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Golfer2223

Golfer2223's Swing Theories

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I'm sure there will be arguments later but there is one piece of information I think a lot of golfers can benefit from. I hope to save some people from buying the online swing tip scams. The most common flaw I see in swings is rotating the forearms one way or the other. Most people don't realize you don't have to rotate your forearms or hands at all in the golf swing, in fact it's better if you don't. The arms can stay just as square as they are at address. The arms follow the rotation of the shoulders on the plane. The arms slightly trail the body on the through swing, creating some additional lag to hip lag, and then eventually they pass the body much later. The club face can stay as square as it was at impact the whole time, many PGA  pros do this. Hunter Mahan is a good example. The only movement the arms really have to make is an up and down one. There is a popular drill where students are told to pick the club straight up from address, hinge it, and rest it on their right shoulder (for righties), and then turn the shoulders 90 degrees and voila, the top of the backswing. To get to this position people will do all kinds of arm and hand contortions all over the place, which is fine. The only problem is, is on the way down, you don't want to be doing these things, and the law of physics states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so you will likely do going down what you did going up, just in reverse. All you really have to do is rotate your shoulders and let the arms stay connected as they were at address, after all this is why you've spent so much time working on the set up position! The swing is a moving and rotating set up position. Some people actually get to the top perfectly, but then insist on going way beyond parallel, ruining the glorious work! The problem here is, the more your arms lift past your shoulders, the more you have to wait for them to come down, for that huge 1mph arm swing speed boost. 

You're of course thinking, why the heck do people do all these things? One reason people do this is because it feels natural, at least that's the reason experienced golfers do it. It feels more repeatable to them, and they like it, it feels good. Power to them. But there are plenty of golfers who do these things that aren't happy with their game, so why do they do it?

They do these things because it feels like they can get maximum strength this way. Doing it the efficient way would cost them a lot of power, because their strongest and biggest muscles have not coordinated yet to hit a golf ball. When we do basic things like jumping and lifting, things we've done all our lives, we use the most efficient muscles and most supported ones. But when we have to hit a golf ball, those muscles don't know how to get involved, so we use the smaller, weaker, faster ones, to get the job done with some short term speed. The truth is, we can hit the ball a lot further using the right muscles, but many golfers believe they are hitting it better with whatever move they currently have. They aren't wrong, at the moment they can't hit it with the right muscles, because the right muscles aren't trained. But if they stopped what they are doing and started training the right muscles to support the swing, would they hit it better, faster farther? You bet your ball washer they would.

So put down the club, put your arms across your chest like you learned at your very first golf clinic, dig into your hip sockets, and rotate those shoulders. Do away with the crazy arm motions and the bending and unbending at the waist. The 4some behind you will thank you for it.

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I think you might be onto something here. Since taking up this wonderful game I have been one of those (very, very common according to many pros) who start back by rotating the left forearm which leads to club head coming inside the hands, a flat laid off shaft and virtually flat shoulder turn. This then leads to compensations for the rest of the swing.

I am working hard on keeping the right arm above the left and getting the hands in but not by rotating forearms. Never thought I could get my shoulders as steep as I currently have them and hopefully on a good road to improvement.

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I'll agree that this can be a very good feel for the golf swing as long as players recognize that it is just a feel. Your forearms are going to rotate on their own sometime after around A2 or so. Personally, I try to feel as little forearm rotation as I can, trail hand stays on top, but that's not what's actually happening.  And because feels aren't real, they can vary from player to player. 

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Hope it helps. Look the fact is you can have whatever rotation you want, but you don't need most if it. The best swingers like Tiger, Rory, Mickelson, Spieth, have very very little. The arms will naturally slide across the chest and rotate slightly to flatten out enough to match the shoulder plane. As you say it will feel like zero and happen naturally. At NO point does trying to twist the arms and hands one way or the oher help. The arms stay at the same angle of the shoulder, and at the ends of the backswing and forward swing, they slide across the chest and rotate into place. The big problem is when this rotation occurs at the start of the swing or near impact, either before and most commonly after. When you do this you change the natural angle of the club, and the body and hands then have to compensate.

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Good thread, and a lot of swing flaws have been covered in many other threads as well.

However, I thought the most common flaw was coming over the top?

My "cure all" was just subscribing to 5SK. If you follow the keys, I don't see how you would end up rotating the forearms? Still learning them, but they have helped me a lot.

 

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@Martyn Birch always glad to hear about improvement. A piece of advice, DON'T focus on keeping one arm here and one arm there. Get the focus OFF the arms. Put your focus on the stabilizing muscles. As long as the stabilizers lead and everything else follows you won't have your arms out of whack. 

I can adjust someones arms for hours and it always goes back eventually. Until I sit them down and explain to them what actually needs to happen and they understand it, then the real change occurs. The golf swing should not be difficult or unnatural, or you will find it loses it's appeal very quickly. Those who want to make it difficult are trying to learn to impress others and not to enjoy themselves and that is the wrong motivation.

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8 minutes ago, Lihu said:

Good thread, and a lot of the swing flaws have been covered in many other threads as well.

However, I thought the most common flaw was coming over the top?

My "cure all" was just subscribing to 5SK. If you follow the keys, I don't see how you would end up rotating the forearms? Still learning them, but they have helped me a lot.

 

Yep, OTT is really, really common, but I think of it as more of an effect rather than a cause. The swing flaw that causes the OTT could be too much forearm rotation too early (super inside takeaway) or it could be poor weight shift or any number of other possible causes. You rarely hear a good instructed teaching people to not come OTT, usually it's about fixing an earlier, root problem that is leading to the OTT.

11 minutes ago, Golfer2223 said:

Hope it helps. Look the fact is you can have whatever rotation you want, but you don't need most if it. The best swingers like Tiger, Rory, Mickelson, Spieth, have very very little. The arms will naturally slide across the chest and rotate slightly to flatten out enough to match the shoulder plane. As you say it will feel like zero and happen naturally. At NO point does trying to twist the arms and hands one way or the oher help. The arms stay at the same angle of the shoulder, and at the ends of the backswing and forward swing, they slide across the chest and rotate into place. The big problem is when this rotation occurs at the start of the swing or near impact, either before and most commonly after. When you do this you change the natural angle of the club, and the body and hands then have to compensate.

I'll agree to that, not really what you said in the OP, but far better stated.  


As for other super common faults: poor weight shift is a pretty common one that'll kill any chances of a decent swing and quickly leads to other faults like flipping and OTT.  

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Great. I think Mcilroy is very very close to zero rotation. I should've mentioned the arms sliding across the chest initially. I'm trying to do the move and describe it so I missed that. Mcilroy is almost across the line but not really, it's like an opposite rotation after a flattening, equalling zero. After he hits the ball sometimes he rotates closed a little and sometimes it opens, again zero. He has great flexibility so he doesn't need arm rotation, he just rotates his shoulders around up and back again, and uses the hips to propel himself. The result is no wasted motion i.e. a ton of power, not to mention the club looks like it is flying freely through the air on its own.

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OTT has been an on and off issue with me leading to periods of shanking. Until I saw my video swing I couldn't cure it. I knew the issue was not turning through the ball so not having room for the arms to come through on the inside. This led me to THINK that if I kept my arms further away from my body on the back swing I would leave room on the inside for the downswing. SO WRONG, but sounded logical in my mind. 

When I saw my video with an instructor I could see what was wrong. The cure was very much like the OP says: quieten the arms - use the shoulder turn to control the back swing and let the arms follow. Suddenly I am swinging through on the inside and starting to consistently hit the middle and TOE of the club (a luxury after suffering with shanks!) 

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7 hours ago, Golfer2223 said:

I'm sure there will be arguments later but there is one piece of information I think a lot of golfers can benefit from. I hope to save some people from buying the online swing tip scams. The most common flaw I see in swings is rotating the forearms one way or the other. Most people don't realize you don't have to rotate your forearms or hands at all in the golf swing, in fact it's better if you don't.

Completely bogus. The arms (forearms) rotate in every good golf swing.

Here's an old thread that's appropriate for this discussion.

 

Also, I don't think I've ever really seen a golfer, throughout his backswing, rotate his forearms the opposite way. For short periods of time, maybe a few golfers "counter-rotate," but all end up rotating some.

No, there won't be "arguments" over this, or there shouldn't be, because… like many things, this is pretty much a fact. There really doesn't need to be an argument or a discussion. It's a knowable, understandable thing.

7 hours ago, Golfer2223 said:

The club face can stay as square as it was at impact the whole time, many PGA  pros do this. Hunter Mahan is a good example.

Hunter, like every other PGA Tour pro, rotates his forearms during the backswing.

hunter.thumb.jpg.273cb2d09038fc60e4e00df

6 hours ago, Golfer2223 said:

There is a popular drill where students are told to pick the club straight up from address, hinge it, and rest it on their right shoulder (for righties), and then turn the shoulders 90 degrees and voila, the top of the backswing.

You're rotating your arms as you do this. It's subtle, but if you just pick the club up straight without rotating, you'll have the shaft resting against the top of your head. Look at where the back of your left hand points. Toward the target at setup, and then rotated to put the club on your right shoulder. Turn to the top when the club is on your face or the top of your head and the club will be leaning out over the target line (it'll be roughly parallel to your bend toward the ball, since it's basically just staying inline with your spine).

Bending your right arm rotates your forearms. It pulls everything to the right (you can't bend your right arm straight in front of you without also bending your left arm). Then even more rotation is added after that.

6 hours ago, Golfer2223 said:

The only problem is, is on the way down, you don't want to be doing these things, and the law of physics states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so you will likely do going down what you did going up, just in reverse.

I agree that you don't want to be doing a lot of "things" on the downswing, but that's not how physics works. You can do all sorts of things on the backswing and not do them on the downswing. We have students who swing steep to steep, steep to shallow, shallow to steep, shallow to shallow, and all sorts of things. We have students who address the ball with a closed clubface, roll it way open, and then return it wide open, etc. The "equal and opposite" does not mean a delayed reaction - it means that if I push on something it will, right at that very moment, push back. If I fire rocket propulsion downward, the missile or space shuttle or whatever will move upward. You don't fire rockets and then, a week later, a different missile takes off as a "reaction."

Furthermore, PGA Tour players have a variety of backswings. Ray Floyd was underneath, Rickie Fowler or Ryan Moore are steep or over the top on the backswing.

The golfer who comes closest to the "square" or "no rotation" backswing is a guy who CAN'T really rotate his forearms: Tim Clark.

56bf512dc2c7a_TimClark.thumb.jpg.dc0163b

And even Tim rotates some. But notice how far "out over his head" the clubhead is, despite the fact that he's well short of parallel on the backswing.

6 hours ago, Golfer2223 said:

The swing is a moving and rotating set up position.

It's so much more than that.

I ask people in my lessons how much skill or raw natural talent it takes to set up properly. The correct answer: none. They just have to know how to do it. If golf was as simple as "set up properly and then turn" we'd all be a whole lot better than we are. Golfers can be set up the same and make very, very different backswings, and both can be successful.

6 hours ago, Golfer2223 said:

Some people actually get to the top perfectly, but then insist on going way beyond parallel, ruining the glorious work! The problem here is, the more your arms lift past your shoulders, the more you have to wait for them to come down, for that huge 1mph arm swing speed boost.

So Bubba is doing it wrong? And what does that have to do with the swing flaw of "rotating your forearms"?

56bf5236406da_BubbaAngel.thumb.jpg.fd5ab

(Is overswinging a big problem? Absolutely. More, IMO, for what it tends to do to the trail elbow and the subsequent inability of the player to get the arms and hands down fast enough. I'll never really argue against overswinging, except when it's made as a blanket statement covering all golfers who go past parallel or something.)

Also, you said (though it feels off topic since this is mostly about forearm rotation, n'est-ce pas?) "the more you have to wait for them to come down." That's not really true - you can MAKE them come down faster. Your arms aren't just limp things hanging from your shoulders that get dragged behind your hips and torso rotating.

6 hours ago, Golfer2223 said:

But there are plenty of golfers who do these things that aren't happy with their game, so why do they do it?

Because, biomechanically, making a swing with no forearm rotation would be ridiculous and resemble the golf swings of precisely no good players, ever. Tim Clark comes closest, and people don't even copy his swing, and if Tim Clark's forearms would rotate as most people's do, even Tim Clark would have a different golf swing. Modeling your golf swing on someone with a disability hardly seems like the prudent choice.

My last piece of evidence, right here:

Mike.thumb.jpg.17136c630c57ac975c8399e0cMike2.thumb.jpg.4fc6a218d18b7d6b49e3d4d3

This should drive the point home pretty significantly.

Spoiler

1415127854711.thumb.jpeg.0715afcf0213613

One last thing here. Consider the sagittal plane (in the spoiler above, just so it's not taking up a ton of space) and the back of the left hand (assuming a right-handed golfer). At address, they're parallel - the back of the left hand is parallel to the sagittal plane.

Yet at the top of the backswing, what do we see? The sagittal plane (at the point of attachment of the arms, i.e. near the shoulders) is about 90° from where it started. It's inclined at about 35° or so, but otherwise just is still just a plane bisecting the sternum, neck, face, etc.

What plane is the back of the left wrist on? Why, it's one that's about 90° to the sagittal plane. I've illustrated this here:

56bf61b187d49_AnalyzrImageExport.thumb.j

In this illustration, I've drawn a little "cube" in the screen on the left. The green face of the cube is parallel to the sagittal plane (the edge of the plane is pointing "at the camera"). The blue side - perpendicular to the green side - is parallel to the back of the left hand. It too is pointing at the camera, but has rotated about 90°. That's why it's parallel to a perpendicular side of the cube.

On the right, above, to make the back of Mike's left hand parallel the green face of the cube, he'd have to rotate his arms BACK about 90° to the red line.


Now, then, @Golfer2223, you'd set a record as the first human being in history to present an argument as you have done and immediately recognize, given my response and a little thought on your part, that you want to take back your entire argument and completely change your position.

In other words, I don't expect that to happen. A small part of me hopes it will some day, but I don't think today is going to be that day.

But, realistically, that's what should happen. As I see it, you have no real ground to stand on here. Not biomechanically, not based on simple geometry, nothing. The arms rotate during the backswing in EVERY good player. Even in Tim Clark's backswing (or he'd truly have the club hanging out over his head.

I will also say this, @Golfer2223: I appreciate your willingness to help, and to jump in, and to offer your thoughts on things. I hope you can take this rebuttal in the spirit in which it's intended - to help and to discuss. I don't know who you are (you should add more info to your profile), and I'm not responding just to be mean, but to help people learn, think critically, and better understand the golf swing.

We encourage debate and discussion here, and that's all my response is to be taken as - more debate and discussion. Do I think I'm right? Yes. And I think I've backed up why.

P.S. As someone noted above, often students need to feel like there's no rotation in the backswing. But that doesn't make it accurate.

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I'm traveling today so I'll just make a quick post but I stongly agree with @iacas's post. @Golfer2223 please consider what you're actually saying and take the time to carefully read Erik's post. It's based on factual information, not an uninformed opinion. 

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A few quick little things:

  • Simply bending your right elbow and keeping your left arm relatively straight turns your forearms. Imagine a credit card on the back of your left wrist, and just bend your right elbow against your side while keeping your left arm straight. Your hands will be pulled to the right and will rotate as they do so unless you specifically counter-rotate them (in which case you've either let your elbow fly out, or your forearms are probably touching).
  • That's part of the rotation. The rest is "manually" added.
  • Rotation continues to occur on the follow-through.

 

Tiger-Rory.jpg

Hoffman-Dufner.jpg

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Does it turn your forearms? Or does it turn the upper arm and arm socket, but the forearm remains in line with the arm? That's the part you're missing from my post. As I said, "the forearms and hands" don't have to rotate, this would only make the club flatter or steeper from the neutral plane. I was not arguing for no rotation of the arm socket, which is why I mention the arms must follow the shoulder rotation. Obviously a video would provide more clarity than type. Some will understand what I meant, others will disagree or have questions and that is OK. Like the Beatles said, We can work it out. Hopefully now the image of what my original post was trying to portray is more clear.

Edited by Golfer2223

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2 minutes ago, Golfer2223 said:

Does it turn your forearms? Or does it turn the upper arm and arm socket, but the forearm remains in line with the arm? That's the part you're missing from my post. As I said, "the forearms and hands" don't have to rotate, this would only make the club flatter or steeper from the neutral plane. I was not arguing for no rotation of the arm socket, which is why I mention the arms must follow the shoulder rotation. Obviously a video would provide more clarity than type. Some will understand what I meant, others will disagree or have questions and that is OK. Like the Beatles said, We can work it out. Hopefully now the image of what my original post was trying to portray is more clear.

I agree, I don't understand what you are saying.. Could you show a video of someone turning the forearms and one doing it correctly by not turning the forearms.  Thanks.

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6 minutes ago, Golfer2223 said:

Does it turn your forearms? Or does it turn the upper arm and arm socket, but the forearm remains in line with the arm?

It turns the forearms.

Again, we have actual measurements of these things. You're teaching a "feel" as if it's really what's happening. It's not. Your forearm has a radius and an ulna. The radius is named appropriately, because it rotates around in an arc.

6 minutes ago, Golfer2223 said:

That's the part you're missing from my post. As I said, "the forearms and hands" don't have to rotate, this would only make the club flatter or steeper from the neutral plane.

If the forearms didn't rotate, the club would be so steep it would be hanging out over the player's head from the Down-the-Line camera angle. Again, the clubface is perpendicular to the plane at setup, and parallel to it or laying on the plane at the top of the backswing.

6 minutes ago, Golfer2223 said:

I was not arguing for no rotation of the arm socket, which is why I mention the arms must follow the shoulder rotation. Obviously a video would provide more clarity than type. Some will understand what I meant, others will disagree or have questions and that is OK.

The thing is… these aren't opinions.

Yes, some of the rotation in the backswing occurs by rotating the "upper arm." A lot comes from rotating the forearms, though. There's only so much range of motion your shoulder socket(s) can rotate.

Here's a graph of a very good player hitting the driver. Note the blue "LdFArmRot" which means "Lead Forearm Rotation".

56bf7e9211888_LeadWristDriver.thumb.png.

About 25° at the top of the backswing (the numbers at the bottom, or 29.6, is measured where the green line is - this player lays the shaft down a bit by rotating the forearm and other things MORE after the top of the backswing). This is measured against the upper arm (i.e. it's actually how much the lead forearm has rotated relative to the upper arm, not how much it's rotated total).

(Red LdWrstDev is Lead Wrist Deviation, or wist cocking and Green LdWrstFE is Flexion/Extension.

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Excellent chart. Refers exactly to the swing motion I'm talking about, I appreciate this. Now we can really dig into it. How much forearm rotation is happening relative to upper arm rotation. I will have to sit with the chart, right now I'm out and without a computer. I am curious in laymans terms how much the forearm rotates beyond the angle of the upper arm. My theory is very little at all, maybe ten degrees in real life, more than this would be flat imo. Not sure what this person's swing looks like. What would Rory's green line tell us. I think the green line you provide is the number one problem for the average golfer. As someone said weight transfer is a close second. Again I see the forearm rotation beyond the upper arm angle to either make the club flatter or steeper from the neutral plane. Maybe 5-10 degrees of addl forearm rotation to be totally neutral. What does the green line look like on a high handicapper? The main test would be, how does the green line (forearm rotation relative to upper arm rotation) correlate to scores. My hypothesis is that 75% of pro golfers will have less than 15° addl forearm rotation, while amateurs will show as much as 30 or more degrees, in either direction, and maybe even in both directions. 

From what I see that green line seems very steady on this good golfer.

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Note: This thread is 1639 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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