Wednesday, April 28, 2010
A Look at Different Swing Instruction - Part I
One of the things I get asked about frequently is about the different teaching philosophies there are like ABS, TGM, Stack and Tilt, SliceFixer, etc. So I figured would give my thoughts on some of them.
First up I will go with The Golfing Machine.
The Golfing Machine was written by Homer Kelley, an engineering aide and new to the game of golf, back in 1941 and was published in 1969.
The Golfing Machine, in its purest sense, is a system to create a unique golf swing that best suits the golfer. It believes that the swing has 24 parts to it, with each part having 3-15 variations and 3 imperatives which are:
1) Flat Left Wrist (FLW) at impact
2) Straight Plane Lines
3) Clubhead Lag Pressure Point
Basically meaning, there's almost countless ways to swing the club and there's only 3 things you MUST do in the swing to hit the ball effectively. The key is to find what swing works best for you and TGM provides a system of using basic motion (chip shot swing), acquired motion (1/2 backwing, 1/2 follow thru) and total motion (full swing) to discover the mechanics that work best for each particular golfer. Once the mechanics are discovered, the golfer uses feel to repeat those mechanics. TGM also divides golf swings into 'hitters' or 'swingers' based upon how the golfer powers their downswing in order to allow the golfer to discover their swing and its components a little easier.
TGM uses a lot of complicated language and an unorthodox writing style that tends to scare off many golfers.
PROS: TGM is excellent conceptually and as far as instructional books go, it's the most complete instructional book out there. What's funny about TGM is in its purest form, it is exactly the opposite of what many of it critics claim it is.
You'll often hear about golfer being 'feel players' and there is no 'one swing' and TGM is exactly about those philosophies and reiterates that quite often in the book. In fact, many popular golf instructors have taken bits and pieces of TGM and claimed it for themselves. The *concepts* of all the variations of components along with 'learning feel from mechanics', there being 'no one way' to swing the club and other things like the FLW at impact, and creating a system to 'build your stroke' are the real strong points of TGM.
CONS: There are some TGM Authorized Instructors who heavily lean on one type of swing pattern from TGM and use that to instruct their students instead of sticking with the TGM credo of there 'not being one way to swing the club.' The actual science has been shredded by scientists and since Mr. Kelley passed away in 1983, there have been other discoveries in biomechanics and physics in the game that Mr. Kelley could not address.
There is also the belief that nobody is truly a 'pure swinger' or a 'pure hitter' and really a combination of the two. The hitter motion calls for a 'frozen right wrist' and that can cause some issues with the head movement in the downswing.
FAMOUS TGM INSTRUCTORS: Most of the instructors that originally started learning under Homer Kelley have either passed away or retired. But some well known ones include Greg McHatton, Ben Doyle and Lynn Blake. IMO, Mr. Blake teaches the exact word of Homer Kelley as well and as true as anybody out there.
FAMOUS GOLFING TGM'ers: Steve Elkington, Brian Gay, Bobby Clampett, Boo Weekley. Heath Slocum finished 2nd last year in my ballstriking statistical rankings and is taught by TGM AI Mark Blackburn.