Down & Through, That Is The Purpose

Game versus Sport, the eternal balancing act of golf, dictates that even mechanically-iffy swings can be successful given good impact conditions and an overall great short game.

But there is a reason you don’t see anyone anywhere swinging like Moe Norman, the man who could hit the ball practically dead straight – and we’re talking so little side-spin that the first time Moe was ever analyzed on a launch monitor, it was thought to be malfunctioning.

So, why wouldn’t you swing like Moe?

Because, for one, Moe was a very, very short hitter.  Even in his video from the mid-90’s, “Pipeline Moe,” he is blissfully bashing balls with a stainless steel driver and while the sound is a pure as a hammer hitting an anvil, he tells his awed observers that one drive went “250 yards.”

Granted he was a senior by then, but he wasn’t John Daly, not even close, ever.

And, like Ben Hogan, Moe had to hit balls virtually all day, every day, to be able to do what he did with a ball. Which was to hit it dead straight, or with a fade or draw, directly to and nearly within the inch of his targets.

Not very efficient at the end of the day.

So, we know that virtually anyone can play golf if they can create good enough impact conditions, but do you really see people in other sports saying, such as in track & field, “Well, you know, there are a million ways you can jump over a bar or run the hurdles, so it doesn’t really matter what technique they’re using as long as they win…”

That would get you shown out of any other sports’ training facilities, because training facilities are all about training… with proper technique!

The Perfect Technique

Especially today, golf is a distance game.  You can drive it long and sideways and still have an advantage over guys hitting it in the fairway, but with very short distances.

Bryson DeChambeau has put that issue to rest forever, I’d imagine.

Now, you don’t want to actually swing like Bryson if you value your physical well-being, but golf is reaching a place where players are only going to be able to compete by hitting it long, and many of them will fall by the wayside either for periods of time or permanently, ending their careers, because of wholly preventable injuries caused by how they swing.

So, if you’re just a pleasure golfer who enjoys plunking it down the fairway 250 yards, you’re likely not my target audience here, because you don’t want nor crave the maximum distance you can hit balls with very little risk of injury.

If you’re looking for more distance however, or to reduce the chances of an injury (or further injury, having already suffered one or more), or to straighten out your already pretty long ball, or to gain consistency in your ball-striking – if any one or more of these issues relate to you, then you’re in the correct place after all, because you will be able to do all of the above simply by improving your technique.

Now, you will never have “perfect technique,” because that would require a level of performance that only a machine like the Iron Byron up above can accomplish.

However, you can perform extraordinarily well for a human, with optimal technique and requisite talent.

I am not Usain Bolt, nor will anyone ever mistake me for him when I run, but was able to absolutely blow away my own prior self and many formerly faster competitors after joining a track & field club one autumn and training through the next spring.

Given more talent, I’d have done even better, but it all came down to technique over talent until I ran into runners who had both in spades.

With the golf swing, you want a swing model that lets you swing back and then down and through to the finish without:

  • any places where a flaw in your setup or technique make you perform compensations or manipulations to get through impact,
  • any dangerous technical flaws that put you at risk of injury, the higher the chance the faster you swing and,
  • with the maximum degree of performance, meaning you combine power, speed and distance with accuracy and consistency.

It’s really that simple.

Even the motion should be simple – if you think I’ve spent 15 years plus working on the golf swing and modeling in order to make it complicated, then you’d be very mistaken.

I’ve spent this much time (and I’ll admit it’s taken longer than I anticipated or feel should have taken, due to my own personal foibles interfering with my research and personal modeling) because I’m looking for that most basic of techniques, which is what everyone else calls “optimal.”

There is no simpler way to perform a motion than in the optimal way, and that goes for throwing, walking, running, jumping, and swinging an object.

It should be so simple that one could take a child (preferably one who has participated in sports so that they are receptive to being taught athletic motion) and teach them the entire swing in a morning or afternoon.

I would think that in three days, you could have someone swinging a wedge, mid-iron and driver very competently, taking one day for each club and of course letting all the other clubs fall into place between wedge and driver.

So, it takes a long time to break things down to their most basic elements, but the great thing, once that model has been established and proven, it will be very basic and very quick on the uptake – depending of course upon the skill level of the person teaching the motion.

Skill level would mean, to me, both the proficiency in performing the motion and in explaining it so that it’s understood.

What’s taken so long is finding the optimal setup, not just a good or great one.  I’ve inched closer to it over the past months, and looking at the setup part of the “E = MCS” swing video from 2017, I believe I’ve found the culprit in the setup that made it very good but not optimal.

Once I’ve settled on the setup and have borne it out with the expected results, I know I’ll be able to explain the setup and swing motion very simply, even more simply than the EMCS videos thus far.

8 thoughts on “Down & Through, That Is The Purpose

  1. peterallenby2013

    Understanding nothing in anyone’s golf swing will be perfect should allow the golfer to relax and just swing. Nevertheless, there will need to be some guidance, some instruction. To use a tortured version of an old advertising jingle for the Greyhound bus company, “Go with DJ and leave the teaching and modeling to him”. How, when you reach your estimation of an optimal setup will you share it with us? Can we expect a new video?! Please? Pretty please??!

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      PA – there will of course be a video! My intent at present is to finish the Classic model and then the Post-Modern if I see merit in the model once completed, with an eBook and video on each.

      I may have begun this journey for personal reasons but it is surely not my aim to figure all of this out and then keep it to myself.

      That is to start. What comes after that, I’ve no clue but I’d love to volunteer at a local school in the future to work with a group of youngsters.

      Something given back to the community would give me personal gratification! 😊

  2. Pete_Covell

    DJ you have shaken my self confidence a bit. I would be perfectly happy to hit the ball 250 yds, even if I was spraying it. I presently drive on average 180 yds, with a good one going 200. I am a 66 year old skinny guy. I am hoping when you get it all figured out to be able to up my distance.
    One thing struck me looking at the Iron Byron; there is only one swing plane made by the club and the “arm”. That plane does not move.The “body” does not twist. Hogan’s book talks about it. What is your take on this, as it looks to me to be pretty fundamental to a proper swing.

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      My apologies, Pete – I wasn’t trying to disparage 250 yards (still remember my first 250 yard drive that left me feeling like king of the world at 25 when I started playing), by any means! I was simply making the point that Moe Norman was likely longer in his 60’s due to ball and club technology than he’d been in his 30’s, meaning he’d never been a heavy hitter.

      We mere mortals do not have to hold ourselves to the standards I have for professional players at the top levels, but I’m 52 and can still pretty well knock the cover off the ball, now more to improved technique than to the brute force I would have put on it in my mid-30s when I began my swing research.

      If you are still fairly agile, then you should still be able to poke it out there in your 60’s.

      One of my videos back in 2017 (shot in the autumn of ’16) featured my working with David D, a long-time member of this community, and he was 72 at the time, I believe. This is how I had him swinging back then, and he was getting it out there pretty well:

      As far as the Iron Byron, a properly leveraged golf swing should work as the IB does, albeit with both arms working instead of one and with the hips and legs powering the pivot. There is or should be no twisting at all, just the leveraged action of the shoulders returning to square, and everything else follows.

      The only turning before impact should be done by the hips, and the body will turn post-impact due to the momentum of the club and arms.

      So, I agree with Hogan’s statement on that. As far as the plane, I won’t have a good description of the optimal aspects of the plane until I’ve finished my work.

      Hopefully soon!


  3. PyX

    Hi, I am new to the wax nation and since I had no chance to watch the “old, no gone” instruction videos, it is somewhat difficult for me to follow the terminology (like “post modern swing” or “shift and post”).

    However, as far as I understand, the basic idea is to use a body pivot as a main power source? Because I read a lot about the main power is coming from the arms (aka double pendulum model or the iron byron, both which do not have a body) or experiments like this: ?

    Anyway, can’t wait for the new videos! I’d be happy even with a 200 yard drive… *sad short hitter sigh* 😉

    Greetings from Germany

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Hi PyX – welcome to the Nation!

      Don’t worry about that terminology, as I haven’t presented my “Post-Modern” or “Shift-and-Post” swing model as of yet. I have this work to finish on the Classic Swing model, but in a nutshell (and yes, my friend Chief CP, I’m most definitely a nut), the Post-Modern model is still a turning-hips pivot motion which makes it a sub-group of the standard Classic golf swing.

      It’s a little different mechanically in the hips and legs but still creates a full and free hip turn, just not the way the standard rotary Classic works. You have a rotary pivot as demonstrated by Ben Hogan:

      And the Shift-And-Post model would be similar if not exactly like that of Mike Dunaway, the Father of Modern Long Drive:

      I see your link goes to a website run by Monte ScheinblumI wrote a piece about his swing nearly 10 years ago and he responded in the comments. We emailed back and forth on the swing a few times back then, but not in some years time. Good to see he’s still doing his thing.

      There are a couple of WAX Nation members in Germany, you’re very welcome and hopefully you’ll be back!


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