Richard: Backswing in Reverse

Richard: Backswing in Reverse

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

January 3rd, 2006, 5:47 am #1

Blake wrote in GtTB that the downswing is the backswing in reverse. I suppose he meant that the body unwound in a manner exactly reverse to the way it had wound up. He described the backswing path as 'a steep arc' but never mentioned path of the downswing. By 'backswing in reverse' do you think he also meant that the path of the downswing is exactly the reverse of the backswing? Thanks, Jim
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Richard Wax
Richard Wax

January 4th, 2006, 12:05 pm #2

Perhaps readers of this forum are under the impression that Mindy's method is complicated. I feel that it is far simpler than the classic swing which calls for a lot of things to happen in order to achieve the objective of placing a ball down a predetermined flight path to a prescribed distance.

The left thumb goes straight back away from the ball and is dragged back over the ball in the downswing. Compare this with the complexities of the CG swing. Watch the golfers on the range looking back over their shoulder to see what is happening back there; it's the dark side of the moon!

With Mindy's swing, it all happens in front of you.

So keep it simple and yes, Jim, the downswing is the backswing in reverse. It's cause and effect. Place a small ball of paper on the tip of your forefinger. Make a positive movement to project it. It goes nowhere. Now pull the finger back and just use the reflex power of the finger. It travels a metre or more! That was how Mindy compared the power of the reflex.
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

January 4th, 2006, 6:42 pm #3

I agree that Mindy's swing is simpler than most. For one thing, most swings involve some sort of 'drop' of the club at top, either from gravity or intentionally by the golfer, and the downswing plane is thus flatter than backswing plane. If there is no drop and downswing plane exactly follows backswing plane, this makes the Blake swing virtually unique. As shown in the books, hands are closer to the body at address than at impact. This alone led me to conclude that backswing and downswing planes could not be a 'mirror' of each other. A while back you said you intended to work on the plane of your swing to make it steeper. Have you incorporated a steeper plane into your swing? Thanks, Jim
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Richard Wax
Richard Wax

January 4th, 2006, 7:33 pm #4

No, Jim I must confess that I've not been working on that one too much through the European Winter. I'll start hitting balls soon and hopefully in Florida at the end of this month.

I guess what I'm thinking about is more maintaining the "drag" position well through and over the ball which goes back to Lea's point about the release which she spotted creeping into my swing. I'll have some more photos taken of my swing so they can be posted on the Forum and hopefully be of assistance to contributors. I'll revisit the straight left thumb back and through point I made.

Mindy would only conceive a movement if he could design a machine to carry out the function. In his workshop he made intricate gearing structures which proved to be ahead of their time. The "classic swing" can be made into an "Iron Byron" but I'm sure there would only be one element driving the club and not the two arms of the typical golfer.

As soon as one puts both hands on the club, there is conflict as they are coming out of two different shoulder sockets. So that's why I emphasise the simple task of the left thumb going straight back and straight over the ball driven by the powerful legs.
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

January 5th, 2006, 7:59 pm #5

Richard, In your Riviera DVD lesson you said that Blake intended the reflex swing to be primarily a left (lead)-hand swing and that the trail hand is on the club only to "...help support and guide it." In GtTB, regarding the grip adjustment, Blake wrote:

"In the old-fashioned swing, where the wrists were allowed to roll freely, there was no tendency for either hand to move in relation to the other, but in the modern swing, where rolling of the wrists is restricted, there is a tension between the hands and one or the other has to give, even if only slightly. Therefore, the grip adjustment I recommend merely rationalises [brings modern, efficient methods to bear on] the tendency of the hands to fight each other in the modern swing, and for the right [trail] hand--accelerating to bring the clubhead square--to hit AGAINST, not WITH, the left [lead] hand. The grip I have described is a true two-handed grip, corresponding to the two-handed backhand in tennis, and it allows both hands to be used to transmit power from the legs to the club providing the wrists are not rolled."

The words 'true two-handed grip' and 'allows both hands to be used to transmit power' seem to suggest a fully cooperative effort by both hands rather than a left-hand dominated swing. Am I interpreting his words wrongly or did he change his mind after writing the above? Thanks, Jim
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Joined: September 10th, 2004, 4:03 pm

January 6th, 2006, 7:47 pm #6

I certainly believe that a Blake swing, correctly executed, does make full use of both the lead and trail hands and arms.

Mindy talked at length about how the "Square-to-Square" golf swing involved putting the trail hand in a very weak position in order to prevent it overpowering the lead hand. This he believed was a dreadful waste of what might be the golfer's stronger hand (indeed, stronger side).

So, if you are not making full use of your trail side, read the book again and change your swing !!

In other posts I see mention of keeping a Blake swing slow, particularly early in the backswing. Hear, hear !! This is vital if the hands and arms are to stay relaxed (otherwise they will tighten up purely to keep control of a fast moving club during the backswing and in the transition to the downswing). The other aspect of a fast swing is that the larger parts of your body, namely your torso, hips and legs, will not be able to keep up. This will then lead to an "arms and shoulders" swing (when we know that we want the larger muscles to be driving the swing).

Regards, Chris Walker
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

January 6th, 2006, 8:50 pm #7

Chris, My perception is that I do use both hands and both sides in my swing. With respect to the trail hand, I do as Mindy said which is that pressure is exerted on the club shaft (mostly) by the middle and ring fingers--no pressure from thumb and forefinger and almost none from little finger. This instruction re thumb and forefinger is similar to Hogan's. Ben thought (in 'Five Lessons')pressure from thumb and forefinger on the shaft activated muscles in the forearm that shouldn't be used in the golf swing. Intriguingly, in GtTB, Blake wrote that his grip is the grip employed by Ben Hogan. My thinking is that Mindy was referring to the thumb and forefinger aspect since Hogan used a neutral, fixed grip. Of course, this fits with Mindy's concept of keeping all transmission muscles as relaxed as possible.

When I was corresponding with Mindy, he told me repeatedly he was almost certain that most of my difficulties stemmed from trail elbow getting out of place. What advice would you give to those who are having difficulty making the connection between legs and hands and, thus, can't achieve the reflexive dragging action? Happy New Year, Jim

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RichardWax
RichardWax

January 11th, 2006, 11:07 am #8

Richard, In your Riviera DVD lesson you said that Blake intended the reflex swing to be primarily a left (lead)-hand swing and that the trail hand is on the club only to "...help support and guide it." In GtTB, regarding the grip adjustment, Blake wrote:

"In the old-fashioned swing, where the wrists were allowed to roll freely, there was no tendency for either hand to move in relation to the other, but in the modern swing, where rolling of the wrists is restricted, there is a tension between the hands and one or the other has to give, even if only slightly. Therefore, the grip adjustment I recommend merely rationalises [brings modern, efficient methods to bear on] the tendency of the hands to fight each other in the modern swing, and for the right [trail] hand--accelerating to bring the clubhead square--to hit AGAINST, not WITH, the left [lead] hand. The grip I have described is a true two-handed grip, corresponding to the two-handed backhand in tennis, and it allows both hands to be used to transmit power from the legs to the club providing the wrists are not rolled."

The words 'true two-handed grip' and 'allows both hands to be used to transmit power' seem to suggest a fully cooperative effort by both hands rather than a left-hand dominated swing. Am I interpreting his words wrongly or did he change his mind after writing the above? Thanks, Jim
I once read a quote from David Leadbetter who said that the golf swing was a "series of compromises". I would suggest that this explains why, by and large, it doesn't work!

Mindy's method carefully and as a result of considerable reflection eliminates compromises. It is a swing for the normal human body which has stronger legs than arms.

When one sees the movement of a woodchopper lifting an axe above his head before bringing it down, there is a change of grip as he lifts the weight. If he held the two hands together at the start of the lifting action, he would find difficulty lifting the heavy head of the blade. So he separates the hands and they come together as the axe is raised in the air.

Similarly with the Mindy backswing, the right hand is suspended above the grip at the start of the backswing. The two hands come together around knee height and from there on they are one entity. I don't feel that either is dominant. They work as a unit and are dragged over the ball with no release movement whatsoever.

Mindy's expertise as a designer of industrial inventions caused him to enlarge the size of the elements involved. His image of an enlarged club exemplify this methodology.

He would explain that the lightness of a golf club means that you can flip it around at will. However in order to find the most efficient use of it, multiply its weight and size a few times and see how the various swings function. The conventional swing would fall apart if the clubhead were exaggerated. The Mindy swing would still deliver a straight shot a predictable distance even with a mallet-sized head.

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

January 16th, 2006, 7:28 am #9

Richard, In the Riviera video there is information about Mindy's swing that is not in GtTB (or GSotF). I'm referring to your instruction that Blake intended his swing to be a one-handed swing (left handed) with the right hand on the club only to sympathetically support and guide the club. Only the left hand is really on the club, ie, right hand only supports and guides while left hand applies power. The concept is to keep the right hand/arm out of the swing as much as possible and allow the left hand/arm to apply power. Some swings work in just this way--the left hand and right hand do different things and the idea is to strictly limit the participation of the right hand. Is that what you intended by your statements in the video?

Mindy wrote that the hands fully cooperate and both transmit power (proportion from each hand not stated). I reviewed the video a couple more times and the following thought occurred to me. Mindy believed that with a fixed grip the hands had a tendency to be in conflict. His grip change was designed (in part) to position and use the hands such that through impact they would harmonize rather than 'fight each other'. He also wanted to make use of the strong right side which some swings sacrifice. Following this thought, in the backswing, perhaps, the left hand dominates while right hand sympathetically supports and guides the club. Simultaneously, the grip change/completion is occuring and, at the top, the hands, elbows and arms in an optimal position to be dragged down and transmit power. In the downswing the two hands work together and both hands transmit power (about equally?) to the club at impact. I'm trying to figure out how the swing could be a left-handed swing with right hand out of it (from the video) and yet both hands would be fully involved in transmitting power at impact (from GtTB). What am I missing? Thanks, Jim

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

January 16th, 2006, 7:02 pm #10

Richard replied to an email as follows:

"I can see that my statement about it being a left-hand power generated swing could be misconstrued.

The left hand is more active in the first movement making a conscious rotating action so that the thumb can slip into the pocket of the right hand. Once they come together in this way, they act as a single unit and certainly don't "apply power" to the shot.

If one were to hold a bull whip, not something I do every day(!), thinking about powering the very tip wouldn't generate the crack. It is the result of the power generated by the large movement which has the effect on the extremity.

I don't think about the hands at all once I've brought them together at knee-height. They act in unison and in a non-conflictual mode. Neither is dominant. I see their roles as differing in that the right hand keeps the structure in position with the right elbow forward. The left hand is simply going straight back and straight through and over the ball.

If you wish to post this on the Forum, please do so.

Played yesterday and nailed every fairway in a 9 hole three club competition; I took a 3 wood, 7 iron and putter and was never troubled by the
lack of the other 11 clubs!"
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