Clubface Position Throughout the Swing

Clubface Position Throughout the Swing

Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

February 5th, 2006, 5:04 am #1

1) Did Mindy tend to keep his clubface relatively more "closed" throughout his backswing than the modern Mindy practitioners tend to keep it?

2) Did Mindy tend to keep his clubhead less inside the target line in the backswing, downswing, and followthrough than do the modern Mindy practitioners?

3) In the followthrough, did Mindy tend to keep his clubface relatively more "open" than the modern Mindy practitioners tend to keep it?

Tom
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Joined: August 2nd, 2004, 11:57 pm

February 5th, 2006, 2:20 pm #2

"1) Did Mindy tend to keep his clubface relatively more "closed" throughout his backswing than the modern Mindy practitioners tend to keep it?"

No, although Richard's flatter arc makes his clubface appear to open more. He still keeps the face square
to the arc.

"2) Did Mindy tend to keep his clubhead less inside the target line in the backswing, downswing, and followthrough than do the modern Mindy practitioners?"

Yes as to Richard Wax. No as to Chris Walker. No as to Julian. As these are the only Blake swings I
have seen the question is not easy to opinionate about.

"3) In the followthrough, did Mindy tend to keep his clubface relatively more "open" than the modern Mindy practitioners tend to keep it?"

Mindy held the face square to the arc in the follow through at least in posed pictures. Richard Wax
allows the clubface to close after impact as does Julian. Chris Walker seems to hold the face square
after impact. Again, the flatter the arc the more the face "appears" to open and close to its path.

I hope these questions are addressed by the resident experts: Richard, Chris, Julian, Snakedoc et al.
My answers are just my answers and you know what they say.


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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

February 5th, 2006, 5:03 pm #3

1) Did Mindy tend to keep his clubface relatively more "closed" throughout his backswing than the modern Mindy practitioners tend to keep it?

2) Did Mindy tend to keep his clubhead less inside the target line in the backswing, downswing, and followthrough than do the modern Mindy practitioners?

3) In the followthrough, did Mindy tend to keep his clubface relatively more "open" than the modern Mindy practitioners tend to keep it?

Tom
Tom, I think cd has it approximately right. No one I've seen looks exactly like Mindy which is exactly what I would expect. A relatively new student of Richard Wax, Maurice, looks much like (surprise!) Richard at address and in execution. One of Blake's more intriguing claims was that his swing results in up to 18 inches of squareness through the hitting zone. He thought it important that the club continue to travel square after impact without wrist rollover. May I ask why you ask? SD
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

February 5th, 2006, 7:12 pm #4


Thanks for the input guys.

I'm in the process of trying to reconcile the assorted golf swings. I'm looking for an underlying principle or common denominator that makes them all work in spite of their apparent differences.

In order for a swing technique to be included in my study, it must have produced at least one master striker of the ball. Sometimes it's hard to identify a master in some of the odder swings I've looked at. But I think Blake qualifies as a master striker just as in the Single Axis arena Moe Norman obviously stands out.

Tom
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

February 5th, 2006, 11:17 pm #5

I certainly think Mindy qualifies as a master ball striker, especially when you consider that he took up golf at age 34. By the time he had developed his 'reflex' swing and was regularly playing to a handicap of one or two at the difficult Wentworth Club courses in Surrey, England, most golfers his age had begun to retire to the 19th hole. He switched to an open stance around 1976, when he was 63. Two years later at age 65, he wrote in 'Golf: The Technique Barrier' that he was striking the ball better than ever and was still playing to a low handicap. Tragically, he died when he was only 68, before the revolution in heart/artery medications occurred. Jim
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

February 6th, 2006, 1:16 am #6

Tom, I think cd has it approximately right. No one I've seen looks exactly like Mindy which is exactly what I would expect. A relatively new student of Richard Wax, Maurice, looks much like (surprise!) Richard at address and in execution. One of Blake's more intriguing claims was that his swing results in up to 18 inches of squareness through the hitting zone. He thought it important that the club continue to travel square after impact without wrist rollover. May I ask why you ask? SD
1) Do you think Mindy Blake stayed square for 18" as he claimed?

2) If so, do you have a theory of how he did it?

From the photos you have posted on this site (an admittedly small universe) and from my recollection of TGSOTF and my trials with the technique many years (decades) ago, plus my experience over the years (decades) with golf swings and theories, I think it's probable that Mindy took his swing to the grave with him. It doesn't seem to me that what his followers are doing is what Mindy was doing. That's not to say that the current Mindians are not exceptional, just different.

Tom
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

February 6th, 2006, 4:18 am #7

I've always thought the claim to be extraordinary. Lee Trevino wrote that his unusual swing gave him, maybe, an extra inch of squareness and, combined with amazing repeatability, took him right to the top of the PGA Tour. Blake thought his own more straight back, vertical-like motion, along with no wrist/forearm rollover through the hitting zone and beyond, were key to squareness. I think Blake probably did achieve a bit more squareness, though I find 18 inches or more difficult to believe. In a discussion of this issue over on the SA forum, Peter opined that 18 inches of 'approximate' squareness might be possible (my recollection of the discussion). The additional squareness might help explain the reliability of Mindy's swing into his late sixties. To get a good feel for his more evolved swing, you might find GtTB quite an interesting read.

He stated the claim almost off handedly, in a paragraph regarding ball position:

"However, as the club does not roll and the clubhead is on line to the target for 18 inches or more, my swing gives a wide range and the ball can be placed as far forward as opposite the left toe (the lowest point of the swing) or as far back as midway between the feet, depending on whether a high or low shot is required."

I had the pleasure of observing Mindy swing only twice and this was before he switched to an open stance. Those were early days for me in golf and I was thinking only about how the heck one could hit a golf ball with the legs and that mysterious grip change. The still photographic evidence I've seen is certainly not definitive enough to make credible conclusions about the claim. As to whether Blake took his swing to the grave with him, I understand there is a few minutes of video tape of his swing among his papers. However, IMO it is doubtful whether that would help resolve this matter. Jim

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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

February 6th, 2006, 5:15 am #8


When I tried to learn Mindy's swing from his book back in the 1970's I had an image in mind that I was trying to match. I couldn't do it then. I think I've learned a lot about golf during the past 30+ years and I think I probably could learn to execute Mindy's action fairly easily now. Although I haven't hit any balls, I have spent a little time in my yard setting up and swinging according to what I remembered from TGSOTF. In the old days with Mindy I generally would either hit low pull hooks or high push slices with my driver (yanks or blocks) and I had to go hard with my legs. Now I think I could direct the club down the line at assorted speeds because I have a different understanding of what Mindy might have meant by "dragging".

Tom
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

February 6th, 2006, 4:48 pm #9

Tom, What do you think Blake meant by 'dragging'? Jim
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

February 6th, 2006, 7:05 pm #10


When I first tried to do the Blake swing my impression was that force was transmitted sequentially - knees move hips, hips move spine, spine moves shoulders, shoulders move arms, arms move hands, hands move club - a tight follow the leader action. My conception has changed since then, probably more to what you folks think happens in the Blake swing.

It is rather difficult for me to explain in words what I think happens in the Blake swing, but before I even try, I need a favor. I recall that in TGSOTF Blake wrote about his pilot days and about crash landing his war plane into water. I seem to remember him writing that he somehow cartwheeled the plane instead of trying to bring it down flat. The inclusion of that story in a golf book always struck me as very odd but somehow very significant in Mindy's golfing life. If you can, will you either recite or summarize that section of the book for me (I no longer have a copy of either of Mindy's books)? As I see things now, it seems to me that Mindy's conception of his golf swing is connected to that landing maneuver. In making this request, I fully understand that I may be goofier than all of you Mindians put together!

Thanks,
Tom
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

February 7th, 2006, 6:08 am #11

Blake's exploits in WWII alone would make a good movie. Here is the story to which I think you're referring.

"At that time nobody had ditched a Spitfire in the sea and come out alive. The problems involved, however, had been exercising Mindy's mind for some time, particularly since he had seen Paddy Finucane, the legendary Irish ace, disappear forever beneath the Channel waves. He had worked out that the retarding force applied to a pilot's body when a Spitfire hit the water and stopped was from five to seven Gs, which meant you were either killed instantly or you were rendered unconscious and drowned. He also hit upon a method which he was confident would reduce the G-force to around one-and-a-half, thus giving a pilot a reasonable chance of survival.

"Seven miles off the coast, just as his Spitfire was about to hit the water, he tilted one wing-tip deliberately in the sea and cartwheeled the aircraft. A few minutes later he was safely in his inflatable dinghy and paddling for the English coast. With the aid of a following wind, he had already made more than five miles when search aircraft passed overhead an hour later on their way to look for him. They searched all day without success, constantly droning through the sky over his head. He was finally picked up twelve hours after the ditching, by which time he had paddled to within two miles of the Isle of Wight."

The term 'cartwheel' is reminiscent of Blake's idea of a more vertical, pendulum-like golf swing in which the club is taken as straight back as possible with lead arm coming inside minimally. He thought this more sensible than taking the club around the body and figured it would result in more squareness through the hitting zone. Regarding sequential transmission, I previously thought this was what Mindy had in mind with power being transmitted from the legs through the intervening muscles to the hands, in the manner of kinetic linking. However, Richard Wax told me Blake thought of the connection between legs and hands to be 'direct', a 'mechanical' connection if you will, such that any movement of legs would move arms/hands. This may have been what he meant in GtTB with his statement that his well forward trail elbow position 'allows the legs to lever the hands'. According to Mindy, this notion had been in use for years in field athletics, but no one had applied it to golf . My present interpretation of his underlying idea is that it's possible to set up a 'mechanical' connection between legs and arms/hands, and enhance this connection with leverage (mechanical advantage) due to his unique trail elbow position. This may help explain why he thought pressure from the legs, connected directly to the arms/hands, would apply pressure to the club shaft and ball. Where he went awry was in thinking pressure on the shaft would result in clubhead staying on ball longer through impact. The physicists tell us the amount of time club and ball are in contact is too little for pressure to make any difference. Jim

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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

February 7th, 2006, 6:34 am #12


Jim - I guess you are as nutty as I am after all! Your view of Blake's transmission mechanism is the same as mine. I am quite flabbergasted by that!
Yes, the legs directly affect the hands. However, I think you must feel exactly how this is accomplished before you can put it into practice. It is not automatically attained simply by putting oneself in the correct positions after taking the correct grip and making the correct grip change in the correct backswing. That there is more, is, I think, the real secret behind the Blake swing. I also think that Mindy didn't know what the "more" was even though he felt it and did it every time.

Thank you so much for posting the long excerpt from TGSOTF. I hadn't read that for about 30 years, but it sure stuck in my head. I probably won't post here again for awhile because I'm not a Blake practitioner and don't intend to become one. Thus, I have nothing important to say about Blake's method beyond what I have already said (which probably doesn't strike anyone here as very meaningful). Thanks to the group members here I think I've gotten what I came for in my identification of the common denominator(s) of all the elite ball strikers.

Good luck to all,
Tom
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

February 7th, 2006, 6:45 am #13

More!? More!?! Tom, if you know what the 'more' (the real secret) of Blake's swing is, are you not willing to share with this generous group? Saving it for a book? Oliver Twist
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

February 7th, 2006, 8:12 am #14


Surely Richard Wax is the "go to" man for all things Mindian! I haven't even read Mindy's TGSOTF for 30 years nor tried to hit a ball Mindy style for 30 years. Sorry, but unless I'm prevaricating, I know nothing.

Hint - As I've already intimated, look to the Spitfire in the Channel!

Bye Bye,
Tom
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Joined: August 2nd, 2004, 11:57 pm

February 7th, 2006, 6:38 pm #15

You could be prvaricating AND know nothing.

My Mindy leg is feeling the pull. Let's see, a ditched plane and a clubhead???
Oh yeah, they are both collisions of a sort, both are free masses. Then one
catches a wing in water and cartwheels to a stop and the other strikes a ball
and arcs back airborne. One impedes the force of the collision on its main
body and the other depends on a center strike on its main body. Bah, humbug
and piddeledyfoo.
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