Saturday, October 17, 2009

Latest Lesson With Ted Fort

I had been struggling a bit lately, but still getting things to come around and still shooting some respectable scores. However, 'Black Monday' mysteriously hit. And by 'Black Monday' I mean 'Shank Monday.'

Essentially I knew the problem, I was 'coming over the top' or in TGM terms "getting above plane" which would lead to 'steering' (something I will go over in future TGM translation posts). This would also lead to a lot of loss in lag pressure at impact.

And behold, after one swing, he fixed what ailed me.

Now THAT is teaching.

According to Ted, the address position, backswing, clubface in the backswing and at the top of the swing all looked good. Hip motion in the backswing looked good as well. So, what was the problem?

We first started talking a bit and discussed a facet of the swing that is also described by Lynn Blake about the 'hitter' motion in this video.

Lynn talks about the 'hip slide' and the 'S-L-O-W' startdown for the hitter. Basically the S-L-O-W startdown for the hitter allows then to slide those hips first.

This is, from what I gather, a big part of the Stack and Tilt Method. They want the hips on the downswing to slide for a big chunk of the downswing, then eventually rotate.

Remember, the Stack and Tilt is very much based off 'The Golfing Machine' (all S&T guys will tell you that as well) and Homer Kelley talked about on the downswing the right shoulder has to be on plane. If it's not on plane, then you should check the axis tilt (a big part of the 'Stack and TILT'). The axis in this case is the spine from the Face On View. When Homer Kelley talked about getting axis tilt on the downswing to get the right shoulder on plane, he was talking about the spine from the Face On view tilting AWAY from the target. From what I gather about the S&T methodology, they want the axis either perfectly vertical or very slightly tilting towards the target in the backswing and then the hip slide tilts the axis away from the target and gets the right shoulder on plane (I will be getting the S&T book in November).

Lastly, Homer Kelley also talked about the right shoulder should look like it's moving 'down and stay back' on the downswing.

All that was actually a minor part of what we worked on. The main part we worked on was a downswing move to get that right shoulder on plane by itself. According to Ted, in the 6th Edition of 'The Golfing Machine', there included a part where Homer talks about the HITTER making a karate chop motion with their RIGHT ARM on the downswing. In the past I've talked about a 'swinger' making a 'karate chop' motion with their left hand on the downswing. This is the same type of idea, but the hitter actually makes the karate chop motion with the right hand (the side of the hand where the pinky is actually 'chops' into the ball).

This can actually get the 'hitter' into a 'pitch elbow' position, which I discussed in a recent translation post. If you want more power, you just keep 'delaying the karate chop' and that keeps you from 'running out of right arm.' Probably nobody had more 'right arm' at impact than Mr. Hogan.

After that we worked on the release point and me working on club rotating in the release point. As we discussed it may feel like a horizontal hinge to me, but it's actually an angled hinge because my tendency to steer the clubface open does that.

We eventually got to talking about equipment and how my shafts need to be a little longer since I am so hunched over at address. Ted introduced me to Mizuno's new 'Shaft Optimizer Tool' which is really neat.

Basically this is a tool hooked up to a Mizuno club fitting 7-iron. You simply just hit some shots with the club and then it reads out the clubhead speed and then 4 different numbers (not sure exactly what those numbers mean) and then they can give you a variety of shafts you can use. For example, I was interested mainly in the KBS Shafts and it stated that I should get the KBS Tour Stiff-Flex soft tipped once. But if I wanted the True Temper Dynalite or the Rifle Project X shafts, I could get those as well. Here's what Golf Magazine noted about the Shaft Optimizer

Getting the best shaft for you game can be a lengthy process of trial and error. Mizuno's "shaft optimizer"—a standard 6-iron with a proprietary device affixed just below the grip—eliminates the guesswork. The unit, which consists of a microprocessor with strain gauges and accelerometers, measures clubhead speed, swing tempo, shaft droop (toe down), forward bend (kick angle), and release factor (based on either a handsy or a body swing). It then recommends three shafts (based on flex, weight and bend profile) for you to test during a fitting session. The tool works in tandem with Mizuno's newly released interchangeable iron fitting system (27 heads; 44 shafts).
I then hit some of the KBS shaft with their interchangeable iron fitting system and liked what I saw. Particularly strong on mis-hits. I'll probably try to get some new shafts in my irons next Spring.

That just about ended my lesson session with Ted. For those who are interested, here's Ted's Web Page at the Marietta Golf Center.



Unknown said...


Nice article. Is that "shaft optimizer" available for use at a demo days event at various locations around the country that Mizuno attends?
If not where could a person get that done?


Rich H. said...

It should be as it is now part of Mizuno's fitting system. I went to the PGA Tour Superstore afterward and they had the shaft optimizer there. They also have a a bunch of Project X, Flight Rifle, Dynamic Gold and even KBS shafts in their fitting bin and they'll just attach the shaft to an iron head. Ted wants me to get some longer shafts in the irons. My current shafts are Flighted Rifles at +1/4". We are thinking I need probably something in the +3/4" range. Problem is that it's tough to do that without adding weight. So the KBS shafts are a lighter shaft and I can add some length without changing the swing weight.

Anyway they only had the KBS Shafts in standard length. But I liked what I felt.

Lastly, Ted was telling me that when Mizuno first started this Shaft Optimizer they tried it out on Luke Donald and the shaft it was reading out was exactly the shaft he is hitting. And like I mentioned, the Shaft Optimizer goes into whether a shaft should be 'soft stepped' or 'hard stepped' or tipped, etc. Really cool product.

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