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Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Exciting World of Exaggerated Teachings

The Square-to-Square Golf Swing coverGolf Digest has published an intriguing article at their website called Is This the Worst Golf Instruction Book of All Time? with the subtitle We should know—we published it. That book was called The Square-to-Square Golf Swing and it was written by Dick Aultman. It was based on concepts espoused by Jim Flick -- yes, THAT Jim Flick -- and Flick became a major proponent of the method. The article follows the history of the rise and fall of the method.

Eventually Flick disassociated himself from it because it embarrassed him so badly. Even good teachers make mistakes!

I think this article can really help you understand why golf instruction is often so complex... and why such problems aren't limited to just one method.

In fact, the problems are typically just exaggerations of standard golf teachings. The swings have been designed to eliminate specific problems that golfers face, but they create other problems that have the unintended effect of complicating the swing. Most often the method requires an unusual amount of strength to do it consistently.

About halfway through the article, Golf Digest has performed a great service by listing a number of method books that, while they are great for certain players, tend to overcomplicate the swing for most golfers. I'm going to summarize the main ones they list, but you'll want to read the article to get the whole story.
  • Hogan's Five Lessons: To quote the article, " has been a disaster for anyone who lacks Hogan's need for an anti-hook swing..." I've mentioned this often in this blog because it's my biggest criticism of Hogan -- if you don't already have a duck hook, you have to develop one or you'll slice the ball off the face of the earth. There's a lot of good in Hogan's book and I've done many posts focusing on those points, but I've also tried to point the exaggerations out.
  • How to Perfect Your Golf Swing: I've often mentioned Jimmy Ballard because of his focus on connection, but Ballard did overemphasize the move off the ball onto your trail foot in the backswing. Some of my instructor Carl Rabito's recent teaching has used this move as well, but the drills he used to teach me "back in the day" didn't use that move at all. It's easy to get stuck on your trail leg if you get too caught up in this move.
  • The Stack and Tilt Swing: Another book with a lot of good teaching in it, but it can create the opposite error from Ballard. Bennett and Plummer want you to keep your weight more on your lead foot during your swing, which can create a reverse pivot. Sean Foley uses a lot of these principles in his teaching. Again, this doesn't mean he's a bad teacher, but the method can cause problems for a lot of players.
  • Natural Golf: Get a Grip on Your Game: This is one of the books focusing on Moe Norman's techniques. I happen to have this one, so I can tell you that it focuses a bit too much on creating a hammer blow to hit the ball. It can substantially change your fundamentals so, while it's fun to experiment with, it can cause problems with your normal swing if you aren't careful.
  • The Golfing Machine: I believe this is the method Bobby Clampett used, and Bryson DeChambeau is a big believer in it. Golf Digest points out that this method isn't a self-teaching approach, so bear that in mind.
Again, let me repeat: In no way is this a condemnation of these various approaches to the golf swing. It's just a reminder that, as a general rule, NO METHOD IS FOR EVERYBODY. But this article can help you identify where you might have problems if a particular method isn't working for you.

And knowing what causes the problems is the first step to fixing them.

Take some time and read the article. I think you'll be glad you did.

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