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Myth of Maintaining Your Address Flex in the Rear Knee

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In fact, our bodies are quite different.

Since that depends on how you define "different" let's just put an end to that whole line of discussion here and now.

@Zeph clearly said we all have two legs, two arms, etc. Our basic anatomy is not all that different. Everyone's elbow bends in the same direction, nobody's fingers are attached backwards, nobody has a third leg, or a knee that is halfway up their thigh, etc.

Let's stop forcing square pegs into round holes.  Every golfer's body and swing should not be the same!

Nobody's saying that. Zeph even made a point of saying every swing is different.

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As Erik said, CH3 hits it extremely well, I'd give my right arm to hit it like he does.

I made the video 2 1/2 years ago and since then he's found a competent instructor and now gradually reduces flex in the trail knee.

I don't know what to say, Phil (and many other great players) release flex in the trail knee. Especially that guy in your avatar pic  Notice the space between his knees at the top of the backswing, that's not happening because his knees aren't changing flexion.

I would love to have Charles Howell's ballstriking ability as well. I'm just saying given his 2013 stats he's not a model ballstriker relative to the pro field. But he is a pro.

For me I find my right hip goes up too much when I don't 'think about' maintaining R knee flex as I turn back away from the ball. This tends to lead to OTT for me. I don't doubt it straightens somewhat, but I find I get better strikes when I focus on keeping flex and push my R hip back and around toward the target. I think with all right loaders - even Hogan - the viewing angle matters to assess how much R knee straightening is occuring.

If you feel like testing my point ask someone on the range who is a R loader and a good ballstriker to hit some shots. Film them from down the line first along the ball-target line or out in front of it and then from back behind the tush line. Because the R thigh bone ends up pointing away from the target & toward the observer who is on the ball-target line, I expect that the amount of straightening appears to be greater than it is when observed from more behind the player.

The space between the knees increases for sure with Hogan, but his left knee is kicking in & around significantly as the L hip turns in getting closer to the ball as he turns his back to the target. I'm not saying his R knee doesn't straighten at all, just that it may not be straightening as much as it appears from down the target line or even in front of it like with the Phil M video. I read a quote somewhere on the internets (so must be true) where Hogan said to someone, "You know why I'm so good - because my right knee never moves." Maybe more feel than real, but I accept it as a core intention of his.

That's all I'm saying. As I posted, a legendary ballstriker - Slammin Sammy - straightened his R leg very noticeably. There are many effective ways to make the swing sausage.

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I looked at the detailed proximity stats for the 2013 full season. Howell was about 150th in cumulative proximity (total distance from pin / attempts) in the meat & potatoes distances of 125-225 yards (275 attempts). He was 93rd from 225-275 yards (112 attempts) and 44th from 275+ (18 attempts). So given those stats, I am more curious if there are elements in his swing technique that give him an advantage at those distances (likely using long irons & woods) from both fairway & rough. Steeper on the ball maybe with a higher than average R hip? That's why I'm picking at the details.

If your point is that any pro is an adequate model, I'll accept that. I just prefer to look at the 'best of the best'. For example, given his poor accuracy with driver and irons, Mike Weir's short game proximity is off the planet, yet it is hard to find video of his technique, because his overall game has slipped.

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As Erik said, CH3 hits it extremely well, I'd give my right arm to hit it like he does.

I made the video 2 1/2 years ago and since then he's found a competent instructor and now gradually reduces flex in the trail knee.

I don't know what to say, Phil (and many other great players) release flex in the trail knee. Especially that guy in your avatar pic  Notice the space between his knees at the top of the backswing, that's not happening because his knees aren't changing flexion.

Re. my Hogan avatar pic, I think it is worth noting how baggy his pants are in this photo. I assume this was for comfort / freedom of movement. There is considerable flex maintained if you look at the angle of the top of his thigh to his shin bone. And this is from an angle on the ball-target line. The baggy pants hang straighter in back and also out in front of the shin which also must be bent a bit if you account for the position of his R knee relative to his R ankle.


Now he may have actually straightened R knee somewhat going back, but the question of how much and was he trying not to straighten I think are relevant.

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The space between the knees increases for sure with Hogan, but his left knee is kicking in & around significantly as the L hip turns in getting closer to the ball as he turns his back to the target. I'm not saying his R knee doesn't straighten at all, just that it may not be straightening as much as it appears from down the target line or even in front of it like with the Phil M video. I read a quote somewhere on the internets (so must be true) where Hogan said to someone, "You know why I'm so good - because my right knee never moves." Maybe more feel than real, but I accept it as a core intention of his.

I don't want to get too far off topic talking about Hogan but when he was referencing his rear knee, he was mostly talking about the face on view. And we agree the left knee gains flex, reason why we call it knee linkage.

If your point is that any pro is an adequate model, I'll accept that.

The point to the thread and what we teach is to identify commonalities of game's best players. Good players turn their shoulders and hips at about a right angle to their address inclination. In order to do that the lead hip has to go down and the rear hip has to go up. You don't see good players with level (to the ground) hips and shoulders on the backswing. So in order to achieve this the knees have to change flexion somewhat.

Again we aren't advocating the rear knee "straighten", just that it decreases in flex as the lead knee gains in flex.

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I don't want to get too far off topic talking about Hogan but when he was referencing his rear knee, he was mostly talking about the face on view. And we agree the left knee gains flex, reason why we call it knee linkage.

The point to the thread and what we teach is to identify commonalities of game's best players. Good players turn their shoulders and hips at about a right angle to their address inclination. In order to do that the lead hip has to go down and the rear hip has to go up. You don't see good players with level (to the ground) hips and shoulders on the backswing. So in order to achieve this the knees have to change flexion somewhat.

Again we aren't advocating the rear knee "straighten", just that it decreases in flex as the lead knee gains in flex.

Maybe it's a 'relativity' / frame of reference thing. I'm pretty good at mentally rotating objects / shapes and I get a strong image of viewing R knee flex down the long axis of the turned hips being more similar to the address flex than in the static view above (which does not turn with the hips). In other words if you moved the camera with the hips as they turned from the position on the left to the position on the right, I think the perceived angle change in the knee would be less than 10*. Not saying it wouldn't change. All I'm suggesting is try it out with a camera.

Apparent object angles on a picture are 2-D projections of a 3-D shape. Parallax effects are real, and I think the detail could matter in terms of intentions / feels.

Here are pics of Hogan from different angles from behind. My assertion is that the more in front of the player the observer is, the more flex the R leg will appear to lose at the top of the swing. The more behind (looking down the line of the turned hips) the observer is, the the less leg flex will appear to be lost. I think in these pics the R leg appears straighter at both address and at the top from the angle out in front (toward caddy). I don't think Hogan was altering his pivot action. I think the viewing angle matters.

Could it be worth stating the frame of reference: "When looking at a good golfer from along the toe line, the R knee will appear to straighten significantly"?

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Maybe it's a 'relativity' / frame of reference thing. I'm pretty good at mentally rotating objects / shapes and I get a strong image of viewing R knee flex down the long axis of the turned hips being more similar to the address flex than in the static view above (which does not turn with the hips). In other words if you moved the camera with the hips as they turned from the position on the left to the position on the right, I think the perceived angle change in the knee would be less than 10*. Not saying it wouldn't change. All I'm suggesting is try it out with a camera.

It would still have extended a fair amount. Consider that the hip has RISEN as well, and his right foot remains on the ground. So that length - ankle to hip joint - has to increase. How? By extending the right knee.

P.S. The right hip rises AND rotates around. Both require a lengthening of that ankle-hip socket.

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It would still have extended a fair amount. Consider that the hip has RISEN as well, and his right foot remains on the ground. So that length - ankle to hip joint - has to increase. How? By extending the right knee.

P.S. The right hip rises AND rotates around. Both require a lengthening of that ankle-hip socket.

Yep

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Yep

I see hip tilt for sure. Is it from lots of lost R knee flex or the kicking in of the L knee & dropping of the L hip?

In the pic below I copied your image and drew a red line from Tiger's belt down to the cuff of his pants. Then I just copied that line with no adjustment in length and pasted it in the same spot for the picture on the right. I don't actually see R hip elevation from the ground. Higher, relative to the L hip, yes. I expect the same would be true for Hogan, or quite close.

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I see hip tilt for sure. Is it from lots of lost R knee flex or the kicking in of the L knee & dropping of the L hip?

Did you read my post? Or just Mike's?

It's from both. The right hip GOING UP, though, is not from the left knee doing anything, and it causes the "ankle to hip" length to get longer. Since our bones don't grow an inch or two during the swing, that added length comes from extending the knee.

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On 9/19/2014 at 5:24 PM, natureboy said:

Looks to me like your analysis is flawed. You drew your red line to his belt loop (the first on the right from the middle) in the address picture, then you copied it to the top of backswing picture. Except now the end of the line is at his hip (on the next belt loop over).

The red line would not be long enough to reach the original end point because the right knee is extending. It's like @iacas said, the "ankle to hip" distance increases from extension.

You're looking at the right hip relationship to the ground and seeing it not change, so you've concluded that it doesn't go up. The thing is, everything in our bodies is connected. You can't tilt the left hip down without tilting the right hip up. If you tilted your left hip down while maintaining your right knee flex, you'd be squatting into your left side, which actually decreases your right hip distance from the ground.

It's the up tilt of the right hip and extension of the knee that maintains the hip to ground distance relationship that you're looking at.

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Looks to me like your analysis is flawed. You drew your red line to his belt loop (the first on the right from the middle) in the address picture, then you copied it to the top of backswing picture. Except now the end of the line is at his hip (on the next belt loop over).

The red line would not be long enough to reach the original end point because the right knee is extending. It's like @iacas said, the "ankle to hip" distance increases from extension.

You're looking at the right hip relationship to the ground and seeing it not change, so you've concluded that it doesn't go up. The thing is, everything in our bodies is connected. You can't tilt the left hip down without tilting the right hip up. If you tilted your left hip down while maintaining your right knee flex, you'd be squatting into your left side, which actually decreases your right hip distance from the ground.

It's the up tilt of the right hip and extension of the knee that maintains the hip to ground distance relationship that you're looking at.

I respectfully disagree. In the pic below I moved the red line laterally with no change in vertical position to the same belt loop. I also added a horizontal line for reference. It is worth noting that the camera appears to have jogged slightly up given the change in background object levels - but not much. Even taking that into account, it looks to me like Tiger's R hip height relative to the ground has actually decreased. I'm not saying his hips don't tilt, but the hip is a ball & socket joint so it is entirely possible for the R hip to stay at the same height as the hips tilt.

I would say that his R hip is also getting deeper away from the ball target line as he turns around his spine / tailbone. With his foot remaining in place and his hips not rising relative to the ground, that would make the angle between his shin and the ground increase (more obtuse), the angle between his thigh and shin remain pretty much the same, and the angle between his hips / spine and his R thigh would be decreasing (getting more acute) with a feel of 'sitting into' his R glute.

I'm not saying all good swings must do this, just what I see occurring with this pivot action.

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Let's look at Foley's Students:

I don't find Tiger as the easiest example of the straightening of the right knee because he seems to straighten it less than other Touring Pros --  he wears baggy pants. That man tries to hide everything.

Rose doesn't straighten extremely either...

But Hunter Mahan...

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Let's look at Foley's Students:

I don't find Tiger as the easiest example of the straightening of the right knee because he seems to straighten it less than other Touring Pros --  he wears baggy pants. That man tries to hide everything.

Rose doesn't straighten extremely either...

But Hunter Mahan...

Hunter was a better driver statistically (about 30 ranking spots) than Woods in 2013. But woods was far superior (140 ranking spots) in approach shots. It would be interesting to compare them in the behind view to see how their pivot differences may contribute to that divergence, or if it might be related to other things they do.

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Here's a back view of Hunter (2010) with what looks like a fairway metal. R hip definitely seems to elevate a bit on backswing. Head does not lower and the hips are more level than Tiger at the top. Does anyone have a driver pic from this angle? I would definitely agree that he has straightened his R knee a touch going back.

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Seems counter-intuitive to me to look at change in knee flex from FO or behind view. The knee may be angled slightly outward and even rotate a little, but you still get the best view from DTL. Maybe even a bit rotated towards the back.

We're never talking astronomical amounts. The rotation also contributes to the changes we see, and the flex is not very big in terms of degrees at address. But try rotating the hips 45 degrees without allowing the back knee to lessen flex. It's pretty clear that the front knee gains flex, so if you want to keep your body from dropping too much, you have to let that back knee straighten a little.

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BTW I recorded a new video in the OP. It's more "streamlined" than the first, half as long, more Key focused and more to the point.

The original video is still on my Youtube page, it was recorded before the 5SK dvd came out so it made sense to "update" it. Will probably do the same thing with the "Centered Pivot" video.

Hunter was a better driver statistically (about 30 ranking spots) than Woods in 2013. But woods was far superior (140 ranking spots) in approach shots. It would be interesting to compare them in the behind view to see how their pivot differences may contribute to that divergence, or if it might be related to other things they do.

You're going to see the same thing. Angle isn't perfect but you see the belt line going from level to tilted, rear leg has lessened in flex, lead knee has gained in flex, which allows the right hip to move up and around.

Again, and hopefully for the last time, the purpose of this thread is to bust the myth of not lessening flex in the trail knee on the backswing by examining HOW the best player's knees and hips work on the backswing to achieve Key #1.

There's no point in nit-picking players stats or how their swings compare to one another (for the purpose of this thread). They all hit the ball extremely well and they all keep their head steady.

Also, we haven't just identified this by looking at 2D video, it's been confirmed by the 3D information that's been gathered.

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