The 2016 PGA of America Show

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If you’re a die-hard golfer and eager to know everything golf – you’re in good company here!

Watch out for all the #GolfScience posts both here and at www.golfbytourmiss.com over the four days of the PGA Show 2016. Lots of exciting snippets will be posted during and after the Show.

Some Exciting Results from Recent MGS Research Part I

Some Exciting Results from Recent Research on the Minimalist Golf Swing – the world’s only anatomically efficient golf swing

Part I

The two pictures of a golfer wearing reflective markers on the pelvis and arms and standing on force plates represent a view from the target side of a golfer at ‘early downswing’. At this stage, the lead arm (here left arm of a right-handed golfer) is horizontal and the clubshaft (usually) vertical. The red arrows show the quantity and direction of ground reaction force, an indication of how forcefully the golfer can use the ground to push himself off, for eventually better club speed.

The picture on the left is of a golfer with his existing swing, while the one on the right is when he uses the Minimalist Golf Swing, after a single session in the laboratory.

Force plate pic

Research on muscle activation in the typical golf swing states that “At the end of the backswing, the hip and knee are flexed (bent).”  [from Electromyographic Analysis of the Hip and Knee During the Golf Swing by Bechler et al.] Combine that with information from a paper titled “A Review of Biomechanical Differences Between Golfers of varied Skill Levels” (http://multi-science.atypon.com/doi/pdf/10.1260/174795408785024117) which states that, “….recreational golfers demonstrated greater left lateral bending at the top of the backswing, resulting from sliding of the hips away from the target and dropping the left (lead) shoulder toward the ground.”

Together it can be seen that all golfers, to some extent or the other, have a trail hip which is flexed (bent) and at a higher level than the lead hip.

The Bechler et al. paper adds, “Forward swing (early downswing) is initiated as the trail hip begins to extend (straighten out), pushing the hip forward…”. Combine this observed downswing muscle activation pattern with the words of well-known PGA Tour chiropractor (http://www.golfbytourmiss.com/2015/01/a-glut-of-injury-on-the-pga-50-to-75-of-field-visit-physio-van-each-week/), “….many tour players are unable to rotate their lead hip area during the downswing, so have to forcefully power through with the trail-side gluteal muscles.”

It soon becomes apparent that golfers do not have a pure rotation of the pelvis/trunk region during either the back- or the through-swing, but one in which the bent and high trail hip must straighten and become level with the lead hip, before rotation can take place (see pic.  to understand better).

Put pic of hip level at top and early downswing here remove these words

Hence, as seen in the picture of the golfer on force plates on the left, although the right (trail side for this right-handed golfer) side hip is attempting to power through, the left side (as seen by the red arrow pointing vertically upwards) is “stuck” and does not reciprocally rotate. This probably happens during the straightening part of the right hip, at which time the torso has to drop its level down, in order to begin to rotate.

The red arrow through the lead (left) foot is much longer in the golfer’s existing swing, which implies that more force is being exerted by the golfer through that leg. This is a wasted force and probably keeps increasing, not creating any useful motion which might add to beneficial force transfer from the hips to the torso to the arms and finally to the club for a ‘summation of forces’ being passed on to the club.

With the MGS swing, the hips are always level with one-another, and the right trunk never rises during the backswing, so pure rotation begins earlier and is not impeded in any way. Thus, as seen in the force-plates picture on the right, there is a pure rotational force-couple being generated, with one red arrow pointing forward, the other backward.

Kiran Kanwar

  •   Developer of The Minimalist Golf Swing System -100% scientific, simple and specific
  •   BS (physics, math); MS (sports science, nutrition); PhD (biomechanics – student)
  •   Class A Member: the LPGA, The PGA (GB&I), The NGA of India, The PGA of India

Suzann Pettersen (Solheim Cup) – uses The Minimalist Golf Swing

Suzann Pettersen – Solheim Cup Star – uses The Minimalist Golf Swing (eventually)

 As Suzann Pettersen plays a practice round in preparation for the 2013 Solheim Cup, it is obvious from her swing that it is not co-incidence that she is the highest ranked European player – her swing is a completely Minimalist Golf Swing (MGS)move – two frames down from the top!

From the top of her backswing, her first move down is a drop of her right side. Ha! The MGS would have had her there at the top itself, thus avoiding a lot of excess action (hence Minimalist) and re-routing that she does for two video frames from the top.

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Basically, the top of the Minimalist Golf Swing (MGS) is a position in which all the body’s joints are positioned so they can start the downswing WITHOUT A CHANGE OF DIRECTION! That is what makes the MGS less timing-dependent.

With her current top-of-backswing position she has to start her downswing by dropping her right side to a position lower than the left, and while it may look simple, it involves a lot of inconsistency as the spine – vertebra by vertebra – must re-position itself correctly every time (even when the golfer is under ‘pressure’ and might rush or slow-down the downswing!).

And at the end of two frames down from the top of her backswing? She is in perfect position to let gravity drop her arms down, as her lower body unwinds before her upper body. Ironically, the very same position a talented Legends’ Tour player, 25 years her senior is getting into at her actual top of backswing – why do the extra stuff!

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Halfway down, forget about swing-plane and all that junk. It’s about the position of the right shoulder (which is attached to the right elbow) being well behind the left one. That’s the only important sign that the club will arrive at the ball from inside enough. When the right shoulder is not sufficiently behind the left (see picture on extreme right), the right elbow (the final opportunity to make good impact) must un-bend in a plane (frontal) that it is not designed to, resulting in less-than-efficient ball-striking and eventually injury too.

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Look at the un-intentional and intentional MGS swingers. GREAT half-way down positions. The only difference? Suzann has a lot of wrist lag – intentional as the world of golf insists it matters. How much power can an abducted wrist (cocked) give when it straightens by a couple of inches? Not much. Why then lag excessively, only to risk a too-early or too-late release as the right elbow straightens out? Why risk injury too? With the MGSS, as there is no intentional backswing lag, the wrists lag as the right elbow ‘drops into its slot’ giving perfectly timed release – which should really refer only to right arm pronation – for power-delivery plus less scope for injury.

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Congratulations, MGS user, your swing is brilliant – anatomically efficient and thus powerful!

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What will Tiger do next?

What will Tiger do next? 

What he will do next we do not know.

What he should do, is first sue Butch Harmon.

Then sue Sean Foley.

Butch should be held responsible for the exacerbation of his knee injury (see knee injury in the ‘walking the talk’ section of this blog). Sean for his recent elbow injury.

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Incidentally, Sean is completely correct about not moving so much – it reduces a golfer’s margin for error. Weight shift, folks, is passe. See how Tiger Woods’ swing has evolved from that of his early coaches’ to the present one. He has successfully cut out too much lateral movement – which is good. He has done so, however, without correct top-of-backswing joint positions – which is bad. A compact swing is truly ‘economy in motion’ as Bruce Lee might say – very important for an explosive power move. However, the more compact the moves, the less room there is for the poor-joint-position-compensatory-moves to be made!

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So, Sean Foley is right in theory, but wrong in practice. Here’s why:

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From the top of this position, he must drop down (laterally flex) the entire trunk – vertebra by vertebra (a frontal plane move), while at the same time straightening his knee (a sagittal plane move), as he tries to rotate his body – lower body first, to produce speed and deliver the club to the ball from the inside. Not to mention that his right wrist extension (backward bend) will have put his right arm into internal rotation, which he will have to put into external rotation (so as to save his elbow) along the way.

Now, he has to do all this in the 2/100th of a second he himself says the golf swing takes. EVERY move made from his top of backswing position onwards is his brain’s own way of finding a compensatory method for all these multiple joints to all untwist and un-bend, all together, in synchronization, and in the limited time of the downswing, to  present the club to the ball at maximum speed and from the inside.

So, Sean’s brain has found a unique way to undo all the very many backswing moves he has made. Imagine his brain thinking, “I should drop the body down two and a half inches to bring the right side down, then I must make the hips rotate first, the shoulders next, I must make sure the wrists remain maximally lagged, and also I should try to put get right shoulder into external rotation so the right elbow does not arrive at the ball in a manner it cannot act efficiently from (ie a ‘valgus’ position).

Sean’s student Tiger’s brain, has found its own unique compensatory mechanism to reverse all his less-than-ideal top-of-backswing positions, most especially the lifted right trunk. His brain drops his entire body vertically downwards. To compound this problem, the world of golf claims that such a movement is good, because it is like the counter-move-jump you might see a basketball player do. After you squat you can jump up higher, because as you squat your thigh muscles stretch, then can contract more powerfully while pushing up.

In my opinion, the golf swing should have neither side-to-side movements (eg weight shift) nor up-and-down movements, they simply reduce the time within which a golfer must unbend and untwist a lot of stuff, while trying to make a merry-go-round-like pure transverse-plane body rotation.

When you’re injury-riddled beyond bearing, and you’re embarrassed to be  hoping to win more majors than Jack Nicklaus while being the wimp your unknowing former pros have made you into – unable to use a driver – consider the Minimalist Golf Swing, Tiger.

The US Open and Tiger Woods

The US Open and Tiger Woods

One MGSS fan texted, “hey I was looking forward to your comments on the US Open, as I enjoyed your remarks after the Seniors’ Championship so much”

So, my friend Tom, my response is, “Tiger did not win”, why would I care about the rest of the field.

I’d predicted in a facebook forum of the National Golf Academy of India (and, to an extent, hoped) a month ago, that when the going got tough, Tiger would not do well. Why would anyone be mean enough to ‘hope’ such a thing? For purely selfish reasons.

I have dedicated myself to being worthy of being Tiger’s next coach – or at least getting the opportunity to explain to him my study and research of over 18 years. What does ‘worthy’ mean? It means acquiring knowledge well beyond what even the leading golfer of the world might need to succeed – my Masters in Sports Science and Nutrition has given me information on anatomy, biomechanics, orthopedic assessment, exercise physiology, exercise testing and prescription, fitness, nutrition, sports psychology, research methods. A 21st Century golf coach has to have at least primary-physician qualifications, cannot simply say, “My student can go to so-and-so for fitness or someone else for a chiropractic adjustment”. BECAUSE those people do not understand golf enough to tell what might cause the ball-striking or injury problem!

(See the section ‘Walking the Talk’ in this blog for my orthopedic physical assessment class project – 10 pages include how golf and tennis elbow injury can be cause in golf. Coming soon how knee injury such as Tiger Woods’ and Fred Funk’s are exacerbated by a poor-mechanics golf swing).

Well, when I first ‘came out of the box’ and started telling people that is was the ambition of my life to be Tiger’s next coach they laughed. Not so much any more, they respect my understanding and knowledge of the golf swing (sadly no PGA of the world tells a teacher WHAT to teach – wannabe teachers are given ONLY Gary Wiren’s LAWS, PRINCIPLES and PREFERENCES and then have to GO FIGURE. Many peripherally useful topics, but NOTHING on WHAT to teach. How do I know? I’m a member of four teaching associations!).

In fact many say, forget Tiger, he’s finished, find someone else. NO Tiger is NOT FINISHED. He is the world’s most supreme athlete, has the mental and physical skills and the work ethic to be the best, at the highest level, again. When he plays badly it is not about him, it is about someone-up-there saying “I’m the one controlling you humans, don’t think it’s YOUR great skill or talent that’s making this happen”.

Tiger is, however, running out of time. He cannot afford any more injury and no-one in his coterie even realizes that it’s exacerbated by his golf swing. Coterie, from now on, be aware that if Tiger has more injury or cannot play at the highest level, it is because YOU, his TEAM, do not allow any information from people like me to be filtered down to him. Sure you get lots of such information from lots of people, can you not tell based on credentials or years in the business?

How DARE all his previous coaches mess him up so badly as to tell him to reduce his distance in order to gain consistency (which they have not been able to give him yet), or get him to a stage where he cannot use his driver, AND use effectively enough to be a weapon of mass destruction. One told him to move his left knee out of the way and straighten it quickly. I’d have sued that coach for future ACL injury, but the poor man does not have any background in human movement!

The next coach told him if he gets across the line to try to be laid off. BOTH ugly positions, NOT correct in science (most obviously because both make the club shaft parallel to the ground, a position which does not put the club in it’s position of maximum gravitational potential energy, but which of those pros understood basic physics?)

He needs a swing method which can help him deliver his club correctly (from the inside and at maximum speed) while positioning his body more appropriately based on what human joints are and are not capable of doing.

The Minimalist Golf Swing System works for all strokes not just the full swing, and Tiger neither gets 18 fairways and 18 greens nor is his putting always reliable. So, there’s a Minimalist solution to that too.

Many have asked, “If your method is so good, how come the pros do not use it?” Reply, “The method have taken 18 years to evolve, based on my increased knowledge and experience”. There are 2 pros using it, and winning with it already, even though they have not had more opportunity to work with me on it. Many amateurs are posting things about it on various forums.

Other nay-sayers say, “OK you think you have a method, there are tons of those around!” My answer:
GOLF PROS have the ability to connect the dots from having taught so many people but have no background in human movement science. GOLF SWING RESEARCHERS have little background in golf – either playing it competitively or teaching it to see mistake-patterns. Very few in the world have both backgrounds. Only one has both 24 years experience teaching golf, an educational background in anatomy, biomechanics and physics, years of conducting research on various aspects of the golf swing, a personal need to try to hit the ball better, plus the ability to think outside the box enough to wish to reverse-engineer the golf swing. Reverse engineer meaning start with an understanding of how the club should be positioned for best impact then work backwards to figuring out how the body can be positioned to deliver the club correctly, based on what the body’s joints are capable of doing. The result – better ball-striking and less scope for injury.

Isn’t it funny how we mere mortals are told by the ‘pros’ to swing like so and so, when that Tour Player themselves has mechanical faults? It is presumed, in all sports, that a top-level player is making the best action, when that is not at all true. ONLY reverse-engineering can give the best picture for what movement is ideal for any sport.

Now, if Tiger doesn’t hear of the Minimalist Golf Swing System soon, he can waive his useful career goodbye.

Diary of PGA Seniors’ Championship by Kitchenaid in St Louis

Diary of PGA Seniors’ Championship by Kitchenaid in St Louis 

Final practice round and last opportunity to take photographs/video of the players

1.00 pm: attended interviews by Peter Jacobsen and Tom Watson

To hear them talk of all their injuries and surgeries OF JOINTS is painful.

HOW can they NOT have injury if neither they nor their instructors have any background in human movement science?

Would you go to an orthopedic surgeon to have a knee replaced who did not know every possible detail of the knee joint capsule, all of its ligaments and which direction of movement they restrict, where the cartilage is, where the meniscii are, how the femur and tibia lie with relation to one another, not to mention the nerves innervating the area, all the muscles, the arteries and veins that pass by, leave alone the many bursae?

Cases in point:

Curtis Strange wears an elbow band. Look at his top-of-backswing below. Look at how his right elbow and right wrist are positioned. He does not have the timing of his youth, and so his elbow cannot drop backwards as well as straighten in time for good impact. He keeps his awkward bend (‘V’ of the elbow facing the sky) of his elbow almost to impact, then demands of it that it straighten on the ‘frontal plane’ (similar to a ferris-wheel), BUT the elbow is designed to straighten on the sagittal plane. So, the poor elbow is being forced to do something it is not designed to do!

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Read the ‘Walking the Talk’ section of this blog for a detailed discussion of everything anyone could possibly wish to know about ‘tennis’ and ‘golf’ elbows, PLUS 10 pages of how they can develop in the golf swing.

Dick Mast has sciatic pain. He “knows what he must do, his pro has told him, but he cannot do it because he is in pain”. Does his pro know his left hip is in its closed packed position at and past impact ( 20 degree extension, 50 degree abduction and 40 degree internal rotation), which could  lead to his piriformis muscle impinging on his sciatic nerve? Or lead to compression of the nerve in the spinal level itself?

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It’s ALL ABOUT knowing where the club needs to be for impact, then FORGETTING about the club, and simply positioning all your major joints so that they CANNOT HELP BUT deliver the club correctly, BECAUSE they have been placed in accordance with what they are DESIGNED TO DO!

 

‘Transition’ for the ‘traditional’ and ‘minimalist’ golf-swing downswings

What does ‘Transition’ mean?

‘Transition’ is the change in movement from backswing to downswing, so should technically mean the point at which the clubhead reverses direction.

What 'transition' will this golfer make?

All sorts of movements are recommended for a golfer to ‘transition’. Have you heard any of these before?

1. Shift weight back towards target

2. Re-plant your raised left heel (for a right-handed golfer)

3. The body starts the turn towards target before the clubhead has reversed directions

4. Squat down to start the downswing

5. Let there be a separation between the legs

6. Start the downswing from the ground up – lower body, followed by upper body, followed by arms, wrists and clubhead

7. Push with the right side (hip, knee, foot, it varies depending upon the authority)

8. Pull with the left side

9. And the list goes on…..

Actually, for the ‘traditional swing’ – ANY swing which is not The Minimalist Golf Swing – the body has to reposition many joints to get into the right place for the start-of-downswing – the left hip and knee, the right trunk, the right shoulder, elbow, forearm and wrist. WHICH is WHY it takes years to achieve ‘mastery’ and seconds to un-achieve it, especially under pressure.

Look at the top-of-backswing position in the picture above – the golfer must drop the right side of the body, drop the right arm, drop the right elbow and all while re-routing slightly from the ‘inside’ so that she does not come ‘over-the-top’. A LOT of GENIUS is required to un-do most golf swings, and a lot of phenomenal ‘timing’ which instantly goes ‘out-the-window under pressure – whatever situation makes a golfer feel ‘pressure’

The Minimalist Golf Swing (at one stage it was all set to be called ‘The do-nothing golf swing’!), requires a person to DO NOTHING – intentional – during the downswing. It not only allows all the good moves to happen, it prevents all the bad moves, so that the golfer’s body cannot help but have the correct downswing sequence, so that ‘transition’ becomes mere happenstance, not something one has to strive for!

Hit the Ball Further, Straighter, Higher EVERY TIME

Hit the Ball Further, Straighter, Higher EVERY TIME

If a ball in not connected below its equator and on it’s inside/near right quadrant (for a right-handed golfer), where CAN it be connected? Above its equator or on it’s outside right quadrant.

Anyway you look at it, that IS an over-the-top – OF THE BALL – impact, and does not give you the best ball-flight you are capable of – maximum distance, straight direction and ideal trajectory!

Two new videos (in the GOLF VIDEOS section of this blog), titled How to Hit YOUR Best Shot – ALWAYS and IS YOUR GOLF SWING Over-the-Top together show body (joint) -positions at the top of the backswing which are the opposite of what is required for correct impact.

When multiple joints require to be repositioned, in sequential order, during the short duration of the downswing, the brain says, “no time, why bother” and simply follows the path of least resistance and drops the club over the top of the ball. hence a ‘bludgeoned’ or ‘smothered’ impact, where the golfer puts in ‘x’ amount of effort, but only a portion of it (cosine of ‘x’) goes into the ball, the rest is wasted in the dirt or air around the ball.

Once certain joints are mis-placed at the top, the golfer – depending on his/her level of skill and experience – makes individual compensatory movements in order to try to re-position upper-body and trail (right) arm joints properly. The re-positioning gives the body two opportunities to deliver the club over-the-top of the ball. You have to be very skilled and have years of practice to avoid both OTT opportunities and deliver the club from a shallow, inside path!

Ironically, the fitness experts tell you you have physical limitations which need correction in order to make a better swing, when in fact all you need is better joint placement and minimal movement during the swing!

‘Learn MGSS in a Day’

One of the pages on this blog has an ‘learn MGSS in a day’ offer. It helps to personalize MGS – FOR YOU.

 

All the people who availed of the offer this summer, visited over two days, which was easier for them, in terms of ‘getting it’ as well as not over-taxing the back and hands!

Often, despite reading it all and looking at the videos, people cannot pin-point exactly which part they did not quite ‘get’. This leak means an inconsistent result, so why bother with MGS at all in that case, if inconsistency continues! So, the offer will be available – for St Louis – for 2 more months only, and may not be made next summer.

Also, today’s science ‘tutorial’ is on math – which if explained well and simply IS NOT a four letter word (please don’t say it’s actually ‘mathematics’, so cannot be a four-letter word anyway!).

A request to all those visiting this blog

Hello all visitors to this blog. If you’ve used the MGS successfully and would like to comment, please do so on the ‘testimonials’ section of this blog. The reason is that I have made reference of this blog in my LPGA Teacher of the Year application form, and maybe the people that are supposed to vote on that will look at this blog to see what users genuinely think about MGS. Also, any time you’ve a question about MGS, just post some pictures here for the MGS community to give you suggestions on. Kiran.

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