Archive for July, 2012

The Minimalist Golf Swing System and Science

I have this student who shall, from now on, be referred to only as Princess. So, the Princess has been to lots of top golfers, and whenever she hits even one bad shot, she cusses me out and says, “You’re either a scam artist or a genius”. I have been to three instructors so far – two of them very famous – who all say “This is biomechanics’ and then they’ve all taught me something totally different. How can I know that your biomechanics is better than their?”

Well, Princess, first of all, the proof is in the pudding. If you’re swinging further, straighter and higher, and feel like you ‘did nothing’, SOMETHING must be working, whatever it’s name!

However, as I’m sure many golfers following this blog are interested in the science behind the MGSS, upcoming posts will have the physics, math, anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and even psychology of the system explained. In simple words that do not confound. After all, what’s the point of being in a Masters’ Program in Sports Science if one cannot use that knowledge!

All posts will appear in the ‘science and the golf swing’ section of this blog. The first post is about some basic physics principles and how they apply to the MGSS.

Long Drive Regionals in St Louis, July 2012

Most long-drivers do not take golf lessons. (Based on survey information collected at the recent long-drive regional qualifier in St Louis).

They miss 6 out of 6 shots to a grid 50 yards wide, and blame it on everything possible such as bad luck, bad weather, poor mental preparation, cracked driver etc. etc. They NEVER blame it on swing mechanics.

Are they gamblers at heart and not true golfers? They hit endless rounds of six-shots at $40 a pop and keep trying to make it from the Locals to the Regionals, and most of them put in hours and hours a week on fitness training and golf practice, but sometimes do not even hit one of six shots in the grid.

How to tell them that it’s mainly their mechanics that are faulty. They’re trying to make the longest possible levers by going up on the lead toe during the backswing, getting their arms and hands up to the sky, and then they hope to dump all that body mass down at the exact spot where it’s required in the fraction of a second when the club is attempting a passing acquaintance with the ball!

 

How will this Long Driver return his club to the ball? What ‘undo’ movements does he need to make? He must rotate his body forward, drop his right side/trunk down, allow his very elevated right upper-arm to drop closer to the body, do work against gravity to bring his clubshaft back to a ten o’clock or so position (which is its position of maximum potential energy), rotate and then straighten his lead knee and plant back his lead heel. (Not to mention a change of wrist position and fore-arm position!) If he does not time all these movements correctly, or if they overshoot (ie. rotation does not stop in time to allow the arms to drop down from the inside), he spins around his trail thigh and hits the ball crooked! Big deal that he has the capacity to hit it 360 or more yards on the fly! The question is whether he can do it to order.

Another one pasted below. How many separate joints does he move? And, how many muscles must act as prime movers, synergists, stabilizers and antagonists for such complex movements? Are all the moved joints able to return to impact in correct sequence?

MGSS – a new adjective to describe it!

What a treat to explain The Minimalist Golf Swing System to people with a background in anatomy! They GET IT. However, because it’s so different (or in the words of people who’ve tried it, ‘weird’, ‘counter-intuitive’, ‘unnatural’ etc. etc.!) it’s best to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’.

So last weekend, at a gathering of 50 chiropractic students who attended a Motion Palpation Institute’s ‘Golfer and the DC’ seminar, class-room time showed a bit about the evolution of all things golf, after which it was all driving-range hands-on teaching/learning.

 

1. The golf ball has had millions of dollars of research put into it to progress from a feathery to the ultra-sophisticated thing with precise numbers of, size of and depth of dimples, not to mention high-tech materials.

2. Golf clubs have evolved from mere shepheards’ crooks to blobs of metal to oh-my-gosh tools that claim to cure slices and hit the ball a country mile and who knows what else.

3. The golf swing has evolved too —- look carefully at the change

All the chiropractors could see –¬†good golfers, many of them – was a change of apparel!

SO, the moral of the story is, the golf swing has evolved in as random a manner as golf apparel has!

What should happen is once one has a plan for what the ball must do (for instance, in a full-swing, travel maximum distance, be straight and have ideal trajectory for the club being used), one should decide how the club must arrive at the ball (maximum speed, from the inside, and at a shallow angle), and then place all the body’s main joints in positions from which they can make the downswing most efficiently, based on their design, and on where they require to deliver the club!

The easiest way to do that is to separate the role of the arms and the role of the body. Allow only ferris-wheel movements of the arms and only merry-go-round movements of the body (and ne’er the twain shall meet). MGS really does this!

So, many attendees said, “Man this is crazy – but it actually works”! One asked, “I really like this but how should I explain it to my friends when I look so different?”

The reply from the intrepid inventor of the MGSS, “Well, ask them if you should have a rotation/coil/twist of your body during the backswing, then tell them, why do you care if I finish my rotation/coil/twist before my swing has begun? That way all I have to do is get my arms in place and I HAVE to make ideal contact!”

 

Minimalist Golf Swing for junior golfers

If you have junior golfers and wish to introduce them to golf, yes, it’s important for them to have fun, BUT it’s equally important for them to see early success!

Even a 5-year-old knows when she/he hits a worm-burner, completely along the ground! No matter how encouraging parents might be, or how much teachers say ‘good swing’ or ‘good attempt’ or whatever – kids these days are very smart, and know when they’ve hit a bad shot, and a collection of bad shots might just make them lose interest!

So, the main things junior golfers should be taught (in random order)

  • Shoulder-width stance (not adult shoulders, theirs)
  • Keep both feet firmly on the ground, at all times
  • Swing with fairly straight arms (a slight bend in the trail elbow is required though)
  • Keep the trail side slightly below the lead side all through the swing (and the chest facing away from target until well after impact)

One cute 5 year old junior in our summer camps at Oakbrook Golf Course, Edwardsville, Illinois demonstrated two swings – the one his daddy taught him and the one ‘key-run’ taught him, and he replicated both so exactly!

A request to all those visiting this blog

Hello all visitors to this blog. If you’ve used the MGS successfully and would like to comment, please do so on the ‘testimonials’ section of this blog. The reason is that I have made reference of this blog in my LPGA Teacher of the Year application form, and maybe the people that are supposed to vote on that will look at this blog to see what users genuinely think about MGS. Also, any time you’ve a question about MGS, just post some pictures here for the MGS community to give you suggestions on. Kiran.

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