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Calling on Herbert

October 25 2009 at 9:16 AM
JK  (Login brutus37)

Hi. Here is something you have said that I thought was interesting
(your previous post) "I have combined Trahan with Simple Swing.."

I played 18 yesterday. Wet, fall conditions and a strong wind made the course almost unplayable. It was very hard to judge how well my swing was working. The back nine was a perfect opportunity to change it up since the scorecard was reflecting the crappy conditions. I remembered what you said about your swing experimentation "Symple-Trahan"?

I Know the SS well and I am comfortable with the swing philosophy. So, I gave the "Herbert Symple Swing Trahan" a try. Not bad results. I really felt that I was making solid contact and compressing the ball. And, the ball flight was boring with good trajectory. I did, however, blocked a few shots. I guess I wasn't following thru.

It is still working for you?


(Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

Don't mean to

October 25 2009, 11:47 AM 

hijack the thread...well I guess I do/am since you called for Herbert and here I am.

JK - It probably isn't "still working" for Herbert. As he has posted here often he is always jumping around, as he feels this helps him play better. So he probably is onto something else.

The time to make changes and switches is not during the middle of round. The course, the match and the challenge of actually playing reveal the true state of our game and swing....most am's hit it worse on the course / during a match than they do on the range.

There is a BIG need for each golfer to acquire a physical swing that as Bertholy says becomes a "conditioned response," or as I like to say, a swing you don't have to think about - "a swing you will never forget". When you get to that point, you are freed to focus on the playing and enjoyment of the game.

In an event that has a total elapsed time of no more than 1.5 seconds, it is impossible to try and consciously manipulate or change things "on the fly" during the actual execution phase of the swing. Like wise, when on the course, you must "dance with what you brung" and focus on playing. To try and make changes midstream in the middle of match is not advisable. On this there is almost universal agreement amongst a wide variety of teachers, coaches and instructors - Penick, Rotela, Mumford, Bertholy, Valiante, Kostis...to name a few.

(Login brutus37)


October 25 2009, 1:17 PM 

Thanks for the response. I think it is very helpful to get perspective on this complicated game called "flog". Oh, wait...

I agree to switch during a game is not advisable. And, You should not make changes during a round. But, remember what I said about the playing conditions.

I have been playing for many years. I came to point where I could consistently shoot in the low 90s but could not break the 80s barrier. So, I took many lessons (different post entirely) but did not improve. Switching to other swings gave me hope on lowering my score. Most swing theories had helpful tips and ideas. The one that I replaced my old "go to" swing is Stack and Tilt. I have been playing with this swing off and on for over 2 years now and can bring that swing out at will and be consistent. Now I shoot in the mid-high 80s. But can I do better? Can I break into the 70s?

Symple Swing has tremendous merits and great testimonies by experienced and beginner golfers alike. Trahan is more conventional and reminds us of the basics liking alignment and correction. Both swings have strong merits and flaws.

No one knows my swing, with its strengths and weaknesses, better than me. I think there something out there that is more of a fit for my body type and ability But, how could I know unless I try? I want better. I want that 70s mark.

What do you think?


(Login gHerbert)
SAGF Members 2001

Re: Don't mean to

October 27 2009, 12:27 AM 

most am's hit it worse on the course / during a match than they do on the range.

I used to believe that but I am not so sure anymore. I see folks hitting the ball solid on the range but way off line and not thinking anything of it. In other words a guy might hit a shot that would be in the left bunker on the course causing great consternation accompanied by club slamming and cursing while on the range it is a 'good' shot. LOL on the other hand I have watched some guys hit some pretty bad shots one after another on the range. I have had days where I hit it better on the course then on the range though I know that in my case most any crappy shots that I might hit on the range will show up on the course at some point.

Regards, Herbert


(Login gHerbert)
SAGF Members 2001

Never fear for I am here!

October 25 2009, 10:26 PM 

Anybody else watch Mighty Mouse while growing up?

Yep I am still using my version of SS with Trahan though it is really very little SS other then the grip. The best thing about the swing is that it does not hurt my back. I do have problems with my grip in that it seems to slip around between strong and less strong. I guess that I need to work on solidifying my grip. Keeping everything the same is really critical to playing consistently...

Regards, Herbert

(Login brutus37)

That is what is nice about Trahan's tips

October 26 2009, 9:52 PM 

You can mix and match.

It is funny about what you said earlier that you use SS grip but Trahan setup. I use the Trahan grip and the SS setup. SS "baseball" stance helps me to limit lower body action.

My setup and swing is very simplistic and easy to duplicate. I just swing back to the catchers mitt and up the tree. Swinging around my body or on the path causes me, at times to come inside too much.

Limited play and on the range has shown I can get some power out of my swing with this mix and match of the 2 different systems. We will see if it holds up.

(Login rustyredcab)

Mix and Match -- I don't get it

October 27 2009, 11:22 AM 

I don't get the concept of mixing and matching swing concepts that so many talk about on this BB. How do you guys know when to give up and add or change something? I read about adding a grip from one teacher and a set up from another and wishing you could shot scores in the 80's. Wouldn't we all be better off following one concept until we are in the 70's and 80's and then feeling like we can create our own swings?

I am so much more in favor of choosing a model and working toward that swing. My good buddy is finally planning to convert to SA swing (Swing Like Moe). He has asked for my help so we are going to work on it together this winter. I am a Swing Like Moe fan and student. My buddy and I have agreed that he needs to pick a method and model and stick with it. He has a hard time staying in the 90's and rarely breaks into the 80's. Until he's in the 70's, there is no way he should choose how to tweak his swing no matter how compelling that Golf Digest tip or some new idea on a BB sounds.

One guy's opinion.

Do most of you have a plan for what you want your swing to look like? When do you decide that adding some new swing idea is and creating your own unique swing is the way to go? Do you tweakers use video to see what you are really doing?


from 18.0 to 13.2 with NG
from 13.2 to 8.3 with GGA

(Login brutus37)

Comes down to ability

October 27 2009, 2:16 PM 

"Mix and Match" is probably a poor choice of words. But, you would have to agree that every person has their own unique swing signature. I use Stack and Tilt quite a bit yet my swing never remotely resembled Baddeley or Weir when they were using it.

"Swing Like Moe" is the perfect person to answer this question. His swing is based on what he can do physically.


(Login rustyredcab)

Thanks but no thanks to that unique swing signature

October 28 2009, 4:29 PM 

Unless one has some physical reason they can not move the club (hip replacement that did not work, fused spine, left arm that can not straighten, etc.) I do not believe that we all need unique swing signatures. I can not physically do what Tiger Woods does because I am not as flexible or strong. But I can do what most of the SA people discussed here do. And, in my case, I can do what Moe did. I do not but I am physically able.

I think of Coach Wooden teaching kids how to shoot a free throw at basketball camp. They would all look the same. Only as they feel they can improve upon the tried-and-true form, do they create a unique free-throw signature. Usually with mixed or bad results. Sometime after Coach Wooden we all became consumed with individual style.

Want to use tennis? My father-in-law learned the game in the 50's. He was a b+ player. He was small and not very athletic except for tennis. If you saw him play, he looked like a tennis instruction book. Every stroke was classic and perfect form. By the time I was learning the game, we were encouraged to be unique. I wish I'd have learned solid, boring, perfect strokes like he had.

I hear the argument for mixing and matching and I am more convinced that everyone reading this would be better served to pick a method and master it -- no matter which one it is.


from 18.0 to 13.2 with NG
from 13.2 to 8.3 with GGA


(Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

Tinkering Thinking

October 27 2009, 4:26 PM 

Russ good post. I have thought alot about this over the years and have finally come up with a name for it - "Tinkering Thinking" - rhymes with Stinking Thinking (sort of) so more politically correct. happy.gif

There are several things about Tinkering Thinking that are interesting.

The first and most overlooked fact is that most people don't understand what it takes to learn - I mean really learn - something. I mean learn it so we don't have to give it a second thought - or even a first thought for that matter! To be more correct, they understand, cause they have done it 100s of times in their lives to learn other tasks. But when it comes to learning golf, they forget to utilize the same process. We are wired to learn things a certain, and that doesnt change just because it is a golf swing.

Several months ago, Ham posted a non golf study that documented the number of hours and repetitions someone has to put in learning a task before they achieve expert status. The number is staggering. And before somebody jumps in, I KNOW not all of us want to achieve expert status in our swing and our game. However it is still true that for something to become so ingrained so that it is a habit something we can do without thinking about it takes lots of repetitions. So what happens is someone starts in on Trahan, or Stack and Tilt, Or NG, or IMAand before they have put in the required work they quit they have a bad round, or two, or even whole season it doesnt work and they are off to the next system. We all know this to be true most of us from personal experience!

The second thing is that most people really have no idea on what really makes the golf swing tick. So they are beholden to the next best thing syndrome. Hogan and Bertholy said it over four decades ago and it is still true today to have a good swing is within the capability of 95% of all golfers, all that is really necessary is mastery of a few fundamentals. People that are always changing often dont know what those fundamentals are, and if they do havent mastered the fundamentals. These fundamentals could be compared to the basic structure of a home whereas the model of the home, and its layout, interior decorating, and furnishings could be compared to the various swing methods, the golfers style and his her approach to the game. They are trying to live in a house that isnt finished!

These two phenomena happen because of a third belief - spurned on in part by the golf instruction industry itself. Most people believe that the golf swing is incredibly complex, and that it is folly to try and distill the golf swing down into a few absolutes that can be learned by most anyone. This belief is so innate as to actually hinder some people from ever making a true quantum leap in their golf performance. Brother to this is the refusal to believe that the golf swing can be executed with the same unthinking detachment and unconscious execution that we employ to do countless other tasks like driving a car, or typing this post, or like that boogie woogie pianist and his two dancers that Rem posted about awhile back.

Its like the idiot Mayor of Cleveland said - "It's not that we don't know what the problems are. We've known them for years. It's not that we don't know what the solutions are. We've known those for years. The problem is we haven't done anything about it."

Lack of Knowledge + Lack of Effort + Lack of Belief = Lack Of Progress.


(Login gHerbert)
SAGF Members 2001

Re: Tinkering Thinking

October 28 2009, 2:27 AM 

Also it is true that we who sometimes switch methods often bring the same swing faults to each method making the method doomed to failure. This is in the same vein as failing to master the fundamentals as you mentioned.

I am able to change methods very quickly and the changes are visible on video. It is fascinating to me that many folks cannot do this. For instance I remember reading an article by Arnold Palmer describing how he made a swing change with his driver to hit the ball higher back in the early sixties. The change was small something on the order of moving the ball position further forward. It took Arnold a long time I think something like 6 months to get the change grooved in. I am guessing that it took Palmer such a long time to make the change because he was playing in habit mode and he needed to establish a new habit. LOL I could and have made that change in 5 minutes! Not with the same result though.

The funny thing about my game is that I believe that I could become a player and end all of the experimenting in a fairly short time by making one fundamental change. All I need to do is play golf and practice every day for a while! I would narrow my swing down to what worked and didnt hurt pdq. LOL anybody out there want to sponsor such an experiment??? Actually I feel that I am sort of heading down this path now as I am settling on certain things that dont hurt my back and do produce acceptable results. Perhaps there is hope!

Hmmm, I guess that the problem is in always thinking that there is a better way then what ever I am currently doing. LOL I suppose that is fueled somewhat by the golf instruction industry!

I am starting to really understand something that I have said for years and that is that no golf method is necessarily better then all the rest. I suppose that some might be better for some folks then others. I have often wondered if any of the swing gurus themselves ever doubt their method? Does JK ever wonder if maybe he did not actually come up with the greatest physics discovery in the history golf? Or do the Graves bros every wonder if maybe their interpretation of Moe is not really best way to swing? Or maybe Hank Haney might go to bed at night thinking that maybe his model is not really the best way to swing? Or Tom Sanders, Scott Hazledine, Brian Manzella, Don Trahan or . LOL they can't all be right can they?

Thinking about it the average golfer really has no chance if he or she tries to improve by watching videos and reading magazines! There is always another method that is guaranteed to reap results in no time at all! The grass is always greener...

Regards, Herbert


(Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

Here's an example

October 28 2009, 8:38 AM 

Following are stills from two different swings...i posted them earlier this year. One swing is CG golf with the grip alignment etc...the other is my SA swing. Left is CG right is SA.

Notice top of swing differences:

[linked image]

Notice the SAME FUNDAMENTAL move here found in all good swings:

[linked image]

Notice similar look post impact:

[linked image]

So I use two completely different set-ups, two completely different swings, but at the key points I look the same, because I mastered that WHICH IS COMMON TO ALL SWINGS. And no, neither of these were "wiped" happy.gif- both were dead solid straight.

This message has been edited by mcirishman57 on Oct 28, 2009 8:52 AM
This message has been edited by mcirishman57 on Oct 28, 2009 8:49 AM

(Login brutus37)

Your CG swing

October 28 2009, 10:03 AM 

I am not in your league in the knowledge of the game but your CG swing looks a little unusual.

The most obvious is your bent arm. Also, it looks like you have shifted your head quite a bit to trail side on the back swing. You must have exceptional peripheral vision if you can still see the ball at the top of the back swing. Your chin SEEMS to be more pointed down. This is not recommended in a CG swing except Stack and Tilt (fundamental) causing your shoulder to bump into your jaw rather than going under. I also noticed that you have a slight "sit down" motion on your down swing (a Tiger move).

I would say the reason you hit it "dead straight solid" is because you may have above exceptional athletic ability.

I see that in both of your swings, you keep your trail foot planted at impact. May I ask why? I have been working on this a little because I tend to spin out a little.

BTW, the sky is blue and the grass is green happy.gif


(Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

Well, very true

October 28 2009, 4:41 PM 

my arm does bend but so what, that makes the point even more - which was that there can be lotsa variance, but not in the fundamentals...Daly bends his arm for example.

I don't expect my CG swing to be "textbook" - what is "textbook" anyway? If I wanted to swing with a CG grip and setup, I would spend more time on it and perhaps address some of those issues you mention. I was just trying to show that you can start out very differently, but when it comes to certain events in the swing we all look alike:

[linked image]

[linked image]

And as for me having exceptional athletic ability ummm - well....you haven't been around here very long have you? happy.gif I have been posting my swing pics for awhile now.....you wouldn't say what you did if you could see those early ones! Just ask CD, Herbert, Rem, Peter...they've seen my 100's shooter swing! My swing is FAR from Expert...but it is a HELLUVA lot better than it was. It got that way because I worked on it.

Besides, athletic ability can be an asset, but it is no guarantee that you will have a great swing...just ask Michael Jordan...Ken Griffey...or Roger Federer...all great athletes...not great golf swings. If they want a great swing they will have to apply the same principles to that that anyone else does to have one.

(Login gHerbert1)

Re: Here's an example

October 28 2009, 9:18 PM 


[linked image]

Regards, Herbert

(Login birdbump)

Tinker, tinker

October 28 2009, 7:12 AM 

There is no one best method. In most hitting sports
(tennis, ping pong, baseball) the hitter has several
different methods to master to be an expert. There are
serves, top-spins, lobs, bunts, hit-and-runs, etc.

I love the tinkering "method" and will probably
stick with it.happy.gif But maybe I'll tinker with it.

I always admired the hall-of-fame pitcher Juan Marichal
who came overhand, underhand, sidearm, high kick, low kick,
slow, fast, curve, slider, fastball, change, etc. and
almost always got his man.

(Login allenws)
SAGF Members 2000


October 28 2009, 12:58 PM 

I'll go Mac one even better by suggesting that the golf swing can be broken down into the following simple concept:

[linked image]

If you can get yourself into these three positions most of the time during a full swing with every club, you will be a fine ball striker. The only golf swing instruction needed is to teach you how to get into these positions, which represent the true fundamentals of golf. The "methods" teach style and while its important to find a style you like, style in and of itself, will not help you reach these positions.

Unfortunately, it will take hundreds if not thousands of hours of practice to accomplish these fundamentals, and why most give up and focus on style instead. The irony is that most of us spend those hundreds and thousands of hours practicing style, but it is a different style every year, which never gets us any closer to learning the fundamentals.


(Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

Where's Bdog's Gallery ( Bobky)

October 28 2009, 4:08 PM 

When we need it? It was an excellent of this very same thing, showing Moe, Mindy Blake, All kinds of golfers that swing all different ways hitting this same move. Alas, my pic is on my broken laptop. C'mon Bobky or Peter, I KNOW you have one. Here's mine, not near as complete as Bdog's gallery, but all the great ones look the same from here on out:

[linked image] [linked image]

Allen - within this one simple fundamental move you just posted are several other fundamentals.....got to have them too!


(Premier Login sagf_moderator)
Forum Owner

Here's another one....

October 30 2009, 5:40 PM 

[linked image]



(Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

Thats it! Thanks!

October 30 2009, 10:32 PM 

So we have BGG, IMA, Moe, Mike Austin, Mindy Blake, and a couple of well know "CG" golfers....several decades represented too....

(Login rickv)
SAGF Members 2006

Bdog gallery-

November 16 2009, 2:21 PM 

Peter - the pics are gone from your post. I did a search and can't find them easily either. I did read where I thought you stated after 5-7 days the images are gone. I really want to show a friend these images... is there anywhere can I find them? Or a re-post please?


(Login mcirishman57)
SAGF Members 2001

I made sure I copied it this time! Enjoy!

November 16 2009, 2:57 PM 

[linked image]

(Login Snowman9000)
SAGF Members 2006

I agree

October 27 2009, 8:17 PM 

Maybe some very good students of the game can mix and match and come up with a good swing. I couldn't even do it between NG-GGA-IMA. I finally realized that IMA was what felt good for me.

With all the methods, I kept trying to make adjustments to suit my preferences. Sometimes they worked, until they didn't. When the swing didn't work, I had no model to fall back on for troubleshooting. I had to keep improvising. "Let's see what a wider stance will do. No, let's try moving the ball position. No, let's try a stronger grip". Etc. etc.

I've worked diligently this season to learn IMA. I made a pocket journal of the key points for me to check and remember. It paid off in my scores. And also when my swing goes bad in a round, because now I have a few key thoughts to try to get it back. As the season is ending, I have not gotten out much and am very rusty. I went out today, had a terrible swing but just played for the slice. I was trying to work my way through the key thoughts and finally found the problem, and finished decently. This would not have been possible with my old mix and match approach. I would have been doing as above, let's try this, let's try that.

That's my story.


(Login gHerbert)
SAGF Members 2001

Re: Mix and Match -- I don't get it

November 5 2009, 9:59 PM 

You are probably correct in that it is generally better to stick with one method or teacher but on the other hand I don't think that it matters much what your 'swing looks like'. There are a few basic fundamentals that need to be correct and after that most of it is window dressing. The folks selling you a swing method want you to believe that you must do exactly what they say and nothing else but I think it is more important to get the few things right. Of course whether or not you get the few things right when you pay a lot of money for videos and books is another question altogether...

As for your buddy and you working together on his swing I am interested in hearing how that works out. I have done a lot of that sort of thing over the years with rather mixed results. I would advise you to never work on your own game while you are trying to help him. For instance if you go the driving range with him leave your clubs at home and concentrate on his swing. Also use video. Good luck!

Regards, Herbert


(Login gHerbert)
SAGF Members 2001

Re: That is what is nice about Trahan's tips

October 27 2009, 12:54 PM 

Trahan and SS do have huge differences. SS is a shoulder plane swing and uses the shoulders to whip the club through the ball. It sounds like you are using more of the Trahan arm swing idea? Do you pop up at the finish with all of your weight on the lead side like Trahan recommends or do you fire an fall back like SS?

I had a really hard time with SS. I could do it at times but never for very long and when I did get it 'right' my lead hip and knee would hurt and my back would hurt also. I did hit the ball far using that system when I got it right. I actually think that SS was the most difficult swing to perform of any that I tried. I suspect that a large part of that is all of the training that I did for so long on shifting weight and finishing on the lead side. Possibly SS is easier for someone who starts out as a beginner using it...

My mental problem now is with the grip. LOL, I have to figure out if the SS lead hand in the palm works better then a more conventional grip. Also, just how strong do I want the lead hand? With the 3 finger overlap it becomes difficult to keep the trail hand in SA alignment when the lead hand gets a little weaker. It seems that for me there are a lot of grips that work well with this swing it just a matter of sticking with one or another!

I am really happy with the swing overall though. I have modified the posture a bit to protect my back by standing closer to the ball and more upright. Other then that the swing idea is pretty much what Trahan preaches.

Regards, Herbert

(Login brutus37)

Shoulders and arms

October 27 2009, 1:58 PM 

My past and current swing(s) has always been a combination of shoulders and arms. My shoulders give me the power and arms for trajectory/path. If I just use my arms, I suffer a bit in distance and become erratic when I crank up the power.

SS also has caused me pain with the back. In order to alleviate some of the stress, I don't exaggerate the setup/stance and I let me rear hip turn in the back swing. I also do 15 minute stretching exercises before every round. Stretching has helped my back tremendously.

I was never able to handle the SS strong grip. It is much easier for me just to do a standard, neutral grip. The biggest reason I didn't stay with SS is that my driver distance and accuracy was terrible. Irons shots were pretty decent.

(Login rofox)


October 27 2009, 10:17 PM 

Hi Herbert,
Question: With more like Trahan, are you using an arm swing now, or pure centrifugal,, or a combo of each?
With SS, I had a hard time keeping the right arm/hand out of what should be pure left side centrifugal..
So now, I have been practicing on a 50/50 (left side centrifugal/right side arm/hand) combo. It is working out very well for me.. I also have got my pivot (conventional) working pretty well.. I can use the Rock and lock if I'm swaying and can't correct, but I set up with R&L and rotate around the lead leg (slight knee flex) and deeper flexed trail leg.. I concentrate on the rotation around the lead and holding the swing height with wherever the right knee height is.. It also works well, more distance as you mentioned, but like you, I have gotten a slight ache in my back if I over rotate..I have worked on the R&L and just try to be instinctive with it when playing,, no over rotating then.
Interesting the paths we travel, hey.
Ron rofox


(Login gHerbert)
SAGF Members 2001

Re: Trahan

October 30 2009, 1:31 PM 

Hi Ron, yep all arms now. The steeper plane with an all arm swing and pop up finish works well to protect my back. As for hip sway I have found that the Trahan legs bowed setup seems to pretty much eliminate the hip sway problem. LOL I saw video of a pro recently who had a rather large hip sway and still pounded it pretty good. I can't remember who it was now...

Regards, Herbert

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