Friday, 21 September 2018

Solutions to Lengthen the Flat Spot. Part 2. Controlling Up and Down Movements: Knees and Elbows.

There is no stabilization of the flat spot without neutralizing the impact of the changes in the body planes during the golf swing motion. These changes are inevitable taking into account the way humans are built. The most dreaded are the movements up and down of the body and arms. The flexion and extension movements in knees and elbows (up and down in golf so to speak) seem to be of critical importance, however, the spine side movements cannot be underestimated. Ideally, the setup position should match exactly the impact position but in theory only. Last but not least, the inventor of the flat spot concept, Mr. Phil Rodgers, wanted us to limit the up and down movements in the knee joints while not letting them to flex too much so that the spot was as long as possible in the impact zone.

Let us see what joints are the most vulnerable (red) for transverse plane movements from the ground up -- knee joints and elbow joints (for golfers practically only rear elbow joint as the lead one is not supposed to be in a flexion). Stabilizing their flexion/extension movements during the motion is of critical importance. As shown on this beautiful image of Ben Hogan from his 5L book, there are also joints of secondary importance in this matter (orange), such as ankle, hip and shoulder joints. What is great, it is easy to take control on these joints while we work on knee and elbow ones.

We have discovered, among others thanks to Abe Mitchell's wonderful work, albeit he did not say it so explicite, that one can easily control the flexion and extension via presetting torques in joints (external or internal rotation in both knee and rear elbow joints). As you might remember from our previous articles, we used to preset the rear knee joint in the process of taking the correct stance as well as rear elbow joint in the process of forming the Bio-K grip. We need now to neutralize the flexion/extension movements in both knees. Mitchell discovered that the most positive impact for him had been achieved via winding the muscles of thighs and and forearms forward (as shown on this picture taken from Abe's great book titled "Down To Scratch" below) which would make both knee and elbow joints immune to uncontrolled flexion or extension action there. 

Now a word on the stance -- since the winding is forward it is recommended to make a small but important adjustment in the diagonal stance. We recommend to close the torso and shoulder girdle in relation to the target line a bit which is very compatible to the process of creating some additional amount of axis tilt. By the way, we discovered a great method to do it (especially easy for RED golfers as they usually see their nose contour when looking at the target from an angle), namely, we use the contour of our nose to cover completely the pin (or the place we want our ball to land). Thus, a bit open shoulders after winding become a bit closed (less for short clubs, quite a lot with the driver) as we subconsciously move our shoulder girdle with the head while looking at the target. With the exaggerated axist tilt the rear elbow remains in flexion beautifully.
Finally, a word about the trigger compression method. Because of the winding the shift onto the rear side has to be exaggerated a little. The best results we obtained with mixing Mac O'Grady's one with linear shift back.Also pretty good method is what we can observe in Byron Nelson's swing, i.e. rear knee on its bouncing reverse way sort of pulling the rear hip back.
One might ask what is the difference between this setup and the setup we used to do aiming at maximizing sequentiality of the motion via the SPC concept. In fact, not huge at all. The only one serious difference is the opposite orientation of the rear knee joint preset due to winding the muscles forward. The rear elbow joint is exactly preset the way we recommend several years earlier. Take a look at this two photos:

Mind you, we are dealing with swing model for seniors, therefore, we would need to enhance the rotation forward of the whole body. Besides, winding rear thigh muscles forward also has an effect similar to presetting the rear knee joint (knee goes slightly inward with this manouver), albeit not so strong to be able to evoke a sort of self-induced countertorque as in case of the SPC oncept way of presetting it. Nevertheless, seniors must take into account ageing of their joints and bones and avoid hypertorques if they want to enjoy golf as long as possible. The most enjoyable info is that some automatism can be also introduced here despite lack of stretching human body's abilities to the limits.