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Handicap Index

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  1. In another topic, the idea that the arms contribute (significantly) to clubhead speed was discussed. Some feel the arms are "passive" or exert no "effort" while others feel they are anything but passive and exert a great amount of effort. The video and the discussion below is meant to continue that conversation. Is this scientific? No. Am I able to do each of the three variations perfectly? No, but I tried as hard as I could, and was completely willing for the "turn only" swings to demonstrate a higher speed than they got (and, TBH, I was surprised at how much speed I could generate with just the arms). Does it make clear that the arms contribute (and significantly so) to clubhead speed with a golf club? I think so, yeah. I tried my best to make three different kinds of swings: All arms, and not an exaggerated one, but one where the left arm goes across the chest, the right elbow folds to about 90°, the wrists hinge a normal amount, etc. Very little to no torso rotation. Speeds were 87 to 102, with a 100 and a 95 on the "short" swing thrown in at the end. Body turn only. I tried to go 90°, and then to pivot as hard as I normally would. The wrists, due to the acceleration of the pivot, do "load" slightly, but I got speeds of 52 MPH, 63 MPH, and 59 MPH. Body turn only with loaded arms. I tried to let my arms be "loose" here and you can see that they lag well behind - the left arm stays loaded across the chest, the right elbow gets pushed behind the shirt seam, etc. Speeds were 63 MPH, 66 MPH, and 74 MPH when I turned well beyond the 90° that I'd normally turn. Bonus of "wrists only" showing about 44 and 45 MPH. Again, these aren't "additive." I don't swing 100 MPH + 66 MPH because I use my arms AND rotate my body. But I do think this video demonstrates that the arms "do" things in the golf swing. That they're a key and significant source of power and speed. That, quite often in my teaching, I have to tell someone to "swing their arms down faster," because they aren't doing enough with their arms: And yes, there are times when the body lags (though quite often when the body isn't working properly, it's because the player needs more time to drop the clubhead down or they'd just wipe across it… so they stall out so they have a chance of hitting it a little more from the inside than they otherwise could) and I have to teach them to swing with their body more. Those times are much more rare, though, in my experience. I put two other golfers through the same tests. The third golfer kept rotating even when he was just trying to do the arms thing, and when he did the arms thing, he was much slower than I was. He was still faster than his body rotation only motion, but because he also bent his elbows during that drill, I can't really vouch for any of his results as they were not very well done. The second golfer swung with the arms only test in the mid 80s. With the body turn only, he was in the upper 60s. So, closer than I was. The loose arms and turning only was about the same as his arms only - mid 80s. This golfer, I would suggest, derives more of his speed from his rotation than I do, but the arms alone were still the highest speeds, so they still contribute quite a bit to even his swing. Now, there are golfers out there and worse yet, instructors out there teaching that the arms do nothing on the downswing. That they just get dragged along by the body's rotation, that they're "passive" and that the arms are not supplying any "effort". I've seen a bunch of actual scientific studies which show the folly in that line of thinking. Heck, consider a kinematic sequence - each segment further out accelerates and reaches a peak speed later than the segment prior. If you truly just moved your arms to the top, and then just spun your body… your arms would lag WAY behind. Kinda like this: On the left, one of my attempts at using just my arms. On the right, my attempt to make a normal backswing and then swing down with just my body. Guess which was faster? The left, by a lot. This isn't "proof" and it's not scientific. I'm sure I didn't do any of the things I attempted to do perfectly. However, I do feel that this illustrates just how much speed the arms alone can generate. Now… Here's what I'd like: try to swing each of the three ways yourself: Only arms (in front of you, no turning). Body turning only (backswing and downswing). Body turning only (downswing only). Report back. Have a friend record you (because he can also tell you whether you cheated and turned when you weren't supposed to, for example).

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