The hardest part of my job

is dispelling misconceptions. It is unreal how many people continue to restrict their hip turn, to maximize X-factor and coil.

I understand when people over rotate their hips to the inside and the shoulders and hips are aligned being a bad thing. You don’t solve that by restricting the hips. Just like lag is a result of a properly linked up and sequenced golf swing, proper shoulder and hip separation is a result of good posture at address and the body rotating level to the spine angle at address and not level to the ground.

Too many of the “power inducing” golf theories should be results of simple and natural movements. As soon as you make them pursuits, simple and natural movements cease.

Here is the irony. When people solicit my advice and I tell them to free up their hip turn, they tell me that will limit their X-factor and their power. It often ends up in a personal attack along the lines of, “Jim McLean is one of the top teachers in the world, who are you?”

The ironic part is he himself discounted that theory a long time ago…but like retractions of front page stories that turn out to be inaccurate ending up in the fine print on page 8, the retraction of restricting hip turn as being valid never hit the mainstream.

It is my experience that the golf population is even more duped than I thought. There are two kinds of people practicing at every range. The ones just slashing balls and trying to figure it out with a quick fix tip they got from their friend that stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

…and an enormous group of people who I can vividly see restricting their hip turn on purpose and pulling the handle to the ball in their slo-mo practice swings.

I see and hear people several times a week working on two things. Maximizing X-factor and creating lag with the hands.

Is it any wonder that handicaps are not going down in spite of all of this wonderful equipment and perfect club fittings?

I am not so arrogant and delusional that I think every video and blog post I make will help every golfer, but gee wiz, can we try and help the golfers of the world avoid injury and complete disaster?

The Marquis de Sade would have loved this book.

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9 Comments

  1. Robert Johansson

    Nick Faldo left competitive golf due to loosing his dynamic action due to Leadbetter theory. He loosed out of 10+ years in golf and now sit on the side talking.

    I wouldnt say that Mclean nor Leadbetter nor even the S&T guys is the reason for making golf hard but if what is shown on TV and learned in a school is as it is with modern golf theory which btw dont make sense if your into natural motion that is without impedence. The PGA instruction in sweden for example is filled with theory.

    oh, won the long driving distance on hole 9 at my local club saturday as we had a 9hole competition with barbecue after, cold wet and rainy and wet socks and shoes, but I got it down.

    Reply
  2. woody

    “a properly linked up and sequenced golf swing” Bingo! It’s all about coordination. Coordinated people use more of their bodies, and with a better sequence.

    Part of it goes back to something you wrote a long time ago: golf instruction lost something when it lost the takeaway.

    The initial movement does the hardest job and uses bigger muscles. Then, after the dead weight is moving, a quicker set of muscles seamlessly takes over. That’s why they call it coordination. The backswing accelerates, and so does the downswing.

    The fundamental mistake in golf instruction is dividing it into upper & lower body. It doesn’t work that way. Your body works in diagnonals, upper & lower working together, left & right working together.

    If you’re right-handed in sports… throwing a baseball or football, or bowling or throwing horseshoes, your left side assists your right side. Hunter Mahan is featured in a Youtube video talking about a diagonal connection. (The problem is that he implied that it’s the same move from takeaway to the top of the backswing…but the emphasis switches as the original set of muscles moves into a configuration where it is less effective.)

    Golf is much harder than any of these other sports because you’re switch switching emphasis from one diagonal to the other, and using both arms. Hockey comes the closest.

    If anyone wants to see how the body operates dynamically, this LINK is pretty good. It won’t teach anyone how to golf, but it might help them dig it out of the dirt. (On the other hand, it could be TMI and make somebody crazy.)

    The LINK demonstrate how totally messed up most golf instruction (and X-factor) is, by neglecting how the body works. Instead, they try to reverse-engineer everything from video, using upper & lower body (ugh) as if they were not integrated.

    http://ittcs.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/notes-on-anatomy-and-physiology-slings-at-the-front-slings-at-the-back/

    Reply
    • Robert Johansson

      Have a guy +handicap, couldnt play for 3 years due to back pain, told the golf.se that the swedish elite is going the wrong way was ridiculed since I state the back pain and surgery is coming to those kids. Changed his swing in 3 weeks to a Mike Austin powered, all back pains gone away.

      Back injury and other things are really common with the modern swing.

      Reply
    • calvin

      Excellent. There is opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop exercise programs that focus on these slings. Or maybe someone already has?

      Reply
      • woody

        Well, for one thing, it would be easy to rip off.

        For another thing, if you get too caught up in details you lose “feel.” Probably, different “feels” work for different people.

        If an instructor knew about this, maybe he could tell what parts that a student was leaving out or having the wrong emphasis with, and help with the timing.

        He’d be teaching coordination instead of positions.

        Reply
  3. jaybee

    Excellent post, as a victim (result: upper body sway) I feel qualified to attest.
    The peanut gallery is getting carried away a bit here IMHO, KISS guys.
    This guy actually has a full set of DVD’s out on dispelling myths and although he might have created some other or new ones for himself and his pupils, many of his thoughts, proven by video footage, seem to make sense.
    Here is his take on da hips, using Nicklaus as his main witness http://www.swingcreations.co.uk/FoodforThought/tabid/61/newsid381/6/The-backswing-and-the-importance-of-the-hips/Default.aspx

    Reply
    • woody

      Still a problem. Hips and shoulders are both weak moves. I’m not sure how you get speed out of two weak moves. And good luck coordinating them.

      About the only sport where hips might be prominent is the hula-hoop.

      Here’s somebody who knows the problem, but I’m not on board with the way he solves it:

      “…the hips and shoulders merely represent the easiest markers or indicators of the human body. … But to take it one step further and say that the shoulders and the hips are doing this or that to drive the swing…………that isn’t right…” ~ Kelvin Miyahira

      Reply
    • Robert Johansson

      you also need to add perceptions and how it feels vs what actually happens and deduct which one is more accurate to produce and teach.

      Reply
  4. Jude Heppe

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