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The Concept of “Something to Nothing”

The Concept of “Something to Nothing”
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

The Concept of Something to Nothing

Downswing action keys like “roll your forearms” or “drive your legs” may work occasionally, but they are difficult to time correctly and are therefore likely to produce a choppy, error-prone swing. This begs the question, “What should I be trying to do during the downswing?” The answer is “nothing.” It is with this in mind that I say, “the golf swing can be thought of as “something to nothing,” meaning that the backswing folds the package (coil, levers, etc.) into place, while the downswing lets the package “unfold.” Since one should not be consciously active during the process of unfolding, active swing keys do not belong in the downswing. 

Clarification 1: The concept of “doing nothing” during the downswing does not equate with feeble efforts or sloppy-slow swings.  

Clarification 2: I am speaking here of playing keys – practice keys often must be active to facilitate learning on the driving range.

Quiet Please

Why should your downswing be quiet, i.e., without manipulation?  Once you complete your backswing, it’s too late to initiate any conscious moves before impact.  It is inevitable that when you try to do “something” during the downswing, you’ll incorrectly time it. Remember that while your golf brain works fast, there’s still a time lag between when an event happens and when you think it happens. This discrepancy means that our perception of the present as being current is always wrong – for example, the ball is a few yards down the fairway before the feeling of impact registers in the brain.  Now, if we can’t even judge accurately when the club and ball make contact, what chance do we have of trying to fit a set of conscious instructions into an event (the downswing) that takes less than half a second? So after the start of the downswing, “quiet please” is the order of the day as far as initiating new moves.

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Preserve the Configuration of Your Trail Wrist

One of the most important things you must do in building a quiet swing is to preserve the angle in your trail wrist until the natural forces of your swing cause it to release. You don’t “do” a release, you “have” a release, and it is initiated, not by your volition, but by a law of physics called the conservation of momentum or COM.  The retention of this cup angle until just the correct time provides two extremely key benefits for quiet golf: (1) It lags the shaft behind the hands, an occurrence necessary for max power, and (2) it stabilizes the clubface through impact providing the accuracy without which power is reduced to a curse. 

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Note how the right wrist is still cupped just before impact. From this position, your swing is quiet because all you have to do is to keep rotating your body. By sealing your wrists, the small muscles of your hands and arms are calm – they have already done their job by forming the levers necessary for power during the backswing – now it is up to your friend “momentum” to open up the levers, so your power is dumped into the ball. Always remember that under pressure, small muscles choke while big muscles stay under control, which is why your goal is to build a swing in which your arms/wrists simply respond to the COM.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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