More Modern Swing Analysis Failure – On “Using The Ground/Vertical Lift”

**Another Submission From The “Modern Golf Analysis Fail Chronicles,” Originally posted August 22, 2019**

I made a point in a comment about Justin Thomas having very low Angle of Attack despite his “flying foot” which is supposed to add “vertical lift” or to be “using the ground,” and I said that I’d check to make sure.

I had checked before, and I went to check another couple of very well-known “flying foot” club members, Patrick Rodgers and Jordan Spieth, to see what their launch numbers were saying.

I want to make a point as well that this isn’t an attack on any player, all of whom are among the best golfers in the universe if they are on the PGA Tour.

This is about the rubbish proffered daily to the viewing/reading public about things that just aren’t true – like the “flying foot.”

So again, great golfers, both of whom have the “flying foot” going on, and it has nothing to do with “using the ground,” it’s a compensation for an anchored trailing foot while swinging at high speed with a wider stance than will allow full hip rotation without the “flying foot” compensation.

Spieth, Thomas & Rodgers

Here are the current average Launch Angles for the 3 players (last year for Rodgers b/c that’s the latest driver info I could find) with the latest available driver lofts:

Jordan SpiethT96th with an average of 10.01 degrees Launch Angle. Driver 9.5 Degrees

Justin Thomas131st with an average of 9.28 degrees Launch Angle. Driver 9.5 degrees

Patrick Rodgers – 149th with an average of 10.09 degrees Launch Angle for 2018 season. Driver 8.5 degrees (2018)

That’s some “vertical lift” there, friends – Spieth with a half-degree of LA higher than his driver loft, Thomas with a negative LA to driver loft of nearly a quarter degree, and Rodgers with a towering 1.59 degrees of LA to driver loft.

And for Rodgers, it gets much worse, as he’s currently 153rd in rankings, averaging 8.76 degrees Launch Angle for the 2019 season. I just don’t have his current driver loft to compare but unless he has dropped it to 7 degrees, his Attack Angle is even lower this season and is likely barely above 0-1 degrees.

Meanwhile, you can always see that I’m producing as high a Launch Angle and Attack Angle as the highest ranked guys on Tour, and I have nothing of the sort going on with my feet:

There’s nothing else to say.  You cannot make a serious suggestion that the “flying foot” is creating higher Attack or Launch Angle when the 3 most egregious flying footers are hovering between negative and +1-2 degrees Attack Angle and they are at the bottom of the rankings for Launch Angle.

Unless you’re trying to gloss over either the compensations themselves or the fact that you have no clue why they’re doing it and therefore have to make stuff up out of whole cloth.

I don’t see any other option.

2 thoughts on “More Modern Swing Analysis Failure – On “Using The Ground/Vertical Lift”

  1. BM

    Ok DJ, check me to see if I understand what you are saying. The reason these guys have a flying lead foot is a protective compensation for their pinned trail foot. When I looked at your swing in post ‘The Math Says I Hit 130 MPH Club Speed’ the observer can clearly see your trail foot releases or is dragged about 3-4 inches targetward in the swing. That reminds me alot of Mike Dunaway. Am I in the ballpark here?

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      That’s correct, BM – can you imagine what I’d have done to myself on that swing had I kept both feet exactly where they were from the setup?

      That foot drag is exactly a drag – I had enough weight onto the leading foot that the hip turn through impact dragged my foot forward. Dunaway has it perfectly with his action, where the release comes post-impact. Mine slides at impact because of the early rotation caused by the left-dominant swing action. If I have the models nailed, I should look more like Dunaway with the “step-around” finish.

      There was a time before I released the trailing foot that I was stumped on how to swing hard through impact and not rupture my leading knee, and I was exploring the “leading foot roll” as well as the “spin-out on the leading heel” a la JB Holmes, who was doing that at the time.

      It boggles my mind to think that pro golfers and their entire coaching/analytical staff can’t figure out what a a guy doing his own research did in less than 3 years. I began in ’05 and by ’08 I knew that the trailing foot had to release in order to allow full weight transfer to the leading foot and full hip turn to the finish. And this was before I ever saw Greg Norman doing it, or looked at Hogan and noticed the same.

      In fact, it was when I was studying Mike Austin in ’09 that I saw the foot slide and said, “Aha! Someone else does this.” I said the same when I saw that his setup included the kicked-in right knee. You see, proper mechanics are universal.

      I mean, what is the point of a golf kinesiologist or whatever sports/science degree they use in their modeling and analysis if they can’t even get that little detail?

      These guys are still rubbing sticks together to make fire. And now you see why I don’t watch golf on television – the swings turn my stomach and the analysis has me gagging before I reach for the remote.

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