Thursday, 29 November 2012

Mr.Hogan's Contribution to the Idea of Automating the Motion


I daresay that the words 'automatic' or 'automatically' are key words for the whole book. These notions were used 12 times in the most famous book in the history of golf instruction titled "Ben Hogan's Five Lessons. The Modern Fundamentals of Golf". Let us have a closer look into this topic and validate the point that Ben Hogan wanted as large automatism as possible in the motion and he believed that crucial positions or movements are to be achieved automatically.






If one asks for the most concise summary, the book's content may be shortened to the following main points:
- stance governs automatically correct pelvic motion;
- pelvic motion governs automatically shoulders motion;
- shoulder motion governs automatically arms and hands that do nothing (active, conscious) in the swing provided one has a correct grip;
- provided the backswing is done correctly the downswing is a chain of unintentional biophysical events following each other automatically because there are no other options left.
Not by coincidence, the last sentence is the essence of the theory of natural limitations in the hard structure of human organism and, consequently, a firm motto of the Biokinetic Golf Swing Theory.


THE CORRECT STANCE ACTS AS A PERFECT AUTOMATIC GOVERNOR ON THE AMOUNT OF HIP TURN THE GOLFER CAN TAKE (AND SHOULD TAKE) ON THE BACKSWING. (p. 43 of the book)



We do not need to mention that, according to the SPC concept and the Diagonal Stance idea (especially rear leg ankle and knee joints presets), a golfer can position his joints during setup the way they cause an automatic transition from the ground up. Hogan underlines here especially how to achieve automatically a correct hip turn followed by unintentional using of the tension between hips and shoulders area.



The downswing, you see, is initiated by turning the hips back to the left. When you have this stored-up tension in the muscles between the hips and the shoulders (and in the muscles of the thighs that work with the hips), you have something with which you can begin the downswing. (This tension will, in fact, automatically help to pull you down into the ball.) As the hips turn back to the left, this turning motion increases their tension. IT IS THIS INCREASED TENSION THAT UNWINDS THE UPPER PART OF THE BODY. IT UNWINDS THE SHOULDERS, THE ARMS AND THE HANDS IN THAT ORDER, THE CORRECT ORDER. IT HELPS THE SWING SO MUCH IT MAKES IT ALMOST AUTOMATIC. (p. 71 of the book)


The turning of the hips inaugurates the downswing. This movement of the hips automatically lowers the arms and hands to a position just above hip level. (p. 94 of the book)

It would be tough to find a better concise prayer for sequentiality of the motion both from the ground up as well as from the core out. 

The last paragraph, however, strikes even more important aspect, namely, lack of conscious actions and using a subconscious-friendly unintentional motion where there is no place for independent arm or hands activities. Properly built grip and a great body action is enough. 



THE ACTION OF THE ARMS IS MOTIVATED BY THE MOVEMENTS OF THE BODY, AND THE HANDS CONSCIOUSLY DO NOTHING BUT MAINTAIN A FIRM GRIP ON THE CLUB. (p. 82 of the book)




Finally, Mr.Hogan underlines that the timing factor is being considerably reduced provided the automatism is being brought into the swing and forms the chain of subconscious-friendly physical events -- what is, not coincidentally, our main goal in our biokinetic golf swing theory.




The golf swing we have presented in this series is the essential golf swing, stripped down to its authentic fundamentals. They are all the golfer needs in order to develop a correct, powerful swing that will repeat. If he learns to execute these fundamental movements—and there is no movement in this swing which a man or woman of average coordination cannot perform—he will continue to become a more and more skillful player. He will not have to worry constantly about his timing, for example, as does the player who thinks he can construct a swing on hand action and who, since this is impossible, is doomed to be erratic. The golfer whose swing is founded on chain action cannot help but have timing. The swing is already timed for him. The chain action itself is the timing. (p. 122/123 of the book)



It is a marvellously great thing to find out that the best ballstriker that ever lived and the biggest authority in golf until now sought for and found somehow the same goals as the author of this site. Thank you, Mr.Hogan, for a continuous inspiration.




Saturday, 3 November 2012

Laterality. Part 2.


Let us continue with the analysis and let us suggest some good solutions. We know that the best scenario is being a LED, LHD and RLD person. Let us start with eye dominance issue here.


Lee Trevino, one of the best ballstrikers that ever lived, appears to be a RED person. With his famous three steps forward setup procedure he moves targetwise the whole body alignment making the room for his rear eye's vision while being able to achieve a full shoulder turn.


Of course, such a manouver must open the stance which Trevino was known for. The trick is not to open the below-knees section as well as keep the upper body closed in relation to hips, exactly as in case of the diagonal stance. Trevino was famous for his consistency but he himself admitted his golf was not universally good for all courses and we dare to say it was because of total lack of diagonality in his stance.

We had spoken about this before in one or two of our articles that RED persons should setup with the rear eye just behind the ball which means the ball position is effectively being moved antitargetwise. No change to the diagonal stance as the very concept, just the ball position is different:




Another solution, suggested by a famous Australian tour player Bradley Hughes, is to limit the rear hip movement during the backswing that enabled him to have a lot of upper body turn against that resistance. We know very well how to do it through both rear foot position as well as rear leg joints preset from the ground up.

All the above is much more natural thing than trying to implement a LED person's head movement by force to a RED one, such as e.g. on a famous short film where Sam Snead (who obviously was a LED person himself) tries to help a RED golfer achieving fuller shoulder turn during the backswing and, simultaneously, implementing a very unconscious-friendly timing-inducing move.

Last but not least -- the backswing a'la Stack&Tilt with the body leaning stacked over the ball during the backswing stage is a good solution with similar effect to Trevino's procedure (brings rear eye onto the ball) but deprives the motion with the help of the rear side of the body in automating process of the whole motion. Thus, we do not recommend it as the best solution for offsetting disadvantages of the rear eye dominance in golf.



The next one is handedness and how to offset the disadvantages of being a RHD person. Obviously it can be achieved through tiresome practice aimed at training non-dominant lead arm and, therefore, achieving more ambidextricity or through anti-subconscious-friendly and timing-inducing intentions aimed at using one's lead arm as a motor of the downswing action, often leading to handle dragging and all faults it might cause.

Many people are not aware that with a good pivot and proper sequentiality of the motion it is almost impossible to deliver lead wrist in a dorsi flexed position to the contact with the ball. It does not require any training of the wrists or hands. It is of no special importance if lead wrist starts to flex after contact even still in the impact zone provided the contact was superb. It is even natural to let wrist react this way. The problem does not affect LHD golfers at all while RHD golfers are prone to lead wrist flexing earlier. We suggest to not deal with this aspect if there is no special necessity. It there is some -- start with working out a good pivot and sequentiality through optimizing stance and adopting trigger compression. The desired consequence is described by the SPC concept.

RHD golfers are also prone to OTT motion since a premature attempts to power the motion via rear arm will always naturally steepen the plane. As explained in the 'OTT from Inside' section, nothing to worry about. Just one needs to adopt this motion. That is why the role of such elements as diagonal stance, biokinetical grip or sequentiality of the motion from the ground up cannot be overestimated. They mechanically promote shallowing the shaft despite the hands downswing plane goes over their backswing plane and, therefore, help to create proper conditions. It is much better than to try to implement anti-subconscious-friendly actions by force and wasting time. We can see how it looks on my own example:



Lastly, the footedness. Here the case is the least difficult since in golf legs are not a precision instruments as e.g. in soccer. They should create the base for the motion as well as ensure a proper guidance for the upper parts of the body from pelvis up. There is a subtle difference though between LLD and RLD golfers. The first will tend to have their lead legs take the whole work during the motion (remember the 'bouncing' leg ?). LLD golfers are prone to leave too much dynamic weight on their lead leg during the backswing as well as to get rid of their rear leg help prematurely during the downswing reducing the possibility of using ground forces in the optimal way. Learning how to set the rear foot and how to preset ankle and knee joints is crucial here. LLD golfers should benefit from leaving a bit more room in both joints so that there is more external rotation allowed in all joints, hip one included. Rear femur there goes into a position that promotes squatting which, in consequence, enhances using rear leg leverage unintentionally and makes it tougher to shift the weight totally onto the lead leg prematurely. Moreover, it will additionally help to increase distances, just as the best long hitters, such as Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus did:      



 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Laterality. Part 1.



The title of the thread is a very basic one and refers to preferences people show for one side of their body over the other. I have been dealing with some aspects of it, such as eye dominance during my studies on biokinetics and I share the opinion of some experts that it is a very underrated aspect. I claim that cross dominance (not only in eyedness) gives an advantage to a golfer.

Macroscale researches should not deal with individual cases (as Hogan wisely resumed once: "no matter how people may differ anatomically, the mechanics are the same, assuming no physical deformity"), however, if one of the main goals is to use only subcionscious-friendly motions we need to adapt them to our own type. If we pay attention only to three main areas, i.e. eyedness, handedness and footedness, golfers can be divided into the following ones:
1. rear side dominant -- rear eye (RED), rear hand (RHD) and rear leg (RLD), which is the most common scenario;
2. all cross dominant -- lead eye (LED), lead hand (LHD) and rear leg (LLD), which is rare;
3. combinations of the above -- e.g. RED and RHD but LLD, which happens relatively commonly in case of having a cross dominant leg while having parallel dominance of eye and hand;
4. total ambidexterity -- extremely rare.


It is worth noting that as regards leg dominance, I think this is not as easy a subject as in case of arms or eyes. I have assumed that in golf, it is much more important to determine which leg is being used to jump while running so that one can jump as high or as long as one can. In light athletic it is called "jumping leg" or "bouncing leg" issue (sorry for a possibly inadequate translation from Polish to English), because one of the major components of golf swing motion kinetics is transverse plane commpression and expansion -- in short, creating power from squatting and extending legs.
Thus, I would recommend determining the "jumping/bouncing leg" experimentarily, i.e. while attempting to jump as powerfully as possible leaving the choice to one's subconscious mind. I have no experience in skateboarding at all but I guess it can be used as well as long jump in light athletic.
In order to make the golf swing instruction serve better for golfers, we would need some researches how to react to a given human type described above. For instance, forcing a RED player to keep the whole head behind the ball or forcing a LLD person to use rear leg more (instead leaving it to subconscious mind) can bring more harm than good. Moreover, terms like swingers and hitters, that describe golf swing in a very misty and unfocused way) should be replaced by these types of letters which describe reality much more precisely.


Let's try in practice on my own example. I am a heavily RED and RHD person and not RLD but LLD person. 
Some experts claim that being a RED & RHD & LLD is a more common pattern than all rear dominance (vide long and high jumpers in light athletics), but let's not deal with it now. What are the conclusions for my motions then ?
- being a RED person, e.g. I am naturally inclined to focus my rear eye on the ball the whole swing, which makes me unable to turn so much effectively during the backswing as well as makes me shift my head oin the sagittal plane more than optimally; moreover, being LED you're always bound for peripheral vision in the downswing. Being RED not necessarily, if you are forced to leave your dominant eye from looking at the ball at any moment of the motion.
- being a RHD person, e.g. I am naturally inclined to power the swing with my rear arm and hand which favours slap-hinge release type as well as makes the OTT motion a very required one;
- being a LLD person, e.g. I am naturally inclined to load the motion on my lead leg and it is hard for me both to sway away (which is good) as well as to use rear leg power after transition longer (that's not so good). It is worth noting that, unfortunately, being a RED person brings practically all bad things in view of kinetics -- and I do not have on mind head turn as they both performed. As I mentioned earlier, problems of a RED golfer begin with inability to make the optimal body turn during the backswing; moreover, either one is willing to accept it or still forcing it and swaying the head and upper body in consequence.
The downswing that consists of delivering the dominant eye on the ball (or better said, slightly behind) causes the head and upper body sway more than needed not letting the parametric acceleration work as efficiently as in case of LED person (early release, losing angles prematurely). When I try to swing more like Snead and not post-secret Hogan with rear foot much more flared out I am reaching the rear hip biolimit very late, too late for my rear eye; thus, either i need to sway my head and upper body antitargetwise or need losing rear eye vision. Both are creating problems, but definitely it is harder to me to swing well without my rear eye on the ball the whole swing.
As regards the downswing, if I let my head + upper body sway during the backswing, it is inevitable that both must sway more in the downswing, especially aiming at delivering the dominant eye just behind the ball. Mac O'Grady, whom I heard is a big proponent of using peripheral vision allows the head sway targetwise in the downswing but does not mention that RED player's backswing can contribute to a too excessive one. Last but not least -- if one's upper body sways excessively it is not possible for our subconscious mind to create enough big secondary (downswing) axis tilt and, in consequence, we cannot use as much parametric acceleration (for simple image using lead shoulder moving up and back) and we are losing leverages sooner than needed, creating an image of a powerless older man hacking at the ball.

Now, since I never put any special attention to the division into hitters and swingers before because it was usually a very feel-oriented issue, thus not objective one, I am as close to discuss it when talking about RHD and LHD golfers. Who feels to be a hitter and who a swinger ? The easiest common sense explanation is that RHD golfer wants to hit the ball with his dominant rear hand (tennis forehand) while LHD golfer wants to use lead hand as one-hand backswing in tennis and slide the clubhead this way taking the ball from its way.
Is my logics good or not ? If yes, we will be able next to see if dangers for hitters/swingers are tha same for RHD/LHD players and help all golfers who:
- either are forced against nature to use non-dominant arm with all consequences;
- or diminish negative issues of using rear/lead dominant hand in context of the overall motion.
We shall leave answering that question to microscale specialists. The conclusion is, however, that the best is if nature equipped us with the best combo which is being LED, LHD and RHD person.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Common Denominators for the Best Ballstrikers in the History of the Game. Part 3.


Let's continue our travel -- lastly, we mentioned about a correct sequentiality in the sagittal plane resulting in having great pivot ensuring great sequentiality from the ground up which means that hips are more open at impact than torso and torso than shoulder girdle. When we look at this scenario from the eye on the coronal plane (best observed from DTL view) we shall immediately notice that the so called tush line is being beautifully maintained and there is no sign of early extention of the lumbar part of the spine called informally "goat humping" -- which is another common denominator of the greatest ballstrikers in the history.


The coronal plane balance is being achieved and maintained throughout the swing (with a vivid help from what happens below pelvis which we shall talk about next). As we said before, the coronal plane balance is being achieved and maintained throughout the swing. Mind you, it is not just balance (even a goat humper can learn to maintain 'artificial' balance) It cannot be done without properly directed work of the under-pelvic section of the body...and this, in consequence, cannot be done without proper transverse plane compression/expansion, other words without effective use of ground forces. This is another common denominator of the greatest ballstrikers. Note that this goes exactly in feedback with the last one, i.e. with maintaining the tush line and overall great coronal plane balance.


Of course we should mention here maintaining balance in the sagittal plane, but it is not so much important taking into account that regulating the width and diagonality of stance settles the issue almost completely (almost -- because without proper weight shift for a biped it would be tough to do).


Reasumming, the most obvious and visible common denominators of the best ballstrikers are as follows (in order of no importance):

-- as small as possible rate of clubface closure in the wide impact zone;
-- pivot guided motion from both the ground up as well as from the core out without stalling of the pivot in the wide impact zone;
-- plane shift to the elbow plane as early as possible resulting in rear humerus being supported by the pivoting body and rear forearm supporting the shaft;
-- balance in the coronal plane maintained without a sign of early extension;
-- transverse plane compression after transition with a muscular effort to use ground forces (both vertically as well as horizontally oriented) as well as possible.

Now is the time to think about finding causality between given denominators and put them in the correct order. Unfortunately, it won't be so easy a task because of lack of direct and full automating processes in a motion of a living organism. However, the causality is noticeable enough both from anatomic as well as physical part so that nothing can stop us from formulating the following 'cascade of biophysical events'.


Let's revert again to the above list of denominators and try to put them in a queue:

(1) -- pivot guided motion from both the ground up as well as from the core out without stalling of the pivot in the wide impact zone

(2) -- balance in the coronal plane maintained without a sign of early extension

(3) -- transverse plane compression after transition with a muscular effort to use ground forces (both vertically as well as horizontally oriented) as well as possible

(4) -- plane shift to the elbow plane as early as possible resulting in rear humerus being supported by the pivoting body and rear forearm supporting the shaft

(5) -- as small as possible rate of clubface closure in the wide impact zone.


The pieces liniking these elements -- includig the initial key of building great fundamentals -- are real keys to build a repeatable and consistent motion for everyone in his/her class. Other words, if someone knows how to obtain all these elements and know how to create a possibility to one's subconscious mind to act the desired way because there are no other options left with a subconscious-friendly motions -- he/she will be an outstanding ballstriker in one's class.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Common Denominators for the Best Ballstrikers in the History of the Game. Part 2.



The so-called rate of clubface closure in the impact zone is one of the most prominent physical phenomena characterizing consistent and great ballstrikers.

According to the most logical classification (based somehow on Henry Cotton's three releases) clubhead can change its orientation vertically or horizontally or it can do both in the impact zone. Of course, it can stay square to both axes through the zone which would be a theoretical ideal. Horizontal change of clubhead orientation means it goes rapidly from open to closed position without any loft change while vertical change of orientation would mean it remains square to the clubhead path arc but its loft angle rapidly increases. Both scenarios are possible because of RoM in the arms and wrists joints.


The release, which we can describe as peaking the clubhead velocity accompanied by somehow rapid closing of the clubface, is nothing more nothing less a simple physical phenomenon that must occur because of both anatomy and physics. Anatomy factors are RoM of certain movements of certain body parts big enough to let it happen. If we think of a theoretical biomechanical construct that implies that arms cannot supinate/pronate and wrists cannot deviate/flex which would be equal to a frozen stiff rod holding another rod on a frozen angle there will be no release in a traditional sense. Most probably torques and inertia would cause the shaft break but it is of no interest to us to analyze this example further.

Another very crucial anatomical phenomenon is that both shoulder as well as elbow joints have limited RoM and cannot move freely in all directions. The implication of this fact is inability to perform a full swing without pronation and supination of arms (which, BTW is responsible for creating torques in limbs and in shaft itself). This is particularily responsible for existencxe of the so-called swivel (that can happen early or late, i.e. affecting the rate of clubhead closure vividly).

From the physical point of view, release must happen because of, saying generally, sequentiality of the motion both from the ground up as well as from the core out. The most distal parts of the system accelerate with a delay both in relation to lower part of the body as well as in relation to the core (axis) of body rotation. What's delayed tends to "catch up" the parts that are already in movement, therefore, the acceleration is of bigger value. Moreover, torques created in the backswing part must be released per se which happens in the downswing part of the swing. Lastly, such factors as e.g. gravity or the fact that the axis of the CoG of the very golf club are not in-line with the shaft also help to make the release an inevitable phenomenon.

Of course, common denominator of the best ballstrikers' release is ability to create biophysical scenarios for release that cause the rate of closure in the impact zone as small as possible which would be exactly equal to the notion of limiting the impact of horizontal change of orientation of the clubhead in the impact zone. Talking in layman terms, noone of all listed players used a crossover release. As said before, getting rid of the most timing-demanding thing that relies on a high rate of closure. As we can easily see while analyzing wide impact zones of the listed people we can see a very stable clubface moving squarely to the arc in 3-D. Of course some of them let the clubface change the orientation vertically -- from slap-hinge releasers of old hickory times (Vardon, Mehlhorn, partially Jones) till Westwood of today -- but this does not affect the rate of closure.


When human arm is bent in elbow (elbow joint in flexion) the forearm can rotate roughly 180 degrees with a fixed point of the elbow, i.e. without the necessity of engaging shoulder joint and humerus rotation. However, a straight arm in elbow can rotate almost 300 degrees (thus, the shoulder joint and humerus rotation adds more than 90 degrees), which is a huge difference, especially, when we think that the clubhead can be rotated the same huge amount. A lot of efforts can be done to limit the overall rotation but noone is that effective (and sometimes even on a subconscious level) as avoiding straightening of arms. Westwood is the best example how it acts in case of the lead arm. But much better results one can achieve while preventing the rear arm from straightening and this is another common denominator of the best ballstrikers. Bent rear arm delivered at impact.What is even more important, having a bent rear arm at impact has much more great implications for the overall motion and is exactly compatibile with other common denominators.


Last but not least, as already mentioned, nature made the elbow joint the way it cannot move in all possible directions because it would be too weak to support a lot of physical activities correctly; therefore, hard structure needs additional motions of forearm to adjust the lack of RoM in the elbow joint to allow some physical actions to be achievable. One of this motion is pronation/supination of the forearm (turning the forearm axially without necessity of moving the elbow joint in space). Physics of golf swing must include pronation/supination (and bending the rear elbow as well, BTW) because otherwise one couldn't make a full swing.
Now, when rear forearm pronates (during downswing) it affect simultaneously the shaft and the clubface. It is much easier to control the clubface when shaft is aligned parallelly - or better said - is a parallel extension of pronating body part. Any angle between it (i.e. when shaft is not parallel) forces an additional action of wrist to adjust to impact.

Probably this is one of main reasons why the most consistent ballstrikers were elbow planers with their rear forearm supporting the shaft and rear humerus tight to the body. Other reason was that their pivot was great enough to let the above occur. It requires the rear elbow joint be on the rear hip at impact. The more the elbow goes in front of the body the worse for the whole motion. People often say "stuck" incorrectly. The rule of thumb is -- the stronger the pivot is the more open is main body at impact (hips more, shoulder girldle less of course due to sequentiality) and the more is the lead arm pinned accross the chest while the rear elbow close to the rear hip.


Now we are coming at defining another very crucial common denominator of the best ballstriker -- great pivot ensuring great sequentiality from the ground up. It means that hips are more open at impact than torso and torso than shoulder girdle. The last is open a tad in relation to the baseline. All distortions as e.g. very open hips with closed shoulders or hips open very little at impact result usually with thowing the rear elbow too much to the front and straightening the rear arm too much before entering the impact zone which is equal to losing control of the torques and often ending with a dreaded crossover release -- the last thing a good ballstriker needs.











Saturday, 1 September 2012

Common Denominators for the Best Ballstrikers in the History of the Game. Part 1.


It's high time to start the discussion about common denominators of the greatest ballstrikers that ever lived and see what really matters in the game of golf from the scientific point of view. Anatomy, physics and geometry (exactly in this order of importance) will be taken into account only. Prior to it, however, we need to choose a method to do so. I am of the opinion that the most important factor that must be taken into account is anatomy of a human since the objects of the study are humans that are limited within their bodies anatomical capabilities. Next we would need instruments of basic Newtonian physics to depict reality everyone is committed to move within. Lastly, geometry would be an useful additional measure to find some interactions.

I would argue that the simplest and most effective method of finding common denominators is analyzing the motion step by step in all three main anatomical planes of a human body:






A slight difficulty can be found when trying to determine which of the three planes deserve to be analyzed as first but, after a deeper thought on the subject, I came into conclusion that in fact it does not matter since it is simply impossible to izolate implications, i.e. what would be observed as deserved in one plane would affect what happens in the other two and vice versa.



While thinking about who of the golfers should be honoured to be chosen to the group that will be analyzed the criterium that appears to be the most reasonable is taking into account and benefitting from overall opinions of knowledgeable people (mostly their tour companions but also analysts using modern equipment as in case of today's players) that labelled the players on the list as ones of the very top ballstrikers in the history of game. And, let's name the most prominent names in a sort of chronological order:

- Harry Vardon
- "Wild" Bill Mehlhorn
- Bobby Jones
- Byron Nelson
- Sam Snead
- Ben Hogan
- George Knudson
- Moe Norman
- Lee Trevino
- Mac O'Grady
- Nick Price

and today's:

- Jim Furyk
- Sergio Garcia
- Joe Durant
- Lee Westwood

and finally a lady:

- Mickey Wright


We shall name the common denominators as well as discuss some aspects of them in the next part.






Sunday, 1 July 2012

Balance in the Coronal Plane. Part 2.

Considering the fact golfer is forced to have a bent posture, proper counterbalancing in the coronal plane is crucial. The most difficult a task is to countebalance human head that is not only a relatively heavy and big organ but also it has quite not small range of motions independent on main body movement. The fact that our receptors like cerebellum, eyes or (inner) ears are located there does not ease the task at all.

In order to ensure the best scenario for maintaining the coronal plane balance we need to take into account such subconscious-friendly measures as diagonal stance. However, we can go one step further in making the whole issue even easier - we must find the way the head moves simultaneously with the rest of the body and get rid of any independent movements that would make impossible to react to couterbalance in such rapid a motion as golf swing is. We all know a famous false myth of stationary head. Golfers trying to achieve it make a lot of goofy efforts making it impossible to let the head move naturally.

Nature brings best solutions, as usually. Head is linked to the rest of the body via cervical part of the spine that is being characterized by a relatively large movability that, in consequence, ensures head movements, such as flexion, extension, lateral bend or rotation.






The most natural and physic-friendly position (because of gravity) of the golfer's head is forward bending, i.e. cervical spine in flexion. Not coincidentally, it is also the best natural position of the head to work together with the rest of the body completelly naturally on the subconscious mind level. Of course we talk about a not forced flexion.






When watching the best ballstrikers in the history of golf hitting shots we seldom or even never pay attention to such details as cervical spine position. The truth is that some of these are very crucial for a much larger issue as e.g. overall balance. In this context, the second part of this vid is worth paying special attention to.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

From the Core out

Just as the motion happens from the ground up in the transverse plane, it also happens from the core out. Michael Hebron called the phenomenon "the inside moves the outside" very correctly as well. The motion of the distal parts of the body should be subdued to the core action so that one could reach repeatability and consistency.


Post-secret Hogan had the most efficient motion ever seen. Leading with the rear elbow is biokinetically the most efficient method of achieving the EEP (because it subdues the elbow joint to the body rotation as quick as possible without taking away the inertial power of both forearms). But the elbow does not continue to move forward to the front of the body while extending the arm and stalling the body rotation. Using TGM terms, it reminds pitch elbow procedure transforming into punch elbow position in the second part of the downswing.


What stalls is the joint exactly when the elbow plane is being achieved (very early) and put his rear forearm in line with lagged shaft. The stall (maybe is not the best word to describe the lack of further movement of the rear elbow joint but I cannot think about any better) is crucial. No independent arm motion in relation to the body rotation from that point. Perfect biokinetics. Imagine rear humerus being "tied" with the main body while the forearm supports the shaft. Nothing can be spoilt here.
Other mortals, who are not able to drive the rear elbow in so much a forward position so early simply are forced to move it somehow constantly and, therefore, are not blessed with such great body-arm-shaft synchro relationship. Nevertheless, it is still possible as we can see in Furyk's motion that everything happens also from the core out.









When we look through this prism to Hogan's teachings we will easily see how the above described concept is in line with his famous performance in Ed Sullivan's show. He wanted people to imagine that humera bones are glued to the sides of his main body up to elbow joints so that the only parts sticking out are forearms !







What is even more interesting, when Ben Hogan decided to reveal his secret to Ken Venturi (as we can learn from the BH Collection DVDs), he showed a similar thing, namely, rear arm's elbow pocket up at the middle of the downswing to lead arm's elbow pocket up in the follow through phase. One can achieve this goal practically only with both humera bones attached to the sides of main body - just as shown in his book:






Friday, 10 February 2012

Omne Trium Perfectum

"Omne trium perfectum" means that all things that come in threes are perfect - now also in the sense of golf biokinetics. Although big picture studies rarely deal with small movements of distal limbs joints such as wrists and they rather treat them as loose chains between two sticks of a nunchaku there are nonetheless important correlations that influence the chain of events and help in automating also in this area.






It is worth noting that the most usual movement of the wrist is one of dorsi flexion (extension) combined with radial deviation, and of palmar flexion combined with ulnar deviation. Pure palmar-dorsal flexion (flexion-extension) and radial-ulnar deviation are movements that rarely occur in a straight plane. It is like that because when we want to maximize ulnar deviation range we unintentionally bow the wrist which means we flex it palmarily; conversely, when we want to maximize radial deviation range our wrist becomes dorsally flexed. It should give us the picture that the axis of wrist deviation RoM is not parallel to pure deviation motions but is slanted from slight palmar flexion to slight dorsal flexion.



This phenomenon brings the third type of motion in force, namely, supination and pronation of the forearm. When we assume that full ulnar deviation must be accompanied by palmar flexion we have to observe that it must also be accompanied by slight supination of the forearm. There is no other choice. We can add that of course full radial deviation would not only require slight dorsal flexion but also slight pronation of the forearm. This is why motions in threes are so efficient in the wrist area.


Now the best part - the first three, i.e. ulnar deviation, palmar flexion and supination are gravity-friendly movements that happen unintentionally in the downswing phase. They are useful even more for a golfer that stands circa 90 degrees closed to the target because of supination movement that is quite normal because elbow joint has a limited RoM and it is not possible to avoid lead forearm pronation going back and, consequently, its supination going down.



Therefore, we not only should have no fear about controlling our wrists via any conscious actions or unnecessary training - nature cared sufficiently enough to join movements in pairs and sometimes, as in this example, also in threes to ease the kinetic goal.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Furyk's Case

There is one of the best ever pivot-driven action between the reaching of the EEP and late follow-through. The only one today that is in post-secret Hogan's league when talking about maintaining the clubface square to the swing arc the longest possible time in the motion.
Pay attention not only how his clubface remains square to the arc but how his rear humerus work parallely with his hard pivoting body. No strange Jim Furyk is being regarded as the most consistent ballstriker of our era even by Trackman specialists.

Click on a photo to enlarge it if necessary.




















It is a great action. It is worth adding again that Mother Nature made the elbow joint the way it cannot move in all possible directions because it would be too weak to support a lot of physical activities correctly; therefore, hard structure needs additional motions of forearm to adjust the lack of RoM in the elbow joint to allow some physical actions to be achievable. One of this motion is pronation/supination of the forearm (turning the forearm axially without necessity of moving the elbow joint in space). Physics of golf swing must include pronation/supination (and bending the rear elbow as well, BTW) because otherwise one couldn't make a full swing.
Now, when rear forearm pronates (during downswing) it affect simultaneously the shaft and the clubface. It is much easier to control the clubface when shaft is aligned parallelly - or better said - is a parallel extension of pronating body part. Any angle between it (i.e. when shaft is not parallel) forces an additional action of wrist to adjust to impact.
Probably this is one of main reasons why the most consistent ballstrikers were elbow planers with their rear forearm supporting the shaft and rear humerus tight to the body. Other reason was that their pivot was great enough to let the above occur. It requires the rear elbow joint be on the rear hip at impact. The more the elbow goes in front of the body the worse for the whole motion. People often say "stuck" incorrectly.The rule of thumb is -- the stronger the pivot is the more open is main body at impact (hips more, shoulder girldle less of course due to sequentiality) and the more is the lead arm pinned accross the chest while the rear elbow close to the rear hip.