Year End Inventory

Year End Inventory

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

December 29th, 2006, 9:23 pm #1

2006 is almost over.

What golfing goals have you met this year? What golfing goals were not met? What are your golfing goals for 2007?

For me, 2006 became a big medical challenge to the extent that my golf goal was to just play some kind of golf sometime before the end of the year. Fortunately, November and December were very kind to me and I exceeded my golf playing expectations by a wide margin.

In the golf theory arena I was hoping to pull together in a practical way some of the ideas I have been toying with for several years. But I didn't have much energy until September. Hopefully I'll get more done in 2007.

Happy New Year to all!

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

December 30th, 2006, 5:17 am #2

Tom, Congratulations on exceeding your goals for 2006. You've obviously overcome huge obstacles to get there. And, you've become a stalwart on our little forum. Your posts are always scintillating and penetrating. Jim
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

December 30th, 2006, 5:57 am #3


Jim,

You are very kind to continue to put up with me on this forum since I do not use Mindy's technique. I would try it again if I was able but my legs are not up to the task. What I'm really interested in is how straight Mindy hit the ball. In my mind I already think I have solved the solid contact aspect of his swing and where he gets his power. But I can't figure out why he was able to hit it so straight. Apparently Moe Norman could also hit it dead straight and that keeps me involved with the SA forum. I'm hoping someone will come up with the answer.

Straight hitting is definitely a rare bird even at the highest levels of the game. Byron Nelson may have been as straight as anyone who ever played and he used a conventional swing. Might there be a common denominator for straight golf shots other than the obvious advice to hit the ball with a square face while the club is traveling toward the target?

I recall watching Bruce Crampton practice over 30 years ago when he was at the top of his game. He hit every ball straight at his target. For me I think I have about a 25% chance of hitting a ball straight if I'm trying to hit it straight. That's why I usually don't try to hit it straight but rather try to put some degree of curve on it. The image of Crampton hitting straight balls haunts me to this day.

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

December 30th, 2006, 8:21 pm #4

Tom,

Obviously you are not impressed by Mindy's own words re hitting the ball straight. Or, perhaps you don't see his words as an explanation. In the Address section of GTTB he wrote,

"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 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."

The words "club does not roll" would seem to be a partial explanation of straightness. Richard sometimes refers to "avoiding release" but I think what he means by that is that he does want forearm-club rollover through impact. Figure 19 of GTTB clearly shows no forearm-club rollover. Release due to loss of lead arm/club shaft angle is obviously still there. Some say that no forearm rollover really means that Blake was basically hitting a controlled "push" and that he must have paid a price in reduced power.

A.J. Bonar, recently discussed at length on the SA forum, calls for aggressive forearm rollover to "hit the little homerun." Did Byron Nelson employ forearm rollover in his swing? To win 11 tournaments in a row, a pro truly must have something that none of the others had. Still, he is usually ranked behind Hogan and Nicklaus as "greatest ever." I wonder if he might have compiled the greatest record (over a long period) had he not retired so early? Perhaps the competitive drive was gone.

Lately, I have been trying to find the "ideal" Blake set up. I think my repeatability problem may be more related to set up than to movements. I am trying now to set up as closesly as possible to figures 9 and 10 of GTTB, especially figure 10. Set up that way I notice that my trail leg feels prominent, so prominent that it would be in the path of the hands if the hands were taken straight back. However, the first move (takeaway) is "out" in a line across the toes. However, the clubhead itself moves along target line (extended backwards) because the angle between lead arm and shaft is becoming acute. In what Blake calls the backswing (from end of takeaway to top of backswing) the feeling is that the clubhead is still moving along target line and clubface is staying square. At the top, lead arm has come only slightly inside. I haven't seen any other swing that has this lead arm position at the top. The overall feeling of backswing is "compactness" and "straight back-ness". The hips turn from open to square at the top. I haven't seen any other swing with this characteristic. This means the hips aren't "in the way" of the downswing, so the arms can be pulled straight down.

About the downswing Blake wrote:

"The term 'downswing' is a misnomer. It is actually a downward drag which is a combination of two movements--a horizontal rotating movement, led by the legs, which drags down the hands--and it is the backswing in reverse."

I must admit I've never been sure of what Blake meant by dowswing being "the backswing in reverse." However, one does not have to think about it. If I rely solely on the downward drag, with no apparent upper body effort, the club is pulled straight down into and through the ball. What I'm saying is that the compact, straight back, straight down swing, with clubface staying at right angles to target line throughout, makes it more likely that clubface will be square at impact. Of course, Mindy himself developed his own swing over many years, so repeatability became second nature. The simplicity of the swing (ha! you say) should make it more likely that an ordinary golfer can achieve an acceptable degree of straightness. Richard, who hits a slight fade with his driver says that he is in the fairway so often that his wife accuses him of playing "boring" golf. When I see a Phil Mickelson or a John Daly and their long, flowing driver swings, with lead arm coming way inside and club going well beyond parallel at the top, it's plain amazing that they hit the ball in the fairway as often as they do. Mindy's swing path is far less complicated, and, in my view, more likely to produce straightness. Jim
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

December 30th, 2006, 10:32 pm #5


Jim,

Thank you for your thorough and well considered response to my post.

No, I do not accept Mindy's explanation for his straightness. I do accept that his club does not "roll" and that he can place the ball within an 18 inch span and still hit it well. But my swing also satisfies those two parameters without yielding automatic straightness.

As for some of Mindy's pictures in his books, I suspect that they are not accurate drawings taken from photos of his actual swing when hitting a ball. Maybe Mindy posed those positions based on what he thought he was doing in his real swing. You posted some photos of Mindy hitting a ball in the forum album pages. My eyes see some differences between those photos and the book drawings.

Concerning straightness and Mindy's downswing you wrote, "What I'm saying is that the compact, straight back, straight down swing, with clubface staying at right angles to target line throughout, makes it more likely that clubface will be square at impact." ... In spite of the book drawings I do not believe that the photos show that Mindy kept his clubface at right angles to the target line throughout his downswing.

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

December 31st, 2006, 12:48 am #6

My understanding is that the drawings in both books were made from photos of Mindy. The photos of Mindy with a garden rake (in the photo album) are reproduced almost exactly in figures 2 and 3 of GTTB. However, the various swing photos certainly could have been of posed positions. In the one set of three photos which I'm more confident of their being dynamic (last set of photos in Mindy Blake section of photo album), Mindy himself indicated on the last photo (blurred club shaft)that he didn't achieve the desired extremely forward trail elbow. The position he did achieve in that photo with hands well ahead of clubhead would probably be deemed as excellent if the reviewer didn't know what Blake wanted out of his downswing. In photo 2 of that set, the position at about end of takeaway, as hands pass trail knee going back, Mindy's trail elbow is well forward of its position in the drawing of a similar position (figure 11 of GTTB). In fact, the photo depicts what would seem to me to be a more desirable position of trail elbow, ie, a more forward position from which an extremely forward trail elbow would be more likely to result. However, if photo 2 is actually the backswing of the downswing in photo 3, as already mentioned Blake indicated that he didn't, in fact, get the trail elbow position he wanted nearing impact. What differences do your eyes see between posted photos of Mindy and drawings in the books?

My own experience with the Blake swing, anecdotal of course, is that I hit the ball much straighter with Blake than I did with a CG swing in my first two years of playing golf. But then my hitting would likely be straighter now if I had continued to pursue a CG swing. Since you think nothing posted thus far explains Blake's straightness, do you have any suspicions as to what his straightness secret might be? Jim
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

December 31st, 2006, 3:33 am #7


Jim - I really don't have a clue why Mindy was able to produce straight shots all the time. When I play most of the time a hook or a slice looks like the probable shot and I try not to fight that impression unless there exists a good reason. A straight shot enters my mind maybe three times per round.

I sure wish there existed more photos of Mindy swinging, but I'm grateful that we have even a few.

Tom
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Joined: September 22nd, 2005, 12:13 am

December 31st, 2006, 6:31 am #8

Tom,

Obviously you are not impressed by Mindy's own words re hitting the ball straight. Or, perhaps you don't see his words as an explanation. In the Address section of GTTB he wrote,

"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 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."

The words "club does not roll" would seem to be a partial explanation of straightness. Richard sometimes refers to "avoiding release" but I think what he means by that is that he does want forearm-club rollover through impact. Figure 19 of GTTB clearly shows no forearm-club rollover. Release due to loss of lead arm/club shaft angle is obviously still there. Some say that no forearm rollover really means that Blake was basically hitting a controlled "push" and that he must have paid a price in reduced power.

A.J. Bonar, recently discussed at length on the SA forum, calls for aggressive forearm rollover to "hit the little homerun." Did Byron Nelson employ forearm rollover in his swing? To win 11 tournaments in a row, a pro truly must have something that none of the others had. Still, he is usually ranked behind Hogan and Nicklaus as "greatest ever." I wonder if he might have compiled the greatest record (over a long period) had he not retired so early? Perhaps the competitive drive was gone.

Lately, I have been trying to find the "ideal" Blake set up. I think my repeatability problem may be more related to set up than to movements. I am trying now to set up as closesly as possible to figures 9 and 10 of GTTB, especially figure 10. Set up that way I notice that my trail leg feels prominent, so prominent that it would be in the path of the hands if the hands were taken straight back. However, the first move (takeaway) is "out" in a line across the toes. However, the clubhead itself moves along target line (extended backwards) because the angle between lead arm and shaft is becoming acute. In what Blake calls the backswing (from end of takeaway to top of backswing) the feeling is that the clubhead is still moving along target line and clubface is staying square. At the top, lead arm has come only slightly inside. I haven't seen any other swing that has this lead arm position at the top. The overall feeling of backswing is "compactness" and "straight back-ness". The hips turn from open to square at the top. I haven't seen any other swing with this characteristic. This means the hips aren't "in the way" of the downswing, so the arms can be pulled straight down.

About the downswing Blake wrote:

"The term 'downswing' is a misnomer. It is actually a downward drag which is a combination of two movements--a horizontal rotating movement, led by the legs, which drags down the hands--and it is the backswing in reverse."

I must admit I've never been sure of what Blake meant by dowswing being "the backswing in reverse." However, one does not have to think about it. If I rely solely on the downward drag, with no apparent upper body effort, the club is pulled straight down into and through the ball. What I'm saying is that the compact, straight back, straight down swing, with clubface staying at right angles to target line throughout, makes it more likely that clubface will be square at impact. Of course, Mindy himself developed his own swing over many years, so repeatability became second nature. The simplicity of the swing (ha! you say) should make it more likely that an ordinary golfer can achieve an acceptable degree of straightness. Richard, who hits a slight fade with his driver says that he is in the fairway so often that his wife accuses him of playing "boring" golf. When I see a Phil Mickelson or a John Daly and their long, flowing driver swings, with lead arm coming way inside and club going well beyond parallel at the top, it's plain amazing that they hit the ball in the fairway as often as they do. Mindy's swing path is far less complicated, and, in my view, more likely to produce straightness. Jim
I have been contemplating this since my body decided it no longer wanted to make Moe Norman or Mindy Blake swings.My experience was that Moe technique can produce shots which are surreally straight while Mindy can, at times on longer clubs (driver mainly), produce, for me anyway, a slight fade.
I have now gone to a more pure swing method rather like Bobby Jones et al as this eases the pain. It feels different but guess what good shots still go straight unless I work to get a draw or fade. My thought now is that we can present the clubface to the ball in a way that produces a straight shot in many geometries. The key is that the technique puts the clubface in the right spot at the right time. Moe found this for himself as did Jones and Nelson and Mindy. Jones in his writing talks about the club "free wheeling " at the bottom of the swing and so not being manipulated actively by the swinger. If we get our personal anatomy right then the release at impact will yield a straight shot a la Bruce Crampton (what a great player from the past I am pleased to say he was honoured at this years Australian Open).
In summary if we find the technique that lets us consistently put our arms legs wrists etc into position for a square release of the club face we will get straight shots. The trick of course is to do it. Many pros opt for a near enough approach of having a commercial miss as a standard shot. Hit a fade (Trevino) or a draw (Snead). Of course I am testament to the reality that no one cares how you hit it, just how many you took (Bobby Locke)!
My experience is that Blake is a really simple way to get very commercial and clean ball striking, just wish my hip agreed! I must say though that my experience is that a conventional swing with the face closing at impact does when optimal produce a longer shot. AJ is probably right; we're back to the trick of doing it consistently as above.
Cheers and best for the New Year to all.
Mac
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Joined: November 11th, 2005, 11:32 pm

December 31st, 2006, 10:25 pm #9


Thanks for your insights Mac and for your New Year Cheer too! I hope your hip holds up better in 2007.

Why did Moe Norman's method produce surreally straight shots for you? Why did Mindy's method produce fades with the Driver for you?

Happy New Year,
Tom
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Joined: September 22nd, 2005, 12:13 am

January 1st, 2007, 2:55 pm #10

Moe is very straight when I am on, I think because the right hand squares the club perfectly from the grip. Problem is it all slips away as the right hand takes over and gives pulls (ouch) and big slices (ouch too).
The driver fades I believe when we try to use the arms to hit that bit harder.
Tried Mindy again today and have some thoughts on the arm leg actions. Will play in the morning and report if there is anything of interest.Hip seemed to hold up.
Cheers Mac.
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