Sunday, September 27, 2009

3Jack's Translation of TGM: Part 7E

6-D (Throw Away)

Homer states that after the pressure point pressures have been established, the golfer's primary concern is the storage of the 'Assembly Point.' The Assembly Point is basically the position and alignments of the arms, hands, wrists and club at the top of the swing (there are some exceptions, usually with golfers who 'float load', which will be described later).

So you basically want to hold that angle at the top of the swing until 'triggering', when those angles are 'released' into the ball. Homer then says that both hitters and swingers have the 'power storage' problems below, but have to cope with them differently. So hitters and swingers have different component variations to their machines, but they often have the same problems. How they correct those problems is differently.

Here are the problems (not how they handle them).

1. The urge at the top of the swing to throw the clubhead from the wrists.

2. Too much hand speed throws the clubhead into orbit prematurely.

3. The FEEL that the uncocking of the wrists will align the clubface properly at impact. This forces the left wrist to bend backwards and produces a 'quitting' of the hands.

I find #1 and #3 the most common. #1 is a very impulsive move by the golfer. #3 usually consists of the golfer trying to square up the clubface by straightening out the RIGHT wrist instead of keeping the right wrist bent so the left wrist can remain flat at impact.

6-E (Thrust Direction)

A bit of a tough concept for most golfers to understand because most golfers use a 'swinger' procedure where thrust isn't as noticeable. Regardless if you swing or hit, the hands do thrust. With the hitter, they thrust the right arm. With the swinger, they let centrifigul force thrust the hands for them.

But what 6-E is really focused upon is the 'Aiming Point Concept' which is really about where the thrust should be directed. The Aiming Point Concept is a vital and brilliant concept. Not only can it produce precise golf shots, but it allows the golfer to further help customize their golf swing.

In fact, Bobby Clampett's book 'The Impact Zone' is largely based around the Aiming Point Concept.

All the Aiming Point Concept is a point, somewhere in front of the ball, where you want to aim that thrusting of the hands. If you are thinking of it in a hitter terminology where you are using the #1 Power Accumulator and are the 'boxer throwing the punch', the Aiming Point Concept is where you want the fist to punch.

Here's a pic of Clampett using the Aiming Point Concept

The problem I have with Clampett's 'Impact Zone' is that he says that the Aiming Point should always be 4 inches in front of the ball, regardless of the golfer and regardless of the club being used. This is unfortunate because Homer Kelley makes it a strong point that the Aiming Point should CHANGE depending on the golfer and the club being used.

Homer states that the two biggest factors in determining where the Aiming Point should be are the length of the clubshaft and the hand speed.

First off, the shorter the club, the further forward in front of the ball the Aiming Point should be. So let's say you find that your Aiming Point with a 9-iron is best at 4" in front of the ball. But if you have a 3-iron, you need to move the Aiming Point FURTHER BACK, say 1" in front of the ball.

Homer states that the SLOWER the hand speed, the further out in front the Aiming Point should be. We know from the Endless Belt Effect that a 'snap release' (Hogan) tends to have a slower hand speed. Thus a 'snap release' should have the aiming point further forward. Conversely, the 'full sweep release' (Watson) which requires faster hand speed means the Aiming Point should be further back.

Homer also states that if you choke up on a club, you move the Aiming Point further forward because the clubshaft is effectively made shorter.

Homer then talks about there being two ways to establish an aiming point.

1. Keep the ball position THE SAME, and adjust your Aiming Point accordingly. Homer then makes one of his greatest statements into the entire book:

'Try to drive the ball into the ground, not into the air.'
I find this to be vital for golfers because as Lynn Blake once stated, the clubhead motion thru impact is 3-dimensional (down, out and forward). Golfers can usually get the club moving 'out' and 'forward', but they usually never get enough 'down.'

A great drill for understanding the 'driving the ball into the ground' is to find a fairway bunker or if you can a practice bunker where you can take full swings out of it. Now, a basic way to hit a ball from a 'fried egg' out of the bunker is to square the face, play the ball back in your stance and swing the clubhead right at the ball (do not try to hit behind the ball like you would on a normal sand shot). Most decent golfers know how to hit the fried egg shot.

What I suggest is to take a 7-iron and give yourself some fried egg lies. Then, make your normal stance and normal ball position (don't play the ball back) with your normal swing, are going to want to hit straight down at the ball, just like you do with a normal fried egg lie from a greenside bunker. Just hit down on the ball. That should give you a FEEL that you can use when you go to hit a ball from a normal lie.

So in this procedure, I keep the ball in the same position at address...say just inside the left foot and I try to drive the ball into the ground. In order to do that, I have to move the Aiming Point further forward with the shorter clubs (i.e. PW, 9-iron) and further backs with longer clubs (i.e. driver)

2. The second procedure Homer recommends is that you can establish the Aiming Point and then MOVE the ball position in accordance to the established Aiming Point. So if the Aiming Point for your swing is around the tip of the left foot, move the ball forward or back in your stance depending on the club and just keep thrusting those hands, shot after shot, at the tip of the left foot. So with a SW, you need to have your Aiming Point further out in front of the ball. If your Aiming Point is at a fixed spot (the tip of the left foot), then the SW ball position needs to be moved further back. With a driver, you can play the ball near the tip of the left foot since the Aiming Point needs to be closer to the ball.

I personally use #1 for the most part. I prefer keeping one ball position, except for my driver which I move the ball up forward so I can have a more upward Angle of Attack to increase distance. However, I really don't use the Aiming Point in the sense of picking a spot to thrust my hands out in front of the ball. Instead, I think of driving the ball into the ground with the clubhead/clubface. And when I'm about to hit the ball, I want to have the pressure in PP #1 reach its maximum level. The big thing I think is I hit the ball my best when I can just feel like I'm hitting the ball into the ground and get a draw shot out of it. But remember, that's what worked for *me* and I use a 'hitting' procedure. When I use a swinging procedure, the concept is very much the same, but I am using the PP #2 and feeling like that it's reaching it's maximum pressure at impact and the I'm driving that ball into the ground using a 'karate chop' type motion.

There's one last picture done by Jeff Mann that I want to use to further illustrate the Aiming Point Concept.

The red line is the actual path Aaron Baddeley's hands take as they make the downswing. This red line path of the hands is considered a 'Straight Line Delivery Path' because as the hands are moving downward, they are moving in a straight line. Sure, the red line curves, but it doesn't curve until the hands stop moving downward and start moving forward, towards the target.

The yellow line is where Baddeley would likely direct his thrust (the Aiming Point) with a shorter club, like a 9-iron. The blue line is where Baddeley would likely direct his thrust with the driver. Again, Aiming Point changes with different clubshaft length.

For more on the Aiming Point Concept, I suggest part 20 of Peter Croker's TGM Downloads. I would also check out Jeff Mann's Web site on the subject which can be found here.



philthevet said...

Hi Rich
I have read Bobby Clampett book and I think that he emphazise the 4 inches point as the low point of the swing arc:
"The only way you can accomplish this is to strike down on the ball with an accelerating stroke, so that THE BOTTOM, OR CENTER OF THE SWING ARC, AS WELL AS THE DIVOT, FALLS APPROXIMATELY 4 INCHES IN FRONT OF THE BALL"
He says that this point is the same for a chip shot and a full swing , and this point MAY be YOUR aiming point
"However the aiming point technique isn't so specific that it requires you to aim your hands precisely to an exact four inch point.... Rather you simply want to cultivate the mental awarnessof directing the hands to a point in front of the ball and not at the ball itself."
In the other hand,the aiming point is not necessarely in front of the ball. In one of his eductionnal video with P Crocker Paul Hart says tha for the driver the aiming point maybe BEFORE the ball.
In fact it's all a problem of personal sensation as far as the concept itself is understood.
Thank you SO MUCH for your very good job on the Yellow Book

Rich H. said...

Thanks for the Impact Zone stuff. I haven't read the book in awhile. The aiming point with the driver is a bit of a conundrum. The S&T guys will tell you that you should either have a flat or downward hit, which would mean an aiming point closer towards being in front of the ball. Trackman says you want an upward hit if you can possibly do it to optimize distance, thus the aiming point may be behind the ball.

jandmmarlow said...

Thanks again Rich for your contribution to our understanding of TGM.
I recently changed to a hitting motion (like you) but finding two problems. My divots tend to be coming outside/in. I think that is because my right shoulder is not staying back when thrusting with the right arm.
The other problem is the ball flight is too low. If I moved the aiming point up to a location described above, won't it go even lower?

Rich H. said...

Jim ---

What's your ball flight doing? More specifically...

1. Where is the initial direction

2. How is the ball curving (if it is curving at all).

jandmmarlow said...


1. It is very low no matter what direction it goes. But if it is off line, it is usually to the right.

2. It normally doesn't curve. But if it does it normally has a cut action.

Rich H. said...

Jim -

Sounds like you are hitting the ball fairly straight, just low.

I would go with some trial and error on the aiming point. Move it more towards your rear foot. *Usually* the aiming point is somewhere in front of the ball. But that's the great thing about TGM and Aiming Point, you can customize to what works for you.

As far as the 'out-to-in' divots, if the ball is going relatively straight then I think that helps pin point our problem, the angle of attack being too steep. You may be one of the rare golfers who has 'too much down.' If your angle of attack is steep, the more you need to swing left to hit it straight. That's why your divots are pointing left, but the ball is still going straight. My divots go slightly left, but my shots are usually very straight. All because I have a decent amount of steepness on the angle of attack.

For instance, my 7-iron angle of attack is around -4 degrees. Thus with D-Plane, to hit it straight (provided by clubface is square to the target at impact), I have to swing left by 2 degrees. That's really not a lot, but it's a enough to notice the divot going left.

So if you're 7-iron is getting say -6 degrees AoA (which is pretty steep), then to hit it straight you need to swing left by 3 degrees. But if you find an aiming point that works for you and gets the ball up higher in the air, then you may need to start swinging a little less left to hit the ball straight.

jandmmarlow said...

Thanks Rich,

I appreciate your input. I went today and used your suggestions.

I still have a question. You mentioned (as Jeff has) that using the left big toe as your aim point works for many. When I have tried that, I noticed that my brain tells me that my hands cannot go straight at my big toe but needs to go around my body (from the end of the backswing towards the inside of the ball and then the hands go back in toward the left big toe. Not a straight line. Is that right or am I missing something.

Jake said...

Great stuff and the very best work I have found on TGM. I have found that oversized thin faced drivers do not respond like other golf clubs. Although all my other clubs produce straight and powerful shots I cannot get away from smothered hooks with these drivers when my aiming point is ahead of the ball. Any thoughts?