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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Why You Shouldn't Always Copy the Pros (Video)

In this short video from Wednesday's Morning Drive, GOLFTEC instructor Patrick Nuber shows the difference between the ways pros and amateurs use their wrists during their swing. It might convince you that the L-to-L drill isn't something you should use... but you'd be wrong. I want to show you why copying the pros isn't always a good thing, and how "the numbers" don't always tell the whole story.

The L-to-L drill gives you the same result during the backswing that his video diagrams show. There's no conflict there.

At around the 2:20 mark Nuber shows the difference between how pros and amateurs' wrists behave as they move up to the finish. His numbers show that the amateurs bend their wrists upward much more at the halfway up point. That's the position you'll get if you use the L-to-L drill. Nuber says the pros keep their wrists much straighter at the halfway point, and that this creates more clubhead speed.

There's a lot that he doesn't say here. Let me explain some of it to you.
  • First off, bear in mind that Nuber's diagrams are taken from a full swing, not the half swing that you use in the L-to-L drill. I don't care how strong they are, no pro will make a full-speed half swing and stop with the shaft at the angle in his diagram.
  • Here's something important that you can see in the diagrams. If you look closely at the two figures -- not at the wrists, but at the upper bodies of the figures -- you'll see that the pro figure has turned his chest toward the target far more than the amateur figure. If the upper body position isn't clear to you, just look at the legs and hips -- it's VERY noticeable there. That means that the amateur figure has stopped turning, so the arms have slowed down and the wrists HAVE to bend upward. THAT'S the cause, the reason the amateur loses clubhead speed, not the wrist bend. The extra wrist bend is merely the result of his body slowing down too early.
  • Here's a corollary to the last point: If you keep turning your body as you swing into the finish, your wrists won't bend upward until much later in the followthrough. In other words, the pro arm position Nuber shows will happen automatically if you turn properly.
  • Did you notice that Nuber says the lesser wrist bend causes the ball to fly lower? Most amateurs are struggling to hit the ball higher and get more spin on wedge shots. The last thing they need is to consciously try and hit the ball lower. They should focus on creating as much clubhead speed as possible before they start trying to hit the ball lower.
  • Finally, think about your short game. When you want to hit the ball lower AND SHORTER, you cut off the finish -- exactly what his "point the shaft" drill teaches you. If you want to increase your distance, this isn't the way to do it.
Understand what I'm saying here. It's not that Nuber is wrong about what the numbers say. Rather, it's a misrepresentation of what the numbers mean, a misrepresentation that happens in any discipline when you become too enamored with the numbers. Trying to duplicate measurements taken from the middle of a motion without duplicating the entire motion will not give you the results you expect.

This is one of the great problems with our reliance on numbers. Numbers may not lie, but numbers mean nothing until they are interpreted... and interpretations lie all the time. Don't try to duplicate numbers. Focus instead on learning to play golf, and in time the numbers will take care of themselves.

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