Byron Nelson is sometimes described as the first truly modern swinger. But then weren't Snead's and Hogan's swings also 'modern'?
The quotes are intriguing indeed, especially the phrase "...I would just let it fall, with my feet and legs helping to carry it straight back through the ball." Nelson's swing must have been analzyed by hundreds of golf instructors and golf theorists. I wonder if any of them ever suggested that Nelson's power came from his legs and not from his shoulders and arms? Please note: the phrase quoted uses the words "legs helping to carry" rather than simply "legs carry".
Over my years in golf, when I tried to explain to people how (I thought) my Blake swing worked, numerous times I have been (confidently) told that human anatomy doesn't operate that way. They would assert that the legs are not connected to the upper body such that one could swing a golf club with speed exclusively with leg power. Sometimes they would go on to say that the main or only function of the legs is to stabilize the body. Some current swing theories do claim a power role for the 'lower body'; however, it's usually along the lines of 'coordinating' lower and upper body power, somehow 'adding' the two together to produce a more powerful swing than was possible with the upper body alone. Blake thought differently, of course, and I have often cited the example of Ben Hogan to show at least one other golfer having believed the lower body (Hogan said hips) could motivate the club by itself. In "Five Lessons" Hogan suggested a demo in which you try to pull the club down from the top by simply turning the hips--no arm or shoulder action. It should be noted that Hogan thought the hips should pull the club down to about waist level, not all the way to impact as Blake says. I find that if one's 'structure' (Peter's term) is set correctly, the club will move down a bit, but does that necessarily PROVE that the lower body can drag the club down AT SPEED?
When I'm swinging Blake I'm sure my legs move first. If the legs truly cannot 'drag' the upper body down, just what are my legs doing? I have speculated that, possibly, my leg movement 'triggers' a response (reflex action?) from my upper body--the stomach, back, torso, shoulders and arms. In other words the upper body is not actually being 'dragged' down but rather is overtly producing the swing's power in reflex to an initial leg movement. In this scenario, legs going first might be useful to begin the hip turn and move the hips out of the way of the downswing. If true, this might explain Richard Wax's perception that his initial leg movement is nothing more than "as if turning to speak with someone sitting next to you at dinner table." How can such a gentle turn produce a high speed golf swing?
How could Hogan and Blake have deceived themselves so thoroughly? Well, think about all the pros who are unable to tell others how their swing really works. Sometimes they try, and even write books, but when one reads the books, they say pretty much what others have previously said and the subtleties (the real secret?) of what makes their swings elite is missing.
If the Blake swing actually works in the way I speculated, does it really matter for those simply trying to learn the swing? I say: of course. For one thing, we'd lose all potential Blakeites who can't make themselves believe that the legs alone can move a golf club down and through at relatively high speed. The most important reason, however, is: while learning, if a Blakeite spends a lot of time trying to make sure of the 'connection' between lower and upper body, it would be a waste of time.
What do you think?
Side Note: I think Lord Byron's eleven straight PGA tour wins will be (by far) the most difficult record for Tiger to break. Even if he could bring his 'A game' to eleven straight tournaments, an unlikely feat, and considering the large number and high quality of today's tour pros, somewhere along the way, another pro will play 'out of his mind' over a single weekend to keep Nelson's record intact. SD
This message has been edited by Snakedoc on Apr 1, 2008 2:32 AM This message has been edited by Snakedoc on Mar 31, 2008 3:45 PM