The Modern Golf Swing – Separation In the Wrong Sequence

tiger woodsTiger Woods returns to action today next week  with a rested and repaired back, and the world will be watching every swing.

Now, I’ve spent a lot of my blogging time disagreeing with the modern swing because of many different aspects.

But the most glaring example of the modern swing trying to reinvent the wheel and coming up with a square one is the whole “separation” craze on the back swing.

Simply, it’s wrong, it’s physically harmful, and it is simply, just mechanically-incorrect.  It’s out of proper sequence.  And I know a little about improper sequencing, having suffered from it myself in trying to build a perfected golf swing model.

So, how is the modern separation craze wrong and out of sequence?

You’ll remember the postings I wrote last summer on the Hogan pivot, and how today’s players are not swinging the way Hogan did, with the full-body (some call it the “one-piece takeaway”) back swing.

It led to the Wax Golf “Ben Hogan Project” video, as I couldn’t believe that what was being said about Hogan and his swing wasn’t being corrected or flat out contradicted.


There is separation of the upper and lower bodies during the swing, but it occurs on the down swing transition, not during the back swing.

If you want to know why so many young players today are coming down with serious back and neck injuries so early in their careers, look no further than to this aspect, really.

tiger-extendYou’re performing a move, at speeds exceeding 100 mph in the impact phase, and you’re out of mechanical sequence in the lower back.

Get ready for Painsville, next stop.

It’s very simple here – if you separate the lower and upper bodies during the back swing, you have no where to go in the transition to the down swing.

Your upper body is already cranked tightly against the lower, and all the torquing force you put on that lower getting from the top down to impact – damage.

Incremental damage to the region of the body that is required for proper sitting, standing, walking, even lying down.  You mess up that lower back, and you’re now paying the ultimate price of not knowing how to swing properly.

Bad backs are not a byproduct of playing golf.  Bad backs are not guaranteed just for participating in the game.

Bad backs are a product of bad swings.


17 thoughts on “The Modern Golf Swing – Separation In the Wrong Sequence

  1. jmwald

    Hi DJ…. A lady i have known for 3 or 4years now who has some real interesting golf stuff she calls the minimalist golf swing is a far eastern indian lpga golf pro… She is a biomechanics specialist and has just started her phd program at university of texas i believe where they have a highly regarded biomechanics program specializing in golf…

    Tigers new coach chris como came from this program and he went back there last weekend to visit his old friends and professors… Kiran (her name) met him and they all went to dinner. Actually she has known him for a year or so and considers him a great, unpretentious, humble guy… She said to me in an email that if she couldnt have that job, he deserves it… Even if he is misguided by traditional machanics and is not that big a fan of her minimalist ideas. She did say tigers body is in good hands.

    Thought youd find this interesting and you might peruse her minimalistgolfswingblog interesting.

    Take care… Talk soon…joelA Sent from my iPhone Live large, Mack Bolan


    1. D Watts Post author

      That’s the problem jmwald – if he is misled by trying to figure out a mechanically-correct way to swing the modern style, he’s not going to do Tiger any good.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I am hoping for some time in January, Big Toilet. Certain things will have to fall into place, but I think mid-to-late January or early Febuary seems doable regardless.

      1. bigtoilet

        I guess, “Certain things falling into place” means a break (from?) in the Toronto area weather so you can do some outdoor shooting? Anyways, from what I hear, this is gonna be THEE video that makes a TON of difference to people still finding their way. Exciting to say the least!!

  2. bigtoilet

    Love how they call the Minimalist Golf Swing” the most powerful swing in golf. It’s S&T from a different address position. NO power there. They SHOULD call it the NO power BACK BREAKER swing!

  3. bigtoilet

    Why in THEE WORLD are people here looking at OTHER sites? Maybe other than LAUGHING at them. If you stray from here, then I wish you the best of luck….cause you are gonna need it.

    1. bigtoilet

      Please don’t stray!! You’re reading this from a former “lost boy” himself. THIS IS thee place. Here, only here. Don’t fall into the abyss my friends.

    2. D Watts Post author

      I was just about to answer that question, BT! I know there are many people who like to get things from a variety of sources and then concoct something out of all the parts. I suppose that’s how MMA got started out of the traditional styles.

      What I can say is that while my models up to now haven’t been perfect models, they’ve been pretty close, leaving aside my personal demonstrations of them.

      My models aren’t “better” or lesser than others’ models, but I’ll say this – if a model isn’t mechanically sound, then it’s garbage. There are certain mechanical and athletic principles that must be follow, and I won’t go against them.

      Now, if someone feels aggrieved thinking I’m referring specifically to theirs…then they’re admitting something to themselves about their model.

  4. Mace

    The thing is DJ I’m still lost, got the MCS, MPS, Ben Hogan and they are all outstanding ways to swing, but which one to use?

    I take pieces from each one, set up from MCS with Hogan foot placements, back swing from Hogan and release though from MPS. Seems to work for me and has with stood pressure golf however I’m still not sure it’s mechanically correct.

    Looking forward to ultimate leverage machine as it sounds like this is what I’m kind of doing anyway. Thinking about it maybe I’m not lost at all………

    1. D Watts Post author

      “Thinking about it maybe I’m not lost at all…”

      LOL, Mace, I was thinking that exact same thing reading your comment.

      I have great news – the Ultimate MCS does exactly what you’ve been trying to do in piecing together the different models, and you’re absolutely on the money with it – the Ultimate MCS uses the floating pivot a la Hogan, but not his swing, and the release action of the Mike Austin/MPS model, but not that swing.

      It’s the MCS floating pivot using the power-enhancing “throw release,” and you’ll think you died and went to heaven if you’re trying that already…

      Good stuff mate!

  5. Jason

    I’ve recently been tracing the development of the “modern” golf swing and I think a chunk of it derived from John Jacobs (, who was a great influence on Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter, Hank Haney and others. His major “contribution” to golf was his theory that “golf is what the ball does”, which is really to deprioritize biokinetic movement and structure it around ball flight.

    That and Ben Hogan being mis-interpreted when he said to not worry about whether the front heel comes off the ground (which was mis-interpreted as ‘you can keep your foot down’ – an entirely different thing).

    My problem with this theory, like yours DJ, is that golf is much more than just ball flight. There are mechanically-correct ways for one’s body to move so that you can achieve preferential ball flight without having to stress the body. Ball flight is just one part of golf and it’s a shame that this shoddy science has somehow dominated the golfing world. I love the pursuit of trying to hit it harder and squarer, with my front heel up and my legs braced and my back turned in a natural and mechanically-correct way.

    This ball flight-centric model sadly infiltrated and dominated PGA teaching methods and because there’s some ‘science’ to analysing ball-flight, it was deemed an irrefutable and scientifically-proven approach to golf. If you watch old PGA teaching videos, especially the ones with Bobby Jones, they really teach fundamentally and biokinetically-correct methods at hitting the golf ball.

    I did have some hope for the recent biokinetic movement to prevail, but have so far been disappointed, as you could tell from my Como comments.

    In any case, your work has been a major inspiration to me and my thinking. For you to share it with the world is really an invaluable gift.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks for the support, Jason, and for the high praise. You guys are really making my Saturday! And as for this upcoming video – it will blow every other video I’ve made, the Hogan Project video included – out of the water.

      Stay tuned!

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