I have been re-reading GolfDigest’s Guy Yokom interview of Mickey Wright, and I can’t recommend heartily enough that anyone interested in the proper way to swing (and even play) should do so if you haven’t.
I had read it initially because of several emails pointing me to her views on the Modern Golf Swing, which are right in line with Jack Nicklaus’ and Brandel Chamblee’s and my own (and with anyone else’s opinion that it is an un-natural and harmful way to swing, especially for power swingers), but there is so much more.
Before I get to the part about Harvey Penick giving Mickey Wright a swing exercise, there are a couple of good quotes from Mickey on the swing:
YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD OF LUCY LI.. Lucy is 14 now and still a tiny thing, not much over 100 pounds. Obviously she wants to hit the ball farther.
I’ve told Lucy to hang in there, that she hasn’t stopped growing and that more distance will come with time. I’ve suggested she turn her shoulders as far as they’ll go and to turn her hips, too, and for heaven’s sake, let that left heel come off the ground.
But the main thing I’ve told her is to avoid lifting weights and to simply hit a lot of balls. There is no substitute for being “golf strong,” developing the muscles you actually use in the swing. And she’ll develop muscle memory, which is vital to a young player.
Hmm… turn the hips, let the leading heel come up, and stay out of the gym… pretty sure I’ve said that somewhere, a time or too. As has Brandel Chamblee with his refrain that modern players are spending too much time in the gym and not enough time building a proper swing…
MY FIRST TEACHER was a man named Johnny Bellante. The first lesson at La Jolla Country Club, he broke off the limb of a eucalyptus tree and handed it to me. “I want you to make this branch sing,” he said…
It taught me the sensation of swinging through the ball, not at it.
How long have I been blogging about how the swing ends at impact (the part that will have any effect on the ball), but that you swing from the top through to the finish in one motion?
Probably a few years now, and it looks as though Ms. Wright was doing that 70 years ago!
What really intrigued me however was the part about her experience with legendary golf instructor Harvey Penick, about whom I blogged earlier in the year:
Harvey was never my teacher, but since I was there hitting balls, he offered some help. He handed me a home-made teaching device, a heavy metal ball welded to the end of a chain. It was like a convict’s ball and chain, except it had a grip on it. He said it would improve my rhythm. “Just make your normal swing,” he said.
I guess I swung it like I did that eucalyptus branch, because the ball broke off the chain and flew down the range. If it had hit somebody, it surely would have killed them. I looked over at Harvey, and his mouth was wide open. “I don’t think this will work for you,” he said.
Now, the “One Exercise” from the upcoming “EMCS2 – The Follow Up” video that will supplement the swing model principles in the “E = MCS” swing video doesn’t use a ball & chain, but it has the same concept, and one that won’t risk you killing anyone if the chain happens to snap.
In fact, I think the Kettle Bell “One Exercise” is better than the ball & chain device that Mr. Penick devised because it is one part, but I would bet you that the principles are exactly the same, were I to pick up the ball & chain and devise and exercise with it.
The great thing about the “One Exercise,” as those of you in the test group have discovered, is that it is a cure-all for virtually any swing problem once you’ve begun the back swing pivot:
- Initiating the back swing,
- Syncing the hips & legs to be the primary drivers of the back swing pivot,
- Using proper leverage to begin the down swing,
- Keeping the hips & legs as primary drivers in the down swing,
- Preventing the “getting stuck” half-way down issue,
- Forcing the proper transfer from the trailing to the leading foot through impact
- Extending through the bottom, not “jamming” the elbow into the hip & turning
- Using the C7 as the true and proper “swing point,”
- Keeping from turning early and coming “over the top”
If you can point me out a problem that I haven’t mentioned above, I would likely still be able to use the Kettle Bell “One Exercise” to straighten it out.
So, I really recommend reading the Mickey Wright interview, because I have only scratched the surface of the good, sound advice she gives on swinging and playing the game.
Really, really good stuff.
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