Tuesday, July 14, 2009

GolfLagTips.com On 'Hitting'

Somebody brought this link to my attention and wanted to know my thoughts on a link that goes on to talk about 'hitting' in TGM terms. (http://www.golflagtips.com/hitting-vs-swinging-part-3-hitting/) . So here's my thoughts/analysis of it.

The hitting action is a bit the dark side of the moon when it comes to golf instruction. It seems that a vast majority of golf instructors (with the exception of The Golfing Machine Instructors of course) are simply unaware of its existence and mainly teach golf the "Swinging way".

This is very unfortunate because it is a very efficient way to strike the golf ball and to my opinion a very interesting alternative for strong or less flexible players.
This is pretty much dead on to me. However, I even find that the majority of TGM Instructors teach or feel more comfortable teaching a 'swinging' method. Brian Manzella calls 'swinging' as 'force along the clubshaft' and hitting 'force across the shaft.' I actually like this term quite a bit because I believe that technically we all do a little of both of 'swinging' and 'hitting', but there needs to be a term for what we primarily do. But if you go thru any golf magazine article, most of the time they are teaching something from the 'swinging' or the 'force along the shaft' standpoint.

Unlike the Swinger who manipulates centrifugal force, the pure Hitter ONLY uses his right arm to activate the Primary Lever Assembly (that is the Left Arm plus the club as a whole).For those interested, the muscle involved here is the right triceps as it is responsible for straightening the arm. So if you are a boxer you should give the Hitting stroke a try !

The main action involved here is a muscular thrust of the right arm against the Primary Lever Assembly.The clubhead is not thrown into orbit by the pivot; Instead, the hitter pushes radially (against the radius!) against the shaft with his right arm only.

Think of it like pushing against one spoke of a bicycle wheel to put the wheel into motion - Swinging would make you drag the rim of the wheel.

The proper action is to straighten the right arm without flattening the right wrist in a piston like action.
Excellent, excellent, excellent. I would also mention that the right forearm moves a bit like a piston in a car engine as well. Or feeling like you are using a palm heel strike into the ground.

This position, while not mandatory, allows for an easier pickup of the Primary Lever Assembly as a whole by the right arm (the right forearm takeaway). Also it establishes the proper impact alignments right away.

From this position all you have to do is to freeze your wrists into their position and move the whole thing back and forth with your right arm pretty much in a piston like motion.

A good way to feel this motion is, without a club, to hold your left wrist with your right hand and move your left arm back and forth. Simple enough? Well this is the principle of the Hitting motion.
Excellent again. Many people get into hitting and then work from impact fix at address and struggle and then give up on hitting. However, I think that's giving up on it too soon as the author writes, impact fix is NOT MANDATORY. In fact, I do not use impact fix. Neither does Lynn Blake when he's using a hitting procedure. However, the beauty of impact fix is that it makes the procedure simple to understand. Just keep those alignments in the swing and you'll have a flat left wrist at impact. But again, not mandatory.

Let me explain: For the Hitter, an efficient way to establish the Lag is to resist the backstroke motion then perform a right arm thrust against this clubhead Lag striving to accelerate a pre stressed clubshaft from a slow startdown through impact and to both arms straight.

Here, the Pivot (Right Shoulder) must also provide the initial acceleration of the Power Package (Shoulders, Arms, Hands and Club).

But beware! From there, you only have your bent right arm to provide the Thrust. So, if the right arm begins to straighten too soon, you will have triggered the release, and you will run out of right arm before impact and product a nasty Clubhead Throwaway.
'Running out of Right Arm' means that the right arm is fully extended at impact. One of the key concepts that most golfers do not grasp is that at impact, the right arm should be slightly bent at the elbow.

As previously mentioned, for the Hitter a slow Start Down is mandatory to allow for the right arm to properly get into position.

In the transition from the Top to Start Down think very Slow and very Heavy and that should do the trick.

Extremely important. I think this is key for 'swingers' as well even though Homer Kelley prescribes a quick startdown for 'swingers.'

Summing things up

1. Set up at Impact Fix and "freeze" your wrists alignments.

2. Pick up the whole thing back in a "piston + fanning" like motion (a piston-only motion would make you look like starting a lawnmower which is not the motion we want).

3. Perform what feels like a shorter backstroke as what you are used to.
From the top, initiate a slow startdown by pushing against the shaft with your right arm only (pressure point #1 feel). The slow start down will give yourself enough time to get closer to the ball to deliver your blow.

4. Drive it strongly down and out. Destroy the ground!
I would only slightly disagree with point #3. Over at LynnBlakeGolf.com there was some talk about how 'hitters' cannot have a longer backswing with the hands above the rear shoulder at the top of the swing and Lynn Blake put that to rest and said that is up to the golfer a well. Generally, hitters do have shorter backswings, but that's hardly mandatory.

Overall, a very excellent job of going over the basics of hitting. But TGM is very customizable and there's no one way to 'hit' or 'swing.'



Greg Brown said...


Great blog as usual.

I know you have been using a hitting motion lately. Do you feel a distance loss like I have read from others that have gone from hitting from swinging? I know Tomasello said its about a club difference. Also he said it was not possible to hit a draw, is that your experience?

Greg (gmbtempe on forums)

Rich H. said...

I have found both to not be true. Yoda says that he doesn't endorse everything Tomasello says in those videos. If I address the ball with impact hands and use a hitting procedure, then I notice about a club less, but I use mid-body hands and use a hitting procedure and get ample distance. I guess if I were to get in shape for long distance driving competitions, then I would try a 'swinging' procedure. Although Ted Fort hits bombs and is a 'hitter.' I don't think Tomasello realized that hinge action really doesn't cause ball curvature. Now what we know about D-Plane and what's been confirmed by Trackman, curvature is dependent on clubhead path (in relation to the angle of the clubface at impact). I hit tons of draws, even hooks. Just make sure the path is in-to-out.