Cartwheeling and Leverage

February 7 2006 at 1:08 AM
Snakedoc  (Login Snakedoc)
Blake Moderator Emeritus

Response to Re: Dragging

Blake's exploits in WWII alone would make a good movie. Here is the story to which I think you're referring.

"At that time nobody had ditched a Spitfire in the sea and come out alive. The problems involved, however, had been exercising Mindy's mind for some time, particularly since he had seen Paddy Finucane, the legendary Irish ace, disappear forever beneath the Channel waves. He had worked out that the retarding force applied to a pilot's body when a Spitfire hit the water and stopped was from five to seven Gs, which meant you were either killed instantly or you were rendered unconscious and drowned. He also hit upon a method which he was confident would reduce the G-force to around one-and-a-half, thus giving a pilot a reasonable chance of survival.

"Seven miles off the coast, just as his Spitfire was about to hit the water, he tilted one wing-tip deliberately in the sea and cartwheeled the aircraft. A few minutes later he was safely in his inflatable dinghy and paddling for the English coast. With the aid of a following wind, he had already made more than five miles when search aircraft passed overhead an hour later on their way to look for him. They searched all day without success, constantly droning through the sky over his head. He was finally picked up twelve hours after the ditching, by which time he had paddled to within two miles of the Isle of Wight."

The term 'cartwheel' is reminiscent of Blake's idea of a more vertical, pendulum-like golf swing in which the club is taken as straight back as possible with lead arm coming inside minimally. He thought this more sensible than taking the club around the body and figured it would result in more squareness through the hitting zone. Regarding sequential transmission, I previously thought this was what Mindy had in mind with power being transmitted from the legs through the intervening muscles to the hands, in the manner of kinetic linking. However, Richard Wax told me Blake thought of the connection between legs and hands to be 'direct', a 'mechanical' connection if you will, such that any movement of legs would move arms/hands. This may have been what he meant in GtTB with his statement that his well forward trail elbow position 'allows the legs to lever the hands'. According to Mindy, this notion had been in use for years in field athletics, but no one had applied it to golf . My present interpretation of his underlying idea is that it's possible to set up a 'mechanical' connection between legs and arms/hands, and enhance this connection with leverage (mechanical advantage) due to his unique trail elbow position. This may help explain why he thought pressure from the legs, connected directly to the arms/hands, would apply pressure to the club shaft and ball. Where he went awry was in thinking pressure on the shaft would result in clubhead staying on ball longer through impact. The physicists tell us the amount of time club and ball are in contact is too little for pressure to make any difference. Jim

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