Sunday, November 22, 2009

3Jack's Translation of TGM: Part 10

Chapter 3 deals a bit with translating the 24 components of the swing, addressing the ball and executing the swing, and finally with what Homer Kelley called 'snares' which is basic troubleshooting of 'the machine' (the swing).

Homer starts off 3-0 (General Overview) with discussing 'feel' and it's importance to the golfer's swing. As I've posted many times in the blog, TGM is really a book about 'feel.' Homer understood that feels are subjective and a feel that may work for oe person may not work for another person. He also understood that feel is extremely important due to the fact that it allows the golfer to repeat the mechanics of their swing over and over. That's why he talks about 'learning feel from mechanics' over 'learnign mechanics from feel.' The golfer really needs to accomplish the proper mechanics FIRST, then try to grasp what that feels like to them. Instead, popular instruction usually talks about the swing feeling a certain way in the hopes you will get the proper mechanics.

Now, it's alright for an instructor to suggest what the mechanics might feel like. But, the overall goal should be to get the mechanics correct FIRST, then work with the student to understand what type of swing feel is best suited so they can repeat the proper mechanics.

Homer does discuss 'computerized feel' which is basically using the brain to sense the feel. I'm a big proponent of golfers using forged, blade style irons because of the importance of the 'computer.' With a forged, blade style iron the golfer can better sense the type of contact they made and send that information to their 'computer.' This gives the feedback of how good the swing was and that it should be repeated. I don't think you get that type of feedback with Game Improvement, cast irons. I think there's room for having forgiving equipment, but too much forgiveness is likely counterproductive.

This is really pretty much most of what TGM is about, allowing the golfer to develop their 'own swing' and having their own swing feels so they can repeat their swing on a consistent basis.


Homer states 'a procedure must make sense -- geometrically and technically, else the Translation is faulty.'

I think this is a great point. Some golfers call it 'clearing the fog' and I find that it's extremely important to 'clear the fog' otherwise the golfer with languish in thinking the swing is a mysterious, black magic phenomenon. I think too many golfers want to boil down the golf swing as 'just keep your head down' or 'have the right grip' and they wind up neglecting so many things that they usually never quite get above any problems that arise.

Homer also states that 'this book presents the 'uncompensated' Stroke as a goal, guide and progress report, not as the minimum entrance test.'

A good example of a compensated swing was my swing before I went to see Ted Fort. Now, I still have some compensations, but before I saw Ted I had an extremely shut clubface at the top of the swing. In order to square up the clubface at impact, I wound up opening the face on the downswing to square and almost vertically hinging the club on a full swing. So, a flaw (closed face at the top) caused a compensation (vertical hinging). It also caused me to move the head away from the target on the downswing (another compensation) which prevented having that TGM recommended 'head centered tripod' pivot.

Again an uncompensated swing is the 'goal' according to Kelley, but not mandatory. He refers to compensated swings as a 'specialized technique.'


Homer talks about golf not being a game where you can just practice all of the or just play all of the time. This is something I completely agree with as I find that I play my best golf when I can split my practice to play time to about 50/50.

He also states that true practice should be more about the mechanics and alignments of the swing and the ball flight should be 'immaterial.' Furthermore, even if you're on the driving range and your main focus is on the ball flight, that is 'playing' because your focus is removed from the mechanics and alignments along with the feel for those mechanics.

So basically you want to practice mechanics and alignments and develop a feel from those mechanics and alignments and then take that feel to the course. For instance, in order to get the weight more on my left side at impact, I started to 'feel' like I was keeping the weight on the left heel throughout the swing. I then took that feel out on the course which allowed me to consistently repeat better mechanics.
'Practice' is observation, selection, adjustment, etc. -- the flexible 'researcher' approach. 'Playing' is concentration, discipline, supervision, execution, etc. -- the inflexible 'performer' approach.
Homer also makes a really good quote here as well.
No one, especially beginners, should ever trust Feel alone. With any change or addition -- Look, Look, Look -- until you're sure you have it right. When finally it can be done properly while being watched, the next step can be taken.
It's not that feel is wrong, it's just that you need to get into the proper mechanics and alignments first and when you're making an adjustment to your swing, there's the tendency to fight the adjustment in your swing. So the golfer, when practicing, needs to 'look, LOOK and LOOK to see if those alignments and mechanics are proper.

That's why I am a gigantic proponent of using the camera. It allows the golfer to get a better 'look' at those mechanics and alignments. If a swing felt pretty good and you hit a pretty good shot, go back to the camera and look how you did. If the mechanics were pretty good on that swing, keep doing it. If the mechanics were poor on that swing, then you more or less 'got lucky' and need to keep working on getting those better mechanics and alignments.

Homer also talks about the 'Closed Eyes' Technique which is just closing your eyes while executing the proper mechanics to better understand how that feels.
Eons of manhours are lost trying to substitute effort for technique and trying to eliminate effect instead of cause.


1 comment:

Kevin said...


Wonderful discussion of a chapter I haven't spent enough time with. I will study this post as well as the entire chapter in more detail ASAP. Another great job!