Upon Closer Look – I Know What I Missed (Thank You, Fred Couples)

I was looking at the video from Friday after I got back home, and while the execution was better, I knew I was missing something, even though I had gone to work on the setup and pivot.

What exactly it was, I thought was mechanical, until I happened to see, completely randomly, a Tweet from David Poulton showing a Fred Couples iron swing on a diagonal view.

I can’t explain the feeling you get when you see something that clicks, but I was looking at that Couples swing:


… and looking at that pivot action, and the difference between what I had been doing earlier that day and the above pivot was suddenly clear as day.

It took only a few minutes with an iron and some visualization after watching that clip for me to isolate that difference, and again the culprit was the setup.

The challenge for me, not having a model already established to follow with guidance (the only model I look at these days is any one of Dunaway’s iterations of his swing and he isn’t around to question and provide context, and the instructional videos don’t work for me or they would already have provided me the keys), is that it’s all trial & error.

Get out there, swing the way I’ve established I want to swing, then go back to the drawing board and see what I’ve done versus what I want to see – and then try to figure out what is the cause of the difference and how to adjust.

That italicized part – that’s the part where you’re on your own trying to figure things out.

Fortunately for me, I while I had an idea of what I didn’t want to see in the swings I made on Friday, I was still foggy on the changes required – until I saw the Freddie clip with the exact concept I know the optimal swing requires.

Now, I’m not saying Fred Couples’ setup was the optimal setup, because he absolutely destroyed his back in his 30’s with the swing he had – I’m talking about the motion I looked at from the diagonal angle – the smooth weight shift with the stationary head, then the transition and leveraged down swing generating effortless power, again with a very stable head and no violent lateral motion.

The reason this clip was so instructive is because it is diagonal, so you don’t see how Freddie didn’t have an optimal setup as you can see here in the face-on view:


That diagonal view was either an optical illusion or he really swung his iron with a stationary head, because in this driver or 3-wood sequence, look at Fred’s head position at address in the first still compared to his head position in the sixth (second row, second from the left) and there is the cause of Fred’s back issues.

This is also why Tiger Woods wrecked his back when he began to work with Sean Foley who was a follower of the Stack & Tilt creators – you do not want to set up biased to the left when your impact position has a right-tilting spine:


… because the torque and stress on the lower back getting from Frame 1 to Frame 6 are absolute nonstarters for mechanically-sound motion.

Especially when swinging at high speeds as Fred and Tiger do – you can get away with this type of setup if you’re a plunker who doesn’t generate a lot of torque.

So, taking away the view of Fred’s setup with the iron swing, whether it was correct or not, allowed me to see only the action and real or apparent head stability through the swing – and that was what told me the difference between my action on Friday and the action I wanted to see.

Put Fred in the setup that I would pick for him (weight & head right of center) and you’d be looking at the MCS Classic Golf Swing model with that iron swing (and his leading heel would separate from the ground with his weight not biased to the left, which is why the S&T exists – to allow a pivot with a fixed leading foot).

I’m pretty sure Fred’s head moves laterally on that iron swing as you can see the pronounced dip through impact, which is what it does in the swing sequence pics above, but the illusion of stability in the diagonal swing clip was gold in getting me from where I was stuck to where I need to be.

It’s nothing more than a setup adjustment, and then the motion will be the motion.

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