The Grip Change and Lead Wrist Action

The Grip Change and Lead Wrist Action

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

September 1st, 2010, 3:06 am #1

As you know Mindy Blake advocated a grip in which a "change" is made during the backswing, ie, the hands are set at address (see figure 7 of GTTB) such that the final grip is not complete until about the end of what Mindy called takeaway. Over the years I have been of two minds as to exactly what happens with the trail (right) hand and forearm during the change. Blake tried to convey the change action with figure 13 of GTTB. It shows both trail hand and forearm turning clockwise (from golfer's perspective). Now since the middle and ring fingers of the trail hand are in a fixed position on the club (forefinger and thumb are only loosely wrapped around the club) the only way figure 13 action could occur during takeaway is for the middle and ring fingers to "slip" on the shaft as the two hands come together to complete the grip. One could imagine that the middle and ring fingers of trail hand would not actually "slip" on the shaft but rather the golfer would "try" to turn the trail forearm (only) clockwise, with middle and ring fingers maintaining their address position. In this scenario, with middle and ring fingers maintaining their address position, trail hand/wrist is bent back during takeaway. However, I have found that allowing the slip of the middle and ring fingers on the shaft works better, ie, trail elbow stays forward (and connected) and a superior top of backswing position is achieved.

The lead (left) hand and wrist turn under (clubface shuts) in the backswing and the feeling is that one is swinging "out," along the target line extended backwards. At the top lead hand thumb feels as if it is on top of the club (related to the ground) and lead wrist is flat or convex. When I get these things right, I generally make a good reflex swing. SD
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Joined: June 23rd, 2005, 6:49 pm

September 1st, 2010, 11:27 am #2

The grip completion has been discussed over the years, and my interpretation of the turning of the arms has been rejected. Jim, are you in the process of changing your mind or am I missreading you?

'Blake tried to convey the change action with figure 13 of GTTB. It shows both trail hand and forearm turning clockwise (from golfer's perspective).'

Fig 13 does not show any clockwise turn, only the somewhat conservative forward placement of the rear arm before the gripping of the club shaft. This part of the illustration has probably been a conundrum for anyone trying out the reflex swing.

My take on the grip completion is the same as it has been after the first bewildering years, and this is it:

After the gripping there is a counter clockwise turning of (a) the lead arm supported in doing so by (b) the rear arm and middle fingers, also turning counter clockwise. This is the only way you can actually shut the club blade in the backswing thus creating the convex lead wrist by letting the hands going outwards in the backswing.

Then, if you can maintain a really firm wrist through the ball your reflex swing will sore!

Regards,

Ingvar

PS. Claude's practise exercises have been very helpful even if you think you are already doing the correct moves.
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

September 1st, 2010, 4:32 pm #3

Ingvar,
From the Takeaway section of GTTB, pp.67-68, I quote: "The first movement of the right arm is all-important. Fig. 13 shows how the right arm turns clockwise at the start of the takeaway, but the movement is hidden in Figs. 11 and 12."

Figure 13 is depicting a movement, not a position of the trail arm before gripping the club shaft. The only way I can conceive of the trail arm actually turning clockwise, as Blake clearly instructs, and since the lead arm is rotating in the opposite direction, is to allow the middle and ring fingers of trail hand to slip on the club shaft during takeaway. Blake thought the grip "adjustment" (his term) was necessary to (1) allow the lead hand to take the club straight back with clubface remaining square to direction of travel and (2) to keep the trail elbow forward (connected). Jim
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Joined: June 23rd, 2005, 6:49 pm

September 2nd, 2010, 12:05 pm #4

Jim, I'm not arguing with Mindy's text, and from the start the inside of the lead arm is directed outwards. This position will be held during the first part of the takeaway and could indeed be described as the arm is turning clockwise, but when the grip is secured (about when the hands have passed the hips), in order to close the clubface the right hand must go counter clockwise upwards, pressing against the lead thumb and thus creating "the good angle".

Perhaps I'm overcooking the pressure on the left thumb and the firm wrist traits, so I'd better check it out to see if there is anything that might come from maintaing the turned clockwise throughout the takeaway.

Anyone else having ideas? Claude?

Regards,

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

September 2nd, 2010, 3:40 pm #5

The action depicted by the trail (right) arm in figure 13 of GTTB applies to the first part of the backswing, ie, what Mindy called takeaway. At about end of takeaway the two hands have come together and trail arm/hand turn counterclockwise and bend back, while lead (left) hand/wrist closes the clubface. At the top my lead hand thumb feels as if it is on top of the club with my lead wrist having attained what could be called a convex position, though Blake said it could be flat or convex. I was describing my interpretation of how one's trail hand/wrist could turn clockwise (from start of takeaway) with trail hand gripping the club shaft. Jim
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Claude Pesant
Claude Pesant

September 8th, 2010, 3:31 pm #6

Jim, I'm not arguing with Mindy's text, and from the start the inside of the lead arm is directed outwards. This position will be held during the first part of the takeaway and could indeed be described as the arm is turning clockwise, but when the grip is secured (about when the hands have passed the hips), in order to close the clubface the right hand must go counter clockwise upwards, pressing against the lead thumb and thus creating "the good angle".

Perhaps I'm overcooking the pressure on the left thumb and the firm wrist traits, so I'd better check it out to see if there is anything that might come from maintaing the turned clockwise throughout the takeaway.

Anyone else having ideas? Claude?

Regards,

Ingvar
When learning the reflex swing, I found very difficult to obtain the right positions time after time, this is the reason why I developed the drills to help me not to think too much but rather trying to feel the positions throughout the swing. Mindy wrote a lot about how we should feel when doing the swing and I believe this the way to go about learning the swing. Practicing in front of a mirror my different drills has been very helpful to me.

Once my clubface is aligned properly to my target,my focus during my setup is to get my lead arm against my chest and trying to create a good angle with the shaft and arm by pulling my two middle fingers of my trail hand against the thumb of my lead hand. Once my setup is complete, I barely touch the ground with my clubhead because I do not want to loose this feel of the two hands putting the pressure. Be careful not to apply too much pressure because the wrists will become too stiff, it is only a light pressure, just enough to hold the club off the ground.

My takeway is started by a small press of my right knee and it tenses the thumb and the forefinger of my trail hand. When these two fingers are firmer on the club, I find it easier for my lead hand to turn under and keeping the clubface square. As Jim wrote, the two middle fingers have to slip on the handle and he is right. Doing the preset wrist drill over and over will help you develop the right feel of what the arms should be doing. You will feel that the trail arm is really turning clockwise and getting more across your body, just like figure 13 in the GTTB. The purpose of this drill is too feel the arms well together during the takeway and to get the proper wrists movement in order to keep the clubface square. Remember, once you are on the golf course, you have to rely on feel !

Notice that on my facebook, I added some videos of a 30 yards shots from target, front and back view. More videos will be added next week on bunker, iron and wood shots. I do not know if Jim can add these videos on the forum...could be helpful

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

September 12th, 2010, 7:45 pm #7

Hello Claude,
I think you may be the first to agree with me about what the trail (right) hand fingers (and trail forearm) must do during takeaway. Unless the two middle fingers slip on the shaft, trail elbow will go too far back and the flexed connection between lower and upper body will not be ideal or even lost altogether. Of course, we know that Blake emphasized that the action (shown in figure 13 of GTTB) to be "all important." I know that I make my best swings when I allow the two middle fingers of trail hand to slip on the shaft during takeaway. We also know that the final two sentences in GTTB are: "But don't forget--KEEP THAT RIGHT ELBOW WELL ACROSS the body. Otherwise you are wasting your time."

Thanks for making the videos depicting your pitching technique. I will see if we can place them in the Blake Forum Video Album. How important do you consider the forward press with trail knee to be?

Do you have reflex swing students who have mastered Mindy's technique and achieved low handicaps?

Is your swing feeling that the legs "drag" the top part of the body, including the arms and club, down during the downswing? What is your opinion of Blake's "pressure" theory? I think it's generally accepted among golf scientists that once release occurs the golfer's power contribution ends and physics rules from that point to impact. Regards, Jim

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Joined: October 19th, 2007, 4:27 pm

September 23rd, 2010, 7:29 pm #8

I have always done a forward press even when I was doing the conventional swing. It is important to me because it creates some tension inside my trail leg and it helps me to push my hips forward during the takeway.

My students have never reached a low handicap, but the reflex swing has helped them to get rid of their slice and get more distance and consistency.

My legs are acting more like a platform to support my upper body. I feel my legs and hips are doing the first move down and afterward I feel I am hitting as hard as I can with my trail arm and shoulder throughout the impact position. I love watching Lee Trevinos videos because I feel he is hitting as hard as he can with his upper body. His hands are well forward at impact and this is the feeling and position you want to get in order for the hands to be passive. I am not a scientist but my understanding of Blakes pressure theory is having the hands well forward through impact. My best swing feels as I am not releasing my hands angle I created at the top and try to keep it throughout the downswing. This is how I feel that I am putting more pressure to the ball but in theory the club is not staying longer on the ball. The feeling of having the trail arm more across the body at impact comes from having kept the trail hand angle unchanged as long as you could.

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

September 29th, 2010, 5:24 pm #9

Bonjour Claude,
We haven't heard from Julian Z for quite a while, a sometime contributor/forum member from Houston who self-taught himself his own version of the reflex swing based on reading and studying Mindy's books. He eventually achieved a well documented handicap of less than a +1 index and calls his swing a "Blake hybrid." Based on my understanding of GTTB I speculate that your swing might fall into the category of a Blake hybrid. But then, I think none of us swing exactly like Mindy (or Richard Wax for that matter). However, your statement that your legs serve as more of a platform to support your upper body and that you hit as hard as you can with your trail arm and shoulder would seem to be at odds with Blake's asserted "dragging" action, with legs being the "sole source" of power. On the other hand, one of our members who has been analyzing golf swings for 35+ years believes that Blake actually swung pretty conventionally (based on video from the old Mike Douglas TV show) from his unconventional address, ie, upper body actually being his main source of power.

My own feeling, when I make a good reflex swing, is that my legs start my downswing and everything else follows, apparently with no overt effort from my upper body. Caveat: It may be that my leg action triggers upper body action, rather than actually dragging arms and club down, although there is a definite "feeling" of dragging. Regards, Jim
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Joined: October 19th, 2007, 4:27 pm

September 30th, 2010, 3:46 pm #10

You are right Jim when you say none of us swing the club exactly like Mindy. Everybody is built with different height, flexibility and so on. So it is impossible to look exactly like the way Mindy was swinging the club. But we can always try to achieve, with the best of our abilities , the different positions and feelings that he is describing throughout his swing. My downswing is started with my lower body, my legs feel and react like a platform because the pressure inside my trail foot is staying longer than when I used to swing the conventional way. My weight is not shifting to my forward foot as fast but rather staying centered in between my feet, it feels slightly like a reverse weight shift because of the pressure felt inside the trail foot. This is how I get the feeling of hitting more with my trail shoulder as hard as I can. The speed of my legs and hips is eventually transferred to the upper body. The faster the lower body reacts, the more speed is delivered to the shoulders. If the hands position at the top is well achieved with a good deal of weight forward with the hips at the right position(parallel to target), and if the sequence of the downswing is done properly with a good deal of pressure felt inside the trail foot, the hands should not do anything but keeping the initial pressure, my trail arm will feel more across my body throughout the impact zone and the dragging sensation will be felt.

Learning a new swing is a real challenge. I believe, the most difficult part of learning the reflex swing has been turning the shoulders while the hips are going the opposite direction. Have you had the same Challenge ?

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

October 19th, 2010, 3:28 am #11

Claude,
I once asked Richard Wax if he felt that his hips moved forward during his backswing and, as I recall, his response was that this was not something he had tried (overtly) to incorporate into his swing. When I feel that I start my backswing from the knees, rather than from the hips, it is possible to move the hips forward while the shoulders are turning in the opposite direction. A pertinent question arises about Blake's objective for the backswing. He wrote that he was trying to avoid a weight shift to the trail foot, ie, to keep the weight balanced between the feet, rather than shifting it away from the target. What is your opinion of that idea? Jim
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Joined: October 19th, 2007, 4:27 pm

October 26th, 2010, 1:47 pm #12

If the weight goes to the trail foot during the backswing, the hips are turning with the shoulders. If the weight is balanced between the feet, I believe you accomplish a great deal of tension inside the legs and it should be enough for them to start the downswing. The ideal position is really to have the hips move forward as far as they can go while keeping the head pretty much from its original position. The position of my forward foot is very important because it helps my hips to slide a little bit more to my target. This foot is almost pointing to the target. This swing demands very good flexibility from the back and hips to get to the positions Mindy Blake wants us to be. Doing my drills on a regular basis helps me to improve on Blake's positions.
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