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Clubhead Lag -- the clubhead lagging behind the hands through impact -- is the most important fundamental in the golf swing.

All PGA Tour players use Lag to compress the ball while poor players don't.

 

Learn how to FEEL, CREATE and SUSTAIN the lag. Discover the benefits of the Flat Left Wrist, shaft loading and educated hands and cut your scores in half!

Hitting vs Swinging – Part 3 – Hitting

The Eye of the HitterContinuing our series on Hitting vs Swinging, let’s now review the Hitting Stroke.

The hitting action is a bit the dark side of the moon when it comes to golf instruction. It seems that a vast majority of golf instructors (with the exception of The Golfing Machine Instructors of course) are simply unaware of its existence and mainly teach golf the "Swinging way".

This is very unfortunate because it is a very efficient way to strike the golf ball and in my opinion a very interesting alternative for strong or less flexible players.



Muscular Thrust

Unlike the Swinger who manipulates centrifugal force, the pure Hitter ONLY uses his right arm to activate the Primary Lever Assembly (that is the Left Arm plus the club as a whole).
For those interested, the muscle involved here is the right triceps as it is responsible for straightening the arm. So if you are a boxer you should give the Hitting stroke a try ;-) !

The main action involved here is a muscular thrust of the right arm against the Primary Lever Assembly.
The clubhead is not thrown into orbit by the pivot; Instead, the hitter pushes radially (against the radius!) against the shaft with his right arm only.

Think of it like pushing against one spoke of a bicycle wheel to put the wheel into motion – Swinging would make you drag the rim of the wheel.

The proper action is to straighten the right arm without flattening the right wrist in a piston like action. 

Address: Impact Fix

It all starts at address – the Hitter usually sets up with his hands in a position that is called "Impact Fix":

Hitting: Starting at Impact Fix

This position, while not mandatory, allows for an easier pickup of the Primary Lever Assembly as a whole by the right arm (the right forearm takeaway). Also it establishes the proper impact alignments right away.

From this position all you have to do is to freeze your wrists into their position and move the whole thing back and forth with your right arm pretty much in a piston like motion.

A good way to feel this motion is, without a club, to hold your left wrist with your right hand and move your left arm back and forth. Simple enough? Well this is the principle of the Hitting motion.

Half Roll of the club face

Due to the way the club is moved, the clubface doesn’t open as much as the Swinging motion during the backswing and doesn’t close as much in the downstroke. Consequently, Hitting naturally produces what is called a "Half Roll" of the clubface: When you look at the clubface at both arms straight, you should see the clubface looking 45 degrees left (for righties) instead of 90 degrees left in the Swinging motion (full roll, clubface closed).

Funnily enough, this produces a no-roll feel which is very important to note as you might intuitively search to feel a roll.

This Half Roll also has a natural fade tendency. As a consequence, the Hitter tends to adopt stronger grips to counterbalance that effect and produce straight shots.

You should also take into account that the more forward the ball in your stance (Driver for example), the more the need for a closed face and a stronger grip because the more the layback of the clubface at this point.

Experience with your grip to find the correct amount of shut face to induce.

Face constantly looking at the ball

Another interesting fact is the way the clubface swivels during the swing.

Unlike the Swinger whose clubface almost immediately swivels against the plane of the swing, the Hitter doesn’t rotate the clubface but rather keep it "looking at the ball" during the backswing: The clubface stays at right angles against the face of the plane. This is the natural byproduct of the angled hinge and you must not intent to rotate it clockwise/open on the backswing or you will have to consciously rotate it back counterclockwise on the downswing for proper contact.

Establishing the Lag: Drive Loading

You will discover that the piston like action of the right arm produces a shorter backswing than the Swinger due to the position of the right elbow set to push against the shaft instead of pulling.

From there, usually the hands cannot go higher than shoulder high – which is called the Top.

But, from such a shorter backstroke, the tendency is to rush on the downstroke.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to transition from Top to Start Down and accomplish the necessary Drive Loading.

Uh? Drive Loading you said?

Let me explain: For the Hitter, an efficient way to establish the Lag is to resist the backstroke motion then perform a right arm thrust against this clubhead Lag striving to accelerate a pre stressed clubshaft from a slow startdown through impact and to both arms straight.

Here, the Pivot (Right Shoulder) must also provide the initial acceleration of the Power Package (Shoulders, Arms, Hands and Club).

But beware! From there, you only have your bent right arm to provide the Thrust. So, if the right arm begins to straighten too soon, you will have triggered the release, and you will run out of right arm before impact and product a nasty Clubhead Throwaway

Slow Start Down

As previously mentioned, for the Hitter a slow Start Down is mandatory to allow for the right arm to properly get into position.
In the transition from the Top to Start Down think very Slow and very Heavy and that should do the trick.

A word about Pivot Action

Unlike the Swinging motion, the Pivot (the body) doesn’t perform the blast of the left arm off the chest. Instead its purpose is to put the right shoulder into position (closer to the ball – down plane) as a platform to push against.

Think of a sprinter pushing against his starting-blocks.
Think also of the action of a boxer: before delivering its punch the boxer will get his right shoulder into position closer to his opponent to strike him with maximum force. In the Hitting stroke, you have to move your right shoulder down plane to get closer to the ball and deliver the right arm thrust.

One more word about the Pressure Points involved in the Hitting Procedure

Again, to find the location of the pressure points involved in the Hitting action we’ll do a little drill: grab a club, put the clubhead against something heavy and try to push this thing not by dragging with your body but rather by pushing with your right arm.

You’ll easily identify 3 pressure points:

  • Pressure point #1: The palm of your right hand against the aft section of the grip and you left thumb.
  • Pressure point #2: The last 3 fingers of your left hand.
  • Pressure point #3: The index-trigger-finger of the right hand resisting against the club wanting to stay behind.

Establish those specific pressures during you downstroke while performing the Hitting stroke to become an expert Hitter! 

In the eye of the Hitter!

The Hitter thinks of delivering a cross line blow down and out from the top of his swing. As a result he mentally constructs a "Delivery Line" going down and out to "first base".

I thought it could be interesting and fun to show what the Hitter sees in his mind. This gives a very good sense of the Hitter’s intents during the stroke.

Click on the images to display the slideshow, and then use the PREVIOUS / NEXT controls to navigate through the images.

Address: Impact Fix Start-down: Drive down and out Follow-Through: The Right Arm Thrust continues down and out BUT the clubhead moves up and in! Address: Impact Fix Start-down: Drive down and out Follow-Through: The Right Arm Thrust continues down and out BUT the clubhead moves up and in!

Summing things up

  1. Set up at Impact Fix and "freeze" your wrists alignments.
  2. Pick up the whole thing back in a "piston + fanning" like motion (a piston-only motion would make you look like starting a lawnmower which is not the motion we want).
  3. Perform what feels like a shorter backstroke as what you are used to.
  4. From the top, initiate a slow startdown by pushing against the shaft with your right arm only (pressure point #1 feel). The slow start down will give yourself enough time to get closer to the ball to deliver your blow.
  5. Drive it strongly down and out. Destroy the ground!

 

Swing sequence

As a reminder, here are the sequences of the Hitting Procedure. Click on the images to display the slideshow, and then use the PREVIOUS/NEXT controls to navigate through the images.

Hitting stroke video

Hitting stroke sequence

Address Startup Startup Backstroke Backstroke Backstroke Backstroke Top Drive Loading - Loading the Lag Drive Loading - Loading the Lag Downstroke - Drive loading Downstroke Impact - Flat left wrist Followtrhough - Both arms straight Finish swivel Finish swivel Finish Finish Finish Finish

146 Responses to “Hitting vs Swinging – Part 3 – Hitting”

  1. Bill Bill says:

    Sorry for all the questions, but have one more:
    I have certainly been striking the ball and trapping it more than not, but when I do miss it, I am usually hitting the ground before the ball. Is there a reason that is “generally” the cause of this?
    Otherwise, when I do strike the ball and trap it, is is SO NICE! The first time I felt it, I knew it was going to make golf even more addictive!
    Thanks again for a Great Site.

  2. Bill Bill says:

    The following is what happens during my swing, is this right? At the 9 o-clock position, the toe of my club is pointing up, but I am am not rolling my hands right away like I would for the swinging process. When my arms are at the 3 o-clock position in the follow through, the toe is up again.

  3. Bill Bill says:

    Hey John,

    I am glad you are alive and kicking! This is the only site that seems to affirm my hitter swing. One big thing that I like is the part where you say,
    “Face constantly looking at the ball. Unlike the Swinger whose clubface almost immediately swivels against the plane of the swing, the Hitter doesn’t rotate the clubface but rather keep it “looking at the ball” during the backswing:”

    The argument I am getting is that the door (swivel of club head) needs to be open for it to be closed again in the follow through
    (However, when I tried swiveling the club head clockwise (for two weeks) I was having to consciously do this motion so much, it ruined my game. Then I found this site and was very happy to read about the club face starring at the ball.

    • Hi bill and thanks for the support,

      I would add that this natural behavior of the clubface while hitting has its own feel:

      Hitting produces a “half roll” of the clubface that has a “no roll feel”.

      Swinging produces a “full roll” of the clubface that has a “roll feel”.

      (There is also a “no roll” of the clubface that has a “reverse roll fell”).

      Gain awareness of this feel and you will immediately be able to tell if you’ve done the correct thing.

  4. Hugh Hugh says:

    Hi John

    I have been using the hitting technique for a couple weeks with astounding success . I wish I had heard of this ten years ago ! Here’s my question : My son who is just 15 has been copying my swing to great effect ( incedently I play off 8 he plays off 9 ) but he is very flexible with a smooth rythym should i teach him the swinging technique ?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Well Hugh,

      The choice between Hitting or Swinging is often a matter of temper.

      If you’re a quick and flexible guy you’re more a swinging guy. If you are strong and less flexible, hitting could be more effective than swinging.

      Why not teaching him both and see what is working the best: You won’t lose your time because it is very instructive to at least know how to do both. Learn to distinguish the distinct feels of both mechanics and you’ll acquire a good deal of knowledge about your game and abilities.

      Then you’ll discover that you’ll be more acquainted with one or the other. From this point the choice will be easier.

  5. Scott Scott says:

    Hey thanks John for the reply. One more question. Do you concentrate more on the #1 PP (vs. #3) to help keep the rt wrist bent post impact?

    Cheers…

    • For me, while Hitting, I put my mind in both the #1 and #3 pressure points:

      I try to evenly balance the pressure between both: I mean that during the downswing I try to establish a constant and even pressure in both #1 and #3. If I feel pressure increasing in #1 while #3 stays constant (or vice-versa), I know that I’m at risk of losing balance in the dynamics.

      It’s a feel that work for me and it could be a different feel for someone else. The important thing here is to keep that pressure constant during the downswing.

      Remember that a constant pressure translates to a constantly accelerating clubhead.

  6. Kevin Carter Kevin Carter says:

    Welcome back John!!!

    I’m very sorry to hear of your injury, but happy to hear you are healing. I hope you get back on the course very soon my friend!

    Kevin

  7. damian damian says:

    Hope you’re not in a rush for an answer Bill!

    John’s not been on here in months!

    • Bill Bill says:

      I was wondering if that was the case. I am grateful for what he started anyways.

      • Thanks Bill and Damian – but don’t be so fast burying me!

        A brand new Golf season is pointing its nose and here I go almost repaired from my ruptured Achilles tendon.

        At least I can walk which means I can now go down the fairway and rip that ball!
        Greeeeeeeedy I am!

        Let’s go to work, I have plenty of questions to read and plenty of answers to give! ;-)

  8. Bill Bill says:

    Wow, thanks a lot John for sharing your knowledge! Hey could you talk about ball location when striking the ball? Clive Scarf in Hit Down Dammit, says that you should generally have the ball just behind the left heal for all clubs, but his swing theory in my opinion is a cross between a “swinging” and “Hitting” swing. I have a hitting swing and just curious if you have a thought on this?
    Thanks again,

    Bill

    • Bill,

      If you’ve read the http://www.golflagtips.com/hit-down-on-the-golf-ball-dammit/ post, you know that the geometry of the circle is the same for Hitting and Swinging.

      And so is low point: located in front of your left shoulder for all your clubs – which is by the way a more precise location than opposite the left heel.

      Knowing that, one true thing is that you must drive your clubhead to low point in order to comply with this geometry and get full leverage. But it does not necessarily mean that the ball must be located at low point will all the clubs.

      Think about a wedge shot: If I place the ball at low point (in front of my left shoulder AKA opposite my left heel) I will take no divot at all and this will produce a higher shot.

      Now, if I want to hit it very low with the same club I can place the ball very back in my stance and dig a huge divot to low point.

      See? This is shotmaking! I place the ball in the circle of the swing in relation to low point according to the shot I wish to perform. Every ball position is correct but you must drive your clubhead to low point.

      Placing the ball always at low point is a bad idea because except for your longer clubs, your irons were not designed for that and you’ll end up with balls that go way to high. And there is no way to dig a divot in front of the ball with your irons.

      If tour players were doing that you would never see them throw huge pork chops of grass in the sky with their wedges!

      Check here also: http://www.golflagtips.com/proper-divot-location-well-ahead-of-the-ball/

  9. Bartly Bartly says:

    I’m a hitter. 3 hcp and have not played a round in over a year. Been working Lynn Blake’s advise and revamping the swing. I have taken a little here are there from different Golfing Machine Teachers – Great added value at this website.

    ??? I tend to find that I perform better when I release ACC #2 at my aiming point. I can feel it starting to release prior but the main thrust is at my aiming point, along with ACC#1 extension. There has been some talk about the four barrel, but have you experimented with a forceable release of the right hip rotation after ACC #2 to add power? If it makes sense to release AAC #2 at my aiming point with my irons. Would you suggest a release of the ACC #2 before my aiming point with my dirver???

    Thanks – keep up the good work!!!

    • Hi Barty
      Nice question you have here!

      Aiming point is confusing for a lot of people and I’ll write a post on that topic alone.

      Aiming point is where you aim/direct your hands at on the downswing.

      Yes, with the driver you MUST aim before the ball (on its right for righties) because the longer leverage (longer shaft!) will take longer to release (this relates to the #2 ACC you are feeling) and you must give it enough time to go there.

      A wedge is the opposite: shorted leverage, heavier head = faster release! Aiming point must be located after the ball (on its left for righties) to compensate for a quicker release.

      • Bartly Bartly says:

        Any thoughts on: There has been some talk about the four barrel, but have you experimented with a forceable release of the right hip rotation after ACC #2 to add power? I’m talking about a righ handed hitter.

        Thanks for your response.

        PS Recently I just changed shafts and went with the Project X 6.0 and had to completly change my aiming point to adjust to the kick.

      • Aaah, the 4 barrel!

        Yes it employs the 4 power accumulators.

        But their release order should be 4 1 2 3: you fire the hips first to initiate the blast of the chest of the left arm, then you actively thrust your right arm with the consequence that it will simultaneously release #2 & #3 power accumulators.

        So you shouldn’t be able to release them in the order you talk about: 4 1 2 – more 4 – 3!

        Some say the 4 barrel procedure is not recommended because it mixes hitting with swinging.

        To illustrate this: If your picture a bicycle wheel, your first spin the wheel by grabbing the rim with your left hand then, while it is rotating your push on one of the spoke to add power.

        You clearly see that precise timing is required for this to work.

        But to my opinion you cannot force more #4 ACC AFTER the release of the #2 ACC.

        If I go back to my bicycle wheel analogy that would look like that: Spin the wheel by grabbing the wheel, accelerate it more by pushing a spoke and then add some more spin by grabbing the rim again!!!

        A very, very tough thing to do!

  10. Tommy Tommy says:

    John,

    First and foremost, thank you for all the effort and time you have put into the site. The information is clear, concise and exceptionally well presented.

    If release timing variation is proportional to variation in club Moment of inertia (MOI)
    Then :
    For swing weight matched clubs –
    #1 – Maintain constant ball position and vary aim point to shift release point
    Or
    #2 – Maintain constant aim point and vary ball position to shift release point

    For MOI matched clubs –

    Maintain constant ball position and aim point across all clubs (assuming one swing for all is used)

    The choice of MoI vs Swing wieght as a matching critera seems to have significant impact on swing execution.

    Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated

    Tommy

  11. Erick Erick says:

    Hey John,
    I love the sight. I have been experimenting with S&T and this seems to fit right in. My question is in regards to aim. When looking at the pictures for “what the hitter sees” I notice that the club face is pointed well right of the stance line. It seems obvious that this kind of inside to out action will produce a draw, but where exactly is this guy aiming? Do we need to line our feet up well left of the target in order to make this work or should we be able to draw the ball back all the way to our stance line? Also, it seems as if the club head is pointed almost 30 degrees right of the target, is this a good model? Thanks.

  12. Michael Newman Michael Newman says:

    Hey John, amazing info you got here, however I have a question regarding how the ball position will change the plane of your swinging or hitting? Or is it that when you move the ball from the middle to the back near right foot the ball will be going closer in position to your body (more downward in a bird eye view)? And when you move it forward it goes farther away from your body (upward in a bird eye view)? So the plane stays the same but the ball move according to the plane line?

    thx

  13. To Sjwamo

    Swings without a ball are less valuable than with a ball!
    However, you are whirling your club around you, that is typical of a Swinger.

  14. To Jake

    John what do you think or know about Jimmy Ballards methods? Its all right side firing hard down into the ball. Sounds like a hitter to me.

    Hi Jake, I’m not familiar with Ballards methods. I’ve checked one of his vids where he talks about firing the right side down into the ball.

    To me he is only describing the loading of the lag and the sensation of the right shoulder going downplane instead of around (fore right!) in a proper swinging motion: the underhand pitch sensation he describes is proper to the Swinger and foreign to the Hitter.

    He his describing a dragging sensation starting from transition that makes every right part of your body come closer to the ball – somewhat downplane towards the ball.

    In TGM term’s that would be translated into loading the lag by using the hip slide move at the end of the backswing.
    This hula move of the hips towards the target will lower your right shoulder and make your “right side” go downplane along with loading the lag.

  15. Coltsfan Coltsfan says:

    John,

    Ahhh it’s all becoming a LOT clearer now. Along the same lines John I have noticed when I have the “feel” of keeping my back facing the target a little bit longer on the downswing that I am no longer coming OTT. I hitting more pured shots than ever w/ this swing thought.

    Apparently I have been throwing my rt shoulder out way too early in the DS, coming down steep and out side in. Your tips along w/ the “feel” (feel is not always real) of my back facing the target has made a huge difference in my ball striking. Thanks

  16. To Coltsfan

    … If I use a straight line delivery path from the top, do I need to do anything to get the shaft on plane before going into impact? i.e.”flatten the shaft” so the shaft does not come into impact too steep or OTT.

    The only move you need is a slide of the hips towards the target at the top WITHOUT MOVING YOUR HEAD towards the target (that would be sway).

    This is why it is often referred as the “hula-hula” move: your hips are free to move between a stationary head and the feet.

    This has the consequence of lowering your right shoulder exactly downplane and avoiding the dreaded OTT move!

    From there you can hit as hard as you want, there is no way you can go OTT from such a position!

    It will take a bucket of balls at the range to properly get it. You will have the feel of doing a big slide towards the target but it will be hardly noticeable on video!

    Your will notice an immediate change in your ball fight and will go from fade to light draw.

    This guy, http://www.golfbetterproductions.com/lie-angle.asp (scroll down for plane board example) says that the shaft must come back down from the top to the original shaft plane before impact by moving the hands away from the target before you pivot, otherwise you will come OTT. Whats your take on that?

    Why not, but this is complicated because he is shifting planes during the stroke.

    He uses what is called the “hands plane” and this is a very flat plane. It is not very natural to stay on that plane during the stroke. As a result you can see that on frame #3 he has switched to a higher more comfortable plane: the shoulder plane (hands and right shoulder are on the same plane). Then on the downswing he tries to come back to the lower hands plane…

    All those plane shifts are not the easier way, don’t you think?

    This is lot easier and natural to stay on the “Turned Shoulder Plane” – no plane shift here.

    Again, from frame #3, he should just do the Hip Slide move to get his hands and right shoulder downplane.
    This is just enough to be in the perfect position to deliver the blow on the right plane (instead he his forcing his hands down independently of his body).

  17. To Greg Brown

    …I know they talk about punch elbow position but not sure if this is one of the same thing or if this is something to not even mess around with.

    Elbow position is very important to support the intented loading action.

    For drive loading (Hitting), you’ll be better of with a punch elbow. The elbow will be more “behind” the shaft in a supporting position for pushing down instead of dragging the club (Swinging) and having a pitch position (elbow closer to your navel).

    As a result, a punch elbow is looking more like a flying elbow than the pitch elbow.

    Play around with different albow location and you’ll see how well the punch elbow suits the Hitting motion.

  18. Jake Jake says:

    Reading up on golf swings. It sounds like the Jimmy Ballard method is a good way for hitters to go?

    John what do you think or know about Jimmy Ballards methods? Its all right side firing hard down into the ball. Sounds like a hitter to me. :)

    I am just curious.

  19. Sjwano Sjwano says:

    I just found your site today…tips look amazing. I think I am more of a natural “hitter” than “swinger.” I plan to work on the “drag the wet mop” tips as soon as possible. But before I start, which swing type should I go after? Here is a video from last night that might help…thanks!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUg2cPVu-DI

  20. ColtsFan ColtsFan says:

    John,

    Thanks buddy, hope you had a great time w/ the family. I had used a punch elbow when I was experimenting w/Hardy but the circle delivery path was tough to grasp. The straight line delivery path on the other hand has been a revelation!!!

    Enjoy the weekend everybody…

  21. Kevin Carter Kevin Carter says:

    Cheers John. ColtsFan and the rest of us are just happy to hear all is well with you!

    Your Friend,
    Kevin

  22. John,

    Do you have a face on close up image of the “punch” right arm? That would be very helpful.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  23. Hi Coltsfan

    Everything is fine my friend, this is only summer holydays and I’m enjoying a few days off! :-)

    For the hitter I hugely prefer the right elbow to be in a punch condition.

    The elbow position has a dramatic effect on the whole swing and it is far easier to get in the right condition for hitting with a punch elbow.

    One thing I like with the punch elbow is that it restricts your backswing to the required length for hitting: you cannot make a big backswing (and forget about overswing!) and this is perfect from the hitter’s point of view.

    The punch elbow also places your right forearm in the correct supporting position for drive loading: dead behind the shaft and that’s very good.

  24. Coltsfan Coltsfan says:

    Hi John,

    Hope all is well, it doesnt look like you have been around for a week or so. Do you like the rt elbow to be in more of a pitch or punch condition when hitting?

    Thanks

  25. Looks like you’re getting quite a following John! This is a fantastic, very informative blog for any golfer wanting to become a better ball striker.

    My swing is slowly coming along, thanks to your site, and a few other great tips from reputable instructors.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  26. Coltsfan Coltsfan says:

    Hi John,

    If I use a straight line delivery path from the top, do I need to do anything to get the shaft on plane before going into impact? i.e.”flatten the shaft” so the shaft does not come into impact too steep or OTT.

    This guy, http://www.golfbetterproductions.com/lie-angle.asp (scroll down for plane board example) says that the shaft must come back down from the top to the original shaft plane before impact by moving the hands away from the target before you pivot, otherwise you will come OTT. Whats your take on that?

    Great work John!

  27. Greg Brown Greg Brown says:

    John,

    I really appreciate the comments, I did have an additional question ton the right elbow position in hitting. I always keep it very close to my right side and dont let it “fly” much. When I do use a shorter backswing for hitting and let the elbow come of it forms more of a perpendicular angle to the shaft which I feel gives me more leverage to push the club, its a bit more like a baseball hitters position. I know they talk about punch elbow position but not sure if this is one of the same thing or if this is something to not even mess around with.

  28. …/…
    …the cross line thrust (believe this is 2-J-3) is there anything you use as a guide to the direction of the thrust? Does your aiming point in front of the ball relate to this thrust direction?

    Bingo again!
    The cross line thrust is described in 2-J-3-B for hitting.
    The Hitter only sees lines (not arcs).

    Aiming Point and thrust direction are not the same.
    First, let me explain how I set up the “direction of the thrust” (aka the Straight Line Angle of Approach Delivery Line!):

    Check my right forearm at address in picture #1 (eye-view and front-view): It is pointing somewhere DOWN, OUT and FORWARD to right field.
    Now look at the arrow I’ve drawn on picture #2 (eye-view and front-view): It is the EXACT mental image I construct during the Hitting stroke…

    How do I set up this guide: easy – the arrow is pointing at the same direction and angle as my right forearm was set up at address!

    Therefore, all I have to do is to mentally draw a line parallel to my right forearm at address.
    This line will go DOWN, OUT and FORWARD and must cross the Plane Line.
    This is the direction of my thrust.
    Notice that with the Driver, that line will point more FORWARD and LESS DOWN/OUT than with a wedge!

    The point where this line is crossing the base of the plane line is the Aiming Point!!!

    I can then move the Aiming Point where I need to while maintaining the angle and direction of my Delivery Line!

  29. Welcome Greg!

    Thanks again, I’m happy that you can find helpful information here!

    1. Running out of right arm syndrome…/… I assume this is the “hula” move that is referenced at a few sites?

    Exact. This “hula” move is the sliding of the hips towards the target with a stationary “tripod” (a steady head in the middle of your feet) – exactly like playing with a hula hoop: only the hips are moving, not the head or the feet.

    This little “bump” of the hips drops the right shoulder down plane (this will also eliminate the Over The Top move) and sets your right arm closer to the ball to deliver the hitting punch to it.

    2. The geometric relationship with the driver…/…It seems like if one wants to hit a lower drive than place the ball slightly back and inside of low point, normal I would place at the low point, and higher in front and inside of low point. The key it seems is one should still make the same swing arch and let the ball get in the way, something very difficult to accept? ?

    A very good point here Greg: to change the ball flight you can change those parameters:
    - ball position in the arc of the swing
    - grip – stronger/weaker
    - plane line relative to the target line – right/left

    …BUT, the swing is always the same and as you’ve said, the ball is just in the way.
    This is indeed very difficult to accept because the natural instinct is to steer the ball toward the target.

    Playing with a stronger/weaker grip to can also feel a lot different/uncomfortable and the temptation is great to manipulate the clubhead at impact instead of letting it go.

    The key is to understand and accept the geometry of the stroke and trust it regardless of ball position/grip/plane line.

  30. Greg Brown Greg Brown says:

    John,

    You have a wonderful site and clearly have a great understanding of the Golfing Machine. What really stands out is how clearly you can express the concepts without to much technical jargon.

    There are some really fine points but a couple that stick out.

    1. Running out of right arm syndrome. I had read about this and not fully understood the cause but its now clear that if I thrust early without moving the shoulder down the plane line this is the inevitable result. My instructor had told me about moving my left hip as you describe but I could not see the end game, now I do. I assume this is the “hula” move that is referenced at a few sites?

    2. The geometric relationship with the driver. You don’t hear it talked about much but understanding the ball position, the arc of the swing, the relationship to the ball target line are very critical. It seems like if one wants to hit a lower drive than place the ball slightly back and inside of low point, normal I would place at the low point, and higher in front and inside of low point. The key it seems is one should still make the same swing arch and let the ball get in the way, something very difficult to accept?

    On a couple of your pictures I have a couple questions, the cross line thrust (believe this is 2-J-3) is there anything you use as a guide to the direction of the thrust? Does your aiming point in front of the ball relate to this thrust direction?

    Thanks,

    Greg (gmbtempe)

  31. To JohnnyNight and John Cortese

    Yes EVERYTHING is the same from Wedges to Driver!!!

    It is tough to understand for a majority of Golfers but the geometry of the circle and the Physics are the same for EVERY club: Only the ball location changes:

    With the Driver the ball is located AT low point and with a Wedge it is located UP and BACK on the plane BUT the geometry/physics are the same!

    The problem many Golfers face with the woods is that the ball is very close to low point and they frequently associate low point with the end of the thrust.

    This leads to a slowdown of the hands at low point and a failure to compress the ball with the Driver.

    There are two very important things to do with the Driver:
    – Continue to Drive DOWN and OUT to the both arms straight position (end of the followthrough)
    – Straighten the right arm without straightening the right wrist (keep it bent!).

  32. John Cortese John Cortese says:

    WOW, what a wonderful site. I’ve been baffled by the TGM book and you simplify it so I can understand it. My question concerns the driver and fairway woods with the hitting motion. I am a hitter and my irons shots are great and I can hit them long and straight. My problem is with the driver and fairway woods. Very inconsistent. Anything special I need to know about “hitting” them.

  33. JohnnyNight JohnnyNight says:

    John

    Thank you for making all of this understandable, really takes so much of the mystery out of the tgm ideas.

    Can I ask you, do all of these prinicples apply to a driver as well as they do the irons.

    Is there anything different to do when swinging the driver.

  34. Hey Mike!

    Thanks for the compliments! I’m happy to see that you’ve taken the road to success again.

    Sometimes it takes longer to find THE FEEL but you’re in the right place to learn and always welcome here.

    Take care.

  35. Hey John!

    Just thought I’d say hi! My swing is coming along nicely. I’ve had a series of lessons from a very good swing instructor, and he fixed my grip and setup, and now it is much easier to find the middle of the face and compress the ball.

    I still struggle with throwing (flipping), but have some drills to ingrain the right feel, and PP#1 is one I am now aware of.

    I still think your site is one of the best for golfers to learn lag, compression and solid contact.

  36. Hi Psomers nice to have a new Hitter on board!

    Pp#2 is related to the left wrist cocking/uncocking. And can be sensed with the last three fingers of your left hand.

    The pressure is felt on the aft part of the shaft in the last knuckles of your fingers and appears at Start Down (like pp#3 and pp#1).

    Just grip the club with your left hand only and drag it on the ground and you’ll get a feel for it.

    However Hitting is about pushing the club with the right arm, not dragging with the left… so how the hell can a pressure happen in those fingers???

    All is about PASSIVE and ACTIVE pressures:
    When a Hitter actively straightens his right arm, he pushes against the thumb of his left hand with his right hand (PP#1) and the shaft with his right index finger.

    Those two pressures are ACTIVE pressures in regard to PP#2 which is more of a PASSIVE pressure!

    So, for the Hitter, PP#2 FEELs PASSIVE (as opposed to the Swinger’s where it will feel ACTIVE!).

    To feel it “PASSIVELY” happening, do this drill:
    - Hold you club on your left hand only.
    - Hold your left wrist with your right hand as you would grip you club.
    - Bend and straighten your right arm.

    On the downswing, because you don’t have your right hand on the grip to support Lag, you’ll easily FEEL a pressure in the last three fingers of your left hand as your clubhead will Lag behind.

    There you go! You now have PP#1,2 & 3 FEELs!

    Now that you know what it FEELs like, with your normal grip, just let this FEEL “happen” again:
    Feel a little inertia as you go from backswing to startdown: even if you push against the shaft, your hands are moving forward while your clubhead, with its inertia, will want to trail the same as you did with the “hold your fist” drill.

  37. psomers psomers says:

    Hi John, Stumbled on this site and it is just what I was looking for. Information on Golfing Machine’s hitting which I’ve been working on. A question on pressure points. During swing I understand pp#1 and pp#3 but pp#2 is one I don’t understand. To sense pp#2, I have to resist swing with left arm. Is that what you are supposed to do?
    Paul

  38. Hey Jools,

    “I have just discovered the forefinger pressure point thru reading S&T posts on flying wedges. And, even from my very shallow understanding of it, it has transformed my game tremendously. I mean like day and night.”

    Lag Pressure is pure magic :-)

    S&T doesn’t contradict with what you see here because S&T has its roots deep in The Golfing Machine and all this site is all about explaining TGM in Layman’s terms.

    However, TGM is kind of a catalog of parts to assemble Golfing patterns (in order to create a Golfing Machine!).
    As in a machine, some parts are compatible while others are not but every machine obeys the same laws (like Lag pressure, flying wedges, flat left wrist…)

    S&T is only a Pattern built on top of the Golfing Machine (Plummer & Bennett make no secret of that), exactly like Hitting and Swinging.

    So, there is a lot of helpful information on that site that you can use with confidence with your S&T pattern.

    Welcome aboard!

  39. Hi Northstar,

    “Does the pushing with the right elbow begin immediately from the start down?
    Also, I’m not sure how my right shoulder fits into this motion. When I was hitting well, I remember feeling my right shoulder going down or dipping down. Does this make any sense??”

    The right elbow MUST NOT begin to straighten immediately from the startdown. If you do so you will run out of right arm before you reach to the ball – leading to fat or thin shots to save the shot.

    The first move at startdown is to lower the right shoulder.
    Why? Because this will make you closer to the ball and from there you’ll have plenty of right arm to drive down into the ground.
    Look for the boxer analogy I used in the post above.

    By the way, lowering the right shoulder is done by doing a hip slide towards the target WHILE maintaining a stationary head (no bob/sway). So this would be your first move at start down.

    For you, the right arm FEEL would be to wait as long as you can before activating & straightening it (it FEELs like torture the first time!).
    Also it is MANDATORY that your use a slow start down with your right arm for the same reason as above: you wont expend your right arm before going into the right position with your right shoulder.

    Have fun!

  40. To Mike:

    Take one pill at a time. Eating the whole box won’t do the magic!
    Coltsfan is right: the correct curriculum is to work on Basic motion (2 feet back, 2 feet through) FIRST and to move to acquired motion SECOND and then to total motion.

    A hacker going directly to total motion thinking he can discover TRUE lag this way is going to face certain failure…

    Basic motion is not a chip shot; it is a miniature Swing where it is easier to focus on the impact zone. Thus your goal is to perform a geometrically perfect shot in such a small move (should be piece of cake uh?):
    - flat left wrist,
    - bent right wrist,
    - go to low point,
    - straighten your right arm,
    - feel a steady pressure in your index finger,
    - go down and out,
    - compress the ball

    Because the shot is small and slow, it is very easy to see if you one of the above is incorrect.

    It may take a thousand balls to get a TRUE feel for it.
    But once it’s there you’ll have it forever and be happy.

  41. Jools Jools says:

    Hey John,

    Great site man. Been following it for a while but only from outside in because I am currently on the stack and tilt wagon. I see a lot of things here that do not contradict the S&T.

    I have just discovered the forefinger pressure point thru reading S&T posts on flying wedges. And, even from my very shallow understanding of it, it has transformed my game tremendously. I mean like day and night.

    In three months I have been transformed from an incurable Fat hitter to a solid ball compression type hitter.

    I have dropped from 90s shooter to low 80s shooter in that time but I feel I can do even better.

    Now, my question is, is there anything here that contradicts the S&T? I know its a banal question but I fear losing what ever I have achieved so far.

    Cheers and hopefully I have not offended anyone….

  42. Northstar Northstar says:

    Hi John

    About two years ago I discovered lag using the hitting technique. I felt the pressure points that you describe on my hands and I had the feeling of “going down” and getting the ball. It felt so good. But I lost it and I can’t seem to get that swing back.

    I seem to be hitting fat shots that don’t go anywhere. I can’t seem to get the club to bottom out in front of the ball. Does the pushing with the right elbow begin immediately from the start down? Also, I’m not sure how my right shoulder fits into this motion. When I was hitting well, I remember feeling my right shoulder going down or dipping down. Does this make any sense??

    Northstar

  43. ColtsFan ColtsFan says:

    John. Thanks for the reply.

    Mike,

    I wish I was a 7 hcp. I have been playing about 6 years and I’m a 12 at best. Unless you have tour aspirations just work on those TGM basic and acquired motions,and enjoy the ride. Remember its golf, you gotta laugh or you’ll just cry

  44. Quite a thread you got going here!

    Okay John…I’ve been working my ass off trying to get my lower body to initiate the downswing to no avail.

    I also have a VERY STEEP plane coming down, which is making me “come up” and out of my posture, resulting in the FLIP at the bottom with no compression or divot.

    I am at my “wits end” here, as this should not be that hard for me to get, as I was a world ranked athlete and consider myself FAR ABOVE in fitness, agility and hand-eye coordination.

    I have been on countless forums, conversing with well-respected people like yourself and I’m STILL hitting thin shots that go off target right and pull hooks left.

    WTF????

    I am getting so tired of this.

    On the range I can find a “feel” and compress my short and mid-irons, but on the course that is ALL GONE and my OLD swing shows up time and time again.

    So now what? Quit the game as a 7 handicap “hack golfer” who never could “get” the golf swing?

    I’ve never been a quitter, but I no martyr either.

    All this time, money and EMOTION for very little return “on the course”.

    Mike

  45. Hi Coltsfan,

    For Hitting I prefer to start at impact fix and mainly use drive loading.

    For those wondering what is float loading: you just don’t cock your left wrist/bend your right wrist before startdown. This loading procedure can be used for Hitting and Swinging as well.

    So, I can float load while Hitting but it sometimes makes me “forget” during the load that I’m Hitting and risk ending up “switting” – dragging and pushing at the same time while Drive loading hasn’t this ambiguity.

    I use float loading for swinging because I get the feel that the hands are always in a condition to drag the club – backswing & downswing – which is very useful to feel clubhead lag.

    If you do that for hitting, you must be careful to “discard” that DRAGING feel at transition and switch to a PUSHING feel.
    But this is really a matter of preference: if you feel more comfortable doing it this is perfectly right – provided you really DRIVE with your right arm on the downswing and keep those wrists frozen along with your flying wedges.

    One more thing: The Hitter tends to establish extensor action right at address – to establish the flying wedges structure right away and keeping everything intact (“frozen”). This is more critical to do with float loading.

    In my own experience, I was having the feeling that float loading was providing a bigger “slap” on the ball.

    But in fact, if you know the endless belt effect, I just end up with a smaller pulley (less mass) AND a high clubhead speed versus Drive Loading where I end up with a bigger pulley (more mass) AND less clubhead speed.

    The result is the same: same distance. But I have a preference with Drive Loading because the “slower clubhead/more mass” combination makes me more accurate than the “faster/less mass” combination.
    But again this is a matter of personal preference.

    Now, regarding the both arms straight position, yes, your right wrist is bent all the time – less bent actually at both arms straight but still bent. AND it will never flatten followthrough to finish.
    In fact, if you Hit “by the book”, you setup at impact fix, freeze you wrists in their condition and keep them like that during the whole stroke to the finish:
    - Left: stays flat – but allowed to cock/uncock,
    - Right: stays bend – but allowed to bend more/less – never straighten.

    After both arms straight, the arms “Swivel” back to plane. This is almost an automatic move: the more you continue to strongly drive down with your right arm UNTIL both arms straight and AFTER impact, the more strongly your clubhead will move up plane and its momentum will carry you to the finish swivel very easily.

    A big answer! But I hope I’ve helped sorting things up!

  46. Coltsfan Coltsfan says:

    Hi John,

    2 questions for you:

    What loading procedure do you prefer for hitting? I was experimenting over the weekend with float loading (using a slight lagging club head take away) w/ mid body hands (vs. impact fix) and it seemed to really help sutain the lag longer. I know that most hitters use impact fix set up and drive load, but this seemed to have promise.

    Also, after “both arms striaght” what should the arms do? Should they move back up the inclined plane? Is the rt. wrist still bent in the follow through/finish?

    Thanks!

  47. I’m calm, just frustrated! I bring up spine tilt, as EVERY instructor who’s seen my videos have mentioned it without me saying a word. I basically reverse pivot, then slide on the downswing causing me to throw and flip the club at impact.

    I think this could be one of the causes of my flipping.

  48. Calm down Mike, one thing at a time – (by the way, spine tilt has nothing to do with your results – why are you mentioning that anyway, I never talked about that???)

    Have you tried Hitting like I’ve told you in a previous comment?

  49. John,

    UGH! I still can’t get it! On the course all my wedges are THIN, TOE and WEAK RIGHT! Arghhhh!!!!!!!

    I have no spine tilt at impact, and no compression.

    Mike

  50. Hi Sam, and welcome to a fellow Hitter!

    As I explained in the article, Hitting is almost unknown to standard Golf instruction because all those guys started playing golf on their youth and Swinging was the only option when the muscles are no there yet!
    So they teach and preach Golf that only way, leaving all the guys that favor muscles over suppleness along the road wondering why they feel like the ugly duckling.

    “I clear my hips just enough to let my arms fly through”

    Correct, the Hitter doesn’t use his body as a source of power but as a structure to push against. The body just accommodates to allow for the right shoulder to go down plane to get closer to the ball. This way there is still plenty of right arm left to drive the ball down to China!

    “I feel like my follow thru is somewhat short, with my arms extended out on the other side of the impact zone but not completely wrapped around my body…is this normal with the “hitting” swing? “

    Yes, this is characteristic of the Hitter’s stroke: As the Hitter uses his right arm and not centrifugal force to move the clubhead, the action stops when the right arm is fully extended leading to a somewhat shorter finish (see Palmer or JB Holmes).

    “my ball flight is very high”
    “Also, I’m still inconsistent at times, but i have a suspicion that it’s because even though I use the “hitting” method but I still bring the club all the way back to parallel on my backswing…could this be the culprit?”

    If done properly, this is very tough to come close to parallel with the Hitting stroke:
    One way to get it too far is by cocking the right wrist. By doing that you disrupt the right arm flying wedge: in layman’s terms – your right forearm is no longer in a position to strongly push behind the shaft. Precision and power loss.
    Bend your right wrist but do not cock it at any time.

    I suspect also that you may not maintain a flat left wrist through impact.
    For the Hitter it relates easily to the right wrist being bent all the time.
    Do some pitch shots and check your right wrist at the end of the follow through (both arms straight position): it must not be allowed to flatten. If it is the case, focus on keeping it frozen in its bent condition during ALL the stroke! It will feel weird but it is correct and will look correct on video!

    Good Golf!

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