The MA/MD Visuals Didn’t Work For Me

dunaway clotheslineThat’s not a criticism or condemnation, just an observation.

It’s also likely that most of them haven’t worked for the  majority of the people who’ve attempted to replicate either man’s swing. Why that is, I’m not sure.

What I’ve found is that whenever I look at or listen to something from the Dunaway videos, I’ll conclude that he was of course correct in explaining the mechanics of the motion while his visuals or “feels” didn’t transfer to me being able to understand it.

Not surprisingly, as I’ve taken the model apart & rebuilt it, I’ve caught myself saying, “well this part of the swing/setup is exactly as described, but the described ‘feel’ isn’t mine.”

One example is the “throw release.”

While the action described fits this description to a T, it’s not what I’m feeling when I work on the down swing transition, impact & finish.

It’s much closer to Dunaway’s “hitting the rug” visual & feel, which is much closer to my 2017 video “MCS – Dropping The Hammer” video where I described the feeling of the right arm & hand at address of setting a hammer to then cock it back & swing down into a wall – doesn’t get much closer than that, I’d think.

So perhaps I should amend the original declaration and say most of MA/MD visuals didn’t work for me” rather than leaving the statement to imply that “none of them worked for me.”

In fact, were I to set up with a rug beater and swing it like I would a driver with Dunaway’s action, I can very well visualize the action & impact, keeping in mind the caveat that you want to swing as if into the rug to beat it, but also that it isn’t there.

“Beat That Rug!”

dunaway clothesline


Just as I wrote in the prior posting “Think Swinging Into A Wall…But It’s Not There…”

In that posting, I wrote:

The problem is if you forget that there’s actually no wall there, and so you have the issue of momentum and follow-through – I’ve said that if you imagine swinging a hammer at a wall and it disappears before impact, you’d fall on your face with the follow-through if you weren’t properly balanced.

So, you have to swing as if into a wall (to get your maximum “pop” in the “Drop & Pop”) and also as if it isn’t there:

“Hittin’ The Wall…”


If you watch the above gif., here’s a swing at around 120 mph club impact speed, and doesn’t it look both as though I’ve swung into a wall (impact position) as hard as I can, yet my follow-through looks as though there was no wall?

Aside from that swing of mine being horridly out of date, you can also visualize the MA analogy of swinging a club into a mud bank (think the sod walls of a links bunker) without getting your lead shirt sleeve dirty, I would bet.

It also will be very instructive to those who still watch golf on television (which I can’t bring myself to do any more because of the swing nonsense spouted weekly), when you watch certain players in slow motion – many of their swings look as though they have a visual of swinging down into an impact bag.

And that is a huge problem, because you can set up any old way to swing down and into something – the problem shows when there isn’t anything there to stop the swing, and you see a million and one weird things through impact.

That’s because there is still a part of the swing remaining – the follow-through & finish, for which their particular setups haven’t accounted and which is partly why you see all those funky moves through impact.

In this regard, we return to the old saw of the setup – you have to set up to swing into impact with maximum speed & accuracy, while still being able to continue the motion to the finish without injury or loss of balance.

Without getting too far afield, I’ll leave it at that – some visuals will work for people, others won’t, and the main source of my problems in trying to recreate Dunaway’s swing model in the beginning was relying on the given “feels” and visuals which didn’t work for me.

It was only when I began to build my setup & swing mechanics to emulate the feel of the above visual/described feel that I began to say, “Ah, I’ve been doing this instead of that here, and I want to do this down from the top instead of that…”

In the end, motion is motion. 

MA famously said that our joints only work a set way – and we’re talking in general terms here, because no one who builds theoretical swing models is doing it for the double-jointed or to accommodate every single deviation from the standard human body, just as the Fosbury Flop in high jump is the optimal high jump technique.

It wasn’t designed to accommodate those who fall outside the parameters of the standard athletic physique.

So, again in general terms, I don’t think there’s any reason people can’t swing in the MA/MD model other than a failure to properly visualize then implement the setup & mechanical action.

A big part of how we learn is observation. Another is understanding descriptions/instructions.

Look below – does that down swing action of Dunaway’s look to you like he’s throwing the club or swinging into an invisible rug?

How To Swing Like This…

mike dunaway diagonal


It’s the rug, for me.

So my challenge or mission isn’t anywhere near to accomplished once I replicate Dunaway’s model, if I do – that’s about halfway there, because doing so won’t help a single soul other than myself, if I can’t properly convey what I’m doing, and by properly, I mean in a way that as many people as possible can understand it as well.

And the work continues.

5 thoughts on “The MA/MD Visuals Didn’t Work For Me

  1. peterallenby2013

    Yesss. The age-old conundrum in teaching physical motion! This challenge is successfully met through visualization – rug, hammer throw, etc. But the challenge is different for each person as you say since we are all different persons with differing sensory perception and interpretation of words. Hence, the evolution of golf gadgets to “teach” you a swing motion. Whether it is the swing jacket or bands to hold your arms in or other contraption (Austin’s Flammer!!), we look for ways to replicate the proper motion…What I have done with DJ’s work is take some basic motions – set up and footwork and then go from there. Refining the motion is like “finding the swing in the dirt’ – conscious experimentation!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Not much I can add to that if anything PA.

      What you’ve said just illustrates my point in that the beginning & the end of the swing, with most in between- setup, setup, setup.

      Get that correct, you’re off & running. Don’t get it right, prepare for misery & frustration.

      Good weekend to you PA.

      1. peterallenby2013

        Thanks, DJ! Same to you – Sparkling weather means MAYBE some time at the local driving range, AFTER the outdoor chores…

  2. Mr. McJohn

    It’s curious because I’d take almost nothing out of the visual of beating a rug. Feelings aren’t enough to get a proper motion going, though sometimes it can help someone understand it BETTER if they already know what it looks like mechanically. Really in the end, a blueprint of human physics and anatomy regarding the golf swing is easier than feels alone. The issue is, as you say, teaching that blueprint. As with anything, once a model is established, the easiest way I can think of teaching it would be the how and why. Why does the trail foot flare, why does the trail knee require flex at setup, etc. Therefore not only does someone know how, they know why it works, giving them a full understanding.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I can’t argue with anything you’re saying MMJ- I also believe that if a model is sound & the explanations simple & correct, that should be all one needs.

      I remember discussing the swing with someone in ‘07 and remarking to him that his lead foot was squared & his trailing foot flared. When he asked why it should be the other way around, I explained that he was over-turning going back with a flared foot & restricting his hip turn coming through with his lead foot squared.

      Blew his mind, and I knew then even while I was searching for that proper swing model that no one teaching the modern swing was doing anyone any good.

      There is always a how & why & the simpler, the better.

      I’m hoping we get to see how I do in that regard later in the summer!

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