Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mr. Hogan, The CP Release and D-Plane

Lately, I’ve been talking about the ‘new ball flight laws’ and ‘D-Plane’ as well as the ‘CP Release’ vs. the ‘CF Release.’ Over at John Erickson’s forum, a student there asked me what should he do with his ball position with his driver. He believes he’s using a ‘CP Release’ and he hits his mid-to-short irons well and straight. But with his longer clubs, particularly the driver, the ball starts really moving left-to-right (he’s a right handed golfer).

First, let’s go over the ‘CP Release’ vs. the ‘CF Release.’ Here’s a good picture by Erickson displaying the two types of ‘releases.’

The pic on the left shows the ‘CP Release’ and the pic on the right shows the ‘CF release.’ The CP release has the upper arms pinned to the chest after impact. You’ll also see the clubhead is ‘swinging left’ as well.

The CF release has the upper arms off of the chest after impact and the clubhead goes out to the right a bit.

Hogan was a great example of a ‘CP Release.’

Moe Norman was a great example of a ‘CF Release.’

Next, let’s go over some Trackman terms.

Attack Angle = The downward or upward angle that the clubhead hits the ball. This would be viewed from a FACE ON vantage point.

Vertical Swing Plane = The ‘downswing plane.’ Trackman actually measures where the sweetspot is going, not the shaft, but it’s basically into weather the golfer swings on the Turned Shoulder Plane, Elbow Plane, etc.

Horizontal Swing Plane = Where the clubhead is going AFTER impact.

Clubhead Path = The direction the clubhead is going INTO impact (aka ‘inside-to-out’, ‘outside-to-in’, etc).

It’s very important to note that Vertical Swing Plane (downswing plane) is NOT THE SAME THING as attack angle. Meaning, both Moe Norman and Lee Trevino came down on the ‘elbow plane’ on the downswing. But Moe had a very shallow attack angle (small divots, rarely broke a tee) while Trevino had a very steep attack angle (massive divots).

The reason why teachers and Trackman preach the Horizontal Swing Plane and ‘swinging left’ is that if the golfer can change their ‘release’ (post impact) they can change their clubhead path (pre-impact).

But one of the other factors that effects the clubhead path (pre-impact direction of the clubhead into the ball), is the attack angle.

So, there’s a bit of math to do here.

With the irons, the golfer needs to ‘swing left’ (the ‘release’, the ‘horizontal swing plane’) approximately ½ of the attack angle in order to create a clubhead path that is about 0.0* to the target.

So for instance, it would look like this:

-5* Attack Angle & -2.5* HSP (swinging left) = 0.0* path

However, if we were not to ‘swing left’ and release the club ‘down the line’, the ‘formula’ may look something like this:

-5* Attack Angle & 0.0* HSP (swinging down the line) = +2.5* path (inside-to-out)

Now with woods, the ‘formula’ is a tad different because the spin axis that woods put on the ball is different from the spin axis put on the ball with irons.

With woods, the HSP (swinging left or swinging right) should be approximately the same as the attack angle.

So for instance, it would look like this:

-5* attack angle & -5* HSP (swinging left) = 0.0* path

But if we were not to release the club that ‘matches’ the attack angle, the ‘formula’ would look something like this:

-5* attack angle & 0.0* HSP (swinging down the line) = +5.0* path (inside-to-out)

Again, the release of the clubhead, be it rightward or leftward or down the line, effects the clubhead path into the ball.

Very much like Lynn Blake says about hinge action and why it matters even though the ball is already gone…you have to PREPARE BEFORE IMPACT to reach those post impact conditions/alignments/motions/etc.

So, swinging left or swinging out to the right means you are preparing to do that BEFORE impact.

Now, onto the driver with a CP Release question.

What we know about D-Plane is that *if* you make the attack angle STEEPER, the PATH will naturally move more out to the right. For example, let’s say your normal swing ‘formula’ looks like this with a 7-iron:

-6* attack angle & -3* HSP (swinging left) = 0.0* clubhead path

Now, let’s say you make your attack angle steeper, but with the same club (7-iron) and the same ‘swinging left’ release. The formula could look like this:

-8* attack angle & -3* HSP (swinging left) = 1.0* path (swinging inside-to-out)

Conversely, if the attack angle is shallower or upward, the path will *naturally* move more to the left.

What do we know about driver swings?

The attack angle is usually shallowest with the driver. The PGA Tour average attack angle with a 6-iron is -4.1*. The PGA Tour average attack angle with a driver is -1.2*. Longer the club, shallower the attack angle.

So, let’s create a list of sample ‘formulas’ and what would approximately needed to be done to create a path of 0.0*:

PW……….-6* Attack Angle & -3.0* HSP = 0.0* Path
6-iron…….-5* Attack Angle & -2.5* HSP = 0.0* Path
3-iron…….-3* Attack Angle & -1.5* HSP = 0.0* Path
3-wood…..-1* Attack Angle & -1.0* HSP = 0.0* Path
Driver…...+3* Attack Angle & +3.0* HSP = 0.0* Path

So, let’s say this golfer had a square stance alignment and had a CP release and was swinging left very consistently at -3*. Here’s an approximate look at his ‘values’ with various clubs throughout the golf bag.

PW……..-6* Attack Angle & -3* HSP = 0.0* Path
6-iron…..-3* Attack Angle & -3* HSP = -1.5* Path
3-iron…..-1* Attack Angle & -3* HSP = -4.5* Path
Driver….+3* Attack Angle & -3* HSP = -6.0* Path

So, what does a golfer do?

IMO, just change their stance alignments at address. The Hogan stance diagram in ‘5 Lessons’ shows this perfectly:

Like I mentioned earlier, Hogan was a quintessential CP release swing. What Hogan did was basically figured out ‘D-Plane’ with the CP release for him well ahead of anybody else. By having a closed stance with the driver which has a shallower attack angle, he was able to still use that CP release, but still release the clubhead out to the right. And with a 5-iron, he could aim his feet square to the target, use the CP release, and get that clubhead swing left more. And then with an 8-iron and an open stance, he would get the clubhead swinging even more to the left.

Let’s say Hogan hit it relatively straight or a smidge of a fade, his ‘formulas’ may look like this, ALL THE WHILE USING A CP RELEASE:

PW……….-6* Attack Angle & -3.0* HSP = 0.0* Path
6-iron……..-4* Attack Angle & -2.5* HSP = -0.5* Path
3-iron……..-2* Attack Angle & -1.3* HSP = -0.3* Path
Driver…….-1* Attack Angle & -1.3* HSP = -0.3* Path

Again, he swung the club the same…he just changed where he aimed his body a tad. IMO, it’s perhaps the most brilliant part of his book.


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