Swing Analysis: Day 3 at the Masters: Hanson and Mickelson

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

It was a great Saturday at the Masters with McIlroy, Sergio and Couples blowing up while Hanson, Mickelson and Oosthuizen played some great golf and really put on a show.

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(3) comments

Jake April 9, 2012

Not related to the above video analysis Wayne, but I am sure you got a kick out of your “buddy” Brandel talking about Bubba after the big win. He was ranting about how he doesn’t need a teacher, video camera, technology, and he just plays the game with feel. I was laughing because he is so anti-swing coach/take advant. of technology and believes so much in feel alone. Dude has a poor attitude! Nice analysis again by the way.

Mark Johnson April 9, 2012

This is my first post since joining. One thing that I find interesting is how the shaft relates to the right forearm on the downswing. Players like Sergio get the shaft almost below the right forearm whereas players like hanson have it what appears to be way above the right forearm. Does this relationshi indicate a ball flight tendency? Does it effect toe vs heel strikes?

Michael April 10, 2012

Hi Wayne,
*contentious posting alert* ;-)
Rather than say “some players lower in the backswing, some in the forward swing but almost all good players lower” why not try and develop a theory about lowering in the golf swing? You have more data on the golf swing than almost anyone in the world of golf.

I know you have a problem with the word ‘theory’ but lets stay scientific about that – in science a ‘theory’ is something that fits the observed facts/data and can be usefully used for prediction – and its the closest thing we humans have to a truth the best theories come with an underlying rationale or explanation. Theories are developed from hypotheses and to be scientific it must be possible to disprove them – meaning we must be able to think of some data or circumstance that would disprove the the theory.

Here is my hypothesis about lowering in the golf swing:

1. The act of ‘lowering’ in the swing momentarilty removes vertical load on the body (its not really about “compressing” in the first instance, in my opinion). Try this simple experiment: stand on some bathroom scales and perform a golf swing. If you lower (in the backswing or forward swing) you will see your weight momentarily decrease then increase past your normal weight and then stabilise at your normal weight.
2. This weight unloading while lowering in the forward swing allows the hips to turn faster and hence further in the same time frame – put a golf shaft across your hips and perform hip turns while not lowering and then do it again while lowering – it doesnt matter if you lower by bending your knees (McIlroy) or bending at the waist (Tiger). You can turn your hips further and faster when you lower.
3. When the lowering stops – your hips load up and stop the hip turn more rapidly than if you didnt lower – so the “compression” or loading serves to slow down the hip turn – see the new Titleist Performance Institute(TPI) kinematic sequence graphs here http://web.me.com/jtclubs/JTClubs/3D_Swing_Analysis.html to illustrate this point – in the downswing the hips turn first and slow down first (slow before impact), then torso, then arms then the clubhead in sequence.
4 Faster hip turn followed by more rapid hip stop translates to higher clubhead speed due to the kinematic sequence as shown in the graphs in the web link mentioned above. Even a small increase in the height of the hip curve peak in the downswing multiplies to a big increase in clubhead speed.

Here are some predictions from this hypothesis:

1. A player that lowers early in the forward swing will be able to increase the hip curve peak on the TPI kinematic sequence test (I know that needs a lot of fancy equipment to prove -maybe TPI will do that for us?). Other things being equal – arm movement, wrist cock etc. that will translate to higher clubhead speed
2. Players that do not lower in the forward swing will either not be long hitters or will be larger and stronger than average and able to compensate with other elements of the kinematic sequence (Peter Hanson, Jason Day, Nick Faldo)
3. Shorter and lighter players that can hit the ball a long way (McIlroy, Player, Hogan) will have a sharp lowering movement in the forward swing.

My hypothesis could be disproved by:

1. The TPI curves showing no difference in the hip rotation peak with lowering (other factors equal)
2. The existence of a small lightweight player that can hit the ball consistently as far as larger good players who does not lower in the forward swing.

I cant see any particular advantage in lowering in the back swing other than maybe priming the body rythym to keep lowering into the forward swing.



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