124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Complaint Department

November 01, 2007

Opening the complaint department: Two readers take exception to instruction in the November issue. First, SD Evans in Myrtle Beach addresses Bobby Clampett's Breaking 100, 90, 80, 70, which SD found condescending:

As a beginner golfer, taking it up 2 years ago as a 'retirement' activity, I routinely read with interest Golf Digest. I also am a former subscriber to your magazine.  I don't usually bother to provide feedback to the Editor but > Bobby Clampett's 'Master the Impact Zone' really got my goat.    >

I found some of the information useful although other parts beyond my understanding.  The article, however, seemed mostly about his 'greatness' ,which is really boring,--- who cares?  In my opinion, Mr. Clampett didn't understand his [beginner golfer] audience with the quip in the first paragraph "I wouldn't even want to play if I couldn't hit the ball solidly".  Fortunately, there's different stokes for different folks and we're not all blessed with Clampett's greatness.  By the way, your editors dropped the ball on this as well.  Funny how one sentence can make or break a story. >

Nobody is quite the lightning rod that Bobby is. I didn't take his "solidly" line the way you did, SD, but who am I to talk you out of it? I'm most concerned that you found some of the instruction "beyond your understanding." That's something we need to work on.


Complaint No. 2 comes from from reader Adam Saltzman about Jerome Andrews' article on "How to Start Your Swing." Andrews took on the one-piece takeway, which is a bit like taking on Mom and apple pie in the world of instruction, and Adam called him on it...

Andrews seems to think there's a "fatal flaw" in the one-piece takeaway in that your arms keep moving after your shoulders stop and therefore a "correction" is needed. This is just not true.  Done properly, the arms go up and the shoulders turn and finish at the same time (it's just that the last bit of shoulder turn is not as much as the first part since you start to get resistance from the hips ⿿ ie, coil), if this were'nt the case, the hands would no longer be in line w/the center of the chest and the "triangle" formed by the arms and shoulders would change shape. Every good golfer keeps this triangle throughout the swing, it minimizes moving parts and hence the need to resynchronize on the downswing to arrive at the ball in the best position to make solid contact. There is also no real rotation of the forearms in the swing (again, excess added movement that would have to be synched up on the way down). In a proper swing, the relationship of the hands, arms and shoulders essentially stays constant ⿿ if you isolated arm movement it would show that all the arms do is go straight up and down in front of your body and the hands don't turn side to side but rather they cock naturally w/the thumbs going straight up and back down.  Lastly, the pictures he uses of "bad" and "good" form are simply not accurate. The "bad" picture does not illustrate a one piece take away as the hands have moved inside and toward his right shoulder (ie, no longer centered w/his chest). The "good" picture has the clubhead even w/his hands instead of out in front of his hands and body (just look at any Golf Digest photo swing sequence and all the pros have the clubhead outside their hands in the initial takeaway shot).  The key for most amateurs is minimizing the number of moving body parts and I'm afraid this bit of advice not only adds unnecessary movement but it is based on a false premise of a "flaw" in a one-piece takeaway.

A very well-reasoned letter. I think the key phrase in your letter is "if done properly". Andrews has seen lots of amateurs try for that and lose all rythym and flexibility, hence the alternate approach. Thanks, Adam.

--Bob Carney