Some of what follows is a repeat of what I posted on GolfWrx, but I have added some more details.
You will have to forgive me if some of the descriptions of the details aren’t perfect, as the notes were from texts I sent myself while listening to them talk.
My exposure to S&T is the same as it was for many of you. People self teaching on the range and non-certified S&T instructors. Head moving toward the target…yuck! That head toward the target thing gave me the willies. The mainstream golf media has been (I will be kind) not as accurate as they should have been.
People would ask me what I thought of S&T and my response was a cautious thumbs down as I didn’t know enough about it to say much more than that.
I was there for just a few minutes and it was easy to see they knew what they were talking about. Whether you agreed or disagreed with something they said, it was well thought out and studied. I also realized I had been exposed to corrupted versions and information. The people who call this way of swinging a reverse pivot need to start selling insurance for a living. I found out that in S&T, the head is not supposed to move at all during the swing.
The fact they were both former mini your players that went crazy with the information that was out there and how it was presented, gave me an immediate connection with them. I especially thought it was great when the word “dogma” was used to describe the many clichés you all know I would like to nuke.
S&T is not a swing method as much as a group of observations on how the body works naturally…which fits with my style of teaching.
I found the only major difference between what they think and what I think is the weight shift, or lack thereof, or however you want to describe it. That has not changed. I still like the idea of loading on the back foot, as long is it is done properly.
Everything else they said is essentially the same as what I think and what I try to convey to my students and others. The perspective is just a little different, but the principle and result is basically the same.
I learned from them better ways on how to describe some of my ideas…and to rethink the priority of things.
For instance, I try to promote a natural, unforced, gradual release of the club. Not a forced rolling of the wrists (although it seems I have described it that way at times). They describe it as always extending the arms and I like that as that is how I described a natural release happening in “Plane and Release by Feel.”
I am not so sure they would agree with the above statement, as I am not sure they think of a release at all. The similarity is where they would NOT want people to hold lag or purposely hold off the release on purpose with their hands. IMO, their version of keeping the arms in extension creates the same end result I am trying to project.
They are big on new ball flight laws and do an excellent job of explaining them. Mike put on a great display of using new ball flight laws to work the ball in all directions and different amounts.
Even though I am not a huge fan of the weight staying on the front side, I have been telling my students and even myself to have more weight left at address. I even called a video I made the “Stack and Tilt setup,” 😀
I have been in the process of rethinking my old school, antiquated ideas on ball position the last several weeks and what I learned from Mike and Andy confirmed much of what I have been working on myself and thinking about telling my students.
Actually, I had these “new” ideas on ball position 15 years ago and am going back to them as they make more sense with the new ball flight laws. When I wanted to draw the ball, I put it back in my stance. When I wanted to fade it…I put it forward.
I was pleasantly surprised that Andy and Mike’s ideas are not as “different” as some of the people doing S&T make it look. It is especially not as different as how the mainstream golf media is portraying it.
They said something great at the end. To paraphrase, they do not profess to have the perfect way. They invite debate…and I really respected that. They also said that no two people swing the same, so everyone gets taught differently. I feel like I live by those two principles, as well…at least I try to.
Aside from the demonstration of the new ball flight laws (which I have worked on myself and taught, but now will give it even more attention after what I saw), my favorite thing they talked about was the lateral hip move and upper body extension.
These two forces cancel and create a level head though impact. I said it in a thread on GolfWrx that Tiger could benefit from that.
I think most people in the mainstream would call that a slide and standing up out of it…LOL. The look on their faces when the phrase “turning in a barrel” came up made me chuckle. I never thought there was such a thing as a slide…and now I am sure of it.
IMO, golfers that stand up are feeling trapped and looking for room to hit the ball. Improve their ball position and add lateral hip movement…VIOLA! I have used this idea before, but after Sunday it is much clearer.
They promote a fee hip turn to the point that the right knee can straighten…as long as it is a gradual motion as a result of turning. You all know I agree with this idea and I am sure Bobby Jones would approve of this.
I believe things like the “bird in the hand” grip pressure are bad. I use the term “no excess tension”, while they kind of come from the opposite direction and say there is an appropriate amount of tension.
This is not Earth shattering information, but it kind of describes how I felt listening to them. Same destination, from a different direction.
Another example of this was when they demonstrated what “maintaining your spine angle” looked like. They said seniors mostly do this and they did a comical shoulder roll where there was no shoulder turn just a rolling motion with the waist as an axis. I am sure you have all seen this and know what I mean. It looked exactly like what I talk about when I say what happens when the shoulders turn too level to the ground.
Same destination, from a different direction.
I don’t want this to come of as I didn’t learn anything new, as I obviously did…so I will end with something I definitely learned.
GAPS is a PGA term that is something you learn in the program as the “universal fundamentals.”
It stands for grip, aim, posture and stance. You all know I am not a Nazi on any of these things, but they made a great point. Go to a PGA Tour event and you will find no two players are alike on these things. An obvious thing that we all need to be more aware of. It fits in with no two swings are alike, but it leads to the more important point. What is universal?
Where your club contacts the ground, how far the ball goes and curvature of the ball are things that are fundamental among different skill levels.
Better players contact the ground at the same place at the ball, hit the ball farther and have less curve on the ball and control it. Beginners hit the ground way behind the ball, short and have wicked curvatures.
This brings us full circle to ball position, understanding ball flight laws and understanding how to use that information.
Thank you Mike and Andy, I learned a lot.