My 2nd Divergence From Classic Orthodoxy On The Setup

It will be glaringly obvious what this particular heresy of mine is if my next foray to Tracer Golf proves me correct and I make a permanent setup change in this regard.

You see, there is something about conventional golf insisting upon a certain aspect of the setup that has just never sat well with me, but only in the years of my pursuit of Moe Norman (circa 2005-08) did I myself depart from conventional thought.

The rest of the time, I’ve studied the swings of the greats and over the years have built swing models with devotion to doing things exactly the way they did it, for no reason other than human beings are very cooperative by nature and tend to follow what others do that they think knowledgeable or good at something.

My issue with the Classic Golf Swing has never had anything to do with the principles that make it so – the golf swing is or should indeed be powered by the pivot action of the hips and legs – that is as immutable as the laws of physics, and anyone who strays from this orthodoxy and swings with any degree of force will sooner or later pay for it.

No, the issues I have with the convention of the CGS is in the setup, where I first mentioned my dissatisfaction with the weight distribution and bias of the actual setup.

This is due to having practiced and played in various sports since the age of six – beginning with European football (sorry, I watch the Premier League and can’t bring myself to call it “soccer”), progressing to softball/baseball, track & field, basketball, martial arts and finally golf.

You see, if you reach a certain level of proficiency in athletic pursuits, you get a very good feel for things that are proper and if something doesn’t feel quite right, it almost invariably is because it isn’t, and I’ve had this issue with the setup since I began my swing research back in ’05.

What is that issue, exactly?

To be brief, it’s the ball placement in relation to the swinger.¬† We all see that virtually every golfer, good or bad, has the ball setup where their club is pre-swing, like this:

The more daring swashbucklers will shock and amaze by straying slightly from this, say by having the ball nearer to the toe or heel of the club at address, leaving traumatized observers reaching for the smelling salts, and then you have Moe Norman:

… who said the easiest part of the back swing to mess up was the initial takeaway, so he just set up to the ball with the first 18″ or so of the back swing built into his address.

I’m not advocating this as orthodoxy, and it isn’t what I’m looking at changing in my first built from scratch golf swing model based upon athletic principles and nothing else, but this was unusual, was it not?

Hard to argue with Moe however, because there was only one person on this planet that Ben Hogan would watch hit balls, and that was Moe.

Also, check out this crew at a Canadian Open back in the 90’s:

Let me know the next time golf greats such as Fred Couples, Nick Price and Faldo stand around watching some guy hit golf balls – Moe was a machine and while his swing model was very short on power, it was likely the straightest and most accurate motion to ever put a golf ball in flight.

I have heard a lot of Moe stories, but this story came from Moe himself – I talk a good deal about Tom Watson relating tales of Byron Nelson hitting the flagstick at least twice a round on approaches when they played together – Moe once teed off in a minor tournament, hit the first three flagsticks and walked off the course.

“I couldn’t play any better than that,” he shrugged, “so I left.”

Before you jump to conclusions, this isn’t what I’m looking at doing – I’m simply saying to myself, “If I want a square face at impact and a pure strike on the sweet spot, no matter how fast I’m swinging, what is my stance and where would I place the ball?”

Because at this point, with everything I’ve done to model the golf swing, I’ve never dropped the orthodoxy of “ball at the club” and something about it has never felt right to my own athletic intuition.

Today, while working out the pivot and down swing, I think I discovered why, and how to rectify it.

To be sure, you can have a great golf swing with the ball where it has traditionally been placed, but if that’s where it’s supposed to be, why is everyone frozen over the ball, almost afraid to begin the back swing pivot?

Or has been at one point?

I think the answer is, “It’s not optimal.”

And that’s all I’m looking for.

I’ll let you all know what I find.

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