The Myth Busters

Myth Buster 1

The ‘Grip’. Every golf instruction book begins with a chapter of this title. Every golf teacher swears you can change a hook to a slice or vice-versa, add lots of yards to your tee shot, stop hitting bad shots ever again and so much more, just by having a correct grip.

What is a correct grip? Grips are as unique and diverse as fingerprints, with 60 million different ones for the all world’s golfers. Grips can be strong or weak; overlap or interlock or ten-finger; placed in the palms or fingers; ‘v’s pointing to the chin or the shoulder; long-thumb or short-thumb; pressure in last 3 fingers or not and on and on……

Now consider this. Which is the last body-part to arrive at the ball just before impact and the first body part to move away from the ball just after impact? The hands. The ones you so carefully placed on the club, and perhaps practiced placing correctly for hours! The mistake in the downswing happened much before the hands could even arrive at the ball, yet the grip is blamed for every mis-hit in golf – or so it seems!

Where does knowledge regarding ‘correct’ grip come from? Just ‘feelings’ of various great players and teachers passed down through the years – no research has ever been conducted to prove the efficacy of a ‘correct’ grip.

Bottomline, then, especially considering that a grip change is perhaps the toughest change to make – find the mistakes in the placement of your body and arms – especially the right, at the top of the backswing, because that is what will cause a mis-start to the downswing, much before the hands ever get into the picture.

In fact, there are specific top-of-backswing positions from which the body cannot help but start a downswing which is ‘over-the-top’. To know which these are, see

Myth Buster 2

The ‘Coil’ or ‘Turn’

Oh, yes. That all-important rotation. Can’t live without it. Where would the power in the golf swing come from without all that turn-and-return the golf swing is supposed to have? Never mind that a golfer may not be very flexible, or have back pain –  no turn, no club speed, no distance.

Well, consider this out-of-the-box (although scientifically valid) concept. MEANINGFUL (ie in a targetward direction) acceleration takes place when the clubshaft is about hip-high in the downswing.

So, try this. Make a backswing – coil as much as you possibly can – start your downswing but then STOP when the shaft is about hip-high. How much rotation do your shoulders -and hips -have AT THIS POINT (at which MEANINGFUL, TARGETWARD, acceleration begins??)

Basically, all those proponents of the BIG TURN did not consider that as long as your shoulders and hips have the minimal rotation of the hip-high-shaft position, you have plenty of rotation!

But suppose you’re flexible and can easily turn as much as you want to? Should you turn? No. Remember that every movement made during the backswing must be un-made during the downswing. So, for every move to the right (for a right-handed golfer), there must be an EQUAL move to the left to return the club precisely where it started from. For every move up the body must drop down, and for every twist, the body must untwist.

Also, can the human brain co-ordinate the ‘re-turn’ of the body, quickly followed by – at precisely the correct time – the drop-down of the arms?

Understand firstly that the body is not a spring, which you simply wind up then release. It uses different ‘agonist’ and ‘antagonist’ muscles for opposite movements. A simple example would be that the muscle required to bend (flex) the elbow is the bicep, while the muscle used to straighten (extend) it is mostly the tricep. So for every movement made and then unmade, the brain has to send out two different sets of commands. Under pressure, when timing is messed up and the muscles might tighten, that may not be the best thing to do.

Basically all excess motion which serves no direct purpose, simply adds to the complexity of a swing, making it difficult to repeat precisely.

Also, say you twist a lot in the backswing. The downswing will then require your body to untwist, your right upper body to become lower than the left, and your arms to drop the club down to the ball! SO MUCH excess movement!

Suppose you kept the right side of your upper body lower than the left ALL THROUGH the backswing (it HAS to be there at impact, and address, anyway!). And you set up at address with the tiny quarter-twist-of-the-upper body (which as we just saw is the position you need to be in when CORRECT downswing acceleration begins)?

Then you really would not have to do much to make a reliable, powerful, downswing!

How simple life would be. There IS a way to make your life – and your golf swing – really simple!


Myth Buster 3

Wrist cock. Some say the hands produce more power than the body. Some say that’s nonsense. They ALL say that wrist cock is important in the backswing, because it helps to provide release during the downswing, for more clubspeed and therefore ball speed.

Anything strange about the above sentence? Yes. How does wrist cock in the backswing help produce wrist cock pre-impact? How many golfers do we know who ‘set’ the wrists perfectly during the backswing, only to release them way too early in the downswing?

And what about all that ‘early’ vs ‘late’ wrist cock?

And did you realize that once the wrists are cocked during the backswing, you add one more independently moving body part to the swing, so that your wrists, arms and body are all moving at different rates? Even though, from the top of the backswing, all these parts must now suddenly behave beautifully, and start down perfectly in synchronization and in correct sequence! No wonder the experts claim it takes 10 years to become an elite golfer! The Minimalist Golf Swing can make you one instantly.

As to release. It seems to be a rather nebulous term,with some experts calling it the hinge-and-straighten movement of the wrists and others calling it the rolling over of the forearms. And there are many who advocate actively rolling the left forearm through impact! I’d say 10 years may not be enough!

Also, no one points out that the wrist moves in 2 planes – side-to-side and back and forth (technically radial and ulnar deviation and flexion-extension). A wrist ‘cock’ usually means a side-to-side (radio-ulnar) movement, but it is practically impossible to make a bend of the wrists in only one plane – make your normal backswing until your wrists cock, then look at them.

So suppose we could make a backswing with no wrist cock, but get wrist ‘lag’ when we need it – in time to make good impact. How perfect if we could avoid the ‘not nice’ plane of the cock(extension), and still get the club speed which the hands are able to generate.

It’s easy really. Although a detailed explanation might put you to sleep, just know that the Minimalist Golf Swing has NO wrist cock going back (thus avoiding many complex top-of-backswing positions), but sets the wrists for a perfect ‘timed release’ (neither ‘early’ nor ‘late’), as the arms drop down and the right elbow ‘lags’ forcing the wrists into perfect position too.


Myth Buster 4

What is ‘swing plane’ and why is it so important? Ben Hogan probably first described a ‘plane’ when he mentioned that the swing must always remain ‘under’ an imaginary glass sheet leaning against the shoulders and resting on the ground. This ‘plane’ is now termed a shoulder plane. A ‘swing’ plane usually refers to a line drawn straight through the club’s shaft at address, and extending up through the golfer’s body.

A nice visual description of the swing plane may be seen on

The ‘swing plane’ as understood today, requires the following parts to be on the shaft/swing plane respectively, at different phases of the swing:

  • Takeaway – right hand on shaft plane
  • At left arm horizontal – right elbow on shaft plane
  • At top of backswing – left hand on swing plane and right elbow on shaft plane
  • In downswing – right elbow on shaft plane and club-shaft in the ‘cone’ of space between the shaft and swing planes
  • In followthrough – shaft on swing plane
  • At finish – left hand on swing plane and left elbow on shaft plane

How utterly absurd, considering the simple mathematical description of the word ‘plane’. Discussing ‘plane’ in the golf swing is really a case of much ado about nothing, especially because the most discussed plane is that of the backswing!

In geometry, any straight line moving at a constant velocity with respect to a fixed point WILL describe a ‘plane’ (flat surface). So, all that’s needed is a straight line (left shoulder to clubhead) and a fixed point (left shoulder). If the left arm and shaft remain a straight line all the way back, with no interference from the right wrist, shoulder or elbow, swing plane no longer matters.

Especially not this artificial thing (backswing plane) which neither has two points describing one surface nor has constant velocity (the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders all move at different speeds during the backswing anyway!)

3 responses to this post.

  1. I have read most everything I can find that you have written and I did exactly what you said not to do! I went out and tried it on the golf course. I hit some pretty ugly shots for the first few holes but I admit, I was reading this for help with my short game. I have NO short game. It all has the yips! I hit some of the best chips and pitches I have hit in years! I am trying to find a time to get to the range and short game area to work on this as I think this is going to save my golf game!


    • If you would specify which part of your short game (putting/chipping/pitching/bunkers) need improvement, and what. specifically, the problem is, I can post some general information and a few photographs. What precisely does the ball do, as a consequence of your ‘yips’? My golf instruction ebook, available through the website might also help. Kiran


  2. Kiran – This is Kevin here are the links to two videos you may want to comment on. This first is from a year ago:

    This one below is from today after working with the MGS set up and approach for a awhile:

    Quite a difference…especially at TOS and transition. Also many more straight shots 😉 !

    Feel free to use in any instruction video or comments you want to make.


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