I Asked Myself A Simple Question

I have spent the past three years trying to figure out a way to swing according to the standard MCS swing model, and it all had to do, as you all know, with my shoulders being twisted open at address and impact when I stood square to the target line.

It was even impossible to stand with the normal “angled stance” position that is part of the standard model because of how severe the twist was.

Well, imagine that I asked myself a whole bunch of questions on the stance, and of course, the primary issue is that the shoulders should be square to the target line at impact.

This is illustrated very well by the bird’s eye view of Mike Dunaway at impact, where his shoulders are just a fraction closed a split-second before impact, meaning they’re pretty much square at the crucial moment:

So, the crucial aspect of impact is to have the square shoulders, in general (some people may need to be slightly open or closed due to physical idiosyncrasies, but we will never isolate every variation, so let’s stick with the ‘standard’).

Now, the question arose when I discovered that with my own spinal issue, I had to place the ball more to my left rather than at the standard ball position, which would place the driver ball at the leading heel line.

So I asked myself the question, “If I can swing better with the spine issue moving the ball, is there even a ‘standard’ ball position, or is it dependent on the swinger?”

The answer, of course, would be that the standard ball placement is exactly that because most people would have it there to stand and swing with a mechanically-correct motion.

But then I asked myself, “What if the standard ball position is the reason for the angled stance to begin with?”

The answer I got surprised me, because I have noticed this spring, having implemented the 3 Pillars method of setting up to the ball, that all of a sudden, my compensating angled stance disappeared, or at least became very minimal, even with the driver:

Showing the line at my toes that is parallel to the target line, you see what I would call the “standard” angled foot line with the driver, which means that by adjusting my ball position to account for the bent and twisted spine, I suddenly could set up in the standard MCS model stance.

And I’ve never been able to stand this way without having a very steep down swing plane and open shoulders at impact – but that was with the standard ball position!

Which means, if the angled stance is necessary with the standard ball placement (as explained in the MCS model over the past two years), is there a ball position that would eliminate its need altogether?

Now, you look above and see that Mike Dunaway has a square stance line, but he was also more center-biased than the MCS model, and while that difference is the reason for his shifting head on the back swing (the MCS model puts the head at address where it should be at the top, so there is no or very little head shifting in the MCS swing model), could the 3 Pillars method I devised provide a possible way to stand square to the target line?

I have asked myself that question, and should have an answer soon.

This is very exciting, because it’s only a possible variation, again, of the standard MCS model – but I will never reject a possibility because I have said, “This is the way to do it.”

I’ve said before that if I find something new or better to improve the model, that I would never keep it a secret, and I certainly wouldn’t throw it out because it is something new or different from the standard model.

The standard model before 2014 had a centered stance like Dunaway and Austin and many other swingers, but I made the right-bias standard after looking at where the head should be at impact, and then reverse-engineering the stance so that it would be in roughly the same place at address, the top and impact.

That improved the model more than anything else I’ve devised with the model to date, and imagine if I’d left it out simply because I didn’t want to change the standard center bias.

So, it’s possible that the 3 Pillars strategy I devised to find my proper ball position (because mine not in the “standard” position, if I want to swing my best) is also the answer to figuring out how to stand over the ball, when it might not matter if you have angled stance or not.

It could be nothing, but even if I’m correct, it’s not an earth-shattering change to the MCS model, just another interesting little variation one can add to the standard model.

I’ve been holding off explaining the 3 Pillars because I’m still exploring this concept, but it seems to be everything I thought it might be when I came up with it this past winter while doing my SwingRite work.

For those who might be interested in this, I should have something very soon.



17 thoughts on “I Asked Myself A Simple Question

  1. Laser

    “line at my toes that is parallel to the target line”

    –Maybe that’s a good idea, but I can’t find any basis in logic for it. If somebody’s grip is okay…if their stance is okay…and their ball position is okay…and they step up to the ball with the clubface pointing at the target line…then I can’t determine why they should worry about their toe-line.

    If parallel toe-line is in fact arbitrary, then I see the possibility that implementing it into the setup could be a factor in injuries.

    Baseball players and hockey players, speak up. Are you concerned with your toe-line, or are you more concerned with stability?

    I’ve seen great free-throw shooters (Dellavedova .854 this year) with both toes at the line, and some have one foot ahead (Klay Thompson .853 this year). Uh, too bad about the Raptors. LeBron looks rested.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Maybe that’s a good idea, but I can’t find any basis in logic for it. If somebody’s grip is okay…if their stance is okay…and their ball position is okay…and they step up to the ball with the clubface pointing at the target line…then I can’t determine why they should worry about their toe-line.

      Well, that’s exactly my point, Laser – the standard model has an angled stance concept, but if it doesn’t matter when you’re set up properly, then that’s something I would have to officially change.

      If it isn’t necessary, then the standard would be what I’m suspecting – that you can have a variable stance angle depending on the ball position or conversely, that you can have a variable ball position depending on whether you stand square to the line or not.

      Six of one, half a dozen of the other, but the logic is to see if I can change the angled stance from standard to variable depending on ball position.

      And yes, the Cavs look rested, and the Raptors are 0-9 now in playoff series openers. But we’re playing the defending champions in the 2nd round – was always going to be a tough nut to crack…

  2. hkgolf

    DJ, I have found that if my back foot is moved away from the parallel toe-line (PTL), ie angled stance, it helps with the pivot during the backswing, as I feel less resistance in the hips when they rotate clockwise, than when the back foot is placed closer to the parallel toe-line (PTL).

    With the driver, the back foot is placed furthest away from the PTL, thus ensuring that the hips experience the least resistance, ie a deeper pivot. In contrast, for shorter irons, eg wedge, the back foot is more forward, nearer the PTL, ie I feel more resistance in the hips during the backswing and this results in a less deep pivot. This is all relative to the backfoot being on the PTL, of course.

    In other words, the deeper the pivot is, the more power is generated in the downswing. Therefore back foot position for the driver should be the furthest position away from PTL since it results in the deepest pivot. Conversely, as the clubs get shorter, the backfoot is moved closer towards the PTL, ie less power because of less deep pivot. This seems consistent with Hogan’s view of how angled the stance should become more open, as one progresses from driver (angled closed stance) up to mid irons to wedges (most angled open stance).

    I agree with your thesis that the angle of the stance should vary, and be relative to, the ball position, which changes according to the club length and how deep one wishes to pivot on the backswing.

    Your thoughts??


    1. D Watts Post author

      Hi HK

      Everything you’re saying is what has been the standard for the MCS. I don’t know if that will change, as I’m simply checking to see if my stance angle has changed from before I was using the new setup procedure.

      But what you said, is the way to go, unless I discover something new, which would be something, considering I haven’t done so in over two years! 😉

  3. Matthaus Taylor

    DJ, what is your reasoning on using toe line for alignment? Normally, the heels are used for a reference as toe flare can effect toe line without really changing alignment.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hi Mattaus,

      I use the toe line as a rough indicator. Yes, the leading foot is usually more flared than the trailing foot when there is flare, but not enough to not be able to eyeball whether the feet are set up roughly parallel or on an angled line.

      I have my left foot flared a little more than the right foot in the above picture, but when I straighten my feet to pointing straight ahead, there is very little change in the foot angle.

      So, you’re correct in that the heels will indicate the exact line, but looking at the toe line is adequate unless an exact measurement is required.


  4. Brandon

    I will definitely curious about this because I personally feel more comfortable with a more open stance and deeper ball position. I know I am doing something wrong but I am more consistent in my striking this way. I hit the ball fat when my stance is closed.

    1. lupz27

      I am the same way, more open stance further back ball placement specifically on short irons is SO much more comfortable, and I have better ball striking, and if I don’t place the ball further back in my stance I also hit everything fat, but then there is a fine line of putting it to far back, and everything going to shit lol.

  5. lupz27

    Further more on long irons, fairway woods the closed stance is much more effective, but I have a very tough time completing the pivot specifically with the heavier head long irons, have much better success with the lighter headed fairway woods, and hybrid heads. I know when I don’t finish the pivot with these clubs as I hit a ballon slice, or sometimes worse a 45 degree angle shank dead right.

  6. lupz27

    Last comment, my main issues are definitely my grip first, and foremost I just can’t seem to master the proper way to grip the golf club consistently. 2nd is proper stance alignment, and ball placement for proper aim, and ball strike. I feel if I can master the proper grip without thinking the MCS swing, pivot, hammer drop will be much easier to replicate consistently, and then hopefully much easier for me to find my proper stance alignment, and ball position.

    Sadly I can’t trust any teaching professionals to try, and get a hands on lesson, what I wouldn’t give for 1 day with DJ lol.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks for that compliment, Lupz – and thanks for reminding me about the grip!

      I used to have a very strong grip, but then when you’re an over-the-top slicer, they go hand in hand, if you’ll excuse the pun.

      If you have a training grip (the molded grips on some training club devices), that’s the proper grip, and the MCS setup is perfectly in line with the standard grip.

      I’m working on putting together the upcoming “E = MCS” video (oops, did I just give something away?), and that was something I felt would be useful to show… I’ve just added it to my notes! 😀

      1. lupz27

        Awesome thanks DJ, it’s funny when I’m swinging my driver best I have a VERY weak grip, when I got my grip changed out on it last time the guy couldn’t believe that I had so a weak grip set up. I didn’t even know I had a weak grip set up till then myself, so this is when I fully understood that I have no understanding on how to hold the golf club with a proper neutral grip yet.

      2. lupz27

        Ugh I just hit a bucket of balls, and I didn’t realize it till it was to late that I was reverse pivoting, coming OTT, kept trying to correct the OTT, and kept getting more reverse pivot, and now back feels horrible, back to the drawing board 😦

        1. D Watts Post author

          You may want to check your setup, Lupz – a reverse pivot and OTT would indicate possibly a center or left-biased position. Very hard to reverse-pivot from the proper “Leaning A” setup. Just a thought.

          1. lupz27

            Yeah my set up is great with my 7iron down, but once I get to the 6iron up it gets SO bad. Also can’t flatten out my swing, still way to steep. Which video did you release in February, March, or April 2015? I have it just don’t remember which one it is, that was the holy grail video for me to flattening out my swing, and that season I for the first time played with out a STEEP swing, and would like to get back to that flatter swing.

            1. D Watts Post author

              I’ve got a setup procedure for you that I tried out today with both a left-dominant and right-dominant swinger – worked like a charm for both! Hang in there 😉

Comments are closed.