I have said for years, based upon my own experience and seeing/hearing what golf “experts” have to say about athleticism in golf, that most of these people haven’t really ever played or excelled at any other sport.
Those of you who have followed my golf swing blogging for a certain number of years will remember that I came to this golf swing research already able to produce lots of speed & power.
For me, it’s always been about finding that accuracy and consistency without losing the natural speed that a golf swing produces, so that’s been my area of research for the most part.
I’ve likely retained my speed over the years by improving my technique because, as I have said, my theory is that the same swing model that will produce speed with mechanical correctness is also the model you would use for accuracy/consistency.
So, when my distance should be decreasing due to age (soon 53), I can still get the ball out there as I did in my late 20’s and my 30’s, heck even my 40’s, because improved technique improves everything, including speed and power.
In fact, my highest recorded ball speed on a top quality launch monitor (a professional instruction clinic’s Foresight) came in at 187 mph a couple of months before I turned 45, a day after getting off a plane and not having hit balls for about a week:
Now, a funny thing when you look at that swing above, and not that I was squatting in the setup more than I would today, and not because of the extension of the arms, which again I wouldn’t be doing today.
No, the thing you see is what people would have called early extension (the right hip moving towards the ball on the down swing), a move that came to be called “humping the goat” in some circles because of how it looks when you freeze frame at a certain point halfway down.
The problem with that analysis (that it’s bad) is that it’s an athletic move, and most golf swing analysts wouldn’t know an athletic move if it hit them in the face, with apologies – if the only sport you’ve ever really played and analyzed is golf, then play some more sports and get back to me about athletic vs flawed.
I would wager that many men would happily marry a goat if it would get them 180+ mph ball speed in their mid-40s.
In fact, you will now get ridiculous things like a magazine instructional piece that looked at Sam Snead’s golf swing and had about ten “fixes” to recommend, or you can consider that if Jack Nicklaus were to play today, he’d likely be called a “goat-humper” himself:
Nicklaus Post-Impact vs DJ
The funny thing about Nicklaus is:
Nicklaus attended Upper Arlington High School, whose nickname and mascot are coincidentally the Golden Bears. In Nicklaus’s senior year, he was an honorable mention All-Ohio selection in basketball as a shooting guard, and he received some recruiting interest from college basketball programs, including Ohio State. During his youth, he also competed successfully in football, baseball, tennis, and track and field.
I can go on – Tiger Woods claiming that Ben Hogan’s swing wouldn’t have worked today with modern equipment (which is absurd, because if Hogan was long enough to play and dominate in the age of persimmon and could hit the sweet spot, then…), although I don’t remember Hogan destroying his body to win all of those events and majors, but I want to get to my point.
My point is that you can look at that swing of mine above on the day I registered 187 mph on the Foresight, you can see that the right hip is moving towards the ball because the hips are turning as I plant my weight onto the left foot.
It’s also doing that because of a thing that someone with a little athletic aptitude will sense is necessary to produce power in a golf swing with mechanical-correctness – the syncing of the trailing hip with the trailing arm coming into impact, and with the extended arm setup, the right hip will move more toward the ball than if the arms hung more vertically.
And that brings me to what I’m working on at present with regards to the down swing – it’s syncing the hips with the arms on the down swing to optimize power and speed, and if everything else is in proper order, to optimize accuracy and consistency.
Basically, you stand and pivot on your feet, legs, and hips, swinging the club with the arms, but a truly optimal golf swing producing power and accuracy means you hit the ball with your entire body.
It is when swingers aren’t doing this fully, or doing it incorrectly, that you see all of the jumping/twisting and other contortions on display on Tour week in week out – yes, these guys are good, but their swings are mechanical travesties and many of them will never make it to play golf on the Champions Tour into their sixties, such is the damage they’re doing.
Take any golf pro today and challenge him to produce over 160 mph ball speed swinging a Momentus Heavy Driver as I have done:
… but make sure to call the EMT’s on standby first.
Technique is important. In fact, it’s everything.
Bryson DeChambeau for example is still in his 20s and has yet to recover from the experiment where he decided to swing as hard and fast as he possibly could.
That’s all I’ll say about it at present, until I have a completed model with which to demonstrate it better than above.
More to come.
We are drawn to the mystical, the amazing, and the unexplainable. And we seek out seers and holy persons who will open the gates to understanding and enlightenment. Alas, the quest is always met with challenges. One of the biggest is the fact that we, as a species, tend to be quite gullible, perhaps a tad too trusting. Exploiting that fallibility are these “experts”, our teachers who gain a few coins when you sign up for their lessons. But if they truly brought you to the grail, you’d no longer need them. And they wouldn’t pry more coins from your grasp. So they teach and teach and teach knowing only this: Their lessons are imperfect. Their “technique” is flawed. But by invoking the names and acts of past luminaries, the saints, they keep you coming back for more, feeding you hope and promise and rarely delivering and sometimes injuring.
You have dared to challenge the orthodoxy, DJ. And if there were any justice in the golf world, you would nurture and develop a flock of stars, and then the masses might turn with expectant hope and ask, “Is this the way?!”
Until then, I find golfing peace in your way and I live with the imperfect nature of the game. And I do so without blowing out my back ala Anthony Kim, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau among others, and the seer, the overlord, the coin collector, David Leadbetter
Thanks for the kind words, PA – I would have answered sooner however Liverpool were dismantling Man U by 7 goals to nil at Anfield. Priorities 😂😂
On a more serious note, amazing how Lydia Ko’s game has miraculously revived post-Leadbetter, isn’t it?
To think he forced her into a swing model for hackers just to sell another book. Disgraceful.
And you are correct about the nature of instruction- if you still need a swing coach or instructor beside you after a year, you’re being taken for a ride.
I’ve lost so many people since I began blogging because they no longer had any use for me after a time and drifted away from the blog.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. 😊
MU’s worst beatdown…ever! Loved Mo getting the required yellow for ripping off his jersey celebrating his second goal!!
It was something. We were watching the veterans Mo & Bobby combine with the future, Gakpo & Núñez with Elliott & Bajcetic in the midfield. Magical.
My lad & I nearly gave the Mrs a nervous breakdown with 7 roars as she was trying to video conference her friend in the UK at the time 😂
Jack Grout would agree with your sentiment, DJ. He wrote an instructional book, published in 1975. I tracked one down recently and gave it a read. His take on the swing is very simple – just basic fundamentals. Set-up, grip, footwork, balance, alignment, staying on the insides of the feet…. Worth a read if you can track one down. Anyway, once he drilled the basics into Nicklaus as a kid, just an occasional review of the fundamentals was all that was necessary. When Nicklaus struggled, invariably it was an alignment issue (shoulders closed).
His discussion of head position and steadiness is particularly interesting. The low right hand naturally causes a lean to the right at address, btw.
You’re on point with all observations, JJ.