Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hitting Revelations, Part II

In the second part of the 'revelations' I'll be discussing the downswing. While I believe that the downswing is what 'counts' in the golf swing because you can't hit the ball with just a backswing, it's still important to have 'hitter' components in the backswing if you plan on becoming a hitter. Furthermore, it helps that those components are in good positions so you can increase your chances of making a better downswing.

The beauty and probably most misunderstood part of TGM is that it's incredibly FEEL oriented. In fact, Homer Kelley stated that golfers should learn feel FROM mechanics. Mr. Kelley was enamored with feel.

One of the drills I liked was the 'hitters flying wedge' drill that I had posted up on YouTube.

I could maintain the right forearm flying wedge with the 'basic motion' (2 feet back and 2 feet through) and with the 'acquired motion' (right forearm parallel back and right forearm parallel through). But when I would get to the full stroke, I would lose the right forearm flying wedge.

The 'frozen' right wrist feel wasn't working. 'Seeing' the wedge and trying to maintain it wasn't working. 'Swinging the axehandle' was not working either.

So I went back to the 'basic' motion and the 'acquired motion' and started to think about feel. What was I feeling in the basic and acquired motion versus the full stroke? And what do we know about 'hitting' patterns?

Well, we know that while hitters can use all 4 pressure points, the 2 key pressure points that hitters use are the #1 and #3 pressure points. We also have heard from hitters that they start the downswing S-L-O-W. 'Wonder why that is?' I asked myself.

But what about the basic/acquired motions versus the full motion?

'Shorter swings in basic and acquired.'

'Right elbow is closer to the body as well.'

'Hmmm, let's take that new backswing with the right forearm takeaway and the right elbow close to the rib cage. Y'know, that new flatter, but a properly executed flatter backswing.'

'I can feel the right forearm flying wedge better when I'm at the top of the swing in my new flatter swing than my old, more upright swing.'

I then proceeded to hit some shots, but wasn't compressing them quite like I wanted to.

I then thought about the pressure points. And in case you forgot or don't know what they are, here's the #1 pressure point and #3 pressure points, the main Pressure points for a 'hitter.'

Well, I use the #3 pressure point in the takeaway. However, when I try it on the downswing it almost makes sure that my right wrist gets flat at impact. You do NOT want a flat RIGHT wrist at impact. You want a flat LEFT wrist at impact with a BENT right wrist.

So what happens with these pressure points when I do the flying wedge drill in basic and acquired motion?

That's when it hit me. I use and maintain the #1 pressure point on the way down in the flying wedge drill. In fact, it sort of feels like I'm thrusting the #1 pressure point into the bottom joint of my left thumb.

A lot of people will talk about the #1 Power Accumulator (the folding and then straightening of the right arm) as like a boxer throwing a punch. The arm certainly moves in that type of motion. However, the HAND and the WRIST does not because in the boxing punch the wrist flattens. In the golf swing, the right wrist should be bent at impact.

So what's it really like?

I would say a 'palm heel strike' in martial arts.

So, the revelation was not only that the flatter backswing helps me on the downswing with lag (as well as downswing path). But, that if I try to maintain the #1 pressure point and feel like I'm sort of using a 'palm heel strike' into the base joint of my left thumb, that will maintain the right forearm flying wedge. And I wound up getting impact alignments like this:

It's far from perfect, but far better than it has been. And after awhile it was getting noticeably better. Like hitting 215 yard 4-irons with a range ball that go on a frozen rope.

I started to feel that 'down, out and forward' motion of the clubhead. I also started to feel that pushing, 'piston' motion of the right forearm through impact. Lastly, not only was my balance and rhythm greatly improved, but I was getting the ever elusive 'effortless power' instead of the dreaded 'powerful effort.' Maintaining the #1 Pressure Point THRU TO THE FINISH is key for me on the downswing.

I cannot wait to hopefully take this to the course.



TeddyIrons said...

I'm following all of this with great interest. Great stuff. The palm strike is something I've been feeling of late and I find it easy with basic motion wedge shots, but then it gets tough with the long irons! I'm going to concentrate on the pressure point number 1 and see how it goes, because I've only been working on the feel of the pressure point #1 on the basic and acquired motion. You are probably right that this causes one to throw away the lag.

Rich H. said...

Remember how I had heard that 'hitters' need to start down S-L-O-W on the downswing? I noticed that if I really concentrate on the #1 PP and maintaining that pressure, the slower the start down. Conversely, if I get quick, I tend to lose that #1 PP.

But the point of these 2 posts is that these are *my* revelations that I got from using TGM techniques that allowed me to 'feel around' and improve my swing.

Feels are often subjective. So I suggest keep up with the TGM techniques and drills and try to feel what is going on for you.

TeddyIrons said...

Yes, I realize your caution about "feel" and that this "feel" is different for all of us. Nevertheless, the idea of the downswing for a hitter being like a palm heel strike is something I'd never considered of felt before, and in a basic motion has helped a lot with the feeling of punching the ball and squeezing it against the ground. I now have to see if I can transfer this to the acquired motion. BTW, in my first comment I made a mistake - I'd been concentrating on pressure point #3 in the palm heel strike so I now want to experiment with pressure point #1 because I believe it will help maintain that flying wedge. I've been following Lynn Blake's videos on youtube which have brought me to this kind of experimentation. Since working on the flying wedge with the basic motion I've struck the ball like never before. Cheers.

philthevet said...

Hi Rich,
VERY interesting to have your FEELINGS, in such a precise description.
I remember one post from TEd Fort on LBG with very good explanations of his feelings.
He was exactly emphasing to start the downswing SLOW , as you are, and then, I'm quite sure to remind his exact words "try to push everything down to Benjing with PP 1"!
Rereading your Utube video I'm asking if the problem is not a hinging problem. It seems like you are using a vertical hinge wich is by far the best way to keep the flying wedge (because of the reverse roll feeling, evrything stay in place ) It is quite impossible to have a real full shot with vertical hinge.
What is your opinion?
PS : I think that Lynn Blake-Collin Neeman 1st video is really the best to acquire the basics of all this stuff. Did you like it?

Rich H. said...

Hinging is still a component that I really have not grasped, yet. I just shot 68 today and hit 15 greens. I started to 'lose' the feeling a bit, but then went on the range afterward and regained it. For me, I need to be aware of my #3 PP on the takeaway, and the #1 PP on the downswing and monitor the right elbow throughout the swing. Once the right elbow gets too far away from the body, then I get some problems.

I've seen all of the Yoda/Neeman vidoes. All of them are excellent.

philthevet said...

Hi Rich
Did you had a conversation with Ted Fort about this right elbow feeling, because it seems to be a key point in your swing?
68 and 15 GIR!! GREAT

Rich H. said...

No. When I was in college I would have some hard times when my backswing would get too upright. The old GSED I worked with at the time taught me a 'swinging' pattern. So when I would get upright, to flatten out the swing, I would flatten out my shoulder turn. HATED having to do that because it never felt quite right. Now keeping the right elbow close to the right rib cage feels almost natural, yet accomplishes the same thing. And studying TGM and punch elbow, I decided to really monitor the right elbow through the swing. Eventually I realized that when I monitor the elbow, the right forearm falls into place thru impact. When I get my next lesson, I'll make sure to talk to him about it. Hopefully either today or tomorrow I'll post up a video of my latest swing.

Joe said...

Hey , in your Flying Wedge drill, Is the clubface square the whole time or is there rotation through the drill. I am trying to move from basic to acquired as we discussed at LBG. Your drill appears to be acquired motion as the right arm gets parallel. I think I may try that way first with the impact hands setup then try to move to a more mid-body hands setup to get to acquired motion.

Rich H. said...

For me, I think it depends on what you're working on. If you're working on the hinge action, then no, the face isn't square the entire time. If you're just working on a FLW and maintaining the flying wedges, then I *think* it's okay to keep it square as feel your way around.