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"The Short Way to Lower Scoring" by Paul Runyan

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I still have not figured out his V shaped sand technique though!

Technique is not described in detail on the DVD, but from what I see on 'basic' sand shot he takes the club up with his right elbow going back behind his body (deep) with the upper R arm also tight to the body. The hands hinge the club up to vertical. Follow through seems to roughly mirror. At the bottom it looks like he throws the head of the club down & under the ball.

On a shorter shot he chicken wings on the follow through with the L arm moving around to the left with a lower follow through.

On the steepest 'V' swing for maximum height he appears to set the wrists earlier & maybe has a more aggressive R hand pop under the ball with elbows & hands staying tight to the body & club returning to vertical. I can't tell if he's throwing the R hand earlier or later on the V swing versus 'normal'.

The most distinctive element of his technique to my eye is how soft his elbows are. It's almost a 'jangly' arm swing he's so loose.

On a longer bunker shot where he opens the face to ensure using the bounce for a longer carry, he uses more body sequence (including a slight weight shift), and on the follow through his hands and arms are more out away from his body (more rounded arc).

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I still have not figured out his V shaped sand technique though!

It almost seems like his intention (relative to a more U shaped sand shot) is to throw the bounce into the sand just behind the ball on just enough of an angle so the club gets beneath the ball. In reality, the swing has a little arc to it so the face 'really' sweeps through a bit but with a lot more penetration into the sand & under the ball by 'leading the hit' with the bounce.

This is only an interpretation of a poorly skilled golfer so take this with a huge grain of salt (sand?), but if I were to go out tomorrow and try it that's a 'feel' I would experiment with.

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Some Runyan images for any interested.

Setup - eyes more inside line than putting setup:

Swing sequence - 8i - long carry - uphill lie:

Swing sequence - 7i - medium short carry - flat lie:

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Setup - eyes more inside line than putting setup:

Oh my. And you with the bit about telling stuff from 2D camera images in the other thread… wow. No words.

That's not even close to a reasonable camera angle. Are his eyes inside the line of the ball? Probably . But you can't tell squat from that camera angle.

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Oh my. And you with the bit about telling stuff from 2D camera images in the other thread… wow. No words.

That's not even close to a reasonable camera angle. Are his eyes inside the line of the ball? Probably. But you can't tell squat from that camera angle.

Best I could do. No down the line shots that showed his head distance from the ball. Fair point to raise for clarity of other viewers / interpreting, though. I should have put that in the post, but was rushing. I still think you can tell a bit from it. Agreed, it's definitely not any sort of measurement.

The approach with the picture was to draw a line parallel with his toe line, because his setup is expressly built around being all square to the ball-target line. I copied that line and moved it parallel left to intersect the ball. I then copied a third line and moved it equally between the two and added a vertical for reference to estimate his head position relative to his feet and the ball. I put it out there in the hope that someone who has the book can confirm or correct the estimate with his own words or pictures from the book.

You are correct that there is parallax effect with this view as the club head and ball are closest to the camera given the angle of his square setup (target line angled to his left of camera / viewer's right). I believe this would make his head appear closer / more out over the ball-target line from this angle, right? Probably that means the middle line should be spaced closer to the ball-target line as a fairer estimate. The aim was to guesstimate his head position relative to the ball as it looked very different from the putting setup he describes in the video.

I don't know what Runyan wrote in his book about his chipping setup, but I found this illustration helpful to me in differentiating what he did vs. Dave Stockton's (perfectly valid & effective) variation of 'putting with loft', which I believe has the head more out over the line and the shaft more upright, yes?

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I still have not figured out his V shaped sand technique though!

Here are some 'live action' pics in case they may be of help. Unfortunately the only face on view of his basic 'V' technique is a short shot. His follow-through on this short shot is noticeably cut off with more 'chicken-wing' & less re-cocking of the wrists / shaft at the finish than 'V' shot farther from the pin. The follow-through on the longer shot seems a bit more like a mirror of the backswing (from the views that were available).

Here is a pic following the sequence of the only full body shot of the finish for a long shot using the 'V' shape.

I assume that you have the picture below from the book. If he doesn't say so in the book, he states his intention is to hit closer to the ball with the 'steepest V' shot (for extra height) and move the bottom of the arc still under but slightly ahead of the ball, so I would guess the picture below was for the 'standard V'. He states he has to hit harder than 'standard V' for same carry due to the added height.

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Here are some 'live action' pics in case they may be of help. Unfortunately the only face on view of his basic 'V' technique is a short shot. His follow-through on this short shot is noticeably cut off with more 'chicken-wing' & less re-cocking of the wrists / shaft at the finish than 'V' shot farther from the pin. The follow-through on the longer shot seems a bit more like a mirror of the backswing (from the views that were available).

Here is a pic following the sequence of the only full body shot of the finish for a long shot using the 'V' shape.

I assume that you have the picture below from the book. If he doesn't say so in the book, he states his intention is to hit closer to the ball with the 'steepest V' shot (for extra height) and move the bottom of the arc still under but slightly ahead of the ball, so I would guess the picture below was for the 'standard V'. He states he has to hit harder than 'standard V' for same carry due to the added height.

A detail I just noticed is how Runyan powers the 'V' swing. As he takes the club back there is an pronounced arm swing and wrist cock, but a relatively small shoulder turn. He increases sagittal compression (forward lean) as he loads right, extending the R leg a bit & kicking in L leg a bit in a mini-pivot. Then as he comes through impact, he does a little piston-like vertical lift / jump (on both legs) to 'snap' the club down hard into the sand rather than through the sand (it gets through of course, but a different emphasis / intention). He finishes significantly taller than he was at address. Notice how both his arms are pulled straight down at impact.

I think this 'piston' action is in line with the 'feel' of throwing the bounce of the club into the sand just behind the ball. It's definitely not a quiet legs with a shoulder (thoracic / core) turn action. It almost looks like a whip-cracking motion with the target being just underneath / slightly behind the ball.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Patch

I have used Runyan's method for the past 20+ years. I even use it for shorter pitch shots. When I made the switch to his method it immediately allowed me to score 5-7 strokes lower per round.

After my success with his short game teachings, is when I started paying more attention to the other old school swing gurus.

I saw a video of him speaking about his method at a PGA conference. His soft sell and the reasons why he developed it & why it works convinced me. I tried it a few times and my combination of line & distance control was much better than with my more practiced standard setup.

What I don't have is feel descriptions from him. What grip pressure works best - light or firm. What mental picture did he have of the swing shape. How did he adjust setup or swing for a ball in chipping distance but sitting down in rough?

I find I am gripping tight with my left hand & I tend to blade the ball too frequently when hitting a longer shot. It works better for me on real grass, but it's only been a few weeks of off & on experimenting.

Can you remember back to any key insights you had as you got comfortable with this method?

Grip pressure, feel, and mental pictures to me are a personal thing. I don't think they can be taught, and if copied, it is by accident. I just remember thinking this is just a better way to get the ball closer to the hole, and even in the hole sometimes. I was already a good putter at the time, and this method was basically my putting stroke. There was nothing to get use to, and nothing felt uncomfortable. It just worked from day one.

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I've had a look for this book and its dam expensive over here.

Phil Rodgers has a series of videos on Secret in the Dirt that demonstrate some of the Runyan stuff.

Is Rodgers a full Runyan disciple?

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I've had a look for this book and its dam expensive over here.

Phil Rodgers has a series of videos on Secret in the Dirt that demonstrate some of the Runyan stuff.

Is Rodgers a full Runyan disciple?

Rodgers was definitely taught by Runyan, what he demonstrates in those videos does not appear like Runyan's stock chipping (run > carry = lower) technique. But it does resemble Runyan's pitching (carry > run = higher) technique, and it looks pretty effective.

It seems similar to Runyan's pitching style in the arms and hands are much more active than the body, there is a slight vertical elevation of the legs / torso through impact, and the hands finish around the L hip / pocket while the club recocks.

I would say Elkington's reference to the 'Rule of 12' really applies more to the chipping technique more than the pitching technique, but I could be wrong.

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Some Runyan images for any interested.

Setup - eyes more inside line than putting setup:

I found some further material from the 60's and '79 that shows Runyan's intention with his chipping technique was to have his eyes over the ball-target line like a putt. Then he gripped down and raised the heel of the putter to whatever degree he needed to to put his eyes over (or just inside) the ball. I think the video was made after the book and he may have stood straighter as an accommodation to his age or using 5-3 iron, which will end up in your belly if you try to get your eyes right over the ball. In his '62 book he said he didn't chip with anything longer than 6-iron, possibly due to this interference from the shaft. He may have modified his approach to make use of margin for error and distance control using the 'rule of 12' up through the 3-iron.

The distinction I made about Stockton's chipping approach being a variation in an earlier post was incorrect. His upright shaft was right in line with Runyan's method, if maybe a bit more vertical.

Below is his chipping stance and backswing from 1962 and setup from PGA against Snead - both noticeably more bent over than the instructional video. The pronounced leading left elbow also seems absent in '79. It could be there at the PGA Championship, though the camera angle mostly obscures it. Anyone know for sure about his lead elbow during his salad days?

Address                                                                                                 Finish

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Yes the videos he does with Elkington are definitely pitch shots.

I tried this a bit yesterday, in general the issues I have are i've been either too short with too much backspin or i overdo it with compensating due to being too short.

I like the 12/11 rule, i've always struggled with the statements made about getting the ball rolling early, mainly as i'm not hitting the bottom of the club right I think..The hovering of the club rather than grounding it helps with finding the loft better.


A lot of it is like Utley too, like his V shaped bunker swing.

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Yes the videos he does with Elkington are definitely pitch shots.

I tried this a bit yesterday, in general the issues I have are i've been either too short with too much backspin or i overdo it with compensating due to being too short.

I like the 12/11 rule, i've always struggled with the statements made about getting the ball rolling early, mainly as i'm not hitting the bottom of the club right I think..The hovering of the club rather than grounding it helps with finding the loft better.

A lot of it is like Utley too, like his V shaped bunker swing.

Which did you try, pitching or chipping?

Trajectory / spin consistency on the chipping for me is better when I focus on a tension-free turn back through the ball (like the 'dropping the putter on the ball' thread), but I can still generate a good amount of pop by turning all the way back while keeping my upper arms / elbows connected.

Re. the rule of 12 - with today's clubs (creeping lofts) it might be more like rule of 13 or 14 vs. when Runyan put his book out, but it would depend on how much spin and height you typically produce. Also, I think I was right about his less bent over posture with longer clubs. The picture in the thread where his eyes appear inside the ball was with a 4-iron, one less than the longest he used so because of the longer shaft he had to back off the ball a touch.

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A detail I just noticed is how Runyan powers the 'V' swing. As he takes the club back there is an pronounced arm swing and wrist cock, but a relatively small shoulder turn. He increases sagittal compression (forward lean) as he loads right, extending the R leg a bit & kicking in L leg a bit in a mini-pivot. Then as he comes through impact, he does a little piston-like vertical lift / jump (on both legs) to 'snap' the club down hard into the sand rather than through the sand (it gets through of course, but a different emphasis / intention). He finishes significantly taller than he was at address. Notice how both his arms are pulled straight down at impact.

I think this 'piston' action is in line with the 'feel' of throwing the bounce of the club into the sand just behind the ball. It's definitely not a quiet legs with a shoulder (thoracic / core) turn action. It almost looks like a whip-cracking motion with the target being just underneath / slightly behind the ball.

I can't find the video now, but Nick Bradley did a bunker video where he emulated Bruce Lee's '3-inch punch' for a shot off an upslope to a tight pin. Basically it involved starting to throw the club with the shoulders / arms, but pull back on the handle shortly after starting down in kind of a 'crack the whip' action. It looked like he was 'throwing the sole' just behind / just under the ball. I saw a video of Brendan Steele doing it on tour last year. I think that's along the lines of what Runyan is doing with his whole body 'piston action' on the 'Steep V' swing in the bunker.

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Found this video, which is a little long and mostly in German, but is one of the better examples on YouTube demonstrating with some depth the main chipping concepts from Runyan's book.

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I saw a video of him speaking about his method at a PGA conference. His soft sell and the reasons why he developed it & why it works convinced me. I tried it a few times and my combination of line & distance control was much better than with my more practiced standard setup.

What I don't have is feel descriptions from him. What grip pressure works best - light or firm. What mental picture did he have of the swing shape. How did he adjust setup or swing for a ball in chipping distance but sitting down in rough?

I find I am gripping tight with my left hand & I tend to blade the ball too frequently when hitting a longer shot. It works better for me on real grass, but it's only been a few weeks of off & on experimenting.

Can you remember back to any key insights you had as you got comfortable with this method?

Thought for completeness this video link should be added:

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On 10/19/2014 at 9:22 AM, natureboy said:

A detail I just noticed is how Runyan powers the 'V' swing. As he takes the club back there is an pronounced arm swing and wrist cock, but a relatively small shoulder turn. He increases sagittal compression (forward lean) as he loads right, extending the R leg a bit & kicking in L leg a bit in a mini-pivot. Then as he comes through impact, he does a little piston-like vertical lift / jump (on both legs) to 'snap' the club down hard into the sand rather than through the sand (it gets through of course, but a different emphasis / intention). He finishes significantly taller than he was at address. Notice how both his arms are pulled straight down at impact.

I think this 'piston' action is in line with the 'feel' of throwing the bounce of the club into the sand just behind the ball. It's definitely not a quiet legs with a shoulder (thoracic / core) turn action. It almost looks like a whip-cracking motion with the target being just underneath / slightly behind the ball.

The book notes that the standard V swing is for heavier sand, harder sand, wetter sand, and for regular sand conditions where you want the ball to fly higher.

The essential difference from a more U shaped swing for him is that with the shallower AoA of the U swing you open the club slightly to expose the trailing edge / bounce more so that it will skip through the softer / looser / drier sand that you would typically use it in. The depiction (drawing not a photo) in the book shows a nearly vertical shaft as the clubhead enters the sand behind the ball.

With the steeper V swing, the face is square to slightly closed and there is forward shaft lean (drawing not a photo) as the clubhead enters the sand. He's trying to initiate entry into the sand with the leading edge to get under the ball.

As he goes back with his limited shoulder turn on the V swing, the increased waist bend with low lead shoulder and nearly vertical shaft creates a steep AoA into the ball He then 'pistons' upward with his whole body to aggressively release the clubhead through the ball (with hands perhaps slightly ahead of the ball), which due to the high rate of closure, returns most of the loft from addres. As he is pistoning up it also looks like he adds a slight bit of secondary axis tilt relative to his address position (a little pistoning is directed away from low point).

While unorthodox, that would seem to jibe with his intent to have this the highest shot. He's steep and 'digs' to get under the ball initially, but releases hard with his 'jump' and adds a touch of loft to boot with a small amount of late axis tilt.

Edited by natureboy

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On 9/16/2014 at 8:03 PM, kc8kir said:

I still have not figured out his V shaped sand technique though!

Here's another conceptualization / approach to his 'V-shape' swing.

 

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Note: This thread is 1067 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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