Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spotting D-Plane Poseurs

Here's a video somebody sent me last week, with Jim McLean explaining the new ball flight laws.

For all intents and purposes, this is a very well done video. But as one reader e-mailed me about the video, he wanted to know if McLean really taught this or was a (in my reader's words) 'poseur.'

If you may recall, when I made the post 'Thoughts On The Future Of Golf Instruction...' (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2011/02/thoughts-on-future-of-golf-instruction.html), I said the following:

D-Plane will be readily accepted and teachers will act like they always knew about it, when they didn’t.

A big reason why I thought this is because I believed the power of D-Plane just couldn't be denied. To me, there is a HUGE desire for golfers to understand the D-Plane. In fact, that is by far and away, the #1 compliment I get from blog readers with regards to my blog. How 'understanding D-Plane saved their game' and 'how understanding D-Plane made the game fun again because impact wasn't such a mystery anymore.'

So when there's a great demand for understanding D-Plane and then launch monitors like Trackman and physicists like Dr. Robert Grober confirm the validity of D-Plane, the PGA just can't stick with those old ball flight laws anymore.

Which brings me to the PGA Teaching Summit in Orlando this past January where I was told (I wasn't there) that Dr. Gary Wiren...the main dude of PGA Instruction...went on the offensive with regards to people calling him out about getting the ball flight laws incorrect in 1991 in the PGA Teaching Manual. From the sounds of it, Wiren had some good points, but others pointed out that parts of what was in the manual were ambiguous and could easily be interpreted as saying initial direction of the ball is due to the path (and not the clubface angle at impact).

My feeling is that regardless of what Wiren did, he HAD TO HAVE KNOWN that almost every PGA instructor had the ball flight laws wrong. So even if he knew the ball flight laws down pat and had them correctly in the PGA Manual, I would say that:

1) He didn't have them clearly explained in the manual and that's why PGA instructors got them wrong


2) He HAD TO HAVE KNOWN that PGA instructors had them wrong and did nothing about it.

I take more umbrage with somebody like Wiren than Joe Schmoe the PGA Instructor or Jack Schmoe the top 50 teacher claiming they knew D-Plane all along when they didn't because Wiren is pretty much 'THE GUY' of the PGA Instruction.

As far as McLean goes, I have no idea whether or not he has been teaching D-Plane (the correct ball flight laws) all along or not. I will say that I have his 8-step swing book and he never mentions (at least I didn't see it when I just re-read it a week ago) what causes the initial direction or curvature of the ball.

However, that doesn't mean that he's lying. It's just not in his book, so there's no way to tell if he's lying or telling the truth. Since I have no relationship with McLean, I'm not going to call him a liar and I'll take his word for it.

But here's where I believe you can tell the 'poseurs' from the rest of the crew. Here's what I would call 'poseur instruction.'

Nothing personal against Mr. Case as I believe he probably basing his instruction off of what he learned from the PGA. But this type of instruction of how to hit a draw flies in the face of D-Plane.

As we know, with *relation to the target*, a golfer can EASILY hit a perfect draw with an open clubface at impact. As long as their path is directed further out to the right than where their clubface is pointing at impact, it will impart draw spin on the ball.

So to ask for the golfer to 'turn the clubface over' simply is not necessary because what matters is getting the path further out to the right than the clubface at impact. Furthermore, you're asking for the golfer to use their hand-eye coordination and timing to get the clubface in the perfect position by using your hands to turn over the clubface. Turn them too much, smother-hook. Not enough and you can hit a block.

In essence, I'm not even concerned if some teacher claims they always knew about D-Plane when they didn't. That's because I think understanding D-Plane is a good thing and I'd rather see an instructor understand it over refusing to understand it in fear that they may get 'exposed.'

But, if they are teaching a golfer to hit a draw by crossing their arms over like the video above, they essentially have *memorized* the laws of ball flight (D-Plane), but do not understand how to apply the laws of ball flight to their students. And THAT is what D-Plane is all about.



Anonymous said...


I think you're dead on that the old guard PGA pros are going to come out of the wood work one by one and claim they knew that all along. No big cover article in Golf or G.D. Who's the last to fall, Harmon?

Grease said...

Check out Jim's latest video. He knew this all along. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYBItNUYjvc

Grease said...

Jim knew this since the early 80's. Check out his latest video


geronimo said...


I've watched some of Jim's staff teach at Doral and they still emphasize path over clubface.