Saturday, June 6, 2009

How I developed a Taly Swing

Keep on getting PM's and e-mails ( on the Taly, how to use it, which one to use, etc. On Tuesday I was at the range after playing a round and an older gentleman saw me using the Taly and then taking it off and striping shot after shot. He asked me some things and talked about how he admired my ballstriking (not saying that I'm a great ballstriker by any means, but I was striking it well that day). We then talked about Moe Norman and Mike Austin and others, eventually he asked me about the Taly and I gave it my rave reviews and he said 'really? I've had that thing for 3 months and don't even use it. It doesn't even work.' Then I showed him how I use it, which is completely different from the way he uses it.

Eventually he watched me hit a few more golf balls and another person came along and watched me as well and the older gentleman says 'he's got something I lack, talent.' I then proceeded to tell him that talent wasn't necessarily the problem, it was 'lack of quality information.' Now, this person was probably pushing 70 years old and I don't expect him to play to scratch, but lack of quality information got him into the mess he's in today and ingrained a lot of bad habits, created a ton of confusion which led to frustration and now a 3 month old Taly that he doesn't use. With some quality info and practice, I believe he wouldn't go to scratch, but his improvements would amaze him.

First off, let me say that the swing instruction guides that Taly Williams uses are certainly valid, but the problem is that he's trying to create feels for people instead of letting the golfer create their own feels. So his feels may work for you, but may not work for your golfing buddy that you play skins games with on the weekends. Also, the Web site has 3 different Talys, but one of them (white) is priced $10 cheaper. Just get the white one. They are all the same exact thing, just the change in color. I have no idea why white is such a 'lesser' color and is $10 cheaper. But go to to place an order.


This to me is the crucial part of understanding how to use the Taly and I learned it from Lynn Blake's Web site straight from the man himself. Without this bit of info, the golfer is likely to get screwed up and not understand how to use the Taly properly. The first thing to do is to establish an address position with 'impact hands.' You basically move (or 'forward press') the hands forward until the clubshaft and the shaft on the Taly are parallel, FROM YOUR VANTAGE POINT, with each other. Here's a pic of 'impact hands' with the Taly device.

The Taly is strapped to my left arm and hangs down from there. The shaft on the Taly is now close to parallel with my clubshaft as I have moved the hands forward. The hands are now in a position that they would be at impact, thus 'impact hands.'


While the golfer wants 'impact hands', it's important to also have 'impact elbow.' Regardless of what the critics say about having the right forearm on plane at address or even at impact, any critic with any credibility will concur that the right elbow should still be slightly bent at impact. So, don't just move the hands forward until the two shafts are parallel with each other and create 'impact hands.' You need to make sure that you create impact hands while still having the right elbow bent.


IMO, it's very important to follow this curriculum because what we are trying to establish with the Taly is two things:

1) Proper Mechanics

2) A 'customized' feel for the golfer to use so they can repeate those Proper Mechanics over and over again.

You must follow it in that order. You cannot try to go with a feel first and hope that will give you the proper mechanics. To me, this is the most misunderstood concept of 'The Golfing Machine', even by many Authorized Instructors. The Golfing Machine is a FEEL ORIENTED book! Once I understood that all of the mechanical information and jargon was just Homer Kelley's way of getting the golfer to create their own customized, subjective feels, that's basically when my ballstriking and scores took off.

The problem with popular instruction is that a lot of it is 'here's a feel that you should try and this will put you in the proper mechanics.' Homer Kelley basically said 'here's the proper mechanics, when you execute them correctly how does that feel to YOU?'


With the Taly swing I developed, the main thing I've worked on is the clubhead lag and flat left wrist at impact. The Taly accomplishes this when the golfer keeps the clubhead trailing behind the red ball on the Taly. You can also use the Taly for the backswing plane and clubhead path, but since I barely have even used it for that, I wouldn't call it my 'Taly Swing.'

Basic Motion is a TGM term for taking a normal stance and then taking a stroke that goes 2 feet back and 2 feet through, about the same length as most chip shot swings.

The goal here isn't the ball flight or how the ball is struck, the goal is to have the proper mechanics which consist of keeping the red ball on the Taly in front of the clubhead.

Work with Basic Motion FIRST. I suggest doing it until you get about 10 shots using the proper mechanics. Note how I didn't say 10 swings. I said 10 shots. You need to get down basic motion first to a degree. So if that takes 500 swings to finally get 10 shots that use the proper mechanics, so be it. I doubt anybody will have that hard of a time mastering Basic Motion, but you get the idea. You can't possibly have a flat left wrist at impact with clubhead lag pressure in a full swing if you can't do it when only going 2 feet back and 2 feet thru.

And if you start getting it down, before moving to 'Acquired Motion', take a few basic motion swings and do them with your eyes closed and in slow motion.

Remember, NO SHORTCUTS. Follow the curriculum to a tee and success will follow. Take shortcuts and all bets are off.


By now you should have gotten the 'Basic Motion' down pretty well so we can move to 'Acquired Motion.' Acquired Motion has the golfer take it back until their right forearm is parallel to the ground on the backswing and then on the thru swing. This is often referred to as the 9-3 position, but should not be confused with SliceFixer's 9-3 drill which works on something else.

Same concept as the Basic Motion, try to get it down. If after say 25 swings you cannot get it down, THAT'S GOOD! Believe it or not, NOW you're starting the learning process! Just go back to 'Basic Motion' and try to feel the difference between when you do it right with the Basic Motion and when you do it wrong with the Acquired Motion.

Ask yourself things like 'do I feel differences in the pressure points of my hand? How about my forearm? How about my tempo?' And yes, close your eyes and swing if you have to.

And once again, when you get the acquired motion down, take a few mechanically correct swings with your eyes closed and going in slow motion and 'feel your way around.'


This is where I feel most golfers will start to 'lose' that feel of keeping the red ball out in front of the clubhead. So I would suggest as you transition from acquired motion to the total motion with impact hands (and impact elbow) I would try to do about a dozen swings and see if you can execute the mechanics properly. If after a dozen swings you fail miserably, go back to acquired motion. Again, this is actually a good thing! This is where the learning process starts to begin!

If you are to go back to the acquired motion, try an FEEL the difference in what happens when you execute the mechanics correctly in acquired motions vs. the difference in what happens when you execute the mechanics incorrectly in the total motion.

Also, try taking some slow motion swings in total motion to execute the proper mechanics and keep on feeling you way around. Once you start getting this down, I do agree with Taly Williams' suggestion that I would just take 10 swings with the Taly strapped onto your arm and then take 10 swings w/o the Taly on your arm. Although when you do it without the Taly, I suggest at first still doing it with impact hands and impact elbow at address.


This part of the curriculum is optional, although I believe most players address the ball with 'mid-body hands' (butt of the club pointing at the belt buckle) instead of 'impact hands.' But if you are a 'hitter' who likes using 'impact hands' or if you start using the Taly and like the feel of impact hands at address, then there's no real need to go to part 4 of the curriculum.

I myself use mid-body hands. However, I have found that I can use the impact hands address position for 'knockdown' shots very effectively. I have hit an extra club, but it will keep the ball down when playing into the wind. It's also good on shots with the pin in the back of the green and trying to hit a low runner like Hogan would do on back pin locations.

But the only difference between part 3 and part 4 of the curriculum is to execute shots with mid-body hands instead of impact hands. This will 'cross' the clubshaft with the shaft on the Taly a bit, but since the Taly is a very visual device, golfers who prefer mid-body hands need to understand the visualization and feel of the Taly when using mid-body hands. By now you should understand the curriculum pretty well and understanding feel and how to learn feel from mechanics. So again, try to get the proper mechanics down and if that doesn't work, 'go down a level' (be it total motion w/impact hands or acquired motion or basic motion) until you can consistently execute the mechanics properly and try to feel any difference between proper execution and improper execution and use that as your swing feel or swing thought.


Another optional part of the curriculum. This consists of the golfer getting the proper mechanics (red ball out in front of the clubhead), but going through all 3 of the hinge motions (vertical, horizontal and angled). So, this gets the golfer with a Flat Left Wrist at impact, and then the three proper hinge motions. The problem most golfers have with executing the hinge motions is that they ignore getting the left wrist flat at impact. Especially with the horizontal hinge motion, they almost always get the clubhead moving past the red ball or crossing the shaft of the Taly.

Remember, vertical hinge action should only be used on short shots around the green. But it is a good hinge motion to understand for that purpose. Furthermore, 'steering' is one of the main problems golfers tend to have and it is very closely related to using a vertical hinge action in a full swing. So understanding how to execute vertical hinge action can help the golfer avoid using that hinge action in the full swing.

The big problem golfers tend to have is how to use horizontal hinge action (full roll with the toe pointing at the target) without flipping. The Taly can much easier teach this hinge action to the golfer. I suggest that when moving onto part 5 of the curriculum that you use basic and acquired motions first to get the mechanics and hinge actions down. Then move onto total motion. Also, using 'impact hands and elbow' is just fine.


What all of this ties into is SUBJECTIVE FEELS. That's why I often state that TGM is a FEEL ORIENTED book and that is the most misunderstood part about TGM.

For instance, when I'm working on keeping my flat left wrist at impact, my feel is to get the most pressure in my #1 PP right thru impact. Almost a feeling of a 'palm heel strike' with my right arm right into the golf ball. Another golfer may feel like they are just trying to drive the golf ball right into the ground instead of driving it into the air. Another golfer may feel like they are taking their #3 PP from the top of the swing and aiming it at a point about 4 inches in front of the ball, sort of like throwing a stone from the top of the swing in front of the ball. Another golfer may just feel like they pivot and the left arm bounces off their chest and the hands take a free ride down to the ball.

All very different and subjective feels. But those subjective feels allow the golfer to consistently execute the proper mechanics over and over again. That's why it is CRUCIAL to follow this curriculum as I've stated. The goal is get the mechanics down first and if you can't do that with say Acquired Motion, you can't move onto the next level until you figure it out. Once you get the mechanics down properly, then you can start to feel and then you can start moving onto the longer swing motions and eventually establish a subjective and customized feel for you so you can repeat the proper mechanics consistently.

The problem with the older gentleman at the range the other day is that he really had no idea how to learn feel from mechanics and was going into using the Taly 'blind.' He had no idea about 'basic', 'acquired' and 'total' motion nor did he understand that you're best off using the Taly with impact hands and impact elbow. Because of this, it was just another training aid that sat and collected dust while somebody like myself got great use out of it. Had nothing to do with talent, had to do more with understanding the biggest concept of TGM, 'learning feel from mechanics.' If you follow this curriculum, I strongly believe you will understand learning feel from mechanics and you to will see your game blossom. Not only from understanding how to keep your left wrist flat at impact, but any other component of the swing you happen to work on in the future.

Here's a great Lynn Blake video with student Colin Neeman going over the 'curriculum.'


1. Basic Motion w/impact hands and elbow - 10 shots until mechanics are properly executed.

2. 5 proper Basic Motion swings in slow motion (eyes closed optional)

3. Acquired Motion w/impact hands/elbow - 10 shots until mechanics are properly executed. Go down to Basic Motion if struggling.

4. 5 proper Aquired Motion swings in slow motion (eyes closed optional)

5. 10 Total Motion Swings w/impact hands/elbow - if unable to execute mechanics, go down a level to Acquired Motion.

6. Once execution improves, 10 total motion swings w/impact hands/elbow with the Taly on. Then 10 total motion swing w/o the Taly.

7. Total Motion w/mid-body hands (optional). If struggling, move down to total motion with impact hands.

8. Use basic, acquired and total motion curriculum, but with the emphasis of executing the three hinge actions --- vertical, horizontal and angled. Vertical should be used primarily on short shots around the green.




TeddyIrons said...

Fantastic information as usual Rich, in this and the previous blog entry.

Rich H. said...

Thanks. I tell everybody the same thing, tons of stuff about TGM really helped my game, but once I fully understood 'learning feel from mechanics' I also started to learn that really TGM is a book about obtaining feel. That's when my game shot off like a rocket. The problem is that getting other people to understand 'learning feel from mechanics' is a bit hard to explain.

Kevin said...


I have been using the Taly mostly to work on my set up alignments, and it has been a huge help for this. I haven't really known how to properly use the Taly in the swing. I can't wait to try your curriculum.

Thank you very much for sharing your WEALTH of information!!!


Rich H. said...


It took a little over a day to trust myself with Total Motion and the impact hands and elbow. Once I got that I started hitting some really great shots with it, but a little lower and a little shorter than normal. So I now use that for knockdown shots. It then took about another day to trust using the Taly with Total Motion and 'mid-body hands' because the two shafts sort of cross each other.

I think for you it's just a trust thing. Once you get it down, your swing and FLW at impact will appear so soon you'll probably feel like 'why didn't I try this earlier.' Of course, I find myself saying that a lot with so parts of TGM.

JON B said...

Great post as is normally the case and the Lynn Blake video is the terrific for driving the point(s) home. Please keep up the good work.

Nick said...


It was a nice post.

Here is an important tip about how to improve your natural golf swing.

You need to make sure that you have a smooth transition to the downswing. This means that you are not going to start your downswing with your hands, but instead you should start the downswing by turning your hips slightly to the left. This allows the club to drop from the inside which will produce much longer and straighter drives.

Rich H. said...

Every golfer can be different, but there needs to be a quality pivot action to hit quality shots on a consistent basis. In my next 'Understanding Basics of TGM' series, I plan on doing a video on the importance footwork and how it influences the pivot and the golf swing.

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