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"The A Swing: The Alternative Approach to Great Golf" by David Leadbetter

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I'll give my 2 cents on this but I'm awaiting Erik's review for obvious reasons. The book starts off stating how difficult golf is and how so many don't improve over the years. Nothing unique or news breaking here. We then get into some talk about the science/biomechanics of the golf swing (J.J. Rivets...never heard of him). I didn't read anything new there either. Leadbetter appears to be stressing that the A Swing is much "simpler" to do than the "traditional swing." My problem is he doesn't really explain what he means by "traditional." There are so many different swings on the tour by so many superb golfers. I believe there are (5) keys that every tour player has in common, other than that...not sure what Leadbetter is refering to as "traditional." Sorry if my bias came out on that statement.

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Alternative, is alternative to conventional. He said it in the preface or article somewhere. You want a C? Or an A? Well played subconscious implant there Ledbetter. Well played. Clap. Clap. Clap. :-) I PITY THE FOOL!

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As someone who's main swing faults are sucking the club inside on the backswing and then steep in the downswing I'm very intrigued by this book.. Think I'll throw caution to the wind and blow a tenner on iTunes and see for myself. I'll report back later and in the meantime would be very interested to see how others find it..

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Basically the A Swing is swinging the club back with the hands close to the right thigh, deep left arm across the chest and into a very steep bs. I think anybody who's fairly knowledgable with golf and its players immediately think.."Calvin Peete and Jim Furyk". Trying to swing like those guys may help someone who swings back too flat then over the top...but I hardly consider this "simpler".

A bold statement Leadbetter makes that I completely disagree with is his notion that taking the club back with the A swing method (Jim Furyk/Calvin Peete) will allow the downswing to "come down on plane naturally and with just gravity." This I don't buy. The way Calvin and Jim get their clubs shallower on the downswing from their bs is hardly automatic.

This is very astute IMO. I'm still only a few pages in (but I have seen other stuff on it, and @david_wedzik and I talked), and the basic theory of the "A" swing seems to be:

  • Take the club back steep.
  • It will then want to shallow out.

The problem, IMO, is that this "shallowing" move is not an easy thing to do. We see (Dave and I, and @mvmac too, etc.) golfers who are shallow on the backswing , steep on the backswing, and everything in between. The commonality is that they're almost all coming over the top (steep again) on the downswing. Almost none of them have the instinct to lay the shaft down in transition.

Many people here can attest to how difficult this is. Hell, it's basically what I have been working on for a few years (better all the time!).

I may be horribly wrong in all this as I don't have a background in golf instruction nor am I a fantastic golfer. I am however anxiously awaiting Erik's opinion as I believe he enjoys hearing other's philosophies on the golf swing as I do. Over all for me the A Swing is just trying to teach Peete/Furyk swing...and I don't know about that.....

Rickie Fowler (more 2012 than lately), Ryan Moore, etc. qualify too.

The reason amateur golfers are steep is partly because swinging left (for a righty) is one of the ways to cheat "good" contact. It helps you hit the ball more solidly. Amateurs who swing out to the right often fat and thin the ball, and amateurs who just try to swing out to the right will do so in all sorts of odd (bad) ways: early extension, unlocking the club, tipping the head back, stalling the pivot, etc.

It seems sort of odd that the swing is positioned as a swing for hacks, and yet his models are Lydia Ko and PGA Tour players like Denis Watson (I've read at least that far!).

We ask a question on our 5SK Instructor test. It's a bit of a trick question, but it goes toward what people "see" or how they think. The question shows a range of golfers from laid off to across the line. It asks which golfer is most likely to swing INward and which is most likely to swing OUTward if they're all 18 handicappers. Then what if they're scratch golfers. The answers are our "opinions" but there are no right or wrong answers - we're just looking to see what support the instructor provides to their answer.

But… if we were taking the quiz ourselves, we'd say that the player who is across the line is most likely to swing INward when they're an 18 and most likely to swing OUTward when they're scratch.

I don't know that "steep to shallow" is a move the "typical golfer" is going to use to improve their game very much.

But again, I'm not very far into it, and this is just what I can gather…

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Yes, I'd like to know the opinion of instructors whether they believe this is a "simpler" swing in which golfers will improve more rapidly, or just another way to swing the golf club with a "A Swing" label and related training aids.

I tend to think it is not as simple as Led's portrays it. You've still got a motion, you still have a pivot with a weight shift, and as pointed out, you've got to go from steep to shallow.

Led's has a great point -- I think synching arms and body is tough, most golfers, from what I've seen on the range, are too armsy back and down -- one of my issues, too, that I am desperately working and improving.

At the same time, I am somewhat cynical, having read all of the early Ledbetter books since the mid-90's, seeing all of the "aids" he has promoted, including a bracelet, and now the "A Swing." I wonder if this is Led's last grasp at the mass public dollar. Is it another way to attract more people to his schools?

And for the mass public, I don't think a book does it -- it takes hands-on instruction for 90% of the people, and probably only 10% get instruction. And finding quality instruction is tough.

If the "A Swing" is simpler and can get more people into and continue with the game, more power to it.

Golf is a difficult game and it takes patient, highly skilled instruction to teach and guide a player.

As a player, if we combine quality instruction with new players, I believe one can make the game more enjoyable and quicker. In general, I just don't think a book or video or A Swing is "the" answer. Feel is not real, and a quality instructor brings reality to your game.

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@Iacas Would you mind explaining what Leadbetter means by saying Jack Nicklaus and other greats swung Inside from across the line (club pointing right at the top) as it is easier due to the "fluidity"?

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Just from watching the Golf Digest video here were my initial thoughts.

http://thesandtrap.com/t/41332/the-comics-thread/198#post_1140259

I think this might be a borderline post - I see what he's getting at, but it's a little on the extreme side and what he's demonstrating looks weak, arms bent, little extension. What say ya'll?

David Leadbetter: The A Swing Backswing - Learn a new backswing that will put you in perfect position coming down.

http://video.golfdigest.com/watch/david-leadbetter-the-a-swing-backswing

Yes that A4 looks odd but I get the intent of what Leadbetter is doing here. He's been teaching for 30-40 years and he's probably just tired of seeing guys snatch the club in at 2, then go shallow to steep. So he developed this "swing" in order for higher handicappers to change the picture. Hands in, stand the shaft up so it has to shallow on the downswing. Problem is golfers that come "over the top" will do so no matter what the shaft alignment is at A4 because of how their bodies tends to work. They don't get their weight forward enough and they aren't open enough, will have have consequences with the path of the club on the downswing.

@Iacas

Would you mind explaining what Leadbetter means by saying Jack Nicklaus and other greats swung Inside from across the line (club pointing right at the top) as it is easier due to the "fluidity"?

I think @iacas kinda spoke to that with his last post. Better players have more of an "instinct" for shallowing the club, even guys that are "on plane" or laid off. Poorer players instinct is to make solid contact by swinging left. There are a ton of high handicappers that already have a cupped lead wrist and are across the line.

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Golf Digest has a little preview of the book:

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/2015-06/david-leadbetter-a-swing-starter-kit

So Leadbetter is basically trying to teach people to swing like Ryan Moore. I hope Moore is at least getting a cut of the profits.

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I actually like leadbetters idea in this book. Most common faults are club inside at 2, a shallow backswing, and then a steep downswing. So how would you go about changing the most people by the largest margin? Suggest that they try the complete opposite! So go steep on the backswing with a cupped lead wrist and then tell them they will need to shallow the club in the downswing. Sort of genius in a way. As for how well it will work for an 18 handicapper, probably not much. But that's only because they won't actually make the changes. Also I hope he includes in the book how the lead wrist will need to flex in the downswing (take out the cup the player put in the backswing). But I don't plan to read the book as I am too steep in the backswing and too flat in the downswing at the moment.

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I've read the book. I wish I was more savvy with all the tech talk. Remember the Brady Bunch episode when Carol tries to learn how to swing a bat? That's how I feel reading the process of this swing. It's a little more cumbersome as I'm left handed and even though I'm used to thinking the opposite I got overwhelmed with the explanations in Lead's book. I'm concerned as I used to swing way too inside going back, and way too inside coming down. I would have a closed clubface and come way inside to out and often hit miraculous shanks. I've come a long way after realizing "feel ain't real". To correct I literally "feel" like I'm taking the club back way, way outside but when watching on video I'm actually taking it back quite nicely in line. I'm afraid if I try this A Swing I'll revert back to my old troubles. I still can't grasp the idea of keeping my right arm against my chest...I don't understand the left bicep pinching my chest as he says. I really need to get with the technology and film my swing and just sign up with Evolvr. I dunno..I've felt less discombobulated reading medical biochemistry textbooks.

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Ok I was able to go to the course today. Initially it was awful as expected. I was having big trouble with hooks, hooks, hooks. I finally got the grip weak enough and started to hit some nice draws. I was just in the practice area hitting shots. Once I got a little comfortable with it I played nine holes. I really had to focus on the grip and when I did I hit it very well. Probably a little longer than my normal swing. I was also making great contact. Having the grip in my fingers was the key. I felt like I could really relax my arms and wrist just let the swing happen. I felt like it created more lag. I shot a 37. Needless to say, I will stay with it and see how things progress.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no illusions that I am doing the swing exactly like the book says. I am sure I am not as upright on the backswing and am still probably not finishing like they suggest. I do love the feeling of having the grip more in my fingers and not in my palms. Love the contact I was making. Still getting used to the weak right hand also. When I revert back to my more strong grip, hook, hook, hook!

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The first radical change for me was in the grip. Gripping the club more in the fingers is an unusual sensation for me. I always wear out my gloves first in the heel of the palm.  The new grip inherently seemed to make the club handle set lower and seemed to me to loosen up my forearm pressure. It also made it much more natural to keep the club head outside the hands on the backswing. Having the right hand in such a weak position was also a big change. When I watch the seminar, I also noticed when Dennis Watson was swinging the club early on while Leadbetter was talking, his wrist seemed to be very loose, and limber. I kind of like the feeling honestly.

… I really had to focus on the grip and when I did I hit it very well. Probably a little longer than my normal swing. I was also making great contact. Having the grip in my fingers was the key. I felt like I could really relax my arms and wrist just let the swing happen. I felt like it created more lag. I shot a 37. Needless to say, I will stay with it and see how things progress.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no illusions that I am doing the swing exactly like the book says. I am sure I am not as upright on the backswing and am still probably not finishing like they suggest. I do love the feeling of having the grip more in my fingers and not in my palms. Love the contact I was making. Still getting used to the weak right hand also. When I revert back to my more strong grip, hook, hook, hook!

EndFragment

That's a lot on the grip.

FWIW, the grip being in the fingers more is not particularly unique to this "A Swing" pattern. For example… .

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This is very astute IMO. I'm still only a few pages in (but I have seen other stuff on it, and @david_wedzik and I talked), and the basic theory of the "A" swing seems to be:

Take the club back steep.

It will then want to shallow out.

The problem, IMO, is that this "shallowing" move is not an easy thing to do. We see (Dave and I, and @mvmac too, etc.) golfers who are shallow on the backswing , steep on the backswing, and everything in between. The commonality is that they're almost all coming over the top (steep again) on the downswing. Almost none of them have the instinct to lay the shaft down in transition.

Many people here can attest to how difficult this is. Hell, it's basically what I have been working on for a few years (better all the time!).

Rickie Fowler (more 2012 than lately), Ryan Moore, etc. qualify too.

The reason amateur golfers are steep is partly because swinging left (for a righty) is one of the ways to cheat "good" contact. It helps you hit the ball more solidly. Amateurs who swing out to the right often fat and thin the ball, and amateurs who just try to swing out to the right will do so in all sorts of odd (bad) ways: early extension, unlocking the club, tipping the head back, stalling the pivot, etc.

It seems sort of odd that the swing is positioned as a swing for hacks, and yet his models are Lydia Ko and PGA Tour players like Denis Watson (I've read at least that far!).

We ask a question on our 5SK Instructor test. It's a bit of a trick question, but it goes toward what people "see" or how they think. The question shows a range of golfers from laid off to across the line. It asks which golfer is most likely to swing INward and which is most likely to swing OUTward if they're all 18 handicappers. Then what if they're scratch golfers. The answers are our "opinions" but there are no right or wrong answers - we're just looking to see what support the instructor provides to their answer.

But… if we were taking the quiz ourselves, we'd say that the player who is across the line is most likely to swing INward when they're an 18 and most likely to swing OUTward when they're scratch.

I don't know that "steep to shallow" is a move the "typical golfer" is going to use to improve their game very much.

But again, I'm not very far into it, and this is just what I can gather…

I think this is very astute! Just thinking about trying to shallow out after that seemingly artificial move back makes me shudder. I'll worry about an "alternative" swing when I actually have a decent traditional swing, personally.

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It always surprises me how such a little thing can make a difference in contact. The you showed in that thread Iacas is very similar to my normal grip. Especially the way"both" the "V's" line up between my right shoulder and head.

The grip for this swing is very different feeling anyway. The left hand "V" points toward my right eye, and the left hand "V" points toward my left eye. Like they are opposite of each other, not like I was ever taught. I think the left hand is even more in the fingers than the grip in the thread you posted shows.

It's all about the feeling. Maybe just the grip change would do the trick!

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This swing looks complicated to me and if it's anything like Furyk then there aren't many that are going to be able to replicate that consistently overnight, he's been doing it 40 years.

If people want to hit straight, hit like Mo Norman. You can't really go wrong with that, but you're not going to get much distance, so it's pretty worthless nowadays for anyone that wants a future in the game. Saying that, it'll get you to a pretty low handicap pretty quickly, even if you do look a bit weird on course.

Swing the "normal" way and get some lessons with a decent pro who has a launch monitor, no need to reinvent the wheel.

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Quote:
  • Easy to learn
  • Requires Minimal Practice
  • Scientifically Proven

I'm already skeptical. Anything requiring physical movement requires practice. Having played the drums as long as I have, I still need to work on new patterns starting slow and increasing in speed. I didn't see anything discussing the science used.

On the other hand, since I tend to cup my wrist anyway, maybe this is the perfect swing for me...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlSpackler View Post
Quote:
  • Easy to learn
  • Requires Minimal Practice
  • Scientifically Proven

I'm already skeptical. Anything requiring physical movement requires practice. Having played the drums as long as I have, I still need to work on new patterns starting slow and increasing in speed. I didn't see anything discussing the science used.

On the other hand, since I tend to cup my wrist anyway, maybe this is the perfect swing for me...

Maybe it's like the "Think Method" pioneered by Professor Harold Hill!

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