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The 4 Barrel Hit: Swinging AND Hitting

The Four Barrel Hit: Hitting AND SwingingHi all, it’s been a while since my last post.

Due to my Achilles tendon injury and a mass of considerable professional work I have been taken away from the game and took huge delays in the plans I have for the site.

But the wait is over and we start again with a very popular topic:

There has always been a fight between Hitting and Swinging aficionados: On the paper, these are two mutually exclusive ways to propel a golf club so in theory you have to choose either to Hit or to Swing.

Both ways to hit the ball have strength and weaknesses and once you’ve tried and identified the differences between both techniques you could have a hard time choosing one path or the other as both are equally efficient.

Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could merge Fire and Ice?

Rejoice my friend, because now you can :-) !!!

This "monster" is referred in the Golfing Machine terminology as the Four Barrel Hit. According to Homer Kelley (the author of the book) it is the ultimate way (although tough according to him – on what I tend to disagree) to hit the ball.

A few weeks ago a fellow reader asked me:

Just a fan and reader of you lag blog, had a couple questions:

I myself am stuck in that land between swinging and hitting. I’m not exactly sure what keeps me from committing to one or the other.  I really love the swings of Rory Mcilroy, Trevol Immelman, all of Slicefixer’s students, as well as you’re "swinging" video.  You’ve got sooooooooooo much extension and width that swing it’s just beautiful.

Somewhere on your site you mentioned that recently you’re playing with more of a hitting style.  With a swing as beautiful as yours I wondered why you would prefer the hitting method?  Of course in that video we can’t see what the ball flight looked like.  Maybe you prefer the accuracy and lower flight of the hit.  I too like the control I feel when I’m "hitting", but when I’m working on swinging, making a bigger, wider turn, rolling my forearm, letting centrifugal force do what it’s supposed to do, and I flush one, and that ball goes longer and higher than anything I’ve ever seen, it’s just such an amazing feeling, like a drug, and I just want MORE.

I guess I’m just wondering if it’s possible to have a little bit of both.  A nice wide, long, fluid swing, but with a deliberate squaring of the club, maintaining the lag with that right index pressure point.  Would there be any benefit to this?

Sorry I gota bit long winded with this one, I would love to get a response but also understand we’re all busy people.  Thanks again for such an informative little blogsite.


Here’s what I wrote to Sean:

Introducing the Four Barrel Hit!

Now, regarding your question: I found myself switching between the two techniques during the past 4 years and achieved quite the same results in scoring with both.

Also a word about power and distance: I achieved more or less the same results in distance with hitting and swinging.
Without flattering myself, I can proudly say that I’m the longest hitter in my area (I drive the same distance as a friend of mine playing on the Allianz Tour (a Nationwide-like tour in Europe) and slightly longer with my irons (but accuracy not still at par ;-) )) and I cannot remember someone overdriving me!

Interestingly enough, this length and power is directly related to the Lag I now have in all my shots – not Hitting or Swinging. Lag pressure is independent of the technique.

After 4 years of studying Hitting, Swinging and Lag, I came to the conclusion that both are very efficient IF Lag is present. This makes the Lag the most important thing to master.

Now, a proper technique eases the use of Lag. This is why learning Hitting and Swinging is so important.

But due to their essence, Hitting and Swinging shouldn’t be combined!

…you CANNOT pull (Swing) and push (Hit) something at the SAME TIME”.

True, and I have a nice analogy for you to get a feel for that: Imagine that you intend to spin a bicycle wheel.

You can either:

  • Drag the rim with your left hand (Swing)
  • Drive (push) a spoke with your right hand (Hit)

Try to do both AT THE SAME TIME – you’ll find yourself chasing one move with the other – it doesn’t work well.

But there is one way!

You surely noticed the capitalized words in “…you CANNOT pull (Swing) and push (Hit) something at the SAME TIME”.

  • Ok, so what about saying: “…you CAN pull (Swing) and push (Hit) something BUT NOT at the SAME TIME…”
  • Or, even: “…you CAN pull (Swing) FIRST and push (Hit) something SECOND provided you do not do both at the SAME TIME…”
  • Or better: “…you CAN pull (Swing) and push (Hit) something IN SEQUENCE!

Great, but how to do that practically?

First, a little reminder of the particularities of Hitting & Swinging:


  • Centrifugal force
  • A lot of “rotary” body power


  • Right arm muscular thrust only
  • Little to no “rotary” body power

A “4 Barrel” stroke is sequence of both techniques – and it is vital that they stay sequenced.

To get a feel for it, let’s go back to our bicycle wheel:

  1. Swing the wheel by dragging the rim
  2. The wheel is turning – centrifugal force has been generated
  3. If the wheel is not turning too fast, you could be able to catch a spoke and push it to give the wheel extra spin!

Now applied in the golf swing :

From the top of the backswing

  1. Swing component: with your left arm across your chest, perform your body rotation towards the target in order to blast this left arm away from the chest.
  2. Swing component: WAIT for the feel of centrifugal force coming in as your body stops his rotation and your left arm and club are swung into orbit.
    Note: At this point, in the most extreme cases, your body could very well be facing the target!
  3. Hitting component: As soon as you fell that centrifugal force coming in, fire the powerful right arm thrust of the Hitter.

It works beautifully if the sequence is done properly and if you stay within your limits.

The good

  • Maximum power. For me it gives me one more club at last with irons and could sometimes send the ball 350 meters with a driver!
  • No accuracy loss if done properly
  • Makes your friends laugh as you send balls out of bounds in the neighbor’s swimming pool the other end of the range!

The bad

  • Timing is the issue. Be careful with your sequence, do not engage your right arm too soon.


Have fun playing with the beast!

32 Responses to “The 4 Barrel Hit: Swinging AND Hitting”

  1. Gideon Gideon says:

    John, just discovered your site and love it … not sure if your blog is still active. The hitting v swinging from TGM is big penny dropping moment for me as I now realise that my swing moved between the two styles without my knowing it. Plus the e-book on lag is just brilliant in its simplicity of thought plus the recognition that we didn’t all learn golf when we were 8 years old so lag needs to be learnt. Just back from range having done all the recommended exercises and am flushing it using the swing technique and even enjoyed a bit of extra distance with the 4 barrel hybrid. A million thanks Gideon

  2. Hi John, I just wanted to correct my earlier mistake regarding “Hit Down Dammit!” That was a commercial someone put on your website and it was not your high quality. I have returned the video since.

    I have ordered your fine ebook and have gotten a lot from it! My hcp. is 11.2 and most of my mistakes now come from within 10 yards of the green or less. I am reprogramming my mind to hit as my basic stroke since it helps me remember to hit such great chip and sand shots. I shot a “76,” “77,” “78,” and “79,” this year as well as a few “80′s.” It seems like those are not my regular efforts as I had over 30 rounds this year with some as high as 97-87. We play at 6:55am and honestly, sometimes I am just happy to be outside and don’t worry about my score.

    Anyway, hope you are doing well and thanks for such a great site.


  3. Peter Peter says:

    Way back in the old days, before the Hitters were sorted out from the Swingers, we used to call this “The Late Hit”, (not to be confused with Lag”).

  4. charles charles says:

    Great! The 4-barrel hit, I think I´m on to it, and loving it.

    I definitely experience it as left side pull, right side fire. My feeling is that my swing triggers my hit (think that is also what you mean).

    One note of interest: I´ve been a bit, well, not wild, but inaccurate. Today I worked on keeping my shoulders aligned on target from setup through contact, and my accuracy was the best for months.

    It´s natural for me now, (doing kineses also helps), still working on lag, lag, lag. Seems as if I don´t concentrate on lag, I let the head come through during contact.

    BR charles

    • “My feeling is that my swing triggers my hit (think that is also what you mean).”
      That is exactly the feel!
      Great job here Charles. You seem to be right on target here. Keep going.

      • charles charles says:

        Thanks, really encouraging to hear that feedback. Appreciate your website, it´s contributed to my enjoyment of the The Game. I´m totally committed to the 4-barrel hit, hope it pays off if summer comes around again! (Hard to believe here in Norway, some winters….)
        BR Charles

  5. Hi John. I’d like to tell you about a couple of perceptions I have about your website that I do not expect you to post.

    I think you are strong enough to pull off anything as a golfer or insightful golf teacher. You have given me several important insights. Thanks!

    I would like to invite you to come to Lynn Blake’s website much more often.

    You have so much to offer!

    When I come to your site, I get easily lost. Perhaps if you dated when you wrote your pieces on the home page, I would know which article is new. Do you do one a month?

    You give great email answers and advice, I’m struggling with getting you a wider audience. I ordered the “Hit Down Dammit:” videos as a way of supporting your efforts. The tapes were not up to your caliber.

    I think you are excellent and need a wider distribution!

    • Thanks Innercityteacher,

      It’s been a long time since I’ve been to LBG. I’ll come back in the forums to see if I can post a few things and give a hand on some topics.

      Now, regarding GolfLagTips.com, if you look under the title of each post, you’ll find a “posted on” tag that will tell you, well, the date the article has been posted. I’ll try to adapt the design to make this info more obvious!

      Thank you again for trying to attract a wider audience here: GolfLagTips is absolutely free and even if I do it for fun, I have other activities for my living that consume most of my time and sometimes keep me away from writing sruff… One day, with your help ;-) I’ll be able to make a living of GolfLagTips and spend all my time on it!

      By the way, I’m don’t know if I get you right: you’re telling that you’ve purchased the “Hit Down Dammit” to support my efforts… what do you mean by that – as I have nothing to do with that videos???

      Thanks again for your support Innercityteacher, any help is appreciated: spread the word and let’s turn those hackers out there into GOLFers!

      • Vance Vance says:

        Just found this site. Not sure it’s active since last post was 2014. Found it by searching for 4 barrel swing.

        Is there any new site? I’ve learned SO much just by reading this one page.

      • Hi Vance, thank you, I am glad that these “old” messages were useful to you! Indeed, I do not have much time to add new content but nevertheless all the existing content is still relevant!
        Feel free to take some time to review all the posts and also the comments that can be very complementary. Be safe and enjoy ;-)

    • Paul Paul says:

      Hi John, I just wanted to check that the website was still alive (if not very active – I appreciate you may be busy with other things) & that the ebook download was still available i.e. that it would work?

      BTW, congratulations on an excellent instructional resource!

  6. Charlie Y Charlie Y says:


    I need some advice to “get to the next level,” which will require cleaner ball strking. My problem is that my left eye (non-dominant) is defective, and I have very little depth perception and some double vision.

    With effectively one eye (dominant right eye), would the swinger’s swing be better for clean ball contact?

    The reason for my concern–I know I’m definitely a hitter, having played competitive sports where ball I’m sure I was successful because of an ability to locate the ball and strike it rather than swing at it.

    I can’t quite tell where the ball is in three dimensional space. I remember reading in one of your blogs that with the swinger’s swing, once you start the swing, the club head’s path is predetermine, which makes me think that this is better for people with limited vision–work on repeating a swing than on pushing down to hit the ball. How far off am I? If I’m right, I know I have a task ahead of me, working against my basic nature (I’m left brained, field dependent, and object oriented).

  7. chris cull chris cull says:

    I am new (Dec, 2010) to your site.

    Re: Swinging/hitting part 2 — the picture with the hitter thinking straight line (pink/blue) and swinger thinking curved line (yellow)….

    what would you think if I told you I’m a swinger who thinks straight line (pink/blue) to get to low point? Is okay?


  8. Etzwane Etzwane says:

    Great to hear you’re well again and great to see new posts here.

    Nice post on the 4 barrel swing, I wonder which alignments and components are compatible with the 4 barrel swing. For example, pitch elbows fits nicely with swinging but I guess not so much with the hit motion (I can be wrong, I’m a beginner with TGM), so would punch elbow be preferable ?


    PS: As the guys from the Lynn Blake forum, I’m a frenchman strugling trying to make my way through the yellow book.

  9. Marv Marv says:

    Hi John
    Like Sean ,
    1 I’m caught in between swinging and hitting, and prefer swinging as it gives better results when timed correctly, feels great and looks great.
    2 Unfortunately under the pressures of a game, most amateur players tend to get shorter and faster with the club, hence greater inconsistancy .
    3 To me hitting seems more like a ONE PLANE punch shot.
    4 I’m a senior thats fairly slim and not muscular and play on a very narrow course , my guess is that I’m more suited to swinging but narrow course is better suited to hitting hence my confusion
    Appreciate your comments on each paragraph

    • Hi Marv,

      Deciding either to swing or hit is always a tough choice: bread or butter?
      The 4 barrel hit can provide both but due to timing issues and the fact that you must first master both Hitting and Swinging it is often easier to stick with one or the other.

      Now, with your questions:
      1 – Swinging is well suited for slim and flexible players. The feel is effortless power, which is great if you are not a muscular guy.
      2 – Swinging relies a lot on body power/body rotation. It provides power but we are also talking about moving big muscles here. Those big muscles are key to avoid being jerky with your arms and hands. If you feel so, learn to start the downswing with you pivot – a bit like swinging without moving the arms!
      3 – The same could be done while swinging. But the DOWN aspect of the stroke is consciously done while hitting and as such cannot be forgotten.
      This may mean that you are compressing the ball as it should be while Hitting and not as much while Swinging – this could explain you lower precision while Swinging. Try to check that and improve that Lag pressure.
      4 – Unless you get far better results while Hitting, you seem suited for Swinging. There is no doubt that you can be as precise while swinging. If not, it just tells you that there is room for improvement: build more precision in your Swinging pattern. Check you alignments again, ball position, head movement (very important).

      Keep us informed on your improvements.

  10. Hey John!

    It’s been a long time. How are you doing?

    Mike Pedersen

    • Hey Mike! nice to hear from you.
      I broke my Achile’s tendon last year and that took me away from the golf course and from my site for quite a long time.
      I’m now back with even more envy and will!

      I’ve been to your site, nice stuff there too!

  11. BernardP BernardP says:

    Welcome Back John! I thought the web site was no longer active. I’m looking forward to your insights.

    The link posted above by Peter Luke leads to this other link which delves more into concepts than mechanics. Very very interesting:


  12. Loui Loui says:

    Hello again,
    I have not posted for a while but have been hitting balls nearly every day. I have had some success with this idea of left pull right hit. I think it ties in with the pressure points. You will feel 2 and 4 from the top as the left side pulls then the right side fires later.

    I have alrways felt the right side fire though when playing well

    • Yes, it ties with the pressure points.

      Swinging, at startdown, you’ll feel the “left pull” as you call it.
      So, you’ll tend to feel PP#4 (left arm against the chest) and PP#2 (the last three fingers of the left hand) dragging the grip.
      Hitting will ignore PP#4 and will feel more focused on PP#1 (palm of the right hand pushing down & out against the thumb of the left hand) and PP#3 (trigger index finger of the right hand).

      In the 4 barrel hit, mixing both will feel like “left pull” first and “right hit” triggered before impact!
      You feel PP#4 early on, then simultaneously PP#2, PP#1 and PP#3 in mid downswing.

      A very powerful stroke!

      • Hey John, Love reading your posts, and good luck with your achilles tendon, I still have some problems with mine after some 38 years ago injury. With regards to your Dec. 1st 2010 post and responce on how using the four barrel hit can be accomplished, you are dead right on!! We have been incorporating this type of technique at our academy using the same P.P.#s and sequence you have stated, with a very good success rate. We have used this with a variety of handicaps, from plus 2 to high handicap players. You explain it very clearly, which in turn helps people not get to traumitized over TGM.

        All the best to You,

  13. NJ NJ says:

    Making good contact with ball. Just not consistent with direction. Do you have any ideas for better directional consistency?

  14. peter luke peter luke says:

    Hi John:

    Here’s a link that has a detail description of Mike Austin’s golf swing, it combines the swinging and hitting motion of TGM.



    • @peter luke

      Mmm, quite interesting but what a weird format: Why putting everything on a single page one mile long?!

      This is very very conceptual and I prefer to stick with describing the FEEL of proper execution because I think this is what people are looking for.

      Who wouldn’t be interested in earring what a PGA tour player FEELs while properly compressing a golf ball?
      This is because FEEL has much more meaning to our brains that pure concepts when it comes to performing a golf stroke.

      Mechanics and concepts are necessary but:

      1- Let mechanics produce FEELs.
      2 – Learn and identify those FEELs.
      3 – Let the FEELs reproduce mechanics!

  15. Kevin Carter Kevin Carter says:

    Welcome back John. Like being reunited with an old friend.

    WONDERFUL article as always. Thank you very much!


  16. NJ NJ says:

    Welcome back John, your articles have been great! I have tried both swing and hit with good success. This 4 barrel will be something to try but a little weary on the consistency due to timing. Just gotta get that feel of when to smash with right hand I guess.


    • You are right NJ, with this beast, everything is in the timing. Pay a lot of attention to that and avoid ANY quick feeling. You should feel extreme HEAVYNESS in ALL your pressure points.

  17. Yes, I recovered from my injury and I am ready again to spread the word. Thank you very much for your support.

  18. Welcome back! Hope you are feeling better! I enjoy and recommend your site to TGM’rs! Your articles and drawings are great!

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Aiming-Point Location Driver to Wedges

Aiming-Point: Too far forward

Aiming-Point: Bad location with the Driver

Aiming-Point: Good location with the Driver

Divot Location demonstrated with a Hitting stroke - Swing Sequence

The eye of the Hitter - 3 - Follow Through

The eye of the Hitter - 1 - Address

The eye of the Hitter - 2 - Startdown