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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ernest Jones on Creating Clubhead Speed

Ernest Jones is the source of most modern teaching on "swinging" a golf club as opposed to "hitting" with one. And most instructors tend to avoid his teaching, on the grounds that the classic swing uses centrifugal and centripetal force while the modern swing depends more on leverage.

Ernest JonesBut a swing by any other name is still a swing, and the two approaches do share some basics. So today I thought I'd pass on a thought from the Jones book Swing the Clubhead (originally called Swinging into Golf), which is generally considered a classic instruction text.

There's a truth in here that any golfer can benefit from learning, no matter what swing method he uses:
There are, to be sure, more ways than one to strike a ball. You can strike it by swinging the clubhead or by employing leverage. You can strike it harder with a swinging action than you can in any other way with the power at your command, and still retain reasonable control over your effort. The principle of centrifugal application of force guarantees this. But it is not likely that you will come to a realization of this of your own accord. To do so is not consistent with your past experiences. Your natural instinct is to try to turn the power on all at once.

A swinging action must begin smoothly and rhythmically, and the force producing it must be applied gradually. There can be no quick jerky movement at any stage of the procedure. As soon as the movement develops this characteristic, the swinging is destroyed. Steadiness, not speed, is the keynote in beginning the application of power in a swing. Speed is developed later. [p60-61]
That last paragraph -- and particularly the last two sentences -- is something that applies to any method of swinging a club. If you want to hit the ball a long way and still keep some kind of control over its direction, you have to stay SMOOTH. And Jones describes that smoothness with the word STEADINESS.

What does that mean? It means you don't try to suddenly jerk the club from the top, where it has basically stopped in order to change direction, and accelerate from zero to 100mph all at once. You have to get the club accelerating smoothly for the first foot or so of hand and arm movement. Then and only then can you try to let it go.

Or, in the words Jones uses, "Speed is developed later."

This is no different than what Hogan said when he wrote that he wished he had three right hands to create power in his swing. He made the point that you don't try to "hit" the ball until your hands are well into the downswing and your body is in position to unleash that power with balance and control. Both classic and modern swingers have to unleash their power SMOOTHLY, whether they do it through centrifugal force or leverage.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

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