He showed instant success in all 4 departments. The reasons – his body type is very flexible; he has had lessons from so many teachers he is a good lesson-taker and used to making changes quickly; he was already open to the idea of making a non-traditional yet scientific swing, and had been using it with some success.

3. Watch out for his ‘before’ and ‘after’ videos to be posted on youtube over the next few days. Useful for those already following MGS, on how exactly to ‘get it’. Basically, ‘before’, at the time of starting his backswing, John had no twist at all. So, whatever MGS-like moves he was trying to make during the backswing did not succeed as well as they could have. Even after being shown the salient features of MGS for him, he got his best shots when he had enough twist. For him (some golfers have the opposite problem), keeping his right side down and lifting his left arm steeply up were easy, he just did not always make enough  MGS ‘twist’. So, even when he kept his right side down and the meaty upper part of his left arm rising steeply and softly up his chest wall, he would revert to a laid off position. However, he still had fantastic ball-flight because of MGS’s ‘magic move’ for the full swing – keeping the right side down and the body quiet during the backswing.

NO TWIST/BARELY ANY TWIST (‘BEFORE’, even though trying to get MGS):

 

 

 

 

GREAT TWIST (‘AFTER’)

 

 

The right leg and knee in the minimalist swing

There were two inquiries within a couple of days regarding the right leg! One student who was hitting the most brilliant shots suddenly noticed that her right knee straightens out while making the MGS ‘twist’. That happens with a lot of students and it’s quite alright, it makes no difference to the quality of the downswing. If you prefer to foucs on keeping the flex in the knee, and add one more thing to the thoughts required during the set-up, that’s OK too, but it does not matter.

Another student asked:  “in orthodox instruction much is made of the right leg and inside of the right foot as a pillar and starting block, to be swung around and pushed off with respectively.  Is this concentration on the right leg extraneous to the MGS?” The answer is: yes, absolutely. Everything that requires thinking during the downswing is extraneous, if you make a good MGS set-up and backswing, you do not have to think or do anything intentional at all. The good moves simply happen in the correct sequence, and the bad ones – any that you ever made – are prevented.

This is how I phrase it for my students in financial careers. Thins of the MGS set-up as planning the perfect portfolio. Then think of the MGS backswing as buying your shares at the right price. Your downswing is the time to sit back and watch the dividends roll in!

The Minimalist Golf Swing's pre-shot routine

All recent lessons have indicated that applying the MGS pre-shot routine in very deliberate steps ensures that all positions are correct. Three lessons over the past 5 days come to mind – a female Tour player, an 80-year-old, and an 11 year old.

The first was a bit embarrassed to twist and unconsciously got out of the ‘twist’ just prior to the start of the backswing, or over-did it, and allowed the head to droop to far to the right. The second kept forgetting the steps so needed them reinforced, one at a time. The third always made the set-up and swing in a hurry and did not get into MGS positions all the time, and was rather upset.

So, make a note of each one of the individual steps you use in your set-up routine, and then practice making each one deliberately, almost pausing between steps. The deliberateness of it all not only ensures nothing is forgotten, but also helps to slow the mind down.

It is also important to only have meaningful steps during the routine. A step such as  looking at the target (especially after an MGS twist!) is not particularly useful for the full-swing, as no hand-eye co-ordination for distance-judgment is required.

The Minimalist Golf Swing’s pre-shot routine

All recent lessons have indicated that applying the MGS pre-shot routine in very deliberate steps ensures that all positions are correct. Three lessons over the past 5 days come to mind – a female Tour player, an 80-year-old, and an 11 year old.

The first was a bit embarrassed to twist and unconsciously got out of the ‘twist’ just prior to the start of the backswing, or over-did it, and allowed the head to droop to far to the right. The second kept forgetting the steps so needed them reinforced, one at a time. The third always made the set-up and swing in a hurry and did not get into MGS positions all the time, and was rather upset.

So, make a note of each one of the individual steps you use in your set-up routine, and then practice making each one deliberately, almost pausing between steps. The deliberateness of it all not only ensures nothing is forgotten, but also helps to slow the mind down.

It is also important to only have meaningful steps during the routine. A step such as  looking at the target (especially after an MGS twist!) is not particularly useful for the full-swing, as no hand-eye co-ordination for distance-judgment is required.

That dreaded SHANK – is NOT MGS!

The Shank and MGS? They’re not related or even good friends!

Someone who has been very happy with MGS so far, sent an SOS email to say he was suddenly shanking the ball.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to be swinging MGS and making a fade, even, let alone a vicious slice or that dreaded shank.

So, what is a SHANK? It is a shot that results when the shank (just above the hosel) of the club connects with the ball, and this happens – always – because the right upper-body starts the downswing, out of sequence.

If a golfer has made the set-up twist of MGS, and then simply lifted the lead arm upwards (not ‘out’ and not ‘in’), then the arms drop and the hips rotate all at the appropriate time, so the right upper-body never comes into the picture.

If a golfer is trying to be MGS-like and has it almost down pat, the only thing which might make him/her shank the ball is if his lead arm goes ‘in’ instead of ‘up’ and takes, along with it, the entire body along in a rotatory movement.

Remember, MGS wants ‘no wrist, NO TWIST’ – the twist is over before the backswing begins.

Many are insecure lifting the lead arm straight up, because they fear that it will either be an all-arms move, or will move their lead arm outside the target line at the start of the backswing.

Well, as long as the right side remains lower than the left, the body IS harnessed at the appropriate time during the downswing, so MGS is prevented from being an all-arms move. As long as the trail shoulder remains twisted behind, the lead arm lifting vertically ‘up’ is always inside the target line, needing no further ‘inside’ movement. In other words, the MGS ‘up’ is always ‘in’ so avoid any more ‘in-ness’!

Chipping off uneven lies

How should the club approach the ball during a regular chip shot, in order to impart just enough height to to the ball for it to safely clear the green; land; and then run all the way to the hole? (in terms of the ball flight laws – especially path and angle of approach).

How, then, should the club be moving differently, if the ball is on an uphill lie (ie. the lead foot is higher than the trail foot)? Such a lie is common, as many greens are crowned and slope upwards. More importantly, how should the club NOT be moving?

Sometimes a lot of shots can be saved simply by knowing what the club should do and what is a definite no-no, when the ball’s lie makes one stand on uneven ground. Then one simply has to move the arms correctly in order to deliver the club appropriately to the ball.

Any suggestions?

Teaching the MGS Full-swing

Teaching MGS

There are already 2-3 people teaching MGS – just from information gleaned through Minimalist Golf Swing System content on youtube, the website, blog and ebook.

The best way to teach MGS to anyone trying it out for the first time, is to have them get into their usual posture and grip, without a club in their hands.Then set them up in the MGS twist to make sure they get it just right, and give them the feel of left arm rising softly and steeply up the chest wall. Sometimes they get so caught up in the twist they never focus on keeping the right side down (magic move of the backswing) and lifting the left arm loosely and isolatedly up the chest wall. Then they could hold a club in hand, way down on the grip, with the club 6” above the ground, and make swings with a club but no ground contact. Next the should hit the ball off a tee. Prefer to start with mid-irons, then longer irons/hybrids/fairway woods and only when all these stages have become more of a ‘habit’ should the student try to hit the ball off the grass or pull out the driver!

Another good tip is to have then do through each of the MGS set-up steps (in the ebook/blog) very deliberately, so they feel that they have made each step.

Those with tight grips (how can you tell? First by looking at the stiffness of the elbows or shoulders, and then by trying to tug the club out of their hands!) or those confused with the concepts of the set-up and swing and not repeating each step even when you verbally re-inforce it, need even gentler treatment. Make sure they practice the movements a lot before attempting any swings with a club in the hand. (Left handed golfers, sorry, please reverse R and L!)

Incidentally, the MGS Level 1 and 2 certifications are designed to be the most scientific in the world, not just a collection of concepts randomly put together. Any student will see that the MGS certified instructor can personalize the MGS System for any skill-level or body-type of golfer.

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