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"Four Magic Moves" by Joe Dante


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This is a bit unconventional, for sure. Most teachers want the toe up at 3:00 O'clock, some will permit the club face on the spine angle, but I have not heard the 45 degree angle advocated for decades. But, I learned to play doing this type of wrist cock back in the days of the reverse C finish. I've spend many years trying to reduce the draw shape of shots after first learning the one knuckle on the left hand right hand back takeaway . It does produce solid feeling shots, but I think you have to really hold off on the release if you do this. It is a good way to learn to draw the ball. So, I'm not taking positions other than to say this is not often taught today, and I wish I had not started out doing this.

Sometimes the early backward wrist break gets all the attention because it is so controversial - we have to remember there are 3 other moves in this sytem you need to get right. Your point on clearing the hips RC was well put - Dante goes into great detail in his book "Four Magic Moves" on how to start the downswing and clear the hips properly. If you just focus on the early backward wrist break you will not attain the benefits of this marvelous golf swing technique that has helped so many golfers. Play well.
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"Four Magic Moves" teaches the early backward wrist break - when I first tried this so called "magic move" I said "you gotta be kidding me". I gotta tell ya, after I kept practicing this one earl

Yes, your body is the engine and the effort the golfer expends to swing the golf club is the "F" (Force) in our Torque equation; T = F x L (T=Torque,F=Force,L=Length of lever). Now, the secret is to

Look at video of Hogans swing from the rear and you can see that his right hip rotates completely to the rear and to the target in the backswing. His weight settles into his left leg AS PART OF HIS BA

And I don't disagree with you -- there are many ways to get the club back, and it is only at impact that the range of "ways to do it" narrows down considerably. I've seen a fine ball striker take his club away as hooded as you can imagine, and somehow at the top he starts down right on plane and hits beautiful shots. Past pros, and some current ones, have had unique ways to get to the downswing initiation, but I think all of us agree, if we can get into the impact position with consistency, we can hit pure shots. So, I'm not taking sides on what is proper because that seems pointless. I don't know that there is a set way to do it for everyone, but I surely doubt there would be. I was just pointing out that the current majority of teaching pros that I have heard or read tend to like the toe up, 3:00 position -- I was just noting this, and sharing I started out with a wrist cock more like the one in your illustrations (but I probably did not do the rest of the moves.) I'm confident you would need the whole book to really understand the four moves.

I've looked at several swings of some of the longer hitters, and at least some of them have the club face more parallel with their spine angle than toe up and a few have the club shaft pointed slightly left of their target line (what some would call outside.) I tend to fight a problem of too much draw and the only thing that mitigates that for me is to have a very active post up and turn on the left hip, with as little slide as I can -- that straighens out most of my shots (if I do it correctly.) So if the book has that included and explained well, I probably would like it. The only thing I know for certain is that tired, lazy hip action is the killer for my swing.

p.s. Maybe I need to go back to it and get back to a plus handicap like you... ha ha. I think my plus days are over.
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  • 2 weeks later...
I've been trying these magic moves for a couple of weeks on the range. So far so good with my irons, but my woods...UGH! I cannot even hit one clean shot with any of my fairway woods or driver. Every shot goes right; most shots are a push right, some go right and slice.
Now, If I've read the book correctly, you're supposed to maintain that wrist cock throughout the swing (or at least try to). Well, like I said it seems to be working great for my irons, but with my woods, it just feels like the face is wide open by the time I get down to the ball. In fact, it doesn't feel like the club face can be anything BUT open if I maintain that wrist cock and do not "Spin" my hips. I'm feeling a bit bummed because I really thought I was on to something here, and I really don't want to regress and get where I'm only hitting irons and afraid of my woods.
So, to any of you who are having success with these methods with all of your clubs, can you think of something I might be missing with my woods? Maybe I'm not finishing correctly, I don't know. I'm supposed to play tomorrow morning and I'll probably end up leaving my woods in the car at this point!
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I've been trying these magic moves for a couple of weeks on the range. So far so good with my irons, but my woods...UGH! I cannot even hit one clean shot with any of my fairway woods or driver. Every shot goes right; most shots are a push right, some go right and slice.

You must be absolutely certain you get the first magic move (early backward wrist break) correct or you will not establish the proper chain reaction for the rest of your swing.

Check out this excellent video by Andy Brown which explains in detail the first of the four magic moves... Tap here to watch the video
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Thanks John,
I'm fairly certain I'm doing the backward wrist break correctly (knuckle checks, shoulder tap, etc). But, it just seems near impossible with my woods; I can feel that the face is wide open when I strike the ball. I'm really hoping it's a mental block and just need to work with it some more. Like I said, with the irons it makes sense and I'm hitting some really nice shots, but the woods....YIKES.
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This seems like a conventional swing. The only major difference is the early wrist break. It doesn't seem revolutionary. The other fundamentals are the seem.

So, all those hours as a kid in the gravel pits throwing pebbles at empty beer cans, weren't a "total" waste of time. Same wrist break involved.

But the 35 year gap in between childhood and picking up golf (again), well, some could argue there was a lot of time lost there.
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The problem I have is coordinating the wrist break and shoulder turn so it is one fluid motion.

Check out this video by Andy Brown where he gives tips on how to make the backward wrist break combined with the shoulder turn more fluid. Like any complex skill, you must practice the move correctly over and over before it becomes ingrained.

Tap here to see Andy's video Play well. --John
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One reason I struggled with this somewhat, I now realize is my failure to execute another magic move which is to stay behind the ball through impact in your spine angle. Not so easy to do with the lateral hip slide, at first. To all trying this really work on sliding the hips to the front while holding the head behind the ball and maintaining the spine angle through impact. A poor swing is a poor swing, no matter which swing method you use. Holding the correct angles is vital to any type swing.
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The formula for success in any endeavor can be summed up by the following formula; Faith + Burning Desire = Success

"If ye have the faith of a mustard seed ye can move mountains"

So you must have Faith a certain golf instruction system will work for you or you're simply wasting your time. Faith combined with a burning desire to make it happen. The degree you take each one of these 2 factors is directly proportional to your success.

For those of you golfers looking for a quick fix, Four Magic Moves may not be the right system for you - there are plenty of quick fixes for you on the internet, golf publications, and the golf channel.

For those who really wanna take a quantum leap in your golf improvement, you must first believe Four Magic Moves can work for you, then put in the time along with your burning desire and give it time for your golf swing to blossum.

Four Magic Moves has already helped hundreds of average golfers make astonishing improvements in their golf games (including myself!)

I would rather work with a below average golfer with a burning desire to improve, than an excellent golfer with only a hint of desire to improve.

So take a hard look at yourself and decide whether you wanna put in the time to fix your golf swing, or do you wanna continue chasing the siren song of instant gratification in the quick fix?

Play well.
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  • 2 weeks later...
i just tried this technique today at the range. I made sure to do the wrist break before my backswing, and the shots did become more consistent. One thing i noticed is that i had to keep the wrist locked at impact. If i release the wrist a bit early, then i tend to hit a pull or a draw, which is not that bad either. Is that normal or am I doing something wrong? Thanks.
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i just tried this technique today at the range. I made sure to do the wrist break before my backswing, and the shots did become more consistent. One thing i noticed is that i had to keep the wrist locked at impact. If i release the wrist a bit early, then i tend to hit a pull or a draw, which is not that bad either. Is that normal or am I doing something wrong? Thanks.

According to Dante in his book "Four Magic Moves", "

There shouldn't be any conscious hand action into the shot, rather the hands should release through impact as a result of a mechanical principal, not through any effort on the part of the player." Half way down, in a good swing Dante goes on to say; " The angle formed by the club and the left arm is still about what is was at the top. It is approximately a right angle. As the hands get nearer the ball the speed of the club increases and the angle begins to open up. As the hands reach the ball the head of the club is travelling much, much faster and the angle is almost 180 degrees. At a point about 18 inches to two feet past the position of the ball (which is now in flight), the club head passes the hands and causes the right hand to climb over the left." So if the rest of your swing is right, the release through the ball should happen automatically. Hope this helps. Play well.
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If your having problems with the woods, check your stance.
With the woods and driver your stance may have a tendancy to be "open" at address, which Dante warns against. This will cause you to block it right. Square up the stance, and the woods will fly long and straight.
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Interesting. I tried this at lunch time with a shag bag full of balls. A little spotty, but when I thought about holding that backward wrist break and turning back and through with only the shoulders I hit a bunch of surprisingly good shots.

lynchjo, you seem a little overly evangelical about this. Are you working for the publisher or the author?

Still, very interesting... I'm going to play some more with this backward wrist break.
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I have a problem incorporating this into the backswing as one fluid motion. What I did was a forward press before I start my backswing, which put me in the same wrist position as Dante espouses, but I had mixed results.

About the woods, you definitely need to turn your hips quicker than normal, or you will block to the right.

I just read Clampetts book, what's the difference between his early wrist break and Dante's?
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  • 1 month later...
Hi Norm,

Okay...for something so simple I am making this very complicated. I have tried this and see a lot of potential and most significantly the opportunity for consistency in my swing.

What I am having a problem with is the idea of pressing down on the left thumb knuckle. When I do this, I get something of a backward wrist break with the right wrist, but I definitely do not get a cupping of the left hand or a rolling under as described in the book. I continue to see two knuckles on the left hand. Only when I manually force it to roll under do I eliminate one knuckle. Also, it seems to me that I hit the ball better when I "push" the right thumb pad against the side of the left thumb as compared to pressing down on the left thumb knuckle. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions...Thanks
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Okay...for something so simple I am making this very complicated. I have tried this and see a lot of potential and most significantly the opportunity for consistency in my swing.

It sounds like you're close - if you're seeing 2 knuckles on the left hand when making the backward wrist break, your right hand is still rolling a bit instead of bending straight back.

Stay with it, you'll get there. Rome wasn't built in a day, it was built brick by brick. Good luck. --John
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Ok so I don't get it. What exactly are these "four magic moves" designed to fix? A lot of what he talks about, ball adress, grip, weight shift, aren't revelutionary concepts and are pretty standard fare for how to hit a successfull golf shot. The only major concept that seems off base is the "reverse wrist break" of the right hand. To me the only thing this would accomplish is to totally avoid any possibility of rolling the wrists and it would almost force you to come at the ball from the inside and get into that mythical "slot" position. Is this the major focus of the "four magic moves" to give you that slot feel and lag position through moves that are more restrictive and more unnatural and therefore more repetitive?

So I rambled a bit there, here's my question in list format:

1) What do these moves propose to fix? What problems would be alleviated?
2) How do the moves or ideas fix the above problems?
3) Why is it not better to stay with a more conventional swing?
4) Who, on the PGA tour now, uses this swing? If no one uses it, why is it not used in the PGA tour today?
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