Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Swing Journal 4.26.17

n the last post I described how my goal with the swing is to develop a low rate of closure and low overtaking rate release referred to as the ‘Drive Hold Release.’ While it may sound like we are just trying to put my hands in a position of the Drive Hold Release, what we are actually working on are the mechanics prior to the release phase of the golf swing. Those mechanics will make it easier and more likely to execute the Drive Hold Release. Without those mechanics…it’s unlikely I will obtain a Drive Hold Release.

Before we go on, it’s important to note a couple of my beliefs thru my experience as a consumer of golf instruction.

I don’t buy into swing models.’

I don’t buy into ‘swinging your swing.’ The swing is learned and not innate.’

The problem with swing models is that very rarely you see one person do everything an instructor desire. Let’s say an instructor has 6 key pieces to their swing. Usually you will see a great player have 4 or 5 of those pieces. Or they execute those pieces sorta similar to what the instructor teaches…but they exaggerate it enough that it doesn’t look the same…but, it’s essentially doing the same thing.

Thus, expecting me or any golf student to execute the model is likely an exercise in futility and could be very detrimental.

I would rather figure out what I do well and what I do poorly. Figure out what hurts my ballstriking and what does not hurt my ballstriking and then attack those weaknesses and try to come up with mechanics that have some resemblance to what the golf instructor wants to the point where it is no longer a detriment to my game.


I break down Kelvin’s work into Upper Body Mechanics vs. Lower Body Mechanics. I’ve found that this helps me understand the swing better and better break down things so I can practice them more effectively.

I prefer to work on either just Upper Body or just Lower Body mechanics if I can. Working on both at the same time can be problematic.


Strong Pelvic Rotation on the downswing
Avoid Right Pelvic Tilt too early in the downswing
Femurs will Abduct in transition and then adduct into impact (Sam Snead Squat)

We are trying to get pelvic rotation in the downswing because we don’t want the pelvis to stall otherwise it will be near impossible to obtain a Drive-Hold Release. IMO, the players that continue to swing the arms with a stalled pelvis will develop a Roll Release (high rate of closure). Those players that stall their arms with a stalled pelvis will develop a Flip Release (high overtaking rate).

The diagram above is showing the back view of a human and getting into right pelvic tilt. The reason we want to avoid Right Pelvic Tilt too early in the downswing is that the pelvis rotation will stall. Right Pelvic Tilt is more of a ‘sliding’ motion of the hips than a rotational motion.

Here’s a pic of Dustin Johnson in the downswing. He is in LEFT Pelvic Tilt which aids in him being able to continue to rotate. You will also see that both of his femurs are in abduction, aka the Sam Snead Squat. Eventually his femurs will adduct and help keep the pelvis rotating thru and past impact.

As far as ‘weight’ (aka Center of Pressure) transfer goes, it should look something like this:

You will see that in the backswing Victor gets his weight all on his right foot.

He then transfers his ‘weight’ to over 80% on his left foot in the downswing.

However, before impact his hips are still rotating and that causes his ‘weight’ to be nearly 50/50 at impact (actually 52% on his right foot/48% on his left foot)

This is described as a ‘fishhook’ trace because of how the CoP trace forms a pattern that looks like a fishhook. This is common with the drive hold release in the golf swing.


Lumbar Lordosis in Backswing
Lateral Bending of the Spine in Downswing
Rear Shoulder External Rotation
Getting Center of Mass of Club below the Net Force of the Hands

Kelvin describes lumbar lordosis in the golf swing on his blog. That’s usually not a big issue for me other than I occasionally get ‘lazy’ in the backswing and don’t get into lumbar lordosis and have to be reminded to do so.

Since Kelvin’s methodology focus on rotating the pelvis with little lateral movement (rotational = biased towards a slice), we counter that slice action by moving the torso more ‘underneath.’ Meaning that the rear shoulder moves downward, sorta creating an ‘oblique crunch’ in the downswing while the pelvis is rotating. As Kelvin once told me ‘It may feel like you’re making an over-the-top move with your pelvis and making a swing to hit a hook with your shoulders and torso.’

The movements of the upper body (linear movements) and lower body (rotational movements) not only counter each other to produce a more square path, but there is a ‘coupling action’ in the body where the pelvis will rotate *more* when the spine tilts into to the hips. This is described in this video by Dr. Bob Olivieri.

Dr. Olivieri is discussing this with regards to the backswing, but it applies to the downswing as well.

So…we are trying to rotate the pelvis to create a drive-hold release which will help control the face and dynamic loft. But, with this rotation of the pelvis it will also help with club speed. And that’s where many of Kelvin’s players and Lucas Wald’s players hit the ball very long…the rotation of the pelvis helping create more club speed (all the while a drive-hold release helping control the face and dynamic loft).

So in essence, we are trying to get a lot of pelvic rotation with lateral bend (i.e. the oblique crunch).

However, all of this is for not if the player gets into Right Pelvic Tilt too early. The coupling action disappears when the golfer gets into Right Pelvic Tilt.


Lastly, the motion of the arms and shoulder joints is important. I would certainly consider this motion an Upper Body Movement.

The big key is the external rotation of the rear shoulder in the downswing:

The external rotation of the rear shoulder helps get the Center of Mass below the Net Force of the hands (aka getting 'on plane' instead of being 'over the top').

The shoulder joint is also the fastest moving joint in the body so if it is externally rotated in the downswing it will eventually internally rotate with great force.  And all of this leads back to the 'Drive Hold Release.'

Here's a good video from Grant Hooper, who never actually took a lesson from Kelvin, but simply read his articles and the progress he made.  Not only was the progress amazing, but Grant describes so many of the key pieces such as the lateral bend of the spine, not going into right pelvic tilt (feeling like your rear shoulder and rear hip are going to 'kiss' in the downswing).  As well as the external rotation of the rear shoulder.

Tomorrow, I will go into some of my practice beliefs.  That post should be much shorter.



Jeffrey said...

I disagree with many of Rich's opinions.

Example 1:

Rich states that pelvis stalling will predispose to a roller hand release action through impact. I don't know how he defines pelvic stalling but I define it as a slowing of the speed of pelvic rotation. Rory McIlroy stalls his pelvis from P6 to P8 and during the P7.1 => P7.3 time period it actually reverses direction - but he is not a roller, and he is a DHer.

Here is graph of Rory's pelvic rotational motion.

Here are capture images showing his stalled pelvis, which does not open more between P6 (image 4) and P8 (image 6) and it is stalled from a rotational perspective.

I think that most pro golfers exhibit a slowing of their rotary pelvic motion between P6 and impact.

Example 2:

Rich stated "Eventually his femurs will adduct and help keep the pelvis rotating thru and past impact".

First of all, the pelvis does not usually rotate much through impact in most pro golfers because it starts to slow down in the later downswing. Secondly, how can femur adduction cause pelvic rotation? I would like to see Rich offer an explanation.

Example 3:

Rich wrote-: "However, before impact his hips are still rotating and that causes his ‘weight’ to be nearly 50/50 at impact (actually 52% on his right foot/48% on his left foot)". How can any continued pelvic rotation just before impact cause a "reverse foot" weight-pressure pattern (fish-hook trace) where the amount of COP measurement under the left foot decreases between P6 and impact? Also, that fish-hook trace is only seen in "reverse foot" golfers and not "front foot" golfers - see topic number 13 in this review paper at . I also don't believe that there is any evidence to support Rich's scientifically-unsupported claim that being a "reverse foot" golfer (rather than a front-foot" golfer) is more conducive to being a DHer.

Example 4:

Rich wrote-: "The movements of the upper body (linear movements) and lower body (rotational movements) not only counter each other to produce a more square path, but there is a ‘coupling action’ in the body where the pelvis will rotate *more* when the spine tilts into to the hips." I disagree! Right lateral bend mainly happens in the later downswing and that is when the pelvic rotary motion usually slow down. I think that Kelvin Miyahira's "spine engine" opinion that right lateral bend increases pelvic rotational speed through impact is wrongheaded - as explained in topic number 6 of this review paper at


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