Claude Harmon III & “Using The Ground…” Oh Boy

We’ve all been amused and confused by the continuing litany of this new concept in Modern Golf Swing instruction called “using the ground,” and this is installment X of “What On Earth Does That Mean?!?!?”

This latest offering is an article on Golf.com telling us to swing like Justin Thomas to create more leverage and speed – by “pushing” off the ground during the down swing.

Not only is this just more techno-babble, I can show you something that should make you laugh when you simply watch what’s going on.

First, the Golf.com article in which Claude Harmon III says:

One reason he’s able to generate so much power is that he creates tremendous leverage by pushing up off the ground through impact. Thomas posts up so hard on his lead leg at impact that his feet practically leave the ground. This promotes maximum extension and clubhead speed.

This is, to put it kindly, nonsense.  I’ve talked about how JT gets the distances in his drives, and that’s by getting the optimal launch numbers:


Before I continue – that drive above was in Mexico City at high altitude so you won’t get 355 yard carries at sea level, more like 320, but as I’ve said, any time you get 120 mph club speed with 179 mph ball speed with an attack angle or AoA of +5.3 – you are going to get really nice long carries and run out in your drives.

As with Rory McIlroy

That’s it…

It doesn’t matter that JT weighs 145 lbs or that he’s “pound for pound the longest driver” on Tour.

Going by that logic, it would appear that John Daly at his heaviest, and when he was driving the ball longer than anyone on Tour, was “pound for pound one of the shortest drivers of the ball… now, while it would be true – how much sense does that make?

You’re right, it makes no sense at all.

You don’t award points for how little or how much one weighs, all that matters is how far you send it, and that all depends on your launch numbers.

JT has nowhere near the fastest impact club or ball launch speed, which is what we’re talking about when it comes to leverage and power – what he has are amazing launch numbers, and anyone with the same numbers will drive the ball the same distance, whatever their size, strength or weight.

It has nothing to do with jumping out of one’s shoes at impact and that brings me to another little item that CHIII says about generating power:

Many weekend golfers slide their lower body toward the target in an attempt to gain more power. Unfortunately, this forces the upper body to hang back and the knees to collapse, which prevents you from creating any leverage with the ground—you can’t push up off the ground if your weight is sliding forward.

Oh really?!?! 

“Hang back,” as in the lower body being ahead of the upper body at impact?

You Mean Like This?


Or This?!? That’s Jamie Sadlowski On The Right, BTW…


Again, nothing but nonsense.

In fact, take a look at another random video from Claude Harmon III where he does exactly what he’s saying will cost you power, but this time he’s saying that you must move the lower body toward the target in order to generate power:


There you have it.  In one article, he says that the lower body moving towards the target is a power-robbing move, and then he tells you in another video that the same thing will produce speed and power:


Someone tell me please in which direction Mr. Harmon’s lower body is moving during this swing drill, and if that doesn’t directly contradict his quote about amateurs and the lower body?

You’ll also notice without my pointing it out that Mr. Harmon nearly falls on his face swinging to have his head over the leading foot through the swing bottom rather than “hanging back…”

I’m sorry to pick on him, but what kind of finish is that?


Sean Foley Esq.


Kind of reminds me of someone else…. but at least Foley knows where the head should be at impact – over the trailing side and not the leading… and I never thought I’d see a swing action that would make Sean Foley’s look positively dreamy in comparison.

I hate to say it, but CH3 above knows very little about athletic motion.

Incredibly however, Mr. Harmon is a “swing coach” to PGA Tour players – and you wonder why they’re all breaking their backs…

Just another episode of “gotta say something in professional golf land.


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

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3 thoughts on “Claude Harmon III & “Using The Ground…” Oh Boy

  1. peterallenby2013

    Wow…just…wow…This poseur is where he is in the instruction world because his grandfather was a pioneering swing coach and player…no other reason… And to stay “relevant”, the golf magazines dish up a steaming pile of of, UTTERANCES based on the supposition that if the ball goes far, the stroke that sent it must be good!!

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why someone does not see the ratings gold that is a full debunking of this drivel!

    Have to get out my WAX downloads and erase these dangerous visions….!!

    1. D Watts Post author

      … is where he is in the instruction world because his grandfather was a pioneering swing coach and player…no other reason…

      I actually was thinking of you when I wrote this post Peter!

      And unfortunately for all concerned, but especially his students, although it is a hard thing to say about someone – you’re absolutely correct in your summation of Mr. Harmon’s place in the golf world.

      No other sport….

  2. Chief Cowpie

    A lot more helicopter going on with CH I I I than Foley. If you play and practice 12 hours a day, helicopter swings can be functional but for the casual amateur, they will spray the ball around not finding the necessary exactitude.

    Then of course there are MCS considerations which can be discarded if the teaching pro has malpractice insurance.

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