Monday, July 11, 2011

Why I Think Brandel's Fundamentals Are Harmful

In an open rebuttal post to Brandel Chamblee, I stated that what he believes to be ‘the fundamentals’ of the golf swing (grip, stance, grip pressure, posture, etc) were his opinion and that I had a different opinion on the fundamentals of the golf swing. In fact, in my opinion citing those elements of the swing that Chamblee did I find to be more harmful than helpful for golfers. Some readers asked about that, so here is my opinion on the matter.

What are we trying to achieve when we step up to a golf ball and are about to take a swing?

At its most basic level we are trying to get that ball into the cup in as few of shots as possible.

I think everybody would agree with that.

That’s a big crux of the issue though. The clubhead and all of the dimensions of it colliding with the golf ball to send it towards the golf hole. A major part of where I find Chamblee’s ‘fundamentals’ to be flawed is that golf is not a game where judges stand next to the golfer and hand out scores based on their grip, stance, address, posture, etc. And even if they could, like I mentioned in the open rebuttal post, what defines a ‘good’ grip or ‘good stance’ versus a ‘poor’ grip and a ‘poor stance?’ And why can I take a small list of 10 of the all-time great ballstrikers and somebody like Trevino had vastly different ‘fundamentals’ to the swing than Hogan did who had vastly different ‘fundamentals’ than Nicklaus did?

Another problem with Chamblee’s ‘fundamentals’ is that golfers can have practically the same fundamentals and hit it two different ways. One could easily hit a hook and one could hit a slice. Not to forget that one could hit it great and one could hit it lousy. But, if two golfers have practically the same impact conditions, the result will be practically the same because one cannot deny physics.

For instance, if I do a perfect job of emulating Rory McIlroy’s posture, grip, stance, grip pressure, etc, I might not be able to break 90. However, if Rory and I were to have these numbers at impact.

112 mph clubhead speed
167 mph ball speed
0* clubface angle
+2.5* path (inside-to-out)
+1* upward attack angle

The ball does NOT care if I’m swinging it or if Rory McIlroy is swinging it. The result will practically be the same, as long as we are using the same type of equipment.

That’s why understand the correct laws of ball flight is so important and speaking from experience, not knowing the correct laws of ball flight and trying to improve is almost an exercise in futility.

In my opinion, the fundamentals should be uniform in nature. I also think that the fundamentals should be more or less, the most important part of anything. Take American football as an example. The basic fundamentals of football are blocking and tackling. Now, there are different techniques to help become a better and more ‘sure’ tackler. But at its base, all that matters is can a defender tackle a ballcarrier and not allow him any extra yardage. In football, if your team cannot block and cannot tackle very well, you’re going to be a poor team.

But, it doesn’t really matter how a team does it as long as they are proficient at it. It doesn’t matter if a team uses a man-to-man blocking scheme or a zone blocking scheme or what type of mechanics they use with their hands and feet to properly block opposing players or if the defense uses a ‘textbook’ tackling technique or they dive at knees, etc. Just get the job done consistently. Sound familiar?

And that’s probably the biggest flaw I see with Chamblee’s fundamentals. It is ignoring the ‘blocking’ and ‘tackling’ of the golf swing. What makes the ball fly like it does and then figuring out how to get the ball to fly to your command.

It’s not that the grip, stance, posture, grip pressure, etc are unimportant. All of them are important in their own way. It’s just that they are much less important than being able to control the clubface, clubhead path and the low point while pivoting efficiently and effectively. And thus, the golfer’s focus is better directed towards what directly affects the result we are looking for.


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