Friday, June 24, 2011

Open Rebuttal To Brandel Chamblee

I actually didn’t want to do this because I’m getting tired of repeating the same, boring thing. But once again, Brandel Chamblee has found a way to put down golf instructors with strawman arguments, contradictory statements and fallacies that I could drive a tank thru.

I’ve been here before in a different sport with reporters like Chamblee. Their attitude is that there is ‘no such thing as bad publicity’ (which if you have studied and worked in public relations and advertising like I have, you would know that is not true). So what happens is instead of the Chamblee-esque reporter or analyst taking the time to make their arguments factual and stronger, they just keep repeating these same inflammatory half-cocked arguments because it suits them well.

Unfortunately, The Golf Channel is just like every other media outlet these days in that their only concern is the bottom line…in this case, TV Ratings and Web Clicks. Those annoying and pesky things like journalistic integrity take a backseat. So as long as we keep arguing with Chamblee and paying attention to him, he’ll probably wind up getting a pay raise out of the entire ordeal.

With that, this is my last argument against Chamblee. I’d like to think that I don’t generally suffer fools too kindly. After this, he can freely make an ass out of himself as he deems fit.

This is coming from the GOLF Magazine Article ‘Plane Truth: Rory McIlroy’s Swing is Similar to Sam Snead’s’,28136,2079371,00.html

Just for a comparison, here is Rory’s swing and Sam’s Swing on video.

Chamblee sez:

Rory McIlroy’s swing -- a combination of perfect positions, tempo and balance -- makes comparisons with the great Sam Snead inevitable.
Well, wait a second Brandel. You said in December 7, 2010 interview with GOLF Magazine, the following:

‘When you learn the swing watching and obsessing over videotape, you become fixated on your flaws, on perfection. Well, you cannot obtain perfection in the golf swing.’,28136,2033769-2,00.html#ixzz1Q6PnRwyj

So apparently in the course of 7 months you’ve gone from ‘you cannot obtain perfection in the golf swing’ to discussing how Rory McIlroy has a ‘combination of perfect positions, tempo and balance.’

Sadly, it took me all of the first sentence to point out that contradiction.
Meanwhile, McIlroy’s surrounded by technique-addicted golfers who have been stack-and-tilted, golf-machined and one-planed to death. Rory (below) is dismissed as a natural by those who think that the swing should be more complicated. Teachers who preach a series of static positions over a fluid motion and scoff at the word fundamentals are the root of the problem. Until 30 years ago golf was taught by former Tour players
First off, the ‘one planed to death’ swing you scoff at is prominently being taught by Jim Hardy, a former PGA Tour player. And as you know, Bobby Clampett is a former Tour player who is currently an Authorized Instructor of The Golfing Machine and grew up learning TGM from his mentor, Ben Doyle.

Now, I do not know of any one plane golf instructors, stack and tilt instructors or The Golfing Machine instructors who by and large dismiss Rory’s swing mechanics. I would recommend that if you want to be taken with more than a grain of salt, you cite examples of this. My guess is that you cannot.

But, I do know that Harvey Penick never played on the PGA Tour. Neither has Jim Flick or Jimmy Ballard or Jack Lumpkin or Davis Love, Jr. and many others.

This is not an attempt to promote or knock a certain teacher or teaching philosophy, but to show that your diatribe is woefully inaccurate. Flick, Love, Ballard and Lumpkin were very prominent instructors on the PGA Tour over 30 years ago, yet have no actual PGA Tour experience. Somebody like Jim Hardy and Bobby Clampett, along with others like Mac.O.Grady, Grant Waite and others have plenty of experience combined with PGA Tour victories and they teach swing philosophies and theories that you criticize.

Your comments have been revisionist history, at best.
who talked about grip and grip pressure, stance, posture, ball position, tempo, rhythm and the waggle. These are the fundamentals.
Says who?

That statement is presented as fact when it’s merely your opinion.

My opinion is that for something to be a fundamental, it should be uniform in nature.

Here’s a list of 10 all-time great ballstrikers in golfing history

Jack Nicklaus
Ben Hogan
Sam Snead
George Knudson
Moe Norman
Nick Price
Lee Trevino
Johnny Miller
Peter Thomson

There is nothing uniform between that small selection of great ballstrikers when it comes to grip, grip pressure, stance, posture, ball position, tempo, rhythm and the waggle.

Trevino has a far stronger grip than Hogan did. Hogan and Price’s tempo was far faster than Nicklaus’ and Thomson’s. Moe had a swing wildly different from all of these players. Snead gripped it somewhat loosely whereas Moe (and Tiger under Butch Harmon) claimed they gripped it rather hard. I could go on and on, but you should get the point.

My point about this is that if there is such a wide ranging variation in these parts of the swing, how can a golfer tell whether or not that these fundamentals are in tact?

If the grip was truly a fundamental, then who is to say that Paul Azinger (very strong grip) or Ben Hogan (weak grip) or Moe (who used a 10-finger grip) or Nicklaus (who used an interlocking grip) have that fundamental down pat? Or that they don’t have that fundamental down pat.

My guess is that had a young Nick Price coming to Brandel Chamblee for swing advice years ago, you would’ve told him he was swinging too fast. Why? Because Rory has ‘perfect tempo’ and Nick Price’s tempo is way, way faster than Rory’s. So was Ben Hogan’s.

And what in the world does the waggle have to do with hitting a golf ball? Tiger at his ballstriking peak barely even made a waggle and the same goes for Rory. But, what does the waggle have to do with hitting the ball. You simply do not hit the ball with your waggle unless you do it by accident.
Recently I read a blog by a teacher who said that I was reaching when I used the word fundamentals, to which I say he is reaching if he doesn’t
I would have to read the blog in question. I will say that as I have pointed out, there are some flaws into thinking that the parts of the swing you listed are ‘the’ fundamentals of a golf swing. I think it speaks volumes that I can state my opinion and back it up with detailed reasoning and you apparently state your opinion as fact with, well…no facts or reasoning.
What makes Rory’s swing perfect is not the positions he hits, but an approach that allows him to achieve those positions. His posture is relaxed and poised for athletic movement.
If Rory’s swing is like Snead’s swing, then why don’t they have anywhere near the same type of posture at address?

Was Snead’s posture not relaxed?

Was Snead’s posture not ‘poised for athletic movement?’

They are clearly different.

And I would be willing to bet that if I hit my local driving range that after a few hours I could find a golfer with almost the same posture as Rory’s and is a double digit handicapper.
By comparison, his fellow competitors look as if they are trying to achieve prescribed angles at address and straining to do so. Rory’s grip is perfect, but the lack of tension is the best element, because it allows him to hinge the club perfectly and unhinge it properly.

1. Let me remind you that less than a year ago you stated ‘you cannot obtain perfection in the golf swing

2. What constitutes a ‘perfect grip?’ Seriously, I would love to know so I can add it to my own swing.

3. If Rory’s grip is perfect, then how did golfers like Hogan, Moe, Trevino, etc. get away with imperfect grips?

Some will use his swing as a model and show their students the positions he gets in and make it a goal to copy the original, but the genius of Rory’s swing is its simplicity. Simplicity that’s born out of fundamentals, which sadly are considered antiquated in today’s world.
What makes his swing ‘simplistic’, Brandel. You’re expecting the audience to just take what you say at face value. Meanwhile, you’re giving a thumbnail sketch of those who disagree with your beliefs towards the golf swing.

I know that many of your critics have the exact or similar belief that the fundamentals of the golf swing are:

1. Clubface control
2. Clubhead Path control
3. Low Point Control
4. Effectively and Efficiently Pivoting the body

Sure, there are wide ranges of different clubface and clubhead path angles. Wide ranges of low point positions and different ways the great ballstrikers pivot their body. But, control can be measured by consistency and getting the clubface, path and low point where the golfer wants it on any given shot. Furthermore, it can actually be measured by devices like Trackman.

You see, it’s not that I disagree with the fundamentals of a golf swing being important…I just disagree with what you define as the fundamentals of the golf swing. And I’m more able (and more willing) to articulate the fundamentals and why I believe they are the fundamentals to the swing compared to you where you seem to want every golfer to just take your word for it because you played on the PGA Tour.

But, you lack credibility when you come up with statements like ‘the game was taught by Tour players until 30 years ago’…which is a barefaced fallacy…and that the swing philosophies you criticize are actually being taught and even created by former PGA Tour players (some of whom had more success than you ever had on Tour).

If the viewer/reader finds even the most benign statements to be false, how can they take any of your opinions which you represent as facts, seriously?



Shaun said...

Hats off to you! A very, very good article. It's so nice to find someone who also likes to shovel the bullshit out of the way.

Jon Serano said...

I have never read anything useful by Mr. Chamblee. I have on the other hand read quite a bit of what appears to be contrived made up stuff. It´s like he writes with the objective to make golfy sounding sentences period. His self contradicting, half baked and as you say half cocked arguments are amazing in their lack of content. Don´t have anything against the guy personally but what drivel the man writes.

Jon S.