Proper Position = Shorter Back Swing & More Leverage Power

A little post for the swing geeks who can’t get enough of the little things to do with swinging and mechanics.

If I have noticed one thing with the work I’ve been doing on my MCS Golf Swing model with relation to the Address Stance (which also is related to Grip & Ball Position), it’s that the proper setup can eliminate a long back swing (shaft past parallel at the top) yet give one more leverage and power.

Seems counter-intuitive, but there you have it.

I also think the reason many swing models don’t work for others the way they’re intended to, because (and I was guilty of this too, until last year), there is a tendency to assume everyone will be able to swing exactly the same way from the exact same model metrics.

What I love about the one change I’ve made to the MCS swing model in the three years since the “MCS – Ultimate Leverage” video (which is what I consider to be the first video of the current MCS model), is that I took the last thing out of it that might give people issues if they weren’t built standard, which I am not.

Building The Stance – MCS Ultimate Leverage Style – 2015

If you go back to your own copy of the “Ultimate Leverage” video if you have it (no problem if you don’t), you would see that the only change I’ve made in the model metrics was to change the Driver ball position from a strict on-the-leading-heel-line requirement to… having it where your body dictates it should be.

It may seem like a nothing kind of change, as in, “Big deal,” but it’s significant in the evolution of the MCS swing model.

Granted, one can still angle one’s stance for the setup, but the work I did last winter and spring showed me that it’s possible to stand with a stance line parallel to the target line provided one sets up properly to the ball, MCS-style.

The same reason I had to angle my stance was the culprit of the early trailing heel lift, and while you can strike a ball very well and very powerfully with a trailing heel that has separated prior to impact:

… this is mechanically-sound, mechanically-correct if you will, because I’m swinging the way the body is designed to move.

In fact, in that above picture, I had hurt my back turning awkwardly while sitting watching TV just three days prior to that swing, and yet I was pounding 300+ yard drives with no problem, even though I could barely bend over to tee up the ball!

If that doesn’t prove there is a proper way to swing, then there will never be any proof, am I right?

Yet as I’ve said, there is mechanically-correct and then there is optimal action, which I’ve always been after.

There was a time when I would have pronounced this swing below as “the best I can do, and no better…”

But as you can see, that heel does come up prior to impact:

… and as another critique for good measure because I began my post on it – the shaft goes past parallel at the top, signifying a longer back swing than I would have with a perfectly optimal setup

Again, perfectly fine for a mechanically-correct swing, very sound… but not optimal.

Optimal is the last stop on train, and I’m not getting off ’til I get there!

It is my theory that the optimal swing mechanics have one flat-footed at impact, just as at address.

The lifting heel comes with the leading heel on the back swing due to the turning hips, and with the trailing heel post-impact with the same hip turn but in the other direction.

I won’t fail a swing on marks because of a trailing heel separation pre-impact, but since it’s not the optimal position for impact, you will have a higher degree of margin for error when you mis-hit a shot.

In addition, you’ll actually have a higher chance of mis-hitting a shot to begin with the further you go from optimal.

So, it was my search for the flat-heel impact that led to my realization that one must swing from a starting setup (Address Stance or Position) in order to produce that position at impact, and the early heel lift is merely a sign that the setup or motion (or both) have something slightly departing from optimal.

The position (with either the body or your ball placement in the stance) will influence the action, and my heel lift came to hand-eye coordination telling the body to increase the hip turn and to do it early, in order to deliver a square club face to the ball where it was on the tee (or the ground, with an iron).

If you don’t, you’ll get what I got last season when mis-hitting shots – if I got too aggressive into the leading hip, the face wasn’t squared at impact and the ball went right, or I had to stall the hips and turn the hands over, and there’s your hook or pull.

None of it had to do with improper mechanics, but rather the ball being in the wrong position for me to swing freely and fully – either the heel had to come up, turning my body into impact, or bad things happened.

This would be fine except that the turning is not optimal and requires more timing than if you don’t have to.

You’ll find this effect is magnified the longer the club, because with a wedge, you don’t have as aggressive a move into the leading hip – so you can hit a wedge with a flat heel at impact and still have it coming up with longer irons and the metal woods.

The ball position and grip will influence the swing, as I showed in “E = MCS” video and the “MCS Golf Swing” eBook, so this isn’t some kind of secret – it’s that it all has to do with the position from which you swing.

It is easy enough to do when not hitting a ball, as I’ve demonstrated with my SwingRite action:

… but without the proper ball position, you now have to react to the ball instead of just focusing on that aggressive “Pressure Plate” transfer and your “3 To 9” action, which I might add is perfectly unconscious (the “3 To 9” that is) when you get it all working properly!

My advice is to focus on this with laser-intensity if you’re struggling with any aspect of the swing – the Kettle Bell “One Exercise” is excellent for training the pivot and down swing actions, to be sure – but if you’re swinging from an improper setup, it just won’t work the same.

So, the one thing that I figured out last year, I didn’t take into account for my own swing, which is why I still had the early heel lift at impact with the Driver and longer irons.

And if you have the SwingRite training club, you can prove it to yourself that a better address setup will give you more power and leverage with a shorter back swing.

I believe the longer back swing is a direct result of un-optimal setup, where you feel the need to make it as long as possible to build up momentum on the way down – but with the proper position, you actually explode downwards with the freed-up hips and legs getting solidly into that leading hip as you change directions.

So, the violence in the change of direction is in the hips and legs and not in the torso, and that makes all the difference in the world, because your hips and legs are built for power, while the lower back and torso are not, when it comes to a rotating or turning motion.

I’ve always said to pivot with the hips and legs, and not the torso/lower back – the same goes for aggressive change of direction at the top – with a proper setup and mechanical action, you can go after it as hard as you please, and that’s what I’m working on currently!

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

4 thoughts on “Proper Position = Shorter Back Swing & More Leverage Power

  1. Uncle JJ

    DJ -A few things, unrelated to this post, I wanted to throw out there. First, at set-up, I find it most comfortable to have my weight in the arches and heels. It seems to feel better as I shift weight to the right heel on the backswing. Any comment?

    Also, ball position is important, fur sure, but do you have thoughts on how high to tee the ball for the driver? The big hitters claim that the optimal place to hit the ball is just above the sweet spot (and even a bit towards the toe). Therefore, they suggest teeing the ball high. What say you?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hey Uncle JJ

      First, at set-up, I find it most comfortable to have my weight in the arches and heels. It seems to feel better as I shift weight to the right heel on the backswing.

      I just tried what you’re describing, and it seems you can’t get that feel without the weight being where it should be using the “Pressure Plate” concept. I say “inside edge,” you say “arches,” but they’re just different words to describe the same thing, from what I can see. So, I would go with it.

      As for teeing the ball higher, Vijay Singh did this, among others I’m sure.

      It does two things to help you driver it further – first of all, you get contact above the sweet spot, and the top of the face of the club with modern drivers has shown in testing to give you more trampoline effect, but is still legal, because trampoline is measured from the sweet spot.

      Second, it helps launch the ball higher without adding spin. So, if you are careful not to tee it so high that you pop it up, then you should be in good shape!

  2. cpogoose

    All these years I’ve been TRYING to get my heel lifted prior to impact. In hindsight I can see how it probably caused a lot of inconsistency…

    1. D Watts Post author

      This is something I used to do as well, cpogoose! There’s nothing mechanically-unsound about it, you’ll see most if not all of the greatest swingers had a heel lift prior to impact.

      Not unsound, but the optimal impact would have the heel flat or very low at impact. This is a technical thing that will interest only those who are seeking the optimal swing model for maximum consistency, but it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for a good swing.

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