Ben Hogan & Jack Nicklaus

Hogan-Nicklaus-at-Impact

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The thing I can’t understand is that in today’s game, with so much emphasis and talk of “biomechanics” and the golf swing, why aren’t people looking at Jack Nicklaus’ swing model?

You hear constant reference to the legendary Ben Hogan, with good reason, of course, but what about the swing that won over 70 PGA Tour events, including 18 majors, with an action that would be a biomechanics specialist’s dream?

I haven’t seen much talk about Nicklaus’ swing, in that no one seems to be saying much of what he did except to comment on the flying right elbow and the high left heel lift.

nicklaus pivot

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Well, if that’s all you’re going to take away from Nicklaus’ swing, then you aren’t taking anything from it.

Arnold Palmer was the big guy on the block when Jack hit the scene, and Arnie was a big hitter, but Nicklaus just blew it past him when they would play together.

I have said that Hogan had the best pivot I’ve ever seen in pro golf, and that’s talking about the mechanics.

Ben Hogan Swings

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Nicklaus had the most leveraged pivot I’ve seen, and it jumped out at me the minute I began to look closely at his swing.

So, what was it about the sandy-haired guy from Ohio that gave him such booming power?

Well, that’s just the thing.  It was in his mechanics, of course.  There is nothing magical about producing leverage in a golf swing, it just seems that way when someone does it very well and seems to be from another planet when they hit that ball.

Truth be told, anyone who performs the mechanics can do the same thing.

And what I’ve been seeing in studying the MCS “Ultimate Leverage” swing model is that it is certainly variable, once you build the basic address position.

The address position is the foundation of the swing, you see, and if anyone thinks they can swing any which way they please while standing any which way, then they are wrong.

In fact, most of the funky swings you will see out there are simply the end result of trying to make a leveraged and repeatable swing – while out of proper position at address.

Either that, or the inability to figure out or learn the proper mechanical action once one is in proper position.

jordan-spieth-driver-post-impact

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There are a million ways to swing a golf club, of course, and you can be a very good or even great player with a fundamentally-flawed swing (Jordan Spieth comes to mind) – but there are very few ways to do it with power and speed and precision and that won’t cause you physical injury in either the short or long-term.

That was always my goal – to drive the ball crazy distances, or to play golf, with a repeatable swing, you know, like a proper technique for pitching a baseball or shooting a basketball free-throw – every sport has standards of mechanical action for a particular motion or activity.

Even in playing piano or darts – there’s a “form” to be followed if one expects to be successful.  You can’t get away from it.

So, if you don’t think that the address position (and everything that involves, from grip to the way you position your feet relative to the target line) is important the most crucial part of the actual swing, that may be why you’re struggling to build a proper swing.

It doesn’t matter how fancy the mansion – if the foundation is unstable, I’m not setting foot in it.

tiger-extend

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It doesn’t matter how gifted an athlete and golfer Tiger Woods has been – he’s been swinging with major swing flaws his entire life, and now the piper wants to be paid.

All the money and majors and tournament wins in the world won’t put Tiger’s body back together, and he’s now finding out that he can’t “will” himself to win anymore.

tiger-woods-acl-reconstructive-surgery

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The major he won on a broken leg back in ’08?  I wish I still had the blog posting from back then when I congratulated him and wondered if he hadn’t cost himself future majors doing such a foolhardy thing.

You only have one body – and how you treat it will matter as you get older, something Tiger obviously either didn’t realize, didn’t contemplate much or simply didn’t care…

So think about this: Jack Nicklaus in his mid-70’s and Arnie in his mid-80’s – they’re still able to swing a golf club!

And so could Hogan, into his 80’s, and Sam Snead was starting the Masters in his 80s before Arnie was…

Why is that, you wonder?

The answer is simple – they had very mechanically-sound swings that, even if they had flaws, were not flaws that placed so much stress on the body that it broke down.

Sure, Nicklaus had some hip issues later in his career, and I’d wager it had something to do with his footwork in earlier years (which he fixed, but likely too late to stop the damage already incurred), but he won a major at the age of 46…

And I’ve come to see, now that I’m looking at what Nicklaus did with his pivot to produce leverage, that there are only two people I need to talk about when discussing the MCS “Ultimate Leverage” golf swing model:

Ben Hogan & Jack Nicklaus

Hogan-Nicklaus-at-Impact

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I already have written that Jack Nicklaus’ face-on address position in the 60’s (at least at one point) was 100% in agreement with the UMCS address position, and 95% in agreement when viewed dtl.

Ben Hogan is on the flip-side – he’s about 100% in agreement with UMCS viewed down the line, and about 95% when viewed face-on.

But it’s not just those two – the greatest swingers in PGA Tour history, whether you want to look at Sam Snead or Byron Nelson, Bobby Jones, Billy Casper, and on and on – they all had the same address position when you look at fundamental criteria.

You’ll find the same characteristics in the address positions of the modern age’s “classic” swingers – those who swing most like the players of the classic swing age whom I’ve just named.

Those swingers would be Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Bubba Watson – and notice how these three guys can hit it long, and are aging much better than the planted-heel swingers are?

Bubba Watson

Bubba

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Phil has won a major  in his 40’s, as has Vijay, and Bubba could win the Masters when he’s 50, let alone when he turns 40 in a couple of years.

phil-mickelson

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Classic swingers are ageless for a reason – they don’t tear up their bodies with swings that have major mechanical flaws, the way Tiger had, and the way all the young guns today are constantly coming down with back, knee and neck ailments.

vijay

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You won’t eliminate the risk of injury with a mechanically-sound swing, but you sure won’t have to worry about hurting yourself with every swing you take.

So, going forward, to avoid confusion and to show how standard a mechanically-sound golf swing is, I’ll mention other great swingers in passing, but the MCS “Ultimate Leverage” swing model can be clearly explained by looking at only two swingers – Hogan and Nicklaus.

Everything in the MCS swing model can be found in either of their swings, and aside from the fact that Nicklaus stood parallel to the target line and Hogan had anti-hook moves built into his awesome address position and pivot once in motion – everything in MCS is also in their swings.