Natural Leverage – So Much More Effective Than Muscle

I’ve compared the leverage of a proper golf swing in years past to that of a judo throw – you can throw someone bigger and heavier than yourself to the ground with relative ease if you know how to leverage the move.

In the same vein, I can affirm that, just as with a judo throw, you can be much more effective swinging your golf club with natural leverage than with brute muscle force.

Some may be skeptical, as they see muscle-bound long drivers going after the ball with a good deal of brute force – but it’s so much easier to swing your club using optimal mechanics and that natural leverage.

Example: There are days when I haven’t done much speed work and no matter what I do, I can’t get that swing device to click for me even as I grunt and strain – until… what do you think I do?

Well, when I’m having trouble clicking the device, I regroup, check my setup and balance, then I make sure I’m performing a proper pivot to the top, shift my weight to the leading foot and…


There it is.

It isn’t swinging harder that does it.

It clicks on the harder settings for me when I remember where I’m getting sloppy on the back pivot, or where I’m slacking in my pre-swing setup.

Once I do that and get back to a pure leveraged pivot, the click is ridiculously easy compared to how I feel heaving and straining with swings that don’t produce clicks.

It’s that simple and that complicated, because we tend to complicate simple things.

So, when I’m in the groove with indoor speed work, it’s not actually building muscles that I’m doing – I swing my trainer and if I’m getting clicks, there’s not much more to do except to keep in mind the fundamentals of my swing.

Then, when I get outside in the next couple of days, I’ll be in good shape to swing.

Not physically, but mechanically.

10 thoughts on “Natural Leverage – So Much More Effective Than Muscle

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      I use a modified SwingRite, Mark – it wasn’t resistant enough so I took it apart and replaced the spring to make it super stiff.

      There is a newer product out there called a Swing Caddy which is magnetic instead of spring-loaded, and I’d get one of those if I were to replace what I’m using atm.

      I doubt anything out there is as difficult to click as my jury-rigged one though so until I break it (am on my 3rd since 2011), I’ll go with it.

  1. dmh

    Hi DJ – I’ve been wanting to correspond w/ you regarding the SwingRite & Swing Caddy,
    and this article seems the perfect place – maybe others will benefit too.

    Recap – I’m age 70, retired DC/LMT – great physical shape – hdcp ~ 9 @ 4 yrs ago –
    recently able to resume playing 3x/month as I’m living in Fla. again.

    I purchased a SwingRite a year ago – so far only achieving a 3 on the scale : with difficulty.
    I do an intelligent progression starting around 5 – 6, and rep my way down to warm up.

    I’ve experienced exactly what you describe in this article –
    I might be having a heck of a time getting the click – until the ‘effortless leverage thing’ clicks in.

    But here’s the crux of my communication –
    w/ the SwingRite I experienced what I feel is a “sticking” of the device
    due to the mechanical friction of how it’s designed,
    and I also noticed a difference in difficulty if I aligned the clicker
    either in-line/parallel with the target – or offset at 90* to it.

    It was very aggravating – so I bought a regular Swing Caddy – and in my 1st session,
    I proceeded to max it out w/ the supposed “110 mph” setting!

    Well, even though I’d love to hallucinate that was true – it simply isn’t.
    So next I ordered a Blue Swing Radar (owned a Red one years ago) –
    already knowing about the measurement ‘inaccuracies’ you’ve pointed out in previous blogs.

    Yep – old Blue confirmed I was still in the 95 – 100 mph range –
    where I was when I had to quit golfing about 4 years ago.

    So now, irritated w/ the regular Swing Caddy also,
    I returned it and bought the Swing Caddy Pro or 130 mph model –
    thinking it might be more accurate.

    Then I still proceeded to reach 110 on the Pro –
    but at least I still have some overhead/headroom on that model to improve with!

    Anyhow – I know that it’s all “relative” – you simply do the experiment –
    make your notes – then see how you progress over time
    as compared to the baseline of your own self, right?

    I will say that I agree w/ your fellow Canadian Mr. Clement
    that I much prefer the flexible shaft of the Swing Caddy
    vs. the stiff shaft of the SwingRite —
    I feel it facilitates a smoother, more effectively leveraged Swing Motion (Knudson) for me.

    It’d be great if you get a chance to do a head-2-head of these tools!

    Wishing you Best! as you get cranking outside –
    and along with many others – can’t wait to send money for your Results! 🙂

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Hi dmh!

      Great comment, thanks for giving the readership (and yours truly) your insights on the two devices, as I’ve never swung a Swing Caddy. I didn’t know it has a flexible shaft, that is food for thought and perhaps I’ll get one just to compare it with the SwingRite.

      I had an original SwingRite sent me by a generous WAX member back in 2011 and I loved it, unfortunately I bent the shaft one day in an idiotic moment where I left it lying on the ground, and have lamented its passing ever since. It was actually the spring from that original SR that I put into a newer one, which I found not as sturdy or challenging as the original. I’m happy with the newer one now that I have an original spring in it, and because it’s longer than the newer model’s springs, I get much more resistance swinging it… haven’t even moved down from “5” yet!

      You’re correct about just using it as a training tool to gauge how fast you swing on a given day. I wouldn’t try to translate number to swing speed as I’m sure they are all a little different in performance and resistance – I had two newer models (had one and was sent one by the company) and they were slightly different on the same number setting. It was the drop (perceived or real) in quality from the vintage model to the newer ones that had me looking at the Swing Caddy and its magnetic rather than spring-loaded function to see how it would go for me.

      I will keep your comparison remark in mind as the season progresses and, if I have the time to do so, will endeavor to show the differences and pros/cons for the two products.

      Thanks again, have a great season and swing well!


  2. D.L.Moriarty

    Leverage is always going to win the day.

    When you hit the range next, do you think you can grab a coupe swings (say, wedge-5-driver) with the camera angle slightly left of DTL?
    There’s an angle in the Kinetic Chain video at TXG that’s similar and for some reason, that’s the visual that makes this click best for me. Be interested to see how it’s changed!

  3. KJ Burtscher

    I generally play at shorter courses where parents bring their kids who are learning golf. The good ones all have pretty much the same swing – hips turned almost facing the target at impact, arms coming around catching up at impact and upper body leaning back as they finish.
    I am talking about 7-8 year olds who probably weigh 50 pounds. No upper body strength whatsoever, club comes almost up to their chin.
    They can hit a tee shot 150 yards!
    When I see DJ down the line I sometimes see something similar – hips very open at impact, no evidence of muscling it, some backward lean into the finish.
    That is the way I have been striving to hit the ball lately and for me it is a game changer.

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Hi KJ!

      It’s amazing what natural instinct will do on its own, isn’t it?

      The backwards lean is something I noticed almost at the beginning of my swing research – I was too left-biased in my setup at first, so when I got to the top and transitioned to the down swing, my head (which remained stable during my back pivot) would move back to my right and down through impact.

      I called it the “Trebuchet Drop” and found it impossible to not do it when swinging – until I figured out that the optimal impact position is with the head over the trailing foot and the spine leaning away from the target. That was when I changed my swing model to a right-biased setup, because if the head isn’t supposed to move, then it should be at address where it will be at impact.

      These kids are doing exactly what any kid with some athletic aptitude will figure out having to leverage the club due to insufficient size and strength – too bad they’ll eventually be paired with a modern swing instructor who will completely mess up that natural instinct!

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