My brain is melting

Even though I am not required to be a member of the PGA of America to teach golf, I am embarking on the quest as a resume builder…and so I can play in PGA section and national events…and learn a lot of great information about running a golf course.

HOOOOOOOOWEVER…I am reading introduction to teaching and it’s making me angry.

I feel like Stephen Hawking reading a book on unified field theory where they try to prove the existence of black holes using 2+2=5.

Widening the arc creates more distance?

An inside out swing path with a closed face produces a push hook?

So far I can answer “Wrong” or “not necessarily” to almost everything in it. I can only imagine how irate I will be when I read intermediate teaching and advanced teaching.

I would go on, but I will just get more upset.

All kidding aside, I am looking forward to learning about turf grass management and things like that…and I will just have to stomach the teaching manuals.




  1. Schnee

    I can see it now Monte, soon you’re going to have your own show on the golf channel, advocate turning in a barrel and using inflatable hippos to stay “connected” and become teacher of the year! 😛 Just kidding, knock some sense into those idiots.

  2. Matt A

    In the latest edition of GOLF magazine I read this ‘How to” from a famous instructor. He was actually telling people to pull the handle towards their stomach at impact – Yikes! I believe this may be a swing thought for 1% of golfers out there but for the other 99% this will be a disaster because they will be yanking up on the club and hitting clankers, thin shots or just plain whiffing the ball.

    As Harvey Penick said “if I tell you to take an aspirin, don’t take the whole bottle”; I believe that people who read this article probably will.

  3. Calvin

    A friend is a brilliant graduate of Georgia Tech who never got his professional license because when he sat for the state boards he spent most of his allotted time writing out all the mistakes that were built into the exam. Just get the license and then use it wisely.

  4. woody

    “An inside out swing path with a closed face produces a push hook?”

    –I really don’t try to work the ball, so I’m just going to shoot from the hip…and maybe create another variety of stupid.

    The Old Ballflight Laws and the New Ballflight Laws are for different groups of people for different purposes.

    The Old Ballflight Laws are for pros who have a pro swing that repeats. On the Internet, you can find Rose, Kaymer, Furyk, Nicklaus, Westwood, and probably others claiming that they use the old ballflight laws to shape their shots. What gives? These are elite players.

    I’m going to say that they really do change path only with their setup, and they always swing along their stance line, and they are not trying to change path with arms, hands & shoulders. The toe is moving faster than the heel at impact. The ball starts out in the face-direction at the instant of maximum compression. I have not yet heard a pro say, “Yes, I use the New Ballflight Laws in my game.”

    New Ballflight Laws are for diagnosing faults of a novice or spaz. They do not have a consistent repeating swing, and for consecutive shots they may not even be doing the same thing. They are changing path with arms, hands, and shoulders– not by adjusting their stance. The toe is not moving faster than the heel at impact. Their grip and setup may be faulty.

    Wouldn’t it take a lot of pressure off a pro if he could make the same swing each time, and just adjust to a slightly different target line and slightly adjust his grip on the club? Was Nicklaus just totally wrong all those years?

    Wouldn’t changing path with arms, hands, and shoulders throw the pro off balance, and maybe cause an injury?

    So, maybe if would help to figure out which group the PGA test is talking about. Then, you might be able to give them the answer that they want.

    • Christian

      You can’t use the old ballflight laws because they don’t agree with the laws of physics. The new ballflight rules are just what happens in reality. A closed face (to target line) is not going to produce a push hook. With Trackman, etc… we know this now, but the teachers / manuals are just slow to catch up (somewhat understandably since they have been taking this as gospel for a long time now). Jack Nicklaus’s thing about aiming the club where you want to end up still works – it produces the shot shape you want, but overdoes it because you start too far in the direction where you want it to end. It’s a starting point that players can tweak (aim a little wider – either at address or subconsciously at impact) to get the desired results.

      • woody

        “slow to catch up” (1:58) Kaymer, well he didn’t change his swing path. (1:17) Poulter, hmmm…old laws? (1:46) Furyk…more old laws? (0:46) Nicklaus…more old laws?

        Looks like the best players in the world are slow to catch up. They’re only changing their setup and making their normal swing.

        When the New Ballflight Laws came into existence, why didn’t the first player to use them on Tour lap the field and become an instant celebrity…since the other players were still using Old Laws?

        • Monte Scheinblum

          You are confusing the feels of great players with reality.

          When I feel myself hanging back and throwing the club in a long drive contest, is that what I am actually doing?

      • Christian

        The new laws didn’t come into existence. They have always been there, we just understand them better now. Kind of like when Galileo proved heavier objects don’t fall faster under the force of gravity (e.g. a bowling ball and marble fall at the same speed). Changing your setup and making your normal swing to shape a shot works fine under the new laws – the shot shape is determined by the relationship between the club face and the path. Really the only difference is that the old laws said the ball started off in the direction of the swing path. The new says it it in the direction of the club face (really in between the club face and path, but more toward the face).

  5. jaybee

    I think the main problem in golf instruction is that, like in investing, neither pupils nor teachers know or can agree upon what they really DO KNOW/need to KNOW.
    That makes both disciplines and their results very different from medicine and its.
    I like Monte’s approach, but I also recognize that S&T does work for some, that there IS a difference between a rotary 1P swing and the more classic 2P swing- however it/ plane is defined- that their suitability might differ from person to person and that their different elements often don’t mix well with the other’s.
    About the only thing I found when checking all those various swing models, concepts and cliches out there which instructors/they can agree upon is a (relatively) straight left arm in the BS and ex S&T keeping the (horizontal) spine angle intact in the BS.
    For anything else, there exists someone who will tell you the exact opposite- which he has seemingly made to work more or less well in his own model.
    So unless this is adressed in PGA pro education and it is thereby made clear to teachers and pupils for which ailment an aspirin works and for which it is poison,
    I have little hope for an improvement in average handicaps.

  6. woody

    Feel vs real? Monte is right, of course. You may (probably will) have a different feel than what is happening. However, one has to ask whether CONSCIOUSLY taking the club more inside or outside and trying to manipulate path is a good idea for someone who needs consistency. Some pros say that they do it…but is it really just a change in their stance?

    If you place the ball more forward or backward, can you still make your same swing? Maybe not. If you tee it higher or lower, will you make your same swing? Maybe not.

    Trackman may not know everything that is happening either. Do we know how Trackman gathers its data and what assumptions are made in the calculations? Do we know if all of the variables are accounted for? Do we know how the program was vaildated? (1:59) Justin Rose…old laws?

    A lot of great players believe that the Old Laws work–but only for good players who are trying to draw or fade. For diagnosing bad shots, I’ll take the New Laws.

    • Christian

      I’m starting to think you are just messing with me now :-). You can’t have it both ways. The laws of physics don’t change from pros to ams. Just like a bowling ball doesn’t fall faster than a marble for guys that believe it will…

      Yes, Rose is definitely suggesting that you should aim your club at the finish which is consistent with the old ball flight laws. But I almost guarantee if you took high speed video of his clubface at impact it doesn’t aim at the target – it aims left of the target (for the fade) and the path is even more left. I say almost, because you are right – I didn’t work on trackman and haven’t read all the technical documents so can’t guarantee it is right. A lot of smart engineers have, though… And I’m pretty sure a lot of this stuff is verifiable with high speed video.

      BTW, I don’t think it is a good idea to consciously manipulate swing path (for me at least). That doesn’t mean I can’t “use the new ballflight laws,” though. I aim my clubface about where I want the ball to *start* and aim my body a bit outside of that and use my normal swing. Of course, this doesn’t always work because my club face and swing path don’t always do the right thing. That’s a whole other issue, though… :-).

      • woody

        “The laws of physics don’t change from pros to ams.”

        –But they might change from swing-robots to pros. There is no robot motion comparable to the rolling of the forearms. Take a look at the right-hand frame, see how Jack’s forearm and hand have rolled over.

        Does it make a difference for the extremely brief moment of face-ball contact? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does either. But, a robot doesn’t swing like a pro, it only mimics the swing of a pro, which might be good enough for distance testing and square contact.

        When people screw up, their swing probably has more in common with a robot than a pro, and a robot can mimic mistakes that pros don’t normally make, like have a huge path deviation.

        Pros say that they can slightly open or close the face, and the ball will start on their stance line, not the face-angle that they’ve preset at address. Don’t you think they’d notice if this wasn’t true?

  7. FredL

    I’m not sure if the “new” ball flight laws were based on the robot or actual high speed videos of pros. I have a feeling it’s the latter since high speed video is a recent discovery; whereas, the robot has been around for quite a while. For a high speed video, you can probably see where the initial ball direction is going and where the clubface is facing.

    • woody

      Problem: The way top pros say that they fade the ball would be a push-fade/slice with the New Laws. Don’t you think they’d notice that the ball was never on their target line?

      How about an interview with one of these pros, entitled: How the New Ballflight Laws Changed My Life. Or, just a Youtube video with a pro claiming that he utilizes the New Laws. The closest we get to this is S&T guru Mike Bennett whining on Charlie Rose’s show about how the Old Laws caused him to quit competitive golf.

      Apparently, the Old Laws didn’t hurt Westwood (former #1). He’s been quoted as saying that he uses them.

      • Christian

        Ok. This really isn’t a debate anymore. These guys have learned through a lifetime of trial and error how to make the ball do what they want. You admitted yourself that feel is not real. So who do you believe more – the pro’s idea of *exactly* what his face angle is at impact or high precision measuring equipment like radar and high speed video? The bottom line is that they are not doing what they are saying. You can either be stubborn and insist that the laws of physics change for different people based on what they believe or you can learn from what modern science and engineering have revealed.

      • woody

        You’re right about one thing: pros do not care what their face angle is at impact. They only know what they have to do at setup to make the ball do what they want.

        Ben Hogan, page 96, Five Lessons: “I don’t give as much as a passing thought to how the face of my club will contact the ball. Consciously trying to control the face of the club at impact is folly. You cannot time such a delicate thing. It happens too fast, much too fast.”


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