Wednesday, 9 March 2016

A Word on Mac O'Grady

I am not personally very far from thinking that Mac O'Grady might be the best current researcher in the area of the golf swing motion, despite I never attend any of his clinics or never was in his close circles. My limited knowledge on his researches is being based on what may be found in the internet. Many smart and important people in golf consider him a guru and create sort of a cult status which is hard to deny taking into account O'Grady's indrawn and distrustful chartacter that many people, who were close to him, describe. His opinion that TGM is tragically flawed while concentrating mainly on studying anatomy surely helps me trust that his researches make some serious sense (remember -- geometry is just a servant to anatomy and physics, never vice versa). Somewhen in the middle of my researches, several years ago, I even wrote a mail to him so that he could discuss and criticize my work-- no odd I received no answer so far. In fact, I do not even know if he read my letter at all. Whatever...

As a keen observer of every great swing motion from the past, I also directed my eyes to Mac's swing some time ago. Perhaps both my readers as well as the very subject find it strange -- I pay my close attention to very few elements of his motion and never treat it holistically, so to speak. His swing played a role in my articles dedicated to the importance of the diagonal stance, low swing plane, toes action  and, foremost, the presetting of the protraction and depression in 'The Arms Situation' episode. Nevertheless, there are few elements in his swing that I do not like at all, however, it is not the right moment to speak about it.  He wanted the full swing motion to be 80% of Snead and 20% of Hogan but without saying openly what exactly does it mean in detail. I prefer to find common denominators in these motions (which might be regarded easily as the two best ever ones) instead looking for differences, but most probably O'Grady and I use different methodology or even have different goals for our work.

What exactly is the point I would like to touch in this article then ? The special trigger compression that rocks the whole motion more in the transverse plane instead in the sagittal and coronal ones only and that is very compatibile to famous O'Grady's obsession of the binocular vision importance. I personally applaud this obsession very much and am astonished that this aspect is being touched very seldom in relation to golf and one can feel it is underestimated or often ignored (similarily, in fact, to the eye dominance issues). I run lots of researches on eye dominance before and I am quite positive it is a vital aspect of the game that may be crucial for our game progress -- there are no obstacles in my mind to believe that caring about the depth of vision (that binocular vision contributes to) is also of some significant importance, primarily for weekend players.

As I read somewhere in the net, O'Grady calls his trigger compression "the bunny hop" which sort of underlines the action taking place in the transverse plane. In reality, it occurs in all three planes, however, in the view of the fact that all other trigger compression types do not include practically any transverse plane movements, it is practically simply unique. As you can see from three different angles, Mac triggers the motion via pushing the center of mass mainly into the ground but also slightly forward and targetwise and letting it rebound while creatiing a slight delay for the rest of the body -- the similarity to the classic trigger compression phase that happens only in two planes is obvious here. The difference -- and, simultaneously, the difficulty -- is that there is no possibility of benefitting from natural limitations of joints in legs compared to e.g. Snead or Hogan type trigger and, therefore, it should be run via the pelvic area, (the second rebound subphase, at least). The rear hip gaining momentum and tilting the pelvis anteriorily creating more lumbar spine extension (more lordosis) appears to be a very good method although full unconscious automatism is lacking.

The advantages of this type of trigger compression cannot be underestimated though. First, it enhances the proper weight shift during the backswing to the rear which is extremely useful for people who leave too much weight on the lead side without loading properly the rear one or transfer the weight to the lead side too early. Secondly, starting the movement in the transverse plane engages moving in this plane during the whole swing; it is very useful for those who have problems with executting the squatting element in the downswing and, consequently, benefitting from the parametric acceleration phenomenon not only through the lead shoulder joint moving up. Last but not least, this type of trigger -- since the turning element in the sagittal plane is minimized -- does not enhance any part of the body (including the head as well) to rotate excessively and, consequently, helps even a heavily LED person to keep both eyes on the ball all the motion despite the initial hear turn -- just as the great Jack Nicklaus (a heavily LED player) did during his famous 1986 win at Augusta which reminds me somehow of "the bunny hop"...and it is definitely worth watching over and over.