Modern Golf Strikes Again (Don’t Flare The Leading Foot) – Perhaps The Dumbest Thing I’ve Read On The Swing

I received the article from 2 people already (thanks C.R. & David D.), because once again, WAX Golf readers know more about a proper golf swing than the so-called “swing gurus” who publish things or talk about the golf swing on TV/Radio.

I can’t be polite about this, because if knowing proper golf swing mechanics required a university or college degree, these people would fail freshman year, and they’re teaching people.

I was going to make this short and sweet but I’ll take you through this and you can perform the experiment halfway down the posting to show how silly this whole thing is, after I’ve quoted the relevant parts of this article saying:

Why flaring your left foot out at address could be a big mistake**

** DJ: I have to add here that: Taking any of this article’s advice would be a big mistake… but let’s move on…

From the article on flaring the leading foot:

I’m of the opinion that it is not only wrong. Because of its toxic nature, it is DEAD WRONG.  The reason has to do with the tailbone, which determines the motion of the hips in the swing…

The piece goes on to add:


The problem with the 15-degree foot flare is that it promotes, if not guarantees, the following swing issues:

In the backswing, the flared left foot:

  1. Discourages a full left- hip turn;
  2. Encourages the improper motion of the left-knee outward rather than back
  3. Reduces the degree that the torso can turn because of the restrictions placed on the left hip.

In the downswing, the flared left foot: 

  1. Promotes a “spinning out” of the left hip.
  2. Does not allow for a solid post at impact.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way – no one that the author teaches likely has a floating heel on the leading foot, as Modern Golf Principles dictate to keep the leading heel nailed down on the back swing pivot.

So, not only is the author mixing apples and oranges, he comes up with the completely laughable concept that the flared foot espoused by Ben Hogan is “Toxic” and “Dead Wrong.”

Before I continue, have a look at Ben Hogan’s pivot from this angle, and take note of what his leading foot is doing on the back swing pivot:

Now, that looks like a pretty good hip turn to me, and a very stable leading foot or “post” through impact – but that’s because Hogan’s leading foot had free movement – you can clearly see the heel separating, thereby allowing the hips and knee to move the way they should.

I would dare to venture that it is this article’s analysis and advice that are toxic and dead wrong – it’s rather sad that it attempts to get technical in talking about something that “has to do with the tailbone,” when it completely misses the fundamental flaws in modern golf swing principles.

They are that:

  • Keeping the leading heel nailed down during the pivot is what “discourages a full hip turn,” not the flared foot and that
  • This same thing is what “reduces the degree that the torso can turn,” and
  • The lack of leverage at the top of the swing with restricted hip turn due to the leading foot being nailed down is really what “Promotes a ‘spinning out’ of the left hip” and “Does not allow for a solid post at impact.”

You see that?

Every problem cited above is a result of the planted-heel, not the fact that the foot is flared.

Let’s also add the obvious here – that restricting the hip turn and getting a full shoulder turn by wrenching the lower back around is not mechanically-sound, and is what is causing all of the lower back injuries in Modern Golf right now (Tiger Woods, anyone?) and that if you don’t know that, you have failed miserably as someone qualified to speak about biomechanics, tailbones included.

You can not get a full hip with a planted foot, but if you take out of the flare in the leading foot, you can get a little more hip turn in a pivot that will still be restricted due to the heel being nailed down.

The Experiment

  • Standing at address, flare your leading foot and try to perform the MCS pivot without lifting your leading heel.  Try to “Swing The Gate” or the left knee across your body keeping that heel flat.  You’ll likely feel an uncomfortable straining sensation in the inner groin and the leading knee.
  • Now, do the same thing with the feet squared.  A lot easier on the groin and knee, isn’t it? And you’re getting a little more hip turn, correct?
  • NOW, take your proper position with the flared front foot and perform your MCS pivot using the “Pressure Plate” concept with the pressure to the ball of the leading foot and the heel of the trailing foot.  Full hip turn? Check. No pressure on the leading inner groin or knee? Check. No problem  whatsoever with the hip turn or with the “Swinging Gate,” is there?

This ends the experiment.

So, as I’ve said for years, the squared feet at address are just one another compensation in the address or swing motion to get around the fact that you can’t fully turn the hips with the leading foot nailed to the ground.

I’ve been saying this for years, and the reason you get the leading foot flying around through impact is because extra effort has to be made to leverage the down swing due to the loss of leverage with the restricted hip turn (and/or because many swingers don’t transfer fully to the leading foot from the trailing foot).

And in this article, you get yet another contradiction, because Modern Golf is itself nothing but contradictions dressed up as swing mechanics – how exactly is the swinger not having “a solid post at impact” supposed to be a problem when Modern Golf is currently in love with the idea of jumping into the air, “Using the Ground,” as it were, to get more power, as seen below:

So, which one is it?  Are you supposed to be solidly on the leading foot or not?

The answer is, You Are, but having a flared foot never stopped me from having a full hip turn and solid leading foot through impact, did it?

Not only that, I showed with my last shot data series that after I solved my too-steep top position, I was able to swing and drive the ball 300+ yards carry and well over 300 yards total distance with an in-to-out club path at impact:

… thereby proving that I am in no way “spinning out” with the left hip even with a foot as flared as mine is, which is actually more than 15 degrees. But then again, I don’t try to “swing left” as they teach in the modern game now, which is likely more the cause of “spinning out” than anything else – other than perhaps the fact that restricting the hip turn can cause and early shoulder turn trying to generate lost leverage!

The swing shown above was recorded two weeks before that data was compiled, by the way, so of course, that’s the way I was swinging when I got the shot data.

This article gets a big Fail from yours truly, in case you were wondering. But hey, there are people out there who don’t have the benefit of getting advice from someone who has studied swing motion for 13 years and whose research basically confirms  that nearly everything Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan (and all of the other Classic Golf Swingers) were doing was correct.

I’d go with them, not the Modern Golf Swing snake-oil salesmen.

And if I seem harsh in talking about this article, it’s because people in the Modern Golf Swing industry are harming people needlessly, physically and with regards to their game and enjoyment of it, with this rubbish.

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


10 thoughts on “Modern Golf Strikes Again (Don’t Flare The Leading Foot) – Perhaps The Dumbest Thing I’ve Read On The Swing

  1. FAS

    ha ha when I saw that writeup on Digest I could have bet my last $ there will be a Wax email about it. He says something about how Nicklaus returned his flayed left foot to square on the downswing??? I doubt if Jack ever did that.

    1. D Watts Post author

      He says something about how Nicklaus returned his flayed left foot to square on the downswing??? I doubt if Jack ever did that.

      You doubt for a good reason, FAS – basically, because that claim is nonsense, and JN never did anything of the sort:

  2. targettom

    Yeah that Nicklaus comment had me scratching my head. Thanks for posting that pic of young Jack. Judging from the comments section most readers ain’t buying this b.s. These MG guys are sure stubborn though. Even injuries won’t budge them from teaching garbage.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Even injuries won’t budge them from teaching garbage.

      Only losing money will. Because that’s the only reason Modern Golf Swing principles exist – to wring ever more money out of the people taking lessons forever and not improving.

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