Consider The Preposterous Notion of “Using The Ground” Memes

This is a two-dimensional thought experiment for people who want to insist that a golfer’s front foot or both feet leaving the ground somehow constitutes this notion of “using the ground” when swinging a golf club.

The reason I say two-dimensional is because we all know that the club is swung in an arc around and behind the body, and then back in front and around behind the body again to the finish.

Therefore, this image or concept:

…. is not going to add anything to the experiment that will show you how useless and wrong the notion of “using the ground” by having the front or both feet fly off the ground through impact is.

Looking at a two-dimensional concept of the golf swing as a pendulum, we will see something like this:

Now, to make this as simple as possible, let’s just imagine that the above pendulum is the leading arm and golf club, or even simpler, just the golf club with the green dot being the hands.

If you wish, you can imagine that the lever is the whole arm and club together without the hand action, which doesn’t matter for these purposes, either image would be fine!

So the green dot is either the hands or the leading shoulder, correct?

And we know from science that the “club head” at the end of the pendulum will move in two directions that alternate – up & down, and back & forth, as indicated by the pink or magenta arrows in the gif. above.

We’ve taken out the 3rd dimension of away from & towards the impact point, so let’s consider the two alternate actions, “up & down” and “back & forth.”

So, the thing and the only thing that is going to move that red ball is the energy given to it by the “club head” striking it in a forward motion, and to a degree, the angle of launch as it leaves its spot.

The angle of launch will be either level or upward, and will be determined by the angle which the club head strikes the ball, correct?

And the speed with which the ball moves from its spot will be determined by the speed of the club head at impact, correct?

So, anyone who claims that jumping into the air or having leading foot leave the ground increases speed or power is asserting that the upward force of the ground adds “power” or “speed” to the ball, correct?

That is impossible, because the claimed “force” or added “power” that is supposed to come from the ground would only belong in the “up & down” category.

Not to mention, the ground itself is static, unless you’re swinging the club during an earthquake, so all it does is sit there beneath your feet – the ground cannot exert any active force to your body or swing because it isn’t moving… and I can’t believe I actually have to say that.

Now, as to adding vertical motion by jumping – even if you were to take the green dot of the hands or the leading shoulder and move it upward at the moment of impact, you would not be adding any forward speed or energy to that club head, because “up and down” are vertical vectors and not horizontal.

And because the pendulum action of the arms and club will cause the club head to come back up anyways, after reaching the swing bottom, without any help from the feet:

… you don’t even need the upward action of jumping into the air to give the ball its positive launch angle, as you can see me doing below without ever jumping or lifting my feet:

Positive Or Upward Launch Angle

So let’s recap with the following statement:

No Upward or Downward movement to the swinging pendulum can or will add Forward force, energy or speed to the impact, as they are two different vectors we’re dealing with.

You can only add Forward force, energy, speed by increasing the forward velocity of the club head into the ball, and that has nothing do do with up & down, obviously.

And just in case someone wants to argue that the lifting of the leading foot increases speed by levering the leading shoulder upward faster, let me show you something:

That’s me lifting a 20 lbs Kettle Bell to illustrate the nature of the upward leading shoulder action providing leverage to the down swing, and that’s provided by the hips and legs, not the toes.

I don’t know anyone on this earth who would try to  increase the speed of the shoulder lift by raising their leading heel off the ground – do you?

So, you can’t have it both ways – you would create more upward force pushing off the ground with the feet in full contact with it, not up on your toes.

Um… how should I put this?  I know – you can’t use the ground for leverage when you’re in the air.

Do you see weightlifters standing on their toes to add momentum or speed to their clean & jerk or dead-lift?

Of course you don’t.

Nor would you see javelin throwers go up onto their leading toes on the release to add forward “ground force” to their throw:

So, nothing about the Modern Golf Swing concept of “using the ground” makes any sense, nor should it.

It’s the effort of analysts and “experts” to explain why something is happening in the swing action of certain golfers or long-drivers when they have no idea why it’s happening.

Yes, I’m saying it – they have no clue, and they’re coming up with nonsense to try to either understand it for themselves or to B.S. the viewer into thinking that they know, or that a swing flaw is actually something that talented or great swingers do on purpose.

If the “Flying Foot” added speed & power to the golf swing, Jordan Spieth wouldn’t be 81st in driving distance, now would he?

The “Flying Foot,” once again, is caused by one or both of two things – it’s a compensation reaction of a swinger who doesn’t have the optimal mechanical action through impact and:

A) Either has to snap that leading leg to keep the hips turning (because that’s what turns the shoulders and provides part of the swing speed) or

B) Because they’re not releasing the trailing foot and would break something in their lower extremities or lower back if they swung to the finish with both feet on the ground.


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



20 thoughts on “Consider The Preposterous Notion of “Using The Ground” Memes

  1. FAS

    I find that doing the left foot stomp (as per Nicklaus) then posting on that left leg (not a rigid standup, maintain some flex) gives the feeling of hitting up on the ball and ensures you swing “under the body” with the left shoulder above the right, ie don’t come in too level shouldered, which is a sure sign of OTT. I think the post is pretty much all you have to do to “use the ground”. Would that be correct?

    1. D Watts Post author

      I would have highlighted part of your comment so that I could agree…but the entire commemt is on point, FAS.

      I used to, for years during my Mike Austin study, call the re-planting of the leading foot the “left foot stomp.”

      The entire visual explains how you must return the weight pressure there on the down swing. Agree as well with the flex, as I described it as a “shock-absorber.”

      Another point of yours on this being the proper way to “post.” You can’t be posting if your foot is in the air!

      Great points all. 🙂

  2. Chief Cowpie

    My latest prototype shoe combination for the “using the ground” swing would be a tap dancing Fred Astaire type dance shoe on the lead foot and a golf shoe with a heel that pumps to the desired height on the follow through foot.

    The slippery surface dance could have saved many golfing knee injuries as they would easily slide on the spin-out move stuff impact. The golfer could sell the opposite shoes to a golfer who swings from the other side so the shoes don’t go to waste or maybe pro shops with the increasing popularity of the could just sell as a set the dancing and golf shoe combination.

    1. D Watts Post author

      The slippery surface dance could have saved many golfing knee injuries as they would easily slide on the spin-out move stuff impact.

      You know Chief, the first time I saw TW out on the course wearing those spikeless “nurses’ shoes,” the term I won’t claim since I read them being called that elsewhere – I wondered if his going to the lesser-traction bottoms was a move along the lines of what you’re saying.

      It’s a sad day when the jokes we make about Modern Golf, as Mark is also doing below, are more on point than tongue-in-cheek.

    2. Mark

      Cowpie, I have been playing golf for 49 years. Played Hogan Apex the whole time. I remember when we went from steel spikes to soft spikes. I hated them because I had such an aggressive transition into the down swing to generate leverage that the right foot would slip. It pissed me off to no end. Which shoe did Hogan add an extra spike?

      So now we have FJ shoes that have moved the “spikes” to the outside edge of the sole to promote stabilty Sketchers with the slippery sole to promote slippery rotatation of the feet. As far as protecting your left knee and ankle, I recommend Sketchers for those swinging with “Modern” golf swing.

  3. Mark

    But Foot Joy has developed the most powerful golf shoe ever, with power straps and launch pads. What am I missing? Should I stop polishing my Foot Joy Classics with full leather welt, modified to take soft spikes?

    1. D Watts Post author

      I have one word, Mark, that will make your using the ground “take off…”



      1. Mark

        Inspired by our vast network of Tour players, the all new Tour-S is FJ’s most powerful shoe ever, featuring PowerStrap™ and LaunchPod™ technologies for Tour-validated Power, Precision and Comfort.

        However, I can’t get these in alligator wing tips with shoe lace tassels.

  4. Mark

    DJ, whenever I watch PGA golf on TV I am always looking for the left heel release when they show tee shots. Today Jason Day was smoking it off the tee, and others as well. I observed an ever so slightly left release by Day and Bryson. 350 yards + drives today.
    Rory has hit some of his longest drives doing this as well. Luke List does as well. It is almost as if that they they know this is the proper way to swing but try to do it “under the radar” lest others catch onto their “secret” that gives them an advantage.

    1. D Watts Post author

      It is almost as if that they they know this is the proper way to swing but try to do it “under the radar” lest others catch onto their “secret” that gives them an advantage.

      Mark, you might be onto something there.

      Jason and Bryson getting a little release you say? I’ll have to watch for that tomorrow, I didn’t catch the afternoon round today. Thanks for the heads-up!

  5. Chief Cowpie

    Mark, you are just the person we are looking for at the Dancing on the Stairs Golf Shoe Company. With a remote kept in pocket or app on the phone, you can adjust the length of the spikes and height of the shoe.

  6. Mike Divot

    I don’t know how long it’s been going on but this is another example of the clueless analysts “jumping on” (ha!) another pseudo science instructional fad.

    Back in the day it was “swing plane” which thankfully is finally seeing its demise. It always seemed a little odd and hard to jibe with reality, and we ended up with shoulder planes, elbow planes, shaft planes, more planes than the air force, but with 3D measuring we can finally see there is no such thing as a plane in the swing.

    Then occasionally chiming in we see “CF/CP release”. Another golf analyst favorite, using physics terms when they have not the slightest idea what they really mean. But it sounds cool.

    Now it’s “ground forces”. I don’t doubt that these ground forces exist, it’s just the cargo cult way the analysts use them that makes it such a joke. They are backwards.

    These guys would recommend falling over on your rear end if they saw a top pro fluke a good shot from doing it.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Now it’s “ground forces”. I don’t doubt that these ground forces exist…

      They used to exist for sure, Mike Divot – though the last major “ground forces” I can recall took Saigon in 1975… or perhaps Baghdad in ’03…

  7. Terry

    IMO Jordan/JT et al were influenced and/or trying to emulate Sadlowskis’ power move in some respects, as the overall look is quite similar. Unfortunately due to the center bias stance, no heel release and incomplete pivot, results will vary.

    1. D Watts Post author

      The thing is, Terry – Sadlowski has the same move, but it’s a body-saving move, not the thing that gave him his power. In my opinion, he could have had even more success with a proper shift to the leading foot coming down and through.

      Swinging in this manner (releasing the leading foot rather than the trailing) takes a lot of timing, doesn’t add any power to a swing than doing it the proper way, and could be the reason he never won again after his back-to-back wins ten years ago.

      Timing suffers under pressure, and I remember a World Championship a couple to three years back when he flamed out of the semi-final not getting even one ball into the grid in the time he had to hit the balls. It was incredible.

      So, everyone is looking at a compensation and praising it, rather than pointing out the flaw (not transferring to the leading foot on the down swing, or not staying on it at impact, because of the anchored trailing foot) that makes it necessary.

  8. targettom

    In last Sunday’s round our good friend Peter Kostis chimed in with an analysis of Justin Thomas’ swing and said that pushing up to the tiptoes on the lead foot on the DSW is where these young guys get all their power. The guys I was watching the coverage with nodded their heads. So it must be true

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