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Why flaring your left foot out at address could be a big mistake

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In his book “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” published in 1957, Ben Hogan recommended that golfers position their right foot at a 90-degree angle to the target line, and then position their left-foot a quarter of a turn outward at a 15-degree angle (Note: He was writing for right-handed golfers). The purpose of the left-foot foot position was to assist in the “clearing of the left hip,” which Hogan believed started his downswing.

Through this Hogan instruction book and the others he wrote through the years, there four categories that defined his advice;

  1. He accurately described what was occurring in his swing.
  2. He described a phantom move that never occurred.
  3. He described something that occurred but to a lesser degree than indicated.
  4. He inaccurately described what was happening in his swing.

As evidenced by today’s modern video, Hogan did not open up his left hip immediately as he described. This piece of advice would fall into the fourth category listed above — he inaccurately described what was happening in his swing. In reality, the first move in his downswing was a 10-12 inch shift of his left hip forward toward the target before his left hip ever turned open.

SPINNING OUT

Those amateur golfers who strictly adopted his philosophy, opening the left hip immediately, ended up“spinning out” and never getting to their left foot. The spin-out was made even worse by the 15-degree angle of the left foot Hogan offered. That said, based on Hogan’s stature in the golf world, his advice regarding the positioning of the feet was treated as if it were gospel and adopted by both players and teachers. Since that time his hip action has been debated, but the positioning of the left foot has remained unquestioned — until today.

THE FLARED FOOT POSITION

The flared position of his left foot may or may not have been of assistance in helping Hogan achieve the desired outcome in his swing. That really is not the point, but rather that over a half-century there has never been a voice that argued against the flared foot position he advocated.

The rest of the golf world accepted his advice without question. In my opinion, the left foot position advocated by Hogan has harmed countless golfers who slowly saw their swings fall apart and wondered why. His well-meaning advice was a poisoned pill, and once swallowed by golfers it served to eventually erode what was left of their left side.

DEAD WRONG

The subject of this piece is not to debate Hogan’s hip action but the piece that accompanied it, the 15-degree flare of the left foot. I’m of the opinion that it is not only wrong. Because of its toxic nature, it is DEAD WRONG.  The reason has to do with the tailbone, which determines the motion of the hips in the swing. The more the left foot opens up at address, the more the tailbone angles backward. That encourages the hips to “spin out” in the downswing, which means they have turned before the player’s weight has been allowed to move forward to their left foot and left knee.

As a consequence of the hips spinning out, players move their weight backward (toward the right foot), encouraging a swing that works out-to-in across the body. You can see this swing played out on the first tee of any public golf course on a Saturday morning.

FOOT FLARE ISSUES

The problem with the 15-degree foot flare is that it promotes, if not guarantees, the following swing issues:

In the backswing, the flared left foot:

  1. Discourages a full left- hip turn;
  2. Encourages the improper motion of the left-knee outward rather than back
  3. Reduces the degree that the torso can turn because of the restrictions placed on the left hip.

In the downswing, the flared left foot: 

  1. Promotes a “spinning out” of the left hip.
  2. Does not allow for a solid post at impact.

STRAIGHT AHEAD

In working with my students, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most advantageous position for the left foot at address is straight ahead at a 90-degree angle to the target line. The reason is not only because it encourages a positive moment of the player’s weight forward in the downswing, but it also improves the player’s chances of making a sound backswing.

THE POWER OF THE LEFT HEEL

There is an inherent advantage to placing the left-foot at a 90-degree to the target-line. It is the strongest physical position against which to hit the ball, as it provides a powerful post at impact that serves to increase both power and consistency.

JACK NICKLAUS

A number of years ago, Jack Nicklaus appeared on the cover of Golf Digest. The byline suggested that in studying Jack’s footwork, they had discovered something that up to that point was unknown. The “secret” they were describing was that after lifting his left heel in the backswing, he replanted it in the downswing with his heel closer to the target line than his toe. The intimation was that this might be a secret source of power in his swing.  This was hardly a “secret,” and something that Nicklaus was probably unaware of until it was pointed out to him, but it’s a demonstration of the fact that his natural instinct was to turn his foot inward, rather than outward, on the downswing.

THE DISCUS THROWER

The discus thrower whirls around in a circle as he prepares to throw. On the final pass, he plants his left toe slightly inward, relative to his heel, because this is the most powerful position from which to cast the discus. This position allows the thrower to draw energy from the ground while at the same time providing a strong post position from which additional torque can be applied. The point is that as the discus thrower makes the final spin in preparation for the throw, he does not turn the lead foot outward. Why? Because if it were turned outward, the potential draw of energy from the ground would be compromised.

The same is true when it comes to swinging a golf club for power, and you can test the two positions for yourself. After turning the left foot into a position that is 90 degrees to the target line, you will immediately note the ease with which you can now turn away from the target in addition to the strength of your left side post at the point of impact. Conversely, when you turn your left foot out, you will feel how it restricts your backswing and does not allow for a strong post position on the downswing.

REPAIRING YOUR SWING

Do you have trouble cutting across the ball? You might look to the position of your left foot and the action of the left hip. The first step would be to place your left foot at a 90-degree angle to the target line. The second step would be to turn you left hip around in a half circle as if tracing the inside of a barrel. The third step would be to feel that you left your left hip remains in the same position as you scissor your weight towards your left toe, and then your right heel, allowing the club to travel on the same path. The combination of these changes will encourage the club to swing in-to-out, improving the path of your swing.

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As a teacher, Rod Lidenberg reached the pinnacle of his career when he was named to GOLF Magazine's "Top 100" Teachers in America. The PGA Master Professional and three-time Minnesota PGA "Teacher of the Year" has over his forty-five year career, worked with a variety of players from beginners to tour professionals. He especially enjoys training elite junior players, many who have gone on to earn scholarships at top colleges around the country, in addition to winning several national amateur championships. Lidenberg maintains an active schedule teaching at Bluff Creek Golf Course Chanhassen, Minnesota, in the summer and The Golf Zone, Chaska, Minnesota, in the winter months. As a player, he competed in two USGA Public Links Championships; the first in Dallas, Texas, and the second in Phoenix, Arizona, where he finished among the top 40. He also entertained thousands of fans playing in a series of three exhibition matches beginning in 1972, at his home course, Edgewood G.C. in Fargo, North Dakota, where he played consecutive years with Doug Sanders, Lee Trevino and Laura Baugh. As an author, he has a number of books in various stages of development, the first of which will be published this fall entitled "I Knew Patty Berg." In Fall 2017, he will be launching a new Phoenix-based instruction business that will feature first-time-ever TREATMENT OF THE YIPS.

165 Comments

165 Comments

  1. stephenf

    Dec 8, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    You know, I was all ready to go into a big harrumphing “who is _this_ talking about what Hogan said’ rebuttal, until — before looking at the article — I remembered one specific thing Hogan actually _was_ wrong about, in that “what I’m describing about how I feel is different from what’s actually happening” way, and it so happens that this is _exactly_ the thing you’re describing here. I guess people could nitpick about a couple of other things, but this is really it — that he perceived the first move in the downswing to be the “twist of the hips” to the left.

    I always thought the best explanation for this was that what he perceived as the “start” of the downswing was actually what happened after the shift and once the club had started to drop while his shoulders stayed closed for a moment, or what many people call “transition.” (See DTL vid. I can provide if necessary.) In fact, because of his flat plane and his later-career tendency to keep the backswing compact, it was _very_momentary, since the clubs-and-arms unit were on plane very early, but it was a definite bump. I don’t see 10-12 inches if you’re measuring from a constant point like the hip joint, but I could be wrong. The basic point is right: With Hogan, as with any great player I can name at the moment, it was a shift before the turn.

    Anybody can say what they want about Haney and Leadbetter. (I don’t know why people disparage those two anyway — 15-handicap theorists talking about guys who coached the best players in the world, Leadbetter at one time having something like four of the top seven players in the world, including 1, 2, and 4. What are people even talking about? It’s different when you’re disputing a specific point and you have proof. I’m talking about how people talk like guys at that level are just total dummies. It’s ridiculous.) But one thing they both point out is how in most good swings, at the beginning of the downswing, or in the “transition” if you prefer, the weight moves on a slight diagonal from favoring rear-foot heel to around the ball of the lead foot, before quickly moving through the middle of the lead foot and to favoring the heel by the end. Last I checked, all valid research supports this. The drills they have to work on this move are really helpful to guys who tend to reverse the swing from the top down, or if not, who tend to start the downswing with an immediate rotary move of the hips rather than a shift and _then_ a turn. It’s not (or shouldn’t be) a huge move, but it’s crucial.

    I don’t know if I’d advise students to have the front foot at a literally 90-degree angle to the target line (are we talking about the inside edge of the foot, or a line from the middle of the heel to the middle of the toes?), but for sure anything like a pronounced flaring does, exactly as you say, tend to promote too-early rotation and an over-the-top-and-steep action that dissipates force down into the ground, produces a lot of weak toe hits, etc.

    I also remember that thing about Nicklaus — who consciously replanted the left heel as his first move with the lower body at the start of the downswing — replanting it a little closer to the target. Other pros, even some who didn’t lift their heel much or at all, found a way to move closer to 90 degrees from a flared position at address.

    So you’re definitely working on good evidence here. No question.

    Maybe you’ve ruffled a few feathers, but this advice will help a huge percentage of the even larger percentage of players who tend to get outside and steep. People should pay attention, and before coming back at you, they should go look at actual film of Hogan without preconceptions.

    • Flare

      Dec 10, 2018 at 1:39 am

      Wrong.
      Not everybody in the world can swing at the very flat lie and heavy-headed clubs like Hogan did.
      Try it yourself, if you are a tall person.
      If you are anywhere near 6 foot or above, with modern lie angles of 64, 65, 66, 67 degrees lie angle for your wedge, grab somebody else’s that are at 60 degree lie angle, for example. Then crouch down lower and bend your knees more, and try to swing at that lower level and tell us how that weird sweeping motion felt to you at that lie angle.
      It’s not all to do with just the swing or alignment or motion that’s perceived. It could simply be mechanical and gravitational into the physicality of the swing.

    • shawn

      Dec 10, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Your body type dictates how you should swing your golf clubs according to Adams, Suttie and Tomasi in their seminal book “LAWs of the Golf Swing”. Trying to emulate the pro golfers is total futility for most golfers. As for Leadbetter, it took him 2 years to remake Faldo’s swing, and he even admitted much of it was trial and error. No science in these anecdotal stories from the pros, just personal impressions and uncertain ‘feel’.

  2. susan

    Dec 6, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Hmmmmm…. any thoughts on the angle of the dangle of men’s gonads during the golfswing?!!

    • ogo

      Dec 7, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      Best flare angle is 90º… straight down…. ºUº

  3. Jim

    Dec 5, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Ive never read so much paralysis by analysis in the comments section.

    What a load of nonsense and theories. The comment deciding Hogan didnt know anything is the best one though. you must be a joy to be around in the 19th hole, listening to your rubbish.

    Just play the damn game and get on with it!

    • junior

      Dec 5, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      Knowledge is power… and God knows that most/all rec golfers are seeking power. Read and ye shall be liberated… hallelujah !!!!

  4. ogo

    Dec 3, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    To flare or not to flare… and if to flare, by how much? So far the consensus is to flare and it depends on your body structure by how much to flare. So flare away fellow floggers!

  5. Speedy

    Dec 1, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Varner III flares at impact. Despite dicey footwork and blocked shots, he scores well.

    We’ll just have to wait and see if related medical issues are on the horizon.

    • ogo

      Dec 5, 2018 at 12:06 am

      Is he flaring or flubbing with his dicey footwork? Only force plate data will reveal the truth.

  6. Bem Nogan

    Nov 29, 2018 at 1:24 am

    WARNING: If you have an OTT swing do NOT use these Hogan foot placements because you could injure yourself, particularly the wedge open stance. An open stance will aggravate an OTT swing, done by 90% of all recreational golfers.

  7. Brent Winterbottom

    Nov 28, 2018 at 1:00 am

    This depends almost entirely on the amount of left hip internal rotation and left hip external rotation available to a given golfer. Toe out is right for some, toe more square is right for others. Have your body screened to discover of what it is capable before declaring what is right. There is no single answer for all golfers because their bodies are different.

    • Bem Nogan

      Nov 28, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Absolutely correct, Brent, but most rec golfers just want to copycat their favorite tour golfer, past and present, because their golf game is mostly a delusion. Even if their body was analyzed the only conclusion would be quit golf.

  8. RBImGuy

    Nov 27, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Hogan was clueless about what he did.
    The fans cant swing as he wrote in his book.

    • Bem Nogan

      Nov 28, 2018 at 6:47 pm

      Most rec golfers think they can “think” their way through a golfswing and incorporating the golf “tips” they read in some book or saw in a video. They are desperately delusional and believe they can transfer their brain knowledge into physical results … because they think they have a “golf” brain. They got nuthin’….

  9. Matthew Hamilton

    Nov 26, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I don’t get people ripping this guy off – he’s merely postulating ideas and giving room for further experimentation – try hitting a few shots with the left foot parallel to the target line – maybe it helps; maybe it won’t – who knows but what have you got to lose either way?

    • Bem Nogan

      Nov 27, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      Heresy!!! Propaganda!!! Lies!!! How dare anybody question the words of hallowed Hogan. Not only was he a winner on the Tour his seminal 5 Lessons book has stood the test of time. Hogan proved he was correct because he was a tour winner where he applied his teaching principles.

  10. Obee

    Nov 26, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Wait … is this guy advocating a SQUARE left foot at address???

    • ogo

      Nov 27, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      Knock-kneed golfers are forced into a square lead foot cause they are pigeon-toed… ever think of that? Conversely, bow-legged golfers must over-flare the lead foot. Normal-kneed golfers are left in confusion.

  11. Bob Vitti

    Nov 24, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Who thinks they are better than Hogan? I think not. I learned this game with no more than is 1958 book. 50 years later, I still flair my left foot toward the target. However, now it’s because I’ve had left hip surgery and squaring my left foot might just put me back in the hospital! Spinning out comes from swinging your arms faster than you turn your body. Sorry, but this is not good information for average golfers.

    • joey

      Nov 25, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Hogan is obsolete now and replaced by solid scientific knowledge about the golf swing. The problem is that most golfers have the intellect of a 12 y.o. only seeking fuuuun and cool clubs. Adult pot bellied men block their hips just before impact and just flap their arms at the ball because they can’t control their bellies past impact. Too much blubber.

  12. Josh

    Nov 22, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Terrible advice. Maybe Rod should screen his students first to see what they are actually physically able to do. Stand tall with hands on hips and both feet parallel. Turn into your follow through and see how far you can rotate your pelvis towards the target. This is TPI’s screen for pelvic rotation. Adequate amount is at least 60 degrees.

    Most clients I screen fail this test miserably, and their lead hip often lacks enough internal rotation to get pelvis facing target. Only way to get them all the way onto their lead leg and “post up” is by allowing them to flare lead foot out, which will allow hip/pelvis to rotate towards target.

    I’ve never seen swing photos of a tour pro whose pelvis wasn’t facing target (or pretty close to it) through impact. If the lead foot isn’t flared, knee and hip problems will be result over time.

    He’s right about there being a lateral bump of the lead towards target before the pelvis rotates open, but you can do this quite easily with a flared foot. It just takes some practice and some motion sequencing drills. Rod might be a great teacher in a lot of areas, but he’s out to lunch on this one. Would love to hear what Dr. Greg Rose or Dave Phillips (Titleist Performance Institute founders) would say to him on the matter.

    • ogo

      Nov 30, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Your clients fail miserably because their hips and shoulders rotate in unison in the downswing. Then the hips block at impact to allow the arms and club to swing down OTT into the ball. After impact the hips continue to rotate leisurely to face the target. Not a real golfswing!!!

  13. Bem Nogan

    Nov 21, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    I’m so happy and honored there are 88 comments on my 5 Lessons golf bible. What’s all this talk about Isaac Newton… is he a golfer?

  14. youngsun kim

    Nov 20, 2018 at 4:14 am

    He was a living Dplane. His alignment is exactly what Dplane could describe. Genius.
    flare left foot leads to more inside swingpath for irons.and right foot put back a little for outside swingpath for driver.
    He trys to shoulders to keep align with ball line to the target.

    • steve

      Nov 20, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      D-plane is for ball flight… and foot alignment is not necessarily related to ball flight… body anatomy has a greater effect. Nogan believed in the incorrect old ball flight laws.

    • steve

      Nov 23, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      Ho such thing. Hogan believed in the old nine ball flight laws and his foot-ball alignment is misleading. The alignment for the driver is correct for straight flight off the clubface but not for the other clubs. The wedge alignment will result in ball flight that is not perpendicular to the ball position line; it will be pulled around to the left. That’s what D-plane alignment would reveal for all the other clubs.

  15. CB

    Nov 19, 2018 at 5:07 am

    Opening the left foot also opens the the shoulders – try it. Stand in front of a mirror with parallel feet – then flare out the left foot. Voila – the shoulders open to the left. Its ok if youre aware of it and compensate. But if not, then behold the consequences.

    • gps

      Nov 19, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Ben Hogan advocated a closed stance for longer clubs
      with left toe flared out.
      If that opens shoulders,as you say, you can see that simple flaring of the foot has squared the shoulders to the targetline… genius.

    • steve

      Nov 23, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      … and ball flight from the ball line will not be perpendicular. It will be pulled to the left for irons to wedge.

  16. aga

    Nov 18, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    64 great comments on the beloved obsolete Hogan 5 Lessons and once again proving that recreational golfers are totally decrepit and delude by thinking that reading an instruction book can be immediately implemented from their great brainlets into a great golfswing… and all without long painful practice…!!!

    • aga

      Nov 18, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      … oh, and all that’s needed is the latest greatest new and technologically improved set of golf clubs in their WITB arsenal of weapons of golf destruction… 😀

      • Newton

        Nov 18, 2018 at 11:52 pm

        Some old orthodox golfers still espouse Hogan’s 5 Lessons claiming it’s all you need to know to learn a golfswing…. and science be damned.

  17. gps

    Nov 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Theoretically, the additional acceleration of the clubhead could be achieved by pulling the club in the radial direction at impact stage, assuming that the centrifugal force of the clubhead is fully developed. To test this idea, an emulation using a modified double?link model was carried out. It was shown that the clubhead velocity could be increased substantially by the inward pull motion of the club at the impact stage, at which point no other means of acceleration is available.

    K Miura, 2001

    Miura’s paper later distorted in what Miuri called, “junk research”

    • ogo

      Dec 5, 2018 at 12:09 am

      Plenty of “junk research” being promoted by so-called Top 100 PGA instructors scamming gullible desperate non-athletic goffers with tips that refer to scientific lingo.

  18. gps

    Nov 17, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Theoretically, the additional acceleration of the clubhead could be achieved by pulling the club in the radial direction at impact stage, assuming that the centrifugal force of the clubhead is fully developed. To test this idea, an emulation using a modified double?link model was carried out. It was shown that the clubhead velocity could be increased substantially by the inward pull motion of the club at the impact stage, at which point no other means of acceleration is available.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1046/j.1460-2687.2001.00071.x

    K.Miura, did the research on parametric acceleration in 2001. Later ripped off and distorted by others. Miura called those “junk research”

    • ogo

      Nov 30, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Test indicated that clubhead speed could be increased by a whopping 4% on average by pulling in. The big question is exactly how do you “pull in” during final release? Answer that….

  19. gps

    Nov 17, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    For a right hand swinging golfer
    the flared left foot restricts the BS turn of the hips
    the flared right foot restricts the foward turn of the hips.

    So many have gotten this wrong for so long. Stop the madness.

    From a closed stance position, Ben Hogan had hips as open as physically possible at impact.
    He achieved open hips at impact by his lateral move during his BS, whereby his right hip and right elbow were in position in front of the back of the ball from top of BS, through impact and his spine was pointing behind his left heel. Jack Nicklaus achieved the same top of BS position.

  20. geohogan

    Nov 17, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    For a right hand swinger:
    Flaring the left foot, restricts the BS
    Flaring the right foot restricts the hips in the follow through.

    Ben Hogan had a closed stance for longer clubs and had hips open as much as possible at impact
    not due to flared foot, but due to lateral move during the BS, that positioned the right hip , right elbow ahead of the back of the ball, at the beginning of the DS. Both Hogan and Nicklaus pointed their spine behind the left heel at the top of the BS*.”Fart behind the left heel”

    *The Hogan Manual of Human Performance: GOLF, 1992

    • ogo

      Nov 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      Flaring the left foot restricts the BS… so lift the left heel off the ground.
      Flaring the right foot restricts the hips in FTh… so lift the right heel.
      The Gerry Hogan manual is an amateurish attempt to sound scientific.. and fails miserably due to scientific errors.

    • stephenf

      Dec 8, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Also, as somebody has pointed out before, you might as well have titled Hogan’s book “How Not to Hook, by Ben Hogan.” So that’s a factor.

  21. wayne defrancesco

    Nov 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Funny how you don’t find any of history’s greatest players with a square left foot at address. And if you look at them at the finish the left foot has spun around even more. Having the left foot flared at address does not greatly affect the way the femur sits in the hip joint. Hogan advocated pinching the knees in slightly at address, which served to encourage left hip internal rotation and discouraged right hip swaying. If flaring the left foot worked for 99% of the players you would want to study then I don’t see how it can be said that it’s “bad” for all golfers. It would be more likely that the reverse would be true.

    • steve

      Nov 18, 2018 at 2:31 am

      …. and if you don’t ‘flare’ your lead left foot, you will break yer ankle when followthru momentum forces you onto the outside edge of the shoe sole!!!

      • stephenf

        Dec 8, 2018 at 9:54 pm

        It’s a rare player whose front foot doesn’t twist some from the beginning of the downswing to the finish. We’re not talking about what happens as the forward swing goes on with its rotational forces. We’re talking about the effect of the distinctly flared-foot position at the start of the backswing on what happens at the start of the downswing — specifically its role in promoting the “hips spin to the left” idea as the first move in the downswing, which is indeed destructive.

    • stephenf

      Dec 8, 2018 at 9:51 pm

      The question isn’t where the foot is at the end of the swing, after the forward-swing rotational forces. The question is how flaring it — especially combined with Hogan’s advice to start the downswing with a turn of the hips to the left (for the RH player) — affects the start of the downswing.

      If your plane is as shallow and under control as Hogan’s, and you’re intent on fading the ball, maybe a flare isn’t going to hurt you. But to the extent that it enables that wrong move, it may and probably will.

      As for so many of history’s best players doing it, that’s suggestive but not conclusive evidence. People learn all kinds of things because of tradition rather than actual research or the science of the thing. But I’ll bet I can find you a huge percentage of the greatest players who don’t have the left foot flared to the extent that Hogan advised.

      Part of the disagreement here could be in what “90 degrees” means — whether it’s the inside of the foot at 90 degrees (which leaves the outside of the foot with a slightly “flared” appearance), or whether it’s a line from the middle of the heel through the middle of the toes (or front of the foot), which is subtle in terms of measurement, but pretty definite with regard to its effect on the swing.

    • stephenf

      Dec 8, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      If you look at Nicklaus (rear view) here from 3:59 on, you’ll see the initially flared foot, the replaced foot with the heel somewhat closer to the target, then the rotational force of the downswing causing the left foot to twist back to distinctly flared at the end:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w654-Rlrcjo

      Els with front foot no more flared than rear foot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTPF9eKe9Sc

      Faldo, same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ_zyb6Rskc

      Snead, same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjEJgC5nYXw

      When I was teaching all the time, I wouldn’t have advised literally 90 degrees with either foot. A _slight_ flare like Leadbetter advises is (I think) both good and very common among top players. But the idea of a squared-up rear foot and a distinctly flared front foot isn’t necessarily common _or_ good, especially for players who are going to spin out as their first move down. If you’re Hogan or Trevino and you’re favoring the cut as your bread-and-butter shot, and you have great body movement at the start of the downswing, then the flare isn’t a problem.

  22. TheBadger

    Nov 17, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Ben Hogan Flared Left Foot Worked for Him to Clear his Left Hip on the Downswing. The 90 Degree Right Foot to the Target really Does Work and you Pivot around your Spine to keep you on Plane.

    Personally, I think you don’t Like Ben Hogan, he’s One Hell of a Player, Not sure I would question this Player Performance.

  23. Don

    Nov 17, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Hard to believe a flared left foot would cause or promote a spin out. Moving the left hip back too soon in the down swing sequence (or before back swing is complete) is a spin out, regardless of left foot position.

  24. DJM

    Nov 17, 2018 at 8:40 am

    I don’t like to argue the golf swing, but Hogan said to flare the foot out 1/4 of a turn left which mathematically would be equivalent to 22 1/2 degrees, not 15*. While that might not seem like a lot, it’s still 50% more than the article states.

    The bottom line is if you want lower back pain and a hip replacement along with a much shorter golf career, then by all means keep the left foot square.

    The key to flaring the left foot out and not spinning out is finishing on a soft and bent left knee with the weight finishing on the left toes and a flat left foot. This is the key to pain free golf with a flared left foot and not spinning out.

    • Bem Nogan

      Nov 29, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      If you are an old crock and subject to injury swinging a golf club find another sport…. shuffleboard is good.

    • Piter

      Dec 4, 2018 at 5:23 am

      Totally. When I had lower back issues I flared my leading foot out a bit to have less stress on my back. It may have reduced the back swing a bit but both contributed to less stress on the back, for me anyway.

      Now I have no clue how I put my feet, I stand in a natural way for me I guess. Watched some guy on youtube doing pendulum swings- helped with my balance, posture and rhythm. More natural I reckon.

  25. Bob Pegram

    Nov 17, 2018 at 4:50 am

    I read an article in which Ken Venturi said Hogan recommended some swing positions in The Five Fundamentals that are impossible to replicate for people who have significantly different body proportions than Hogan. Specifically, Hogan had very long arms for somebody of his height. Those with arm lengths more in proportion to their heights or disproportionately shorter than average can not copy some of Hogan’s recommendations.
    More important to preserving left knees, ankles, and hips than foot angle is keeping the left knee bent until after impact, or even better, all of the way through the swing. Having the left foot tuned out just a little is even better though, but secondary to preserving the joints.
    Many with the left foot perpendicular to the line of flight tend to go up on their toes a little at impact.

    • steve

      Nov 18, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Very true… longer arms creates better control of the club and increases kinetic energy within the kinetic chain… I think. As for keeping the left knee flexed through impact, that will result in lower clubhead speed compared to straightening out the lead knee pre-impact. Choose yer poison….

  26. bob

    Nov 16, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    The most important thing you can do is MAKE SURE YOU PLACE THE SOLE OF THE FOOT DOWNWARDS.
    What crap.
    Hogan was wrong eh. Better give his trophys and money back

    • ogo

      Dec 4, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Hogan is as obsolete as balata wound golf balls… his book is a relic to ignorance.

  27. hoganben

    Nov 16, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Greg Norman….coached by Tiger’s old coach Butch Harmon…got his driver distance and accuracy by not flaring his left foot. He has a plastic left hip now like Jack N. and Tom Watson. Tiger has had his left knee and back operated on about nine times now….so the lesson is flare your left hip and hit it shorter or have surgery in your future.

    • DJM

      Nov 17, 2018 at 8:50 am

      Jack Nicklaus said when he wanted to hit a longer drive, he actually flared his foot out more, not less!

      • Shallowface

        Nov 18, 2018 at 4:37 pm

        That’s correct. 45 degrees versus his normal of 30 degrees.

      • stephenf

        Dec 8, 2018 at 9:33 pm

        If you have Jack’s huge leg drive, keep your head way behind the ball and reverse-C like a mother — in addition to hitting the fade because your release is so full and free that otherwise you’d be hitting huge hooks — then sure, flare away.

    • steve

      Nov 18, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Knee joint shear torque is what destroyed Tigers left knee plus trying to straighten out his left leg pre-impact. Perhaps that’s why golf instructors discovered the “quiet lower body” to compensate for weak and wonky lead leg knees in most rec golfers.

  28. Scott Gerweck

    Nov 16, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Dogma is the enemy of good golf. It’s more important for a player to learn their own: body, swing, and cause-and-effect calculus. For smart people who do those prerequisites well, the emphasis should be on repeatable, predictable results, and a focus on the shot, not the bio-mechanics.

    Lidenberg talks about Jack, who did quite a few things really well, in relatively idiosyncratic ways (how about the hunched putting position, for one), and cross-references discus throwing (which I did competitively, incidentally, though nowhere near a pro level), which is far from apples-to-apples. In the discus analogy, the emphasis is on position of maximum power, as though that is the only goal in the golf swing. It’s easy to hit the discus area and, as long as you’re not out-of-bounds, your accuracy matters not. In golf, nearly every smart golfer would trade few yards for a significant increase in fairways hit.

    In my personal swing, I have for years put attention on this issue of left foot angle. I prefer the stability and powerful positions of what Lidenberg is preaching, but I play much better with a flare, as it does help me release the left hip and eliminates my go-to miss–a snap hook or big push–that generally occurs when I don’t get my hips opened. That’s just me, and it’s based on my own swing tendencies (a small touch of Furyk move, with an inside out path to the ball), as well as particulars of my anatomy (my left leg is longer, and my pelvis is rotated toward the right, both of which make releasing the hip more difficult). I would not preach it to a magazine audience either way, for much the same reason that Harvey Penick was extremely reluctant to publish his teaching wisdom, which was always very individualized.

    There are great golf teachers out there, and some of them write magazine lessons, too. All lessons published for a mass audience should be taken with great caution, as bodies and capabilities are not one-size-fits-all.

    • ogo

      Nov 30, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      So you believe in “mind over (biomechanical) matter” and blunder ahead with trial and error and error and error… until something palatable emerges after several years of muddling?
      “Golfers are gullible.” – Harvey Penick, Little Red Book, page 74.

  29. steve

    Nov 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    BH was “dead wrong” on many counts in his 5 Lessons because he wasn’t aware of the Kinetic Chain of Newtonian Physics. The book is an easy read for gullible golfer minds… so it must be right… ya think?!!

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Here’s a geometric error that confuses everybody. BH says there is a static swing ‘plane’ at address, but on the downswing the ‘plane’ skews around from in to out. Now that’s a simplistic observation, but swing ‘ planes’ don’t exist for scientific analysis… only hand/clubhead paths… and if there were a ‘plane’ it would be a lumpy plane with many bases. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) 5 Lessons analysis.

      • Teats

        Nov 19, 2018 at 3:16 am

        Obviously you never the book and can’t see images with your stupid airhead lacking any brains

        • aga

          Nov 19, 2018 at 2:05 pm

          LOL…. and you got a nipple-sized brainlet… *

      • stephenf

        Dec 8, 2018 at 9:38 pm

        The point is, though, that for somebody getting over-the-top and steep as a habit, the basic concept of the plane and the effort to stay under it actually improved a lot of players.

        No, the simplest concept of plane is not scientifically accurate in every detail. But it’s helpful.

        For the best thing published on the matter, see an obscure book titled Decoding the Golf Swing Plane, by a guy named Xichao Mo.

  30. joro

    Nov 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    It has been found that several of the things in the book are what he perceived he did and not what he did along with the fact the writer of the book changed a few things. When video came about some people analyzed what he really did and found several discrepancies. Personally i have always had a little flare of my back foot that helped a lot with the backswing and kept the front foot straight which made easier to post. But then again thats just me. Not saying it was right but helped me hit it longer and straighter. Now as I am older it still gives me a good turn on the backswing.

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Herbert Warren Wind was the preeminent golf writer at the time, and it’s obvious he had to put words into Hogan’s mouth to bring all of Ben’s many “notes” together into something cogent. The illustrator’s drawing were also misguided and likely took orders from Wind and then accepted by Hogan… who had good intentions for what he called his ‘scientific’ book.

      • Teats

        Nov 19, 2018 at 3:17 am

        They took photos first, dummy. And then he drew them.

        • steve

          Nov 19, 2018 at 10:14 pm

          You mean like the picture with his elbows open upward through impact? Hogan was confused about “supination” and he let the illustrator draw the wrong elbow orientation through impact ….LOL

          • gps

            Nov 20, 2018 at 12:15 am

            Elbows open upward at impact, just as Cameron Champ does it today.
            He may be the only one since Ben Hogan did it.

            Must have huge LAG to keep elbows open upward at impact. Can only happen with full supination of the trail hand through impact.

            • steve

              Nov 20, 2018 at 6:55 pm

              Keep on swinging with open upward lead elbow and you will be chicken winging…

              • gps

                Nov 22, 2018 at 9:23 am

                The lead elbow has to point toward the target in order for it to chicken wing. The elbow is a hinge joint, not synovial(ball and socket), so the elbow only hinges one way.
                It cant chicken wing if hinge is facing up.

                • steve

                  Nov 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm

                  It can if it flexes at the elbow joint…

                • gps

                  Nov 29, 2018 at 8:10 pm

                  Steve, aka Semper Gumbi, says a hinge joint flexes.

                • steve

                  Nov 30, 2018 at 4:59 pm

                  Well, if you can’t flex and unflex your elbow joint you wouldn’t be able to feed yourself…. unless you ate from a bowl like a dog.

                • gps

                  Dec 1, 2018 at 11:21 am

                  When we eat our elbow bends up and down, not sideways as it does when we chicken wing.

                  Maybe thats how you eat chicken wings, like a chicken? elbows bending outwards.

  31. 4RiGHT

    Nov 16, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Horrible advice!!!!

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Now that’s a fine feelings-based twitter-sized comment. Tell us more about how you feeeeel when you swing !!!

  32. IMO

    Nov 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Not only is the author wrong, but he’s dead wrong!!! The tailbone and hip need to work away from the target at impact. Ask Gankas…

  33. Ray Bennett

    Nov 16, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    This article is applicable to how golf is taught to newbies to the game and the dub. It is not relevant to average + golfer, who needs to be taught how to fuse the pelvis and spine during transition and use the power of the legs and spine against the resistance of the ground.

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      What about GRFs… Ground Reaction Forces… as measured on force plates… as well as Center of Pressure tracking between the feet? Slso if you “fuse the pelvis and spine during transition”… does the spine unfuse to create the X-Factor differential between hips and shoulder span rotations in the back and downswing?

  34. D Mack

    Nov 16, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Snead flared both his front and back foot…guess he really screwed up.

    • ogo

      Nov 30, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      Snead also said you must get your “butt” into the swing for more power. Look at any Snead swing picture and you will see him sitting deep into the swing…. and when he released his hips he unloaded a lot of kinetic momentum into his arms and club.

      • geo

        Dec 1, 2018 at 11:51 am

        @ogo, proximal deceleration causes the acceleration of the distal

        ie hips deceleration is cause of acceleration of arms and club, not firing of hips.

  35. benseattle

    Nov 16, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    For a while last summer, I tried squaring up the left foot at address… thus giving myself something solid to “hit against.” What it did was completely restrict my lower body turn to begin the downswing and put pressure on the outside of my left knee. If you want to start blocking the ball dead right, by all means give this cockamamie tip a try.

    If a golfer flares his foot a bit at address and then proceeds to “spin out” with his weight on his right foot, the flaring ain’t the problem: it’s his basic knowledge and application of the golf swing. Rather than have a student square up his left foot, why not teach what Hogan actually did — the “hard to the left” move of the left hip that gets the weight to the left side at the beginning of the downswing?

  36. Fred Garvin

    Nov 16, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    I have a knee with issues
    I want to play for a long time
    I flare my left foot, and accept that sometimes my swing path ain’t great

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Get an orthopedic knee brace that will restrain damaging torsional shear in your wonky knee. It may cost you about the same as a new driver with an exotic shaft… but WTH … 😮

    • Bob

      Nov 16, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      I have had several friends flare their left foot, sometimes quite a lot because of surgically repaired left knees. It works for them quite well and is the only way they can get even close to finishing a swing.

      • Bem Nogan

        Nov 29, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        Why in heaven’s name would people with surgically repaired left knees attempt to swing a golf club? Do they want to be paraplegics in their old age or are they just gluttons for punishment????

  37. Jack Nash

    Nov 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Mistake or not, some people have No choice. When you have a new knee and you want to take pressure off it, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Somebody should have told you when in your youth that playing football or hockey that you would likely need knee replacement in your fifties, or sooner. I forbid my kids to play those ‘hero’ sports that would make you a crock in your old age. They play great golf with no pain.

  38. John D’Amico

    Nov 16, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I believe one needs to look at an individuals hip joint morphology and functional physical ability prior to deciding foot / lower extremity placement and compensatory movement patterns.

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      Have you viewed the many WRX instructional videos provided by WRX in-house Top 100 Teachers? If they tried to classify each golfer’s “morphology” it would require a 5 hour lesson and followup lessons. Most/all gearhead duffers only want a 1 hour tip-filled lesson and instant results.

    • ogo

      Nov 17, 2018 at 1:34 am

      Have you viewed the many WRX instructional videos provided by WRX in-house Top 100 Teachers? If they tried to classify each golfer’s “morphology” it would require 5 hour lessons and followup lessons. Most/all gearhead duffers only want a 1 hour tip-filled lesson and instant results.

    • steve

      Nov 18, 2018 at 2:20 am

      Have you viewed the many WRX instructional videos provided by in-house Top 100 Teachers? If they tried to clasify each golfer’s “morphology” it would require a 5 hour lesson and followup lessons. Most/all duffers only want a 1 hour tip-filled lesson and instant results.

  39. Nihonsei

    Nov 16, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I am post hip replacement with drop foot, almost completely numb left leg. Pre this condition I was square with both feet. Post I can much better maintain balance with a flared foot. I find this “spinning out” is all relative to stance width which is not included in this article. If player stays back, player stays back. I’m not forced to stay back due to a flared foot. I shift just fine with active hips and even starting with hip movement has eliminated my over the top/ out-in. Now I’ve got to erase/block what I just allowed from this read.

    • ogo

      Nov 30, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      ????!!!!!!!! You must be a golffing marvel… !!!!!! 😮

  40. TONEY P

    Nov 16, 2018 at 10:11 am

    The 15 degrees provides for a NORMAL stance position while the tail foot is at 90 degrees to lock in power. I learned from Hogans’s book and think that position prevent injury more.

  41. Steve C

    Nov 16, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Didn’t Jack have his hips replaced?
    “Golf My Way”

    • steve

      Nov 18, 2018 at 2:21 am

      …. and after he retired he played more tennis than golf… 😮

    • aga

      Nov 19, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      Yes… and after he retired he played more tennis than golf…lol

    • jimbo

      Nov 25, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      Correct… and now he’s reduced to playing tennis … which he now prefers over golf@

  42. ThePit

    Nov 16, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I don’t understand how you can criticize people for taking Hogan as gospel for ALL golfers yet you state at the same time that it’s wrong for ALL golfers. You’re just doing the same thing that you’re criticizing, how about: “all golf advice that isn’t personalized can apply to some people but won’t apply to all”

  43. Randall Coleman

    Nov 16, 2018 at 8:15 am

    There are many ways to swing a golf club. The evolution of teaching has traveled from teaching to swing “freely,” to swinging “under control.”

    The greatest golfers, from Old Tom Morris, to Jones, Snead, Nelson, Nicklaus, to Tiger in 2000, to Mickey Wright, all swing “freely.”

    The mind plays no role in swinging freely. The mind plays an overbearing role in swinging under control. Golf instruction today reflects this drastically.

    Go ahead and flare your left foot, and shift your weight like Nicklaus, and Wright. And, in short order, you will feel something you may never have felt while swinging a golf club-Freedom. Keep your head relatively still, and swing away, as hard as you care to, as freely as you care to.

    And then use most of your golf instruction books to start a fire.

    “The mind is a cruel master, but a beautiful servant.” From Autobigraphy of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda.

    “The golf swing is a cruel master, but a beautiful servant.” By RC, The Zen Club.

    • Blockslicesarebadmkay

      Nov 23, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      Swing away freely and have fun watching your ball sail majestically into the fairway…of the opposite hole.

  44. RayRise

    Nov 16, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I certainly agree with Rod Lidenberg on this view. What worked for the great Ben Hogan, with his swing, is not an immutably applicable stance position for all time and all golfers. I ahve definitely found Rod’s position to be correct – as an early part of a general better alignment and ultimate swing process.

  45. Foot Dude

    Nov 16, 2018 at 8:07 am

    I wonder if Rod knows that “anatomic neutral” for most people is 12 degrees of foot flare, barring some sort of structural deformity. This puts the center of the heel in-line with the center of the ball of the foot and allows for the foot to “tripod” or stabilize better. Setting up with 0 degrees of foot flare, or completely square to the target line, is overly restrictive and is going to hurt a golfer’s ability to interact with the ground.

    And the coolest part of this whole thing is that Hogan’s recommendation of 15 degrees is basically spot-on. Amazing how some of his feels were in line with a lot of the “golf science”, which really makes you appreciate his ability to find the secret “in the dirt”.

    • Harry Adam

      Nov 16, 2018 at 8:11 am

      Yes, and “a quarter turn” is not 15 degrees!

      • Bob

        Nov 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        I thought I was the only one who saw that…should be 22.5 deg.

  46. 2inch

    Nov 16, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Bollocks!

  47. daniel

    Nov 16, 2018 at 3:27 am

    if i wanted to watch any videos or read anything on the golf swing, i would look at the 1930’s bobby Jones vids or his publications. He goes further in depth than Hogan. Having a too wide of a stance would be the main issue compared too a slightly flared foot for restricting rotation.
    Most like cause of cutting across the ball is left knee not moving towards right knee when rotation in the back swing, if left knee bends straight outwards then near all the weight on the backswing would be on the left foot then on the downswing it will move too the back foot which would make you cut across the ball

    • geo

      Nov 17, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Flaring the lead foot restricts the BS turn.
      Flaring the trail foot is what restricts the hips in the follow through*.

      From a closed stance Ben Hogan had as much hip turn at impact as is possible because he slide his right hip laterally toward the target during the BS, to position his right hip, right elbow ahead of the back of the ball, for pure rotaton through impact, with flared left foot. Both Ben Hogan and Jack N had their spine pointing behind their left heels at the top of the BS.”Farting behind the left heel”*

      *Ref. The Hogan Manual of Human Performance: GOLF,1992.

      • steve

        Nov 30, 2018 at 5:06 pm

        The Hogan “Manual” is scientifically incompetent and amateurish rubbish… matey

  48. Pedro

    Nov 16, 2018 at 2:13 am

    More torsion throught the knee joint, I say! Who cares about being able to walk!

    • steve

      Nov 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Knee joint shear torque is what destroyed Tigers left knee and trying to straighten out his left leg pre-impact. Perhaps that’s why golf instructors discovered the “quiet lower body” to compensate for weak and wonky lead leg knees in rec golfers.

  49. Rich Douglas

    Nov 16, 2018 at 12:20 am

    It seems the author feels the main value of the squared front foot is that it frees up the turn. Perhaps it does. But it also encourages being more closed at impact. This will cause you to either cut across the ball or to pull it left, depending on the strength of your other actions.

    The hips need to clear because of the whipping action of the swing. First the hip shift forward, then the hips clear, then the club follows through. The hips should be about 45 degrees open at impact, more or less. It encourages a throwing motion, which is powerful. If that can happen with a squared foot, fine. Open foot, fine. Foot up your…well, you get it. Starting with the lower body and whipping the club creates much more speed–and accuracy–compared to coming over the top with an arms-and-shoulders-first move. You can play golf that way, and you can hit it pretty far. But it will be a constant game of adjustments because your fundamentals are not right.

    • geohogan

      Nov 17, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Flaring the lead foot, restricts the turn in the BS.
      Flaring the trail foot is what restricts the turn in the follow through*.

      Ben Hogan flared his front foot, and moved his center of gravity over his lead foot (spine pointed at the heel of the lead foot at top of BS. ie *Farted behind his left heel. Jack N did the same at top of his BS).

      From that top of BS position, they dropped into the slot by gravity and simply rotated through to Level Left after impact. ie shoulders, hips and elbows on the same plane.

      Ref. The Hogan Manual of Human Performance:GOLF, 1992

  50. Darryl

    Nov 16, 2018 at 12:18 am

    From my own swing, I’ve found flaring the foot on my short irons keeps me straight, from about 8 iron down I don’t need to but for the shorter clubs following hogan’s diagram works for me.

  51. Josh

    Nov 15, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    This is absolute garbage. You cite Nicklaus swing but fail to actually watch his swing as during impact his foot actually opens even more as his hips fire towards the target!! His foot is practically facing the target! Any golfer who learns to properly rotate their hips and then extend hips (like in the lockout of a deadlift) towards the target needs to have their foot flared or they will destroy their knee. Go back to the drawing bord.

    • geohogan

      Dec 1, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller released the big toe of their left foot from top of BS. That is what freed up their hips and saved the left knee and lower back from damage.

      Whether the left foot is flared or not, if the big toe is hawked into the ground from top of BS there will be damage done to the lower back, left knee.
      No golfers released the left toe and foot as much as Jack N and Johnny Miller and their hip motion was free and unrestricted because of it.

  52. Tom

    Nov 15, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Rod Lindenberg, Ben Hogan…. interchangeable right? LMAO!

  53. Commoner

    Nov 15, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Hopefully, some day all the messianic experts will board a non-stop rocket to a distant galaxy.

  54. Speedy

    Nov 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Not flaring the front foot at address could be a big mistake, too, Rod.

  55. Crusher

    Nov 15, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Yah, what does Ben Hogan know anyway?

    Is Rod Lindenberg in the HOF?

    • steve

      Nov 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Warren Wind who wrote the 5 Lessons for Hogan who was rather illiterate, noted that further scientific knowledge would reveal more about the golf swing, beyond what he ‘wrote’ for Hogan. It’s in the beginning of the book.

      • Bonzo

        Nov 16, 2018 at 2:16 am

        Rather illiterate!!! Hahahahahaha! Classic!

  56. steve

    Nov 15, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Excellent analysis of Hogan’s 5 Lessons and the shortcomings. The correction to the ball and foot positions diagram is to draw the direction of ball post-impact. The driver ball path is straight ahead, but the wedge shot goes to the ‘left’. The right foot toe line shown is for driver to medium irons and then it skews along the toe line to the wedge. That corrects the drawing error, or omission.

  57. ray arcade

    Nov 15, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Re Nicklaus: “…heel closer to the target line than the toe…” ??? I’m having trouble visualizing that.

    • carrera

      Nov 15, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Yeah, Rod’s terminology was mixed up. “Target line” and “Target” are not the same thing.

      • bob

        Nov 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        If he doesn’t know the difference between “target” and “target line” maybe he should not be writing articles about the golf swing. For Nicklaus to have his heel closer to the target line he would have to turn around.

  58. Darrell

    Nov 15, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Cannot go with you on this one. Orthopedic surgeons will love this advice, i.e. Tiger Woods. The teaching of “snapping” the lead knee backward to “post up” at impact will cause damage to the knee, lower back, and hip joints. The human body is not meant to move this way. Is this the current method that is being taught by 90% of golf pros? Yes. Is it anatomically correct? No. Will a player hit it further? Yes, but at what cost? BTW, Hogan did not straighten his knee until after impact.

    • steve

      Nov 15, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      The upward ‘snapping’ of the lead knee is okay provided the lead foot is flared out, and you avoid ending up on the outside edge of the lead foot. Why does snapping the lead knee increase distance?

      • Isaac

        Nov 16, 2018 at 10:58 am

        There seems to be this myth that the ground is a miraculous source of power that one can draw from. Obviously not the case, but it’s a critical component of generating ideal leverage and forces. That driving “upward” at the right time through the straightening of the left knee accelerates the club head’s movement through its arc. So, with the basic newtonian requirement of there being the equal opposite force being driven downward to the ground, people mislabel that as “ground forces.” All the force, 100%, (save the rabbit hole of trying to calculate gravity itself in the equation) is coming from the golfer.

        • Newton

          Nov 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm

          Gotcha Isaac… but you didn’t answer the question… How does “That driving “upward” at the right time through the straightening of the left knee accelerates the club head’s movement through it’s arc.”??
          The club is moving ‘downward’ while the knee straightening is driving “upwards”. How does upward lead leg speed up the downward clubhead?

          • Isaac

            Nov 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm

            Because as the club moves down and through in its arc, the handle of the club moves up. It’s that “up” that the straightening of the left leg accelerates, thereby accelerating the clubhead. Picture yourself swinging a weight on a string like pendulum, and pulling up and down vertically at just the right time to accelerate the weight, or a kid pumping their legs on a swing (adding force at the other end of the equation).

            • Newton

              Nov 17, 2018 at 1:19 am

              What your saying is that the lead leg upward motion will raise the handle thus accelerate the clubhead? So you must time the downward and lateral clubhead path with the rising club handle otherwise you will hit FAT? Also will the upward leg-pull force counteract and diminish the outward centrifugal force?

            • Newton

              Nov 17, 2018 at 1:22 am

              BTW… your examples are incorrect because you are raising the pendulum rotation center… while the lead leg raise doesn’t raise the swing radius center because the head must be steady and not rise up. Try again….

              • Isaac

                Nov 17, 2018 at 1:17 pm

                You’re not thinking of it correctly…agree to disagree I suppose. Fwiw, I teach physics for a living,lol. Make yourself a simple pendulum with a sting and a nut or something and experiment for yourself. The handle absolutely raises as the clubhead descends.

                • Newton

                  Nov 18, 2018 at 3:17 pm

                  Okay… I see your confusion. The top of the handle pivots up and around a hands axis but this does not raise the club… unless you are referring to Miura’s “parametric acceleration” and inward pull, which is not related to the straightening of the lead leg. Teaching h.s. physics is not applied engineering physics. Thanks for the link which is wrong too.

                • gps

                  Nov 19, 2018 at 11:54 pm

                  Isaac is correct. The golf club is a lever with the fulcrum between the two hands.
                  For the clubhead to go down to the ball, the opposite end of the lever(butt end) has to go up.

                  Miura’s paper in 2001 describes parametric acceleration. Clubhead acceleration due to centripedal force is increased when opposite side of the fulcrum is pulled up.

                  (other descriptions of parametric acceleration by our North American ‘experts’, described by Miura as junk research.)

                • Newton

                  Nov 21, 2018 at 12:01 am

                  Hey, gps…. the hands do apply leverage on the club handle but not continuously… and the “fulcrum” is not between the hands… the “pivot” point is. Also, are you suggesting that hand leverage is being applied to the club handle when the butt end rotates upward and approaching Impact? Just asking…

              • Isaac

                Nov 17, 2018 at 1:22 pm

                Here’s a nice description to help you understand, if the link will copy https://www.swingcatalyst.com/learning-center/articles/vertical-forces

                • gps

                  Nov 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm

                  Theoretically, the additional acceleration of the clubhead could be achieved by pulling the club in the radial direction at impact stage, assuming that the centrifugal force of the clubhead is fully developed. To test this idea, an emulation using a modified double?link model was carried out. It was shown that the clubhead velocity could be increased substantially by the inward pull motion of the club at the impact stage, at which point no other means of acceleration is available.

                  K Miura, 2001

                  Miura’s paper later distorted in what Miuri called, “junk research”

                • gps

                  Nov 22, 2018 at 9:36 am

                  Ground reaction forces, are just that, Reaction Forces
                  as in Newtons Laws: “equal and opposite reaction force.”

                  The kinematic sequence, provides basis of clubhead speed as a result of leverage ie the golf club is a lever in the hands of a golfer, just as a crow bar is a lever, an axe is a lever, a flail is a lever. Every lever has a fulcrum.

                  Its that simple; and you call yourself Isacc? and Newton?

                • Newton

                  Nov 23, 2018 at 3:22 pm

                  okay gps… do you believe that the golf club is “levered” through impact by the hands applying a “hand force couple” on the club handle…. like an “ax”? And where is the “fulcrum” for the club “lever” through impact? Answer that please before you sling about such terms.

              • gps

                Dec 1, 2018 at 11:29 am

                @newton, the golf swing is not a pendulum
                it is a lever. Leverage is maximized by Lag and Parametric acceleration.

                K Miura explains in his 2001 paper Parametric acceleration.
                If you dont understand it , we cant help you.
                Hint: it has nothing to do with pendulum.

        • gps

          Nov 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm

          Magical ground forces is a joke.Thank you Isaac.
          The kinematic sequence states that it is the deceleration of the proximal that results in the acceleration of the distal.
          The faster the deceleration of proximal, the more the resultant acceleration of the golf club.

          It may be that straightening the left knee, and forcing the lead foot into the ground(all unnatural) will increase the deceleration of the proximal, which can result in more acceleration of the golf club. At what cost to the body is the question and at what cost to shortening of a pro’s career.

          • Newton

            Nov 18, 2018 at 3:22 pm

            “It may be that straightening the left knee, and forcing the lead foot into the ground(all unnatural) will increase the deceleration of the proximal, which can result in more acceleration of the golf club.”
            Your assumption is wrong because an applied force vector is not directly related to angular acceleration. Nice try though…

            • geo

              Dec 1, 2018 at 11:46 am

              @newton, Deceleration of the proximal is cause of acceleration of the distal.
              Its the basis of the kinematic sequence. You know what you can do with your applied force vector

      • gps

        Nov 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

        The lead foot must invert , “end up on outside of the foot” after impact.
        ala Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus

        If the lead foot does not invert after impact, there can be serious damage to the lower spine. The lower spine is the only solid connection with the pelvis.

        • Newton

          Nov 18, 2018 at 11:48 pm

          Good point… but what about the LD golfers who dare not invert their lead foot and stay on the ground. They hop off their lead foot just before it inverts or let the lead foot slide around. Also what about the “quiet lower body” with solid foot contact philosophy advanced by some golf gurus?

          • gps

            Nov 19, 2018 at 11:39 am

            As long as the big toe releases from the ground the lower spine will be not be damaged.
            “hawking” the big toe of the lead foot at impact and beyond, is a guarantee of lower spine damage…possibly permanent.

            • Newton

              Nov 19, 2018 at 2:09 pm

              Hmmmm… do you speak from personal experience… or what you’ve observed of others? Thanks for your cogent comments.

              • gps

                Nov 20, 2018 at 12:04 am

                New,
                Ive had the only golf instructor to research and understand human anatomy, genetics, subconscious and tonus as they relate to the golf swing.

                Watch the career of pros who hawk or dont fully release the big toe of their lead foot.

                • Newton

                  Nov 20, 2018 at 11:56 pm

                  What about the “quiet lower body” approach to the golfswing with very little foot action and little to no big toe ‘hawking’?
                  You should name your distinguished golf instructor… with pride… we’re waiting.

  59. Tom

    Nov 15, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Uhhhh, I’ll stick with the advice in Hogan’s book, I believe he enjoyed a more meaningful career in golf than a Lindberg (who was a great pilot). lol!

    • stephenf

      Dec 8, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      You’ll do what you want, but it so happens he’s right. Has nothing to do with who “had a more meaningful career,” and everything to do with direct and indisputable observation.

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Instruction

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Eddie Fernandes has made big changes to his swing (and his power and consistency have gone up) by mastering the key moves in slow motion before he speeds them up. Everyone should use this kind of slow motion training to make real changes to their swing!

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Note: I did NOT say that one was better than the other; I said both work, but you must decide which style works better for you in the end.

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So, remember that you must experiment with both styles to find your best way…but don’t forget it’s nice to understand and learn how to use both!

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