Minimalist Golf Swing – by the numbers
How to acquire better ball-striking?
- How the Minimalist Golf Swing helps you hit the ball Further. Straighter. Higher. Consistently.
- Is YOUR swing backed by science and research?
- The Minimalist Golf Swing – lives up to its tagline AND is the ONLY golf swing put to the test
For a moment, forget everything you know about the golf swing. Understand that if somehow you can get your club to arrive at the ball on an inside-out path at maximum speed, you will hit the ball further, straighter and higher; do it more consistently; and reduce the loads acting on your joints so that you are less likely to get swing-related injury. The Minimalist Golf Swing (MGS) has taken all the guesswork of generations of anecdotal, subjective teaching to give you cutting-edge science backed by continuous research. How can I test whether I have an in-to-out path?
Find a place where you can hit real golf balls and then retrieve them – for instance, into a net. Use a sharpie marker to draw a circle around a ball. Place the ball so that the circle lies along the target line, noting which side of the ball faces upwards. Rub the sharpie across your clubface, then hit the ball before the markings can dry up. Retrieve your ball, place it back on the ground with the correct side up and the circle on the ball once again lying along the target line, and look at the markings. Chances are the markings are more prominent on the OUTSIDE of the ball (on the side of the sharpie-circle furthest from you). This is the sign that you do not arrive at the ball from the inside. Your clubface, therefore, is smothering the best possible launch angle you could create and possibly giving you side-spin as your club moves drastically inside the target-line past impact. This out-to-in club movement is also a sign that during the downswing your shoulders rotated before your hips, so you are unable to generate maximum club speed from your big trunk and torso muscles. How should I arrive at the ball from the inside which will give me better direction as well as distance?
The MGS is designed to not just help you deliver your club to the ball from an inside path at maximum possible speed, but to actively prevent mis-sequencing of the body parts. What that means for you the golfer is that even when you are aroused or fatigued and you are not able to repeat well-learned firing patterns, your body is positioned so as to avoid the less-desirable movements of the downswing. So, simply trust in, and use, the MGS which has been tested through many research projects, big and small, published and not published, at all stages of its development. The MGS movements have been researched and refined since 1993, but increasingly so over the past 6 years since I started an MS program in sports science and then PhD coursework, in all possible subjects related to human movement. Being in graduate level course-work has also offered more opportunities and equipment for research. I have had so many lessons, watched hundreds of tips on TV, read all the magazines, nothing has worked. Why should I trust this new method?
It is never a good idea to trust blindly. Therefore, look at the recent research projects on the MGS to understand why it is a good swing for every skill level of golfer. Electromyography study, late 2015:
Electromyography (EMG) records the electrical activity of muscles, and is thus an indication of the level of a muscle’s activation. The greater the electrical signal, the more active a muscle is. Typically this converts directly to more force produced by a movement. This study was performed on 12 golfers, 9 male and 3 female, ranging in age from 18 to 73, with handicaps from 7.6 to 18. They participated in a single session in which the electrical activity level of five important muscles of the golf swing were tested. All five muscles tested were right side ones (all participants were right-handed), and have been studied previously by several researchers, as they are important for the golf swing. The golfers performed 5 shots with their existing swings using their five iron club and then their driver. After a brief lesson and hitting about 15 or so balls with the new MGS swing, participants once again hit five shots each with their 5-iron and driver clubs. Data analysis was conducted making a “time-normalized ensemble average” of 5 swings x 12 participants x 5 muscles x 2 clubs, giving the study good “power”. In simple terms the above phrases mean that each swing was divided into 100 equal segments (so that slower and faster swings can be suitably compared) and then an average was taken of 60 swings per muscle per club. “Power” is an indication of how meaningful a study’s results are. A brief summary of important results:
The external oblique muscle is a powerful torso rotator, and was found to be at a higher activation level throughout the back and down-swings with the MGS movement. This can be said to imply that it was stretched more during the backswing and thus contracted more forcefully during the downswing, delivering better body rotation.
The pectoralis major is a flexor or the shoulder (moving the upper-limb in front of the body). Once again this muscle’s activity followed a similar trend as the participants’ existing swings, but at a higher level of activation throughout. It may be stated that golfers were able to use this muscle to a greater extent with the MGS, indicating greater trail arm activation, especially when it would be most useful - during late downswing.
The gluteus maximum’s main role in a “typical” swing is to forcefully straighten (extend) a bent (flexed) hip, and previous research shows that it is most forceful during the early downswing. With the MGS, as the hip joints remain fairly straight (extended) throughout the swing, so this muscle was less active at all stages of the back and through swings. The MGS does not use hip flexion at any stage, allowing the pelvis to remain level throughout, and thus permitting pure pelvic rotation for more speed during the downswing.
Two other muscles considered to be involved in the golf swing are the latissimus dorsi and the biceps femoris, but their contributions with both the participants’ existing swings and the MGS swings were different for their five irons and their drivers, so are not discussed here. Seniors’ study 2016:
This study was open to golfers over 50, and measured their ball-flight using a launch monitor to measure ball speed, ball starting direction, and ball launch angle. The participants had their existing swings measured for two sets of 10 shots, and then received a series of 10 lessons. Ball flight was measured during sessions five and six and once again during sessions nine and ten. One already assessed result:
Ball-flight results have not yet been analyzed. However, participants were asked to respond to a questionnaire assessing their motivation to participate in golf before, and at the end of, the study. The questionnaire is called the Sports Motivation Scale II, and assesses an overall level of motivation as well as motivation within six categories – intrinsic, integrated, identified, introjected, external and amotivation (lack of motivation). The age range of 14 participants was 56 to 77, with an average age of 67. Their overall motivation increased from 47 to 53 and their amotivation improved from -22 to -20. Although both showed an improvement, neither was statistically significant. Intrinsic motivation, or self-motivation to participate in golf, increased significantly (p<0.05), going from 53 before to 56 after the study. It may be said that adopting the MGS increased participants’ motivation to play golf.