Archive for October, 2012

The Ubiquitous Over-the-Top Swing – even the Pros make it!

The Ubiquitous Over-the-Top Swing

While in the process of compiling the Titleist Performance Institute’s 12 most common swing faults for a blog post, decided to discuss the over-the-top subject first, simply because TPI claims that most amateurs have it, and that’s what differentiates the good golfers from the not-so-good.

The TPI definition (one of 12 definitions for OTT, apparently), from their Level 1 course is, “the club is thrown outside of the intended swing plane, with the club head approaching the ball in an out-to-in motion”.

So, as the MGSSystem believes that for every un-desired club position exists a body-position presenting the club incorrectly, the OTT position should be seen just pre-impact, at which stage it becomes apparent that OTT is indeed a universal disease, not one which is biased and afflicts only us ‘lesser’ mortals. The professionals may not be as overtly OTT as others, and definitely not early in their downswings, but they are OTT too.

If you go by the MGSS definition of OTT, which requires the club to be on the lead/left arm plane and both the trail/right thigh and shoulder to be behind the lead/left one.

Look at how the pros leave themselves no room to straighten out the right arm, leave alone let it roll over for that baby draw. It’s only that they have quick (and not always reliable) last-minute reflexes to change club path with ‘feel’, and enough strength to bludgeon the ball into submission and so not realize they could be consistently better.

Now look at the picture below with club on ‘left arm plane’, and both right thigh and shoulder ‘behind’ left (the right thigh could be slightly further behind). All of this HAPPENS without the golfer’s awareness, just by making the MGS full-swing set-up and backswing.

Club Positions vs Body Positions – The age-old debate

Club Positions vs Body Positions – The age-old debate

When assessing a golf swing, should one look at club positions or body positions? This is a battle that has been raging for as long as people have been swinging!

‘Swing the clubhead’, ‘swing on the shaft plane’, ‘don’t let the shaft be laid-off or across’, ‘make sure the clubface is square at the top’ are all club-positions thoughts a golfer might use.

‘Shift weight’, ‘rotate your spine’ ‘rotate your lead forearm’, ‘don’t have a flat shoulder plane’, ‘the spine should not early-extend on the downswing’ are some of the many body-position swing ideas that are commonly used.

Many teachers and players mix-and-match the two groups at will, usually based on subjective experience.

If one understands that all body movement takes place at the ‘joints’, and only a combination of body movements can position the club in space, one will never ever use club-position descriptions again. A ‘joint’, incidentally, is a place where 2 bones meet, and movement ONLY takes place at the joints. The important joints of the golf swing are the shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, hip, knee and ankle.

A case in point: a student recently said, “Whichever method I follow, yours or any other, I am always laid-off half-way to the top.”

Hellooo! The MGSS never uses such loose language as ‘laid off’. In anatomy it is called a medial rotation of the left (lead) arm, and is caused ONLY because the golfer had no MGS ‘twist’ at the start of the backswing, so had no room for the left arm to lift up (of its own volition, with no help from the golfer) inside (green lines second pic from left) the target line! The shaft lifts up ‘outside’ the target line, and so the lead/left arm must do something to bring the club back into what the brain senses is the approximately correct direction for a reasonable attempt at connecting with the ball!

From short fade to long baby-draw – Case Study for teachers and players

From short fade to long baby-draw a Case Study for teachers and players.

See the youtube video with the same title for details. Also on this blog in the ‘golf videos’ section.

Posted this series of pictures on two professional teachers blogs asking members to comment on what this student should do to go from his current situation where he consistently slices the ball with a big loss of distance to a long, superb trajectory, minimally curving back baby-draw.

The only five responses from two facebook-pages of golf-teachers-organizations were:

1. Check the fundamentals – grip, ball-position, alignment. Are they weak, strong, open, closed. Set up for a draw and have the student hit short shots off a tee. The student should feel,, see and expect something different.

2. Weight forward, handle forward, clubface open to target and closed to path.

3. The body is spinning on the back leg which has become the axis of rotation, with weight falling through that back leg and, as that happens, the club face opens causing a fade. You can see this in the 3rd pic. Get him to move the weight forward creating a better axis of rotation.

4. I would work on face position at impact which is related to the players present grip positions, and work on a  shallower swing plane to change the path.

5. Have you done a KCA for this player to see if he has any physical limitations which prevent him from moving onto the left side. Could be he has a problem with his thoracic spine which prevents him from loading up in the backswing thus causing him to fall back through impact.

MGSS responses:

  1. Just as knowing one’s A, B, C’s does not convert to writing an essay in Newsweek or The Economist, the set-up or ‘fundamentals’ are only the starting point and do not convert to ‘poetry in motion’ in the golf swing – many things can go wrong in-swing, despite perfect starting positions, and the fundamentals are only the tip of the iceberg.
  2. Weight forward, handle forward to my mind is a delofting of a club – why then bother to carry 14? It’s ‘settling’ and will not always work if joint positions at the top still force the golfer to come over the top, spin around on the trail leg and have a clubface that is opening (present continuous tense) through the impact area.
  3. This analysis is great but once again, the golfer would surely ‘load’ through if they could. They usually cannot because their typical or traditional golf backswing has made the right side of their trunk higher and rotated away from target. Now the golfer has to make 3 independent moves in quick succession (rotate trunk forward, drop trail side down, drop arms down) and when there is no time the poor golfer can but come ‘over-the-top and spin around on the back leg!
  4. We all want to work on face position at impact – how? even with a strong grip and a decent swing plane (as the golfer in the picture has) it is possible to slice the ball
  5. The Titleist performance Institute lists as the top 4 most commonly seen swing ‘faults’ – early spinal extension, swinging over-the-top, and casting/early release during the backswing, and sway. These, they say are all muscular imbalances. While it is important to be able to assess such imbalances, a set-up and backswing with better positioned body joints can cure all of these 4 faults. So, the golfer must decide – work out every day forever or spend a week learning a more efficient swing!

CONCLUSION – the MGSS does not look at set-up or swing faults at all. Whatever they may be they get sorted out simply with better joint positions.

Ryder Cup 2012 – Forgotten and Forgettable except for the Lesson given to Tiger

The Ryder Cup 2012 – Forgotten and Forgettable

Who are the 45,000 masochists who want to stand frozen in place (no room to even raise an arm), for a couple of hours, on one of only four fairways, to be able to see a maximum of maybe 16 shots hit from that area!

Especially those masochists who are not a minimum of 6’ 5” tall and can thus at least see clearly over the heads of people standing 10 rows deep all around the limited fairways-in-play

Of course, the ambience of a Ryder Cup is awe-inspiring and the approximately 3500 volunteers make moving crowds into a logistical marvel. The Middle-Eastern-inspired club-house architecture is a sight to behold (huge dome, minarets and the name ‘Medinah’ – albeit pronounced differently!). And the ’mums in all their resplendent Fall glory were everywhere, as were the giant old trees in shades of yellow and red.

However, the 2012 Ryder Cup was forgettable and is, by now, surely forgotten.

The most standing-out factor was how Tiger, once again, was a mess. My personal highlight was getting my picture taken next to ‘him’ and telling him not to be so over-the-top with his right shoulder – he always is, and the MGSS philosophy explains that that is the fault of important body-joints not being in good positions at the top!

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