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Pro Tip of the Week: As Seen on TV: Johnny Miller: Still Mr. “Down the Line”

The “Pro Tip of the Week” series is short videos of things Tour players do that can benefit your game and lower your score. Tip of the Week videos are free for a limited time period. This weeks pro tip is: As Seen on TV: Johnny Miller: Still Mr. “Down the Line”.
There’s not much to say about this short video. You pretty much know what’s coming just by reading the title. We get a nice DTL view of Martin Kaymer moving in super slow motion through impact with an iron, and while the club head is arcing nicely to the left after impact Johnny declares that it is moving “right down the line”. It just goes to show you that if you are supremely confident that what you know is the absolute truth, it doesn’t matter what evidence is right in front of you to refute that belief, you are going to stand by what you believe anyway. At some point Johnny will watch one of these and possibly dissuade himself of the notion that great players swing “down the line”, even if some of them insist that it is what they are trying to do. My point, as always, is that people listen to what Johnny says, and when he is wrong about the swing it is injurious to the chances of the average guy getting better. When the normal player tries to swing down the line they almost always try to keep the clubface square to that line, and in cutting off the natural rotation of the swing inevitably fail to rotate their hips adequately while losing depth, both of which are speed and control killers.


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7 Responses to Pro Tip of the Week: As Seen on TV: Johnny Miller: Still Mr. “Down the Line”

  1. MJB July 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Always enjoy your videos and comments.
    However on this one, I disagree with your comments. Not even Johnny Miller think “straight down the line” means the club is going to “stay” on a any straight line. Johnny is simply indicating the club at impact is square to the aim point and leaving the club face with minimal side spin – fade or draw.

    • Jack Gallagher July 8, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

      Respectfully, MJB, that’s not what Johnny says in this video, and I would venture to assert that, despite your expanded inference as to what Johnny really “means”, that’s not what the average amateur golfer hears when Johnny says “…and look at that nice action shot and how he swings that club RIGHT DOWN THE LINE…” [emphasis supplied by Johnny – and only moderately amplified by me].

      Johnny has virtually no limit on his air time and so he has the option of being as specific as he wants to be when making his comments. And he can use the telestrator to draw lines to either try to illustrate or to, as you infer, actually show what it is he really means to say. Wayne is simply asking, why Johnny doesn’t do that?

      Look at all the things that Johnny could have said that the chose not to say:

      1) Look at how the club head is perfectly square to the target line at the moment of impact (which was your inference).
      2) Look at how the shaft returns almost to its address position at the moment of impact
      3) Look at how, though the club arcs at an angle toward the ball in the downswing and away from the ball after impact, the club head rotates from open to square to closed along that “in-to-out-to-in” arc that the shaft travels on, resulting in a club head that is on the target line at the moment of impact
      4) Look at how the club face is only square to the target line for mere fractions of a second when the ball is being struck even though it is NOT square to the target line when approaching the ball just inches prior to impact and just inches after impact

      If Johnny really meant any of these things, he could have said them in virtually the same amount of airtime as it took to say what actually he did say.

      So tonight when I go home I’m going put this to a test and do some research to see if Johnny says anything remotely close to what you have inferred in his book “Breaking 90 With Johnny Miller.” I’ll report the results of my research tomorrow.

  2. Howard July 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    Hello Wayne. Nice to hear you vent about the inexact terminology used by both announcers and many teachers of the game. The only DTL swing ever made was made by some poor schlub laying on a tree branch directly above the ball, swinging perfectly vertical. (Of course his club didn’t have quite the correct lie and a weak toe shot was all he could get.)
    Damn that physics junk.
    So if one ascribes to Hogan’s plane resting on the shoulders, can there ever be an inside-out divot/clubhead path to a ball forward in the stance? Only with a veeery late release of the arms.
    Do you suppose that may have some impact on those players like Freddie and VJ whose right palm is often completely off the club after impact? Mr. Couples has a strong grip while VJ’s is fairly neutral yet they and others utilize the same sort of ‘hold off’ palm release with just the right thumb and two fingers of the right hand. Odd, but with 50 plus wins between them, what can you say?
    Hope you’re well and thanks again for correcting Mr. Miller.

  3. JTW July 8, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    The thing that gets me about this is that he swung it left and on the shaft plane better than most guys on tour do today. Certainly better than Kaymer does and without a trace of flip through impact. Do you think this is a case of feel vs. real? I have a great photo of Johnny at impact that is absolutely text book that I tried to put up here but I’m not sure how to do it.
    Anyway I do agree that Johnny and Kostis give just about the worst swing advise out there to the poor unassuming golfing masses.

  4. Matt D July 9, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Hi Wayne D,

    When talking about arcing and releasing the face the you note that’s Kaymer’s “comes around” or “comes over” (clearly referring to the view DTL of face releasing).

    My question: what are your thoughts on how this rotation is controlled? I learned the game thinking it was a right hand action, but learned later that left wrist controls club face (TGM stuff).

    Love your insights. Your commentaries played a part in my handicap going from 4 to scratch in the last few years.

    • Matt D July 9, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      Referring to Kaymer’s “right hand”. My bad.

  5. george layne July 9, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    Just wondering how a proper divot should look. I’m right handed. My divots tend to point to the left, but my best shots result in a divot that is pointing “down the line.” I don’t try to swing down the line, trying to arc correctly and exiting left. I’ve read in the golf mags that divots should go slightly left and I’ve read the reverse of that too. Probably just flipping over through impact is causing the left pointing divots. Also would the length of the club impact divot direction. Finally, and most important to me anyway, where did The Hawk’s divots point to on a standard shot?

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