Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Is Model Golf by Ralph Mann the Model?

Is “Model Golf” by Ralph Mann “The” Model?
by Chuck Evans and Randy Sparks

At Medicus Golf Institute, we are frequently asked about the viability of the new age golf swings that are being hyped – as well as those which may be from the past. One such email was recently sent to us regarding Model Golf by Ralph Mann. The following is our synopsis of Model Golf by Chuck Evans, Executive Director of Instruction for Medicus Golf.

Indeed, Model Golf was based on top pros – but their models were developed 15-20 years ago. Model Golf also has the "model" moving the club off plane and tilting backwards. When I asked Ralph Mann about this and the differences between Hitters and Swingers, he replied, "I don't believe in Hitting versus Swinging." When I asked about the model being off plane, he replied, "That’s what our research showed the best do." I replied, “Would it not be better, for teaching purposes, to show them a model that IS on plane?” We spent two days together at the PGA Tour Academy where they installed the system. We tested it for two months and threw it out. To give you an example, one of the models they used was Vance Heafner. He hasn't played the tour since the late 80's.

Although brilliant in concept, Model Golf should never be used as a “model” for a number of reasons:

1. The model is based on an accumulation of other golfers and not the golfer that is learning.

2. The model has numerous swing flaws, meaning a player that complies with the model will inherit these flaws.

3. The model does not take into account what the student physically can and cannot do.

According to Model Golf, the pro model slides roughly two inches very early in the backswing. During the transition move, the pro will then use his hips to “bump” his weight forward (for those same two inches) and then stop sliding. The downswing then turns into a rotary motion. Model Golf states that the swing will be a weak, arm-dominated swing if there is no lateral move off of the ball. By sliding away from and then back towards the ball during the transition, the golfer loads (or “stretches”) the muscles that propel the rotary motion to the ball.

Hip Slide is a variation and several players certainly do use. However, for most players – and this applies to tour players as well – Hip Slide can be a dangerous thing. First, timing issues arise since you cannot move in a straight line and a circle at the same time. Personally, I have never seen a player that moves off the ball (to their right) in the backstroke get back to where they started. This now affects the ball location relative to the Low Point. If the Low Point has moved back, the ball location has effectively moved forward. When the ball location moves forward like this, the player ends up hitting fat shots and tries to time impact via a flipping of the hands. Secondly, most players that move off the ball (mainly middle to high handicappers) never get the correct rotational motion in the downstroke. They have plenty of Hip Slide – but no Hip Turn!

Additionally, the golfer need not slide laterally to create the aforementioned “stretch” in Model Golf. Rather, we at Medicus Golf Institute see this “stretch” as being created by simply leaving the hands at the top while moving the Right Shoulder down plane from the top. This move stretches the left arm against the chest and creates what we call "Pivot Lag."

One important key to remember is that even the world's best players make compensations in their golf strokes. Tour players are just better at compensating than the average player and are also experts at hand manipulation. If someone wants to create the perfect Golfing Machine, they need not look further than Iron Byron. Mechanical devices don't need to make last minute adjustments during the stroke. They do, however, require that the ball be placed precisely in the same place each time. If it is not, the ball goes everywhere – just like a human.

Our preference at Medicus Golf Institute is for golfers to move as few things as possible in the smallest amount of space possible – something that will eliminate a lot of “faults.”

Though we do not teach with straitjackets on our students, we prefer a set-up with 60% of weight on the target side. You then leave it there during the backstroke and downstroke. After pre-setting this weight, you then either simply rotate (Swinging) or take the right shoulder and right arm down plane to the inside aft quadrant of the ball (Hitting). By proceeding in this way, a golfer has successfully eliminated one more moving part.

If one does not set-up as prescribed above, there is a minimal “hip bump” to start the downstroke. But even then, this motion is no more than two inches.

For a game-changing experience where you’ll learn more about how to build your golf swing your way, sign up today for a Medicus Institute Golf School near you.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Visit to NZ Golf Academy

October saw Justin Tang make a trip to visit the New Zealand Golf Academy based in Cambridge.

During the visit, he got to share ideas with 3 former National Coaches of New Zealand, Mal Tongue, Shane Scott and Bob McDonald. Also, he got to play around with some cool gadgets at the academy.

Appended are some pictures and a video.