Is The Tide Turning On The Modern Golf Swing?

I ask that question, and of course I don’t know if it is or isn’t, but I fervently hope so, and I read something this morning that gives me this hope.

For a long time, I can remember being very lonely in my insistence that you don’t want to restrict the hip turn on your back swing pivot, because the lower back is nearly fused to the hips – I found this excellent description of the range of twisting motion you can expect from  the lower back or lumbar region:

From a blog called The Nest, I found information on the lower back motion range, and for twisting, it says the following (the bold parts are my emphasis):


The facet joints of the lumbar spine allow for very limited rotation, or twisting. Each vertebra can rotate only one to two degrees before the facet joints compress, preventing further movement.

The total amount of rotation In the lumbar spine is only five to seven degrees. This helps to protect the intervertebral disks.

If any one segment were to twist more than about three degrees, it could result in the fibers of the disk tearing.

Good stuff there, but something any kinesiology or biomechanics specialist should already know and be working from, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s A Diagram Showing The Lumbar Region


And you wonder why guys who swing modern style eventually have to go to the back specialist – you’re not supposed to twist the lower back at any time, and especially not when performing high-speed athletic motions.

I am a pretty flexible individual (I can still touch my knuckles to the ground bending over, let alone touch my toes, with my legs straightened), and this the range of twisting I can safely get in my back, and this includes the range of twist allowed in the mid-back, as demonstrated in the newly released “E = MCS” video:

So, it was encouraging to read the following posting on Golf WRX by Tom Stickney II, and this posting is not to bash him, but to point out some of the responses to his suggestion that some people may want to keep their right knee flexed on the back swing in order to restrict the hip rotation on the back swing pivot:

1) When the rear knee holds it flex to the top, you will find that it will cause the hips to have a more restricted motion on the backswing.

Unfortunately, Stickney uses TIGER WOODS to illustrate his point, and TW is the poster child of what the modern golf swing can do to your back, so this is actually an argument against doing this very thing, in my mind.

But whichever swinger he could have chosen, the fact remains you don’t want to do this.

I don’t advise restricting the hip turn, ever, because if you want to make a shorter back swing, you do it with the entire body, meaning the hips and shoulders don’t turn as much.

You never want to try to restrict the hip turn and yet strive for a full shoulder turn, because now you’re going to be twisting the lower back.

And so, I won’t quote extensively from the the posting itself because I disagree with the premise, but these comments were very encouraging:

Golf magazine has an article this month that says the opposite…it says you should NOT keep a bent rt knee but rather straighten it by pushing your hip back behind you. Claims a bent knee robs you of power and backswing width.

JEC Jul 21, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Poor flexibility or great flexibility… will eventually destroy your back. The human body is not meant to move is a such a fashion.

Golf coaches destroying the average players backs one lesson at a time.

Agreed, brutally poor advice that will lead to injury…but hey, gotta keep pumping out the articles…

emb Jul 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm

although tigers swing is a great model, the fact that he’s had numerous knee/back surgeries would point to some of his positions wearing excessively on his body…

That is 5 comments out of a total of 17, which makes it nearly 30% of the comments in this posting at the time I read it, were disagreeing with the premise advanced by the author.

Now, that is encouraging.

And when the comments eventually tip over 50% disagreement with the modern golf swing method that is wrecking backs the world over… we might be in the reversal.

Slowly but surely!

Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video


7 thoughts on “Is The Tide Turning On The Modern Golf Swing?

  1. targettom

    That’s good to see. I can testify that MCS is the only way to swing. At the range yesterday I was hitting my 3 wood 270 consistently, STRAIGHT. Every time. Dead straight or 2-3 yard draw. Right over the 250 sign. Off the mat, same flight but not quite as far.

    I don’t make as big a hip turn as DJ (yet) because when I do I have a tendency to sway, but I’d rather have a reliable ball flight than the extra distance I might get from a bigger turn. Also I went from pain throughout my body (with the planted foot modern swing) to totally pain free with MCS. Can’t wipe the smile off my face.

    1. D Watts Post author

      That’s a great testimonial to MCS, Tom, thank you for that!

      Now, as far as this:

      I don’t make as big a hip turn as DJ (yet) because when I do I have a tendency to sway, but I’d rather have a reliable ball flight than the extra distance I might get from a bigger turn.

      You just need the proper position and to really get that right hip behind you.

      Don’t think “turn” so much as a visual you want of either getting the pressure to the proper spot in the foot, or pushing the right knee back, or getting that right hip behind you…any one of several visuals will serve you better than trying to think “turn” with the hips.

      I never think of turning my hips, just getting that right one behind me or making sure I straighten that right knee, which you know I don’t do as completely as I should, at times.

      Keep up the great work!

  2. targettom

    thanks for the tip. Maybe I’m doing it right, because I start with the bent right leg, straight left at address; then straight right leg, hip back at the top. I don’t have the maximum “swinging gate” left knee at the top, nor as big a shoulder turn as I’m capable of. So on video it’s not perfect. But in practice it is effortless. In fact, when I do make a bad swing it’s usually because I was trying too hard to hit it, instead of just swinging thru it.

    In the past 2 years I have written out a couple dozen recipe cards of swing thoughts – maybe 3 dozen! But now I just have one swing thought; relax my arms before I take it away. Sometimes I think about swinging to a target 20-30 yards shorter, e.g. act like I’m trying to hit a 7 iron 160-170, just to relax through the swing. Such a game of opposites isn’t it? The less effort you make the better it gets.

    1. D Watts Post author

      The less effort you make, the better it gets – true, very true.

      Not because you’re not trying as hard, but when you feel like you’re trying very hard, it’s usually because you’re not in an optimal leveraging position, and it feels like you’re expending that much more effort to move the club.

      When I’m in my proper position and get that back swing right – the natural leverage just makes the swing feel easier, however hard I’m swinging.

      That’s likely what you’re experiencing too, Tom. Good stuff 🙂

  3. Laser

    “I never think of turning my hips”

    –Heh, heh…so, you know what Moe Norman meant. On this, you nailed it: “you do it with the entire body.”

    Biomechanics is fundamentally flawed. It attempts to apply machine mechanics to the human body. However, the body has its own kind of mechanics, which are entirely different. Physics applies to both, but that misses the fundamental issue.

    Kinesiology at least has a fundamentally sound concept: “The study of the anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of body movement, especially in humans.” However, I haven’t seen anything coming out of kinesiology that is helpful for golf. Maybe it’s like video, which is great for disproving things. (Though video in the right hands, from different perspectives, can be useful.)

    Golf needs people like you—who can do it, and have had success teaching. However, we mostly get gurus who just churn-out the conventional wisdom…without stopping to consider whether or not it actually works.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks I appreciate the sentiment, Laser – however, you don’t get away with this:

      Heh, heh…so, you know what Moe Norman meant.

      Nope! I am a very literal person, I don’t mind-read, and I go by what people say – I don’t know what they mean if it isn’t the same, and Moe said this in the video to which we’re both referring:

      I don’t believe in hip turn – shoulder turn not hip – my hips hardly turn at all…”

      And we know that this wasn’t true. The hip turn is the key to mechanically-sound pivot action, I just don’t think of turning them, as my swing visual produces the turn anyway.

      But I wouldn’t ever say what Moe said, and if what he said was not what he meant, I have no clue as to what it was he did mean.

      Good try though 😉

  4. Uncle JJ

    I watched the latest Feherty last night, which included Daly, Trevino, and McCord. They had an interesting discussion of injury in the modern game. Anyone see it? They were more focused on knee injuries – still, more signs of the tide changing….

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