Thanks to Roger Judd and Peter Dillard we now have actual film of Mindy swinging. Roger made this film in the 1970s and Peter uploaded it to our forum video album. It's the first video on the album. Mindy was hitting balls (probably into a net) in his back yard ("back garden" the Brits would say) in Virginia Water, Surrey, England. SD
cd, The first time I watched Mindy hit balls was before he adopted the open stance so he looked more conventional at address. His setup routine was quite similar to that of Richard Wax and unvarying from shot to shot. His swing motion was smooth and graceful, but what impressed most was the sound at contact. It was very close to that intimidating "crack" of a professional golfer's club making contact with a golf ball. When he died in 1981 he had been playing low-handicap golf up until his heart illness felled him. If he had lived, say 15 more years, in light of greater knowledge of the physics and kinesiology of the golf swing, it would be fascinating to know whether he might have written a third book and continued to adhere to (or altered) his "pressure" theory and his idea that the legs were the sole source of his swing power. As you know, Richard is still a "true believer." Jim
Great to see this re-mastered cine film. I had in fact seen it before, in 1987, but it means a good deal more to me now.
What particularly strikes me is Mindy's very limited shoulder turn but trying this out yesterday produced a swing that was a good deal closer to his compared to my normal swing (with its greater shoulder turn, its lifting up during the backswing and general uncertainty about how the trail arm should be used).
I have to get used to the much shorter backswing but I now have much more hope of really being able to execute a true reflex swing. The majority of my shots with either an 8 or a 6 iron were very solid and my chipping demonstrated almost perfect Mindy Blake trail arm action.
Very intriguing that you saw this film in 1987. Do you mean this particular piece of film, which, to my understanding, was made by Roger Judd in the 1970s? Where did you come across the film you saw? What is your opinion as to the similarity of Mindy's swing to that of Richard Wax?
I don't think of Mindy's shoulder turn as being particularly limited and it would seem that to achieve full "stretching" of the "transmission" muscles between the legs and hands, the shoulders should turn as fully as the golfer is capable. However, Blake certainly did not turn his shoulders to the extent common among modern professional golfers. However, his backswing does look short--it's almost like a 3/4 swing in terms of how far back he took the club. In an exchange I once had with Roger he told me that he and Mindy deliberately tried to shorten their backswings but still attain full power. I think one could attain full power only with a full shoulder turn.
As to the use of the trail arm, when I hit my best reflex swing shots, the trail arm feels as if it is simply an integral part of the "dragging" action initiated by the legs. There seems to be no overt action by the trail arm--it's just going along for the ride until physics intervenes and "releases" in accordance with conservation of angular momentum. I cannot be certain that my initial leg action provides the power (solely Mindy would say) or whether the leg action only "triggers" action by my upper body.
My big problem with Blake's swing has mainly been mastering the longer clubs, ie, anything longer than a five iron doesn't work as well for me. Of course, to some extent most amateurs have greater difficulty with longer clubs. Forum member Tom tried the Blake swing in the 1970s and reports that he had success only with shorter clubs. Have you experienced this phenomenon? I seem to remember that, in Dallas, you were hitting some long clubs, including woods, pretty straight and powerfully. Jim
It was exactly this piece of film that I saw in 1987. Roger Judd lent it to me in the form of a video.
I was getting super results earlier today on the driving range thinking (as per GTTB, beneath figures 15 & 16) of swinging my trunk and arms as far to the right as I can at the top of the backswing. Not going for a shoulder turn as such !!
Is a much reduced shoulder turn a key aspect of a Blake swing, the thing that distinguishes it from a conventional swing ?? GTTB, page 19 in my copy, towards the end of the introduction by Harry Weaver is interesting in this respect. He talks of Mindys reaction to criticism that only a very supply person could perform a full shoulder turn without turning their hips. He says that Mindy thought that he had discovered a radically different type of shoulder turn. I admit that elsewhere Mindy talks of a full shoulder turn but GTTB, figure 15 certainly does not show this.
To answer your other questions:
I am generally very comfortable with woods albeit I like them to have a bit of loft (eg. 12 degrees for the driver) but I can understand how others can have problems with the longer clubs and attempts at a Blake swing (probably involving coming into impact with an open clubface).
I guess that on the basis of my new theory on limited shoulder turn, Richard Wax differs from Mindy in that he turns his shoulders to a greater extent. Richard also has more crossing of his hands after impact than Mindy (or for that matter even me). I suggest that Richard and I need to get together for another game sometime soon !!
Blake did make reference to a different type of shoulder turn in GTTB which he likened to that of skimming a stone across water. He wrote: "...the shoulder turn involved in skimming a stone across water--is very close to the way the body works in the swing I am about to describe." In his description of setting up for skimming a stone he said, "...the shoulders are slightly open and the pelvis is thrust forward." About the skimming action itself he wrote, "The shoulders, which started to turn with the hips, continue to turn after the hips have stopped." Later, in the Backswing section: "The shoulders complete a 90-degree turn from square after the hips have stopped and the movement is the same as the stone-skimmer's turn, a simple athletic movement." These words do not suggest a limited shoulder turn, however, I agree that the drawing in figure 15 does not seem to depict a full 90-degree shoulder turn, but in the words acccompanying figure 15 he wrote, "At the top of the swing I feel I have swung the trunk and arms as far to the right as I can, using the legs as a counterbalance." Swinging the trunk and arms as far to the right "as I can" would seem to produce a full shoulder turn, especially by a person of Blake's suppleness. In my own instinctive way of skimming a stone, my inclination is to "whip" my right arm, rather than "drag" with the legs, as I come down from the top to let the stone fly.
As to whether a limited shoulder turn is a key aspect of the reflex swing, I surmise that Blake would see the trail elbow position and use of the legs as the sole source of power to be the key aspects. However, with GTTB and his adoption of a Lee Trevino-style open stance, he thought he had found a solution to the problem of a good hip-shoulder relationship at address such that the hips will not turn with the shoulders and "collapse." By starting with the hips open, related to the shoulders, the hips can only turn back to about square at the top. The "super results" you have been getting with a more limited shoulder turn is intriguing. Do you find that your backswing is shorter with the more limited shoulder turn? Please keep us posted on your progress.
How did you make contact with Roger Judd in 1987, before the days of email, Internet and such? I notice in Harry Weaver's introduction the following: "He [Blake] also received a number of requests for a home movie of his method." Could Roger's film have been a partial answer to that request? Weaver also mentioned a golfer from the Midlands who drove 300 miles every Friday for several months to spend a half hour hitting balls under Blake's critical eye. Might this have been Roger Judd?
Mr Weaver also co-authored the book 'Suicide by Socialism' in the late seventies, seemingly having struck a common note with Mindy. I've unavailingly tried to get a copy of the book with the foreboding title. Any insight, anyone?