July 30th, 2012

Long Drive Regionals in St Louis, July 2012

Most long-drivers do not take golf lessons. (Based on survey information collected at the recent long-drive regional qualifier in St Louis). They miss 6 out of 6 shots to a grid 50 yards wide, and blame it on everything possible such as bad luck, bad weather, poor mental preparation, cracked driver etc. etc. They NEVER blame it on swing mechanics. Are they gamblers at heart and not true golfers? They hit endless rounds of six-shots at $40 a pop and keep trying to make it from the Locals to the Regionals, and most of them put in hours and hours a week on fitness training and golf practice, but sometimes do not even hit one of six shots in the grid. How to tell them that it's mainly their mechanics that are faulty. They're trying to make the longest possible levers by going up on the lead toe during the backswing, getting their arms and hands up to the sky, and then they hope to dump all that body mass down at the exact spot where it's required in the fraction of a second when the club is attempting a passing acquaintance with the ball!   How will this Long Driver return his club to the ball? What 'undo' movements does he need to make? He must rotate his body forward, drop his right side/trunk down, allow his very elevated right upper-arm to drop closer to the body, do work against gravity to bring his clubshaft back to a ten o'clock or so position (which is its position of maximum potential energy), rotate and then straighten his lead knee and plant back his lead heel. (Not to mention a change of wrist position and fore-arm position!) If he does not time all these movements correctly, or if they overshoot (ie. rotation does not stop in time to allow the arms to drop down from the inside), he spins around his trail thigh and hits the ball crooked! Big deal that he has the capacity to hit it 360 or more yards on the fly! The question is whether he can do it to order. Another one pasted below. How many separate joints does he move? And, how many muscles must act as prime movers, synergists, stabilizers and antagonists for such complex movements? Are all the moved joints able to return to impact in correct sequence?

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