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I thought that since the lockdown in our area has shut down the local courses & driving ranges (don’t ask me how one can contract Covid-19 standing on a range ten or more paces from the nearest person in an outdoor setting, because neither I nor anyone else has a clue), I would go over the MCS model from the ground up with some refresher points & logic that either aren’t actually part of video or, if they are, bear repeating.
From The Ground Up – Stance
Mr. McJohn actually inquired about this exact thing upon which I cannot put enough emphasis, because of its importance – the stance is the very foundation of the swing & is more than just a fundamental part of the Fundamentals Trifecta.
Those are Stance, Grip & Ball Position, and all three play a fundamental part of building a proper & mechanically-correct swing model.
Now, it’s one thing to state that the stance is important and one might ask, why do the players I watch on Tour have such varying stances? And why should I not be concerned about this?
The answer to both questions would be, you’re trying to swing in a mechanically-correct manner, something very few pro out there are doing, as you can see proof of in the therapy trailers and weekly injury reports.
Because most pros are still swinging in the Modern Golf Swing style, (and differing models of swinging because the only thing that makes a Modern Golf Swing that is the restriction of the hips on the back swing pivot & the twisting of the lower back to compensate for it), which is not athletically proper nor mechanically sound (which we all now stipulate, correct?), they all have had to find various ways of compensating for the limitations of this method, much of which show up in the address position or stance.
They will squat, or lean left into the address, bend out over the ball, adopt a very wide or narrow stance etc., all in their own unique way of creating some sort of pivot once in motion.
The good news is, you can throw all of that away, because when you stand in the manner that will allow you to swing the way the body is built, you will end up looking largely like these gents:
The above three greats, Snead, Hogan & Nicklaus, had very different-looking swings due to their personal idiosyncrasies but isn’t it remarkable how nearly carbon-copy the manner in which they stood over the ball?
Take away Snead’s slight foot angle to the target line & Hogan’s more pronounced angle, you have 3 virtually identical stances.
Now the reason the three of them looked so different in motion would be due to the fact that they didn’t follow a set “model” that was identical.
I’ve written before about universal principles common to the great swings of the past. In the down the line view of these three golfers, they followed the principles of posture & balance.
The angled stance lines of Snead & Hogan of course instantly made each look different swinging from one another & Nicklaus.
Factor in ball position & grip differences and there you have a number of things that made their swings look different while still all swinging in the Classic method.
The greatest of them, Nicklaus, had a very solid face-on address when he didn’t (admittedly) lose his form & got sloppy or away from the principles taught him by Jack Grout.
I spent a couple of years working on the optimal stance face-on which also must be joined with grip & ball position.
As for the body position itself, when I compared my address face-on at the time (2016) with Nicklaus’ back early in his career, I was startled to see mine very similar to his:
I of course would tinker slightly with the model while working out the exact details of everything, but even when I had tightened my swing & stance, a couple of years later, it still looked very similar to Nicklaus’ stance as outlined in his book on the swing:
The only difference really is the stronger grip I had than JN’s and which I’ve got around to getting to neutral as mentioned later in 2019:
Notice the difference in my physical aspect with the stronger grip vs the neutral grip, where I look much more relaxed. This is because anything you do to disrupt the natural aspect of the setup will radiate outwards in your setup & motion like rings in a pond when you drop a pebble in.
The grip affected my setup, the setup then affected my swing motion. Everything is connected.
Remember that we want a neutral grip, the overwhelming majority of us, unless we have some congenital condition, because we are all born with the same bones, muscles, sinews & joints.
Unless there is something radically different in your makeup, the way you stand over a ball is largely one of choice & comfort due to not having been made to change.
I am here to tell you that you will have to leave your comfort zone if you want to build an athletically & mechanically proper golf swing which I would think is the reason you’re here now!
I myself had to leave that comfort zone in more than one area, including the grip, my swing plane at the top of the back swing, even the way I started my back swing pivot.
Not only that, as you find out in the first video, I have a profound physical defect myself, scoliosis (curvature of the spine). I have found a way to get to impact with square shoulders even though they are twisted on my spine to the left or open.
I had for years an out-to-in and over-the-top swing because of that, due to not factoring it into my address, but as I showed in the video, a simple method of placing the ball in relation to myself rather than trying to place myself in relation to the ball in a set position (at the leading heel), and problem solved.
Other things will make people look different using the exact same model – if you have very wide shoulders and/or hips, your stance will be wider than someone’s who doesn’t. If you have long legs or arms, or short, you will look different from someone, but the key to remember is that MCS gives you the method of building your setup personally to yourself while still following the principles contained therein.
Before this gets too long, I’ll finish my thoughts on this subject tomorrow in Part 2.
More to come!!