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  1. #1
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    Default Flat(ter) swings and ballflight

    Over the winter I worked on flattening my swing and had had my lowest round ever my first time out (5 strokes better than my best round on the same course, putting terribly). My contact has improved a bunch as well as my flight. Also, after my round on the range, I was working on different ballflights and noticed that I could hook one across the range if I wanted to, but the slice barely curved at all (noticed this during my round as well). This led me to some questions:

    1. A lot of people singled out as good/great ballstrikers seemed to have had flatter swings. You rarely see someone with a really upright swing who's widely considered a good/great ballstriker. They're out there, but it seems like more of the better ones have had flatter swings (not one-planer flat, but definitely more draw-looking). What about a flatter swing would lead to better ballstriking?

    2. What is there about a flatter golf swing that makes a fade stay a fade, and not move into a slice?

    3. Why do swings that look like they should produce a draw (Trevino, Hogan, old Duval, Azinger), seem to work so well fading the ball?
    Last edited by Bigwill; 04-07-2010 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't touch that with tiger's d!ck

  3. #3
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    Ha! I know. I had that thought when I posted this (well not that EXACT thought!). And I'm hoping it dosen't turn into another 14 page upright vs. flat royal rumble; don't care about that garbage. Just had some questions, and figured I'd ask. Nothing ventured, right?

  4. #4
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    Right. Did you see the blog or thread on this about 2 months ago?

    Interesting stuff. There's an inherent problem because upright vs. flat is debatable in and of itself.

    Anyway, b-man predicted the trend to more upright swings in the next decade. He didn't say, but I think he believes it is more d-plane friendly everything else equal. Just my guess.

  5. #5
    Senior Member curtisj76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigwill View Post
    A lot of people singled out as good/great ballstrikers seemed to have had flatter swings. You rarely see someone with a really upright swing who's widely considered a good/great ballstriker. They're out there, but it seems like more of the better ones have had flatter swings (not one-planer flat, but definitely more draw-looking).
    Be prepared for a big fat BALONEY in another Manzellian Meldown!

    PS Popcorn ready

  6. #6
    Senior Member Richie3Jack's Avatar
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    I'm a tall golfer who has a flat swing. Very much like Matt Kuchar's swing. In fact, the other day I was at the range and somebody came up to me and said I swung just like Matt Kuchar.

    I actually use irons that are 5* flat, and I'm 6'4" tall.

    To me, I could really care less if my backswing is flat, I just prefer the downswing to be flat.

    To answer your questions from my perspective:

    1. Nicklaus had an upright downswing and IMO, was a great ballstriker. Not Hogan level or Snead level or Knudson level, but really good and a fantastic driver of the ball and the best long iron player ever.

    Junk the 1PS vs. the 2PS stuff. It's junk and people hit the ball worse going to that 1PS stuff from what I've seen. My swing is very flat, but I certainly don't concern myself with that 1PS stuff.

    Anyway, last year I played to a +1 with an upright downswing. I think an upright downswing can provide more leverage for a golfer and can generate more power. However the problem I had with getting on the Turned Shoulder Plane in the downswing is that you can come over the top much easier. You really have all the room in the world to come over the top whereas IMO, you can only get so much underplane. And even the underplane stuff doesn't matter if you 'swing left' enough in the release because the path will square up. But trying to hit a good ball when your clubhead is well outside the target line on the downswing, just likely isn't going to happen.

    I think the great ballstrikers tend to have flatter downswings because they've usually learned how to release the clubhead left so they are not getting that path out to the right. And because you can only get so much underplane and they just don't get above plane, they hit the ball consistently over and over again. These golfers also use excellent foot, knee and leg action to generate leverage in their swing. But, with the more upright downswings, I just feel they generate more leverage without their foot, knee and leg action and the long ball hitters seem to be more upright in the downswing along with generating even more leverage with their lower body.

    2. The flatter downswing tends to keep the path from not going too far to the left.

    3. Trevino swung wayyy left. However, before he was famous, Trevino (and Hogan) both fought the snap hook. Trevino aims wayyyy left. His credo is to 'aim left, swing right and walk straight', but the reality is he aimed left, FELT like he was swing right but was really still swinging well left, and then walking straight. Like Hogan, I believe Trevino basically learned how to not get a shut face at impact and then that's when they learned how to rid themselves of the snap hook.

    It's really about the *downswing* and not the *backswing* when it comes to 'flat' vs. 'upright' for me. I'm the type that can't have an upright backswing and be flat on the downswing. If I'm flat on the downswing, my backswing has to be flat as well. But others can have a very upright backswing and be very flat on the downswing and vice versa.







    3JACK

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    Thanks, 3J

    How much longer than standard are your irons, typically?

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    Big picture:

    Theoretically, the more upright the VSP, the less effect the Angle of Attack has on your True Path. So one might say a more upright VSP is more d-plane friendly.

    However, one might argue that a shallower VSP allows you to control your Angle of Attack better in the first place.

    Thoughts?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by savydan View Post
    Big picture:

    Theoretically, the more upright the VSP, the less effect the Angle of Attack has on your True Path. So one might say a more upright VSP is more d-plane friendly.

    However, one might argue that a shallower VSP allows you to control your Angle of Attack better in the first place.

    Thoughts?
    I agree with the second part of your statement. It seems like the flatter/shallower I made my swing, the easier contact was, and my divot depth was much improved.

    Of course, I was so upright that you couldn't see my face from down the line because my left arm was in the way. For all I know, what feels to me like a merry go round swing could be upright still.
    Last edited by Bigwill; 04-07-2010 at 04:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richie3Jack View Post
    I'm a tall golfer who has a flat swing. Very much like Matt Kuchar's swing. In fact, the other day I was at the range and somebody came up to me and said I swung just like Matt Kuchar.



    I actually use irons that are 5* flat, and I'm 6'4" tall.

    To me, I could really care less if my backswing is flat, I just prefer the downswing to be flat.

    To answer your questions from my perspective:

    1. Nicklaus had an upright downswing and IMO, was a great ballstriker. Not Hogan level or Snead level or Knudson level, but really good and a fantastic driver of the ball and the best long iron player ever.


    No doubt. Had to be in order to be the best ever. I'm referring to the stereotypical, first-name-dropped guys.

    Junk the 1PS vs. the 2PS stuff. It's junk and people hit the ball worse going to that 1PS stuff from what I've seen. My swing is very flat, but I certainly don't concern myself with that 1PS stuff.

    Me either. Just using it as a reference.

    Anyway, last year I played to a +1 with an upright downswing. I think an upright downswing can provide more leverage for a golfer and can generate more power. However the problem I had with getting on the Turned Shoulder Plane in the downswing is that you can come over the top much easier. You really have all the room in the world to come over the top whereas IMO, you can only get so much underplane. And even the underplane stuff doesn't matter if you 'swing left' enough in the release because the path will square up. But trying to hit a good ball when your clubhead is well outside the target line on the downswing, just likely isn't going to happen.

    I think the great ballstrikers tend to have flatter downswings because they've usually learned how to release the clubhead left so they are not getting that path out to the right. And because you can only get so much underplane and they just don't get above plane, they hit the ball consistently over and over again. These golfers also use excellent foot, knee and leg action to generate leverage in their swing. But, with the more upright downswings, I just feel they generate more leverage without their foot, knee and leg action and the long ball hitters seem to be more upright in the downswing along with generating even more leverage with their lower body.


    That was one of the reasons I started out and stayed so upright, way more than what could be considered orthodox. I wanted power. But for me, going so upright cost me the use of my pivot, which I'm now starting to use a lot better.


    2. The flatter downswing tends to keep the path from not going too far to the left.

    3. Trevino swung wayyy left. However, before he was famous, Trevino (and Hogan) both fought the snap hook. Trevino aims wayyyy left. His credo is to 'aim left, swing right and walk straight', but the reality is he aimed left, FELT like he was swing right but was really still swinging well left, and then walking straight. Like Hogan, I believe Trevino basically learned how to not get a shut face at impact and then that's when they learned how to rid themselves of the snap hook.

    It's really about the *downswing* and not the *backswing* when it comes to 'flat' vs. 'upright' for me. I'm the type that can't have an upright backswing and be flat on the downswing. If I'm flat on the downswing, my backswing has to be flat as well. But others can have a very upright backswing and be very flat on the downswing and vice versa.







    3JACK
    The #3 point was what I was thinking of, although Trevino swung right of his body, which is probably why he aimed so far left, and it was also likely a more comfortable move for a former hooker. Trevino and Hogan both fought hooks. Don't know about Azinger, but Duval played right to left before he switched up. Duval's arms were a little flatter than they were now. Even Brian's Baby Fade features a flatter arm swing. Why does this work (fade with a "draw swing", so to speak)? I know that there's Never Hook Again. But it seems like (to me) that a draw swing with an open enough face to cause a fade would be a stronger more aggressive way to hit a fade, without it turning to a slice.

    I mean, when I was hitting fades like this, there were no slices, just little fades. The only reasons I won't play with this on the course are that I can't hit a fade solidly with it yet, and that I haven't grooved the new swing.
    Last edited by Bigwill; 04-07-2010 at 04:19 PM.

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