Golf Swing Theory – The Search For Truth Is Not A Straight Road

I’ve been troubled by something this entire year while trying to swing along the lines of the MCS Golf Swing model I finalized two years ago.

I also released the MCS Golf Swing eBook 1st Edition last year with the intention of quickly editing and releasing a Final Edition, and I’m very happy that I haven’t yet done so, as I was waiting until I’d finished looking into certain things.

Right now, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been quiet compared to the past with regards to posting on the blog.

That’s because I’ve been struggling with an issue of the swing and, after having performed some visualization experiments with regards to motion, I shared my angst with The Welshman, who confirmed that I’m likely correct in my doubts.

You see, I haven’t been going over and over the golf swing theory trying to find something wrong or incorrect or inaccurate or to change, it’s just the nature of my mind to constantly mull and pick over things, especially if for some reason yet unbeknownst to me, my subconscious is chewing on something that it won’t let go.

For me on this issue, it’s the contradiction of having based the impact position on one swinger alone (Mike Dunaway), with a couple of other examples (Tony Finau & Sam Snead for example) instead of looking at a large data sample to determine the likely mean.

Before I continue, here is a picture of Ryan Winther, the 21012 Remax World Long Drive Champion at impact..

So, I like to bounce things off Welshie because he is a very thoughtful and deliberate person (and having a PhD, he knows where I’m coming from when it comes to theory, research and proof, etc.), and when I told him my thoughts on the thing I was struggling with, he provided me the confirmation.

If anyone is acquainted with “explosive transverse plane” and motion, I’ll just quote something here from the website dealing with such:

Fitness pros have terms for each of these dimensions, or planes of action: the sagittal plane, which covers all those front-to-back gym moves; the frontal plane, which describes side-to-side movements like jumping jacks and side shuffles; and the transverse plane, which includes rotational motions that involve twisting or turning, like swinging a bat or throwing a ball.

Now, you would obviously include the golf swing in a motion that has “rotational motions that involve twisting or turning,” and right here is the whole argument of Classic vs Modern Golf Swing theory distilled to one question – when swinging a golf club, do you want to be twisting or turning?

We all know that Classic Golf Swing motion involves turning with the hips and torso together, and Modern involves twisting more than turning, but that’s not even the thrust of my issue here, just an aside having read that paragraph today.

Back to the Welshman, who was interested in my hair-pulling, and said the following with regards to boxing and punching:

All explosive transverse plane movements require this (the issue I’m currently ironing out in the swing theory) in order to preserve energy transfer.

“Explosive Tranverse Plane,” I responded, kicking myself for not having a kinesiology or biomechanics PhD (not Welshman’s field but certainly one that would have benefited me) – “I think I can guess what that is, but I’d have to look it up.”

“Throwing bags of wheat,” he continued, “If you ever see guys throwing 50 lb coal sacks they always (do what I’m looking into) at the time of max propulsion.”

And sure enough, just briefly looking into ETP and I had my answer.

When you look at a baseball swing as well, you’ll see the same action into impact with that particular ETP action.

So, as I continue to solidify this part of the MCS Golf Swing theory, I’ll ask you to consider – when trying to determine whether something is optimal, and taking into account the vast number of people who might take up an endeavor such as golf or baseball or long driving, when it comes to optimal motion, shouldn’t one be looking at the mean rather than one or two or even three examples, as they could be the exceptions proving the rule?

For me, the journey of the research into the optimal golf swing hasn’t bee a straight road, and I’ve had to more than once change my direction, but thankfully for me on this issue, it will be more of a clarification on the part in Pg 92 of the MCS Golf Swing eBook wherein I state that:

Just as you begin your swing from Address with both feet flat on the ground, the optimal mechanical action for the downswing will have you arriving back at impact with the trailing heel flat or as low as possible…

That statement above is not necessarily wrong or inaccurate, but simply requiring clarification, in my view.

I’ll let everyone think about this, and I’m continuing to look into what I’m already confident I’ll have as my conclusion, because the overwhelming evidence is already readily visible.

More to come!

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

8 thoughts on “Golf Swing Theory – The Search For Truth Is Not A Straight Road

  1. Mr. McJohn

    I mean to be honest a low trail heel is pretty much in line with all proper rotational aspects of sports.

    When I throw a punch, move forward into a stance or even a basic ridgehand in karate-do, the lower body creates a force moving forward as I slide-pivot through my feet into the motion, but the foot mustn’t move one inch off the ground in an optimal motion, simply for the fact that the body must stay level and low in order to create max force going forward, rather than up and glancing.

    It’s relatable in the golf swing as basically allowing the clubhead time and space to generate speed over time, and that extra space and time is guaranteed by economy of motion through the downswing. Rotation in the swing is actually an illusion, as the hips do not turn, but tilt through the backswing and downswing, all while the shoulders follow suit.

    I mean, common sense would dictate that the hips don’t turn (not solely turning at least) simply because that must throw the upper body offline towards the trail side, and even with a right bias, can be detrimental to overall swing centeredness.

    The appearance of turn is that of the knee flex in either leg, but that “turning”, if you must call it that, must be done at an angle, therefore creating space for the swing to move. If the hips don’t turn at the proper angle, the trail knee remains too flexed on the way back, and will either cause premature raising of the trail heel or maybe just plane issues, such as getting to steep.

    The reason the hips turn on that angle is the inclination towards the ball with the spine.

    Man I don’t know, I’m no kinesiologist, but that’s what I know in terms of “rotation” and the trail heel staying low. God knows, but I’m just going based on my own swing, and how I do it.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Good points, MMJ – there is no absolute amount of heel lift nor absolute flatness, only a grey area between extremely high and completely flat.

      Not only that, because the length of a swing comparing wedge to driver, there are different leverages required, which will affect how the hips & legs are working. You wouldn’t have the same range of action comparing a long driver’s swing to a wedge swing, we can all agree.

      So, the quotation in in the eBook is not incorrect, it just needs clarification and amplification, which is of course the reason for updating it for the Final Edition.

      Right now, I’m just getting the basics down so I can do that for everyone, and the times when I’m quietest are actually when I’m doing the most work! I don’t report on hunches, so today’s posting is a hint that I’m getting this issue settled and sorted out.

      Great comment!

      PS – Although I lament not being a kinesiologist or biomechanic, that could actually have saved my work from contamination. Most of the people in those fields, if not nearly all, are focused on the Modern Swing, which is a non-starter since motion must be mechanically-correct.

      Hence, my assertion that any degree or diploma issued to anyone who has worked on the Modern Golf Swing, or who has taken up promoting that “X-Factor” restricted-hip golf swing method after having graduated, is not worth the paper on which it’s printed – unless their thesis was that the Modern Golf Swing is mechanically-unsound.

      If one cannot understand or know right off the bat that the modern style of swinging is mechanically-unsound, then I don’t give any of their work any credence whatsoever, as a layman.

  2. Mr. McJohn

    I think knowing about philosophy a bit myself, what you describe in the post-script of your comment, is called “unbiased assessment”. In other words, not being inclined towards one ideal or another based on emotion or personal restrictions. Once you are unbiased, you can view the problem from all angles, and determine all possible solutions. From there, the most effective solution can be applied, and then the problem is solved quickly and without difficulty.

    I think in terms of you being a swing analyst, you did exactly this when it came to swing models. Looking at it, it’s optimal swinging, not a method or a philosophy, rather a manner of swinging based on an unbiased view on swing mechanics.

    I really need to get the final version of the ebook when it arrives, and I’ll probably do a testimonial once I master and ingrain the techniques. I can’t really afford long videos, and my computer can’t handle them anyhow lol. So for sure the ebook will be a solid read.

    1. D Watts Post author

      You might be surprised to know that I began my research back in 2005 swinging Modern Style, MMJ.

      It was the only method I’d been taught by two different instructors, one of whom told me that his model was based on Moe Norman & Ben Hogan. So, as early as 1998, I was being told that Hogan swung Modern style.

      I actually worked on two different models, one a lifting heel model that I just called “Classic” because it was the old style, and a modern model, until ’08 when I determined that any sort of modern style was not mechanically-correct and so not worth bothering with.

      It’s an interesting point you make in that regard:

      Looking at it, it’s optimal swinging, not a method or a philosophy, rather a manner of swinging based on an unbiased view on swing mechanics…

      And that’s exactly it – coming from an athletic background, I know that sports are ever in search of optimal technique and, having determined what that is, no one is interested in any other way of moving, for reasons of health and performance.

      So, I don’t see how anyone can say, “OK, the Classic Golf Swing is mechanically-sound, I grant you that, but I prefer to swing in the way that is going to wreck my knees and back…”

      And yet, here we are, elbow-deep in the madness.

  3. Welshie

    The principal human movements which require rapid acceleration (rather than shifting large mass) move along the transverse plan.

    In fact, absent of straight line sprinting, most human survival actions require rapid transverse plane movement; think punching, kicking and launching of hunter/gather tools such as spears and rocks.

    Transverse plan movements lend themselves to force multipliers such as bats, slings—and golf clubs.

    The power in the transverse plan comes from the hips. Therefore, any movement which allows full movement of the hip will allow maximal use of the power. Anything which prevents use of the hip through the full transverse rotation reduces the potential available energy.

    If you look at the warm up of discus throwers (sometimes called the discus disco) you’ll see the athlete rotating right to left and back again, each time lifting the heel—because this allows the throwing engine, the hips, full movement.

    Even the javelin, which commences with a sagittal (forward) movement transfers to a crabbed run in order of the transverse discharge of the javelin.

    Imagine the diminished distance of discus throwing if feet had to be planted.

    So why do modern golfers dampen the hip engine?

    No idea.

    I can only think of 3 reasons.

    1. Reduced power leads to less variability.
    2. They have access to a scientific understanding that’s protected as a Government secret
    3. The metaphor of the spring swing is so powerful that facts don’t matter.

    Personally, I think it’s number 3.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Great explanation, Welshie – this is the key, the “rapid acceleration” that requires not only the transfer of pressure to the leading foot but also a turning of the hips. The more acceleration and power required (say, for the Driver as opposed to a 9 iron), the more likely the trailing heel is going to rise prior to impact.

      You’ve made a very good point as well, on the very thing that made the lifting leading heel necessary on the back pivot – if you’re going to interfere with the hip turn on the down swing by deliberately trying to the keep the heel flat into impact, you’re doing the very thing on the flip side to the back pivot.

      As to your musing about why people are still swinging in the Modern Golf Swing style:

      I can only think of 3 reasons….

      You’re forgetting the 4th – it’s impossible to ever master the mechanically-unsound Modern golf swing, so a lifetime of expensive lessons is certainly not a bad thing to the industry. Just saying…

      5th, which ties into the 3rd – Once many people have been taught to do something a certain way, they are very resistant to trying something different, even if that different way makes sense and is the proper way to do it.

      Never discount human nature in trying to figure out why humans do what they do!

  4. Welshie

    I think it is everything to do with human nature.

    Coaches of the modern swing are, in fact, ‘clinchers.’

    What’s a clinch?

    Note: Pic inserted into comment by DJ @ Welshie’s request

    The most effective defensive in a fight is to run.

    The second most effective defensive is the clinch.

    If you look at boxers who are being pummelled, they clinch.

    They overlook their opponents arms and press the clinch down to the waist. This prevents transverse plan movement thus nullifying the fastest most potent attacks.

    Coaches of the modern golf swing are professional clinchers!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Coaches of the modern golf swing are professional clinchers!

      You’re giving Chief Cowpie a run for the title of Resident Humorist, Weslhie!

Comments are closed.