Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Looking at a Steep Attack Angles on Tour

After watching Understanding Torques and Forces in the Golf Swing (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/forcesandtorque), I started to ponder what was going on with some of the players on Tour that had the steepest attack angles. As Dr. MacKenzie notes in Understanding Torques and Forces, out of the 30+ Tour winners he studied, only 1 of them did not get the Center of Mass below the Net Force. Dr. MacKenzie wasn’t telling who that was, but did note that he was known as a poor driver of the ball (I think I know who it is).

 I wanted to see the commonalities of these steep attack angle players and I started to see a common theme. One that didn’t surprise me after watching the video and the other that I didn’t think about, but made sense.

One player I looked at was Trevor Immelman. Golfers rave about his swing, but his ballstriking has been very poor for quite some time. Look at the YouTube comments and most golfers think he has an ideal swing.

However, here are his key radar metrics that are the best indicators of attack angle:

Carry Efficiency is Carry Distance divided by Club Speed. Immelman during these years has been either last or second to last in launch angle and is one of the worst on Tour in Carry Efficiency. I have a proprietary algorithm to project attack angle and from 2012 to 2015 his Attack Angle projected at -7 degrees with the driver in competition.

(Click the picture to enlarge)

This is something that Dr. MacKenzie and Joe Mayo mentioned in their video; a player can flatten out the shaft in the downswing and not look ‘over the top’, but if their hands are traveling on the same angle as the club head is traveling, they are not getting the Center of Mass below the Net Force. This means a steep attack angle and leftward path.

One thing I noticed about Immelman’s swing was the clubface angle. Immelman came originally from the Leadbetter school of teaching which wanted the toe straight up at P2 (when the shaft is parallel to the ground in the takeaway)

That makes for an open clubface at the top. While I don’t always agree with the concept that slicers slice the ball because of an open face, I do believe that there are many golfers that will react to an open clubface by swinging more left like Immelman does to get the ball to start on-line.

Here's another steep attack angle player in Ricky Barnes. Here’s Barnes’ radar metrics over the years:

Again, one of the lowest Launch Angles and Carry Efficiencies on Tour. His projected attack angle using my algorithm in 2016 was at -8.4 degrees.

What I see is the same symptoms….he flattens the shaft out in the downswing, but it’s basically on the same angle as his hands are traveling.

(Click the picture to enlarge)

And like Immelman, we see the similar issue of the clubface being open in the backswing.

I know other instructors have been teaching the dangers of an open clubface in the golf swing and have also been teaching how it forces steep attack angles with Tour level talent for the reasons I had mentioned. I think for the average reader that is not in the know, they can see that an open clubface in the backswing presents many problems which includes hitting the ball lower than having a closed club face because the attack angle can steepen.



Jeffrey said...
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Jeffrey said...

Rich believes that having the toe of the club at the P2 position predisposes to the clubface becoming too open at the end-backswing position. I disagree, and I think that it is very natural for the toe of the club to point upwards at P2 if the golfer has a neutral left hand grip. I also believe that it is impossible to get the clubface too open at P4 if the golfer fulfills two conditions during his ENTIRE backswing action - i) maintaining an intact LAFW/GFLW and ii) keeping the clubshaft continuously on-plane - as demonstrated in this part 2 video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJveJDoNzCw ) from my 6.9 hour video project on "How to Perform a Golf Swing Like a PGA Tour Golfer".

Jeff Mann.

Jeffrey said...

Rich is seemingly very enamored of the opinions expressed by Joe Mayo and Sasho MacKenzie in their video, but I think that their central thesis has no validity. Sasho proposes that golfers should shallow their clubshaft during the transition so that the clubshaft is below the plane of their hand arc path. His reasoning is based on his "belief" that it will decrease the amount of left forearm supinatory force needed to square the clubface by impact (during the release of PA#3 that has to happen in the late downswing). However, I believe that his torque calculations (based on 3-D forward dynamic modelling) is flawed, and I believe that it is actually very easy to square the clubface by impact using the fundamental biomechanics that underlie a standard PA#3 release action - even if the clubshaft is not shallower than the hand arc path during the P4 => P6 time period.

Joe Mayo made the ridiculous claim that 99.5% of professional golfers shallow their clubshaft during the early downswing, but I think that his exaggerated claim has zero merit. I have discovered that many PGA tour golfers (like Bryson DeChambeau and Trevor Immelman and Rickie Barnes and Phil Mickelson) do not shallow their clubshaft during the early downswing, and they have no problem squaring their clubface by impact (via the standard method of a PA#3 release action).

However, I do think that there is a very important reason why certain PGA tour golfers prefer to shallow their clubshaft during their early downswing, and that reason is related to their left arm angle (vertical and not outstretched) and accumulator #3 angle (moderate in magnitude and not small in magnitude) at impact. See this short review paper for my explanation - http://perfectgolfswingreview.net/VP6.html

Jeff Mann.

Jeffrey said...

Rich is incorrect about a number of points.

He claims that neither Trevor Immleman or Rickie Barnes shallows their clubshaft during the early downswing and that their clubshaft comes down the same path as their hands.

That's not true!

Here are capture images showing that they shallow their clubshaft.


I have traced their hand arc path in red. Note that they have both shallowed their clubshaft to a significant degree by P5.

Note that both have an intact LAFW (clubshaft is inline with their left arm) and they are both on-plane (butt end of the club points at the ball-target line). Under those conditions, their clubface can never be too open - because it is parallel to the back of their GFLW/watchface area of the left lower forearm.

The same phenomenon is seen in Adam Scott's, Justin Rose's and Rory McIlroy's swings - see next image.


Note that their clubface is parallel to the back of their GFLW and the watchface area of their left lower forearm.

I think that Rick doesn't understand basic TM concepts - like the fundamental concept of an intact LAFW.