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Concepts like Ernest Jone's swing the clubhead, Eddie Merrins swing the handle, and Jim Flick's teachings are
primarily what the New Horizons Golf Approach classify as arms player's. There are also other styles of golf actions
that can be classified as being more arms controlled than body controlled. Many "Hitting" styles are arms
controlled. Also "Throwing" styles may be more arms controlled than body controlled. Although most "Throwing"
styles use a combination of body and arms, they primarily deliver the swing with the arms in control of the action
and this would move them into the Arms Player category. As you develop your golf action keep in mind there are
three categories of golf actions, and these actions are "Hitting," "Throwing," and "Swinging." Hitters use muscular
thrust as the delivery action, Throwers delivery the arm throw off of either a weight shift or pivot action, and
Swingers delivery the swing with rotational force. Keep in mind that these are general classification at this point.
However, from there general classifications it can be concluded that Hitters are often using the arms actively while
thrusting, Throwers clearly use and active arm action to throw, and Swingers are much more body players.
There are many different methods that have recommended one or the other of these applications. Indeed they are
applications which make them more a matter of choice than of necessity. In "The LAW's of the Golf Swing" by Mike
Adams, Jim Suttie, and TJ Tomasi there are three patterns that are discussed. As I studied their observations and
recommendations it occurred to me that what they classify as Width players are generally golfers more suited to
Hitting. It occurred to me that what they classify as Arc players are generally golfers more suited to being what I call
Arc Throwers, and what they classify as being Lever players are generally golfers suited to being Swingers. These
are my observations and opinions based on how they define their body type tests and what they recommend each
body type to utilize as a golf action. There study also has further implications when we relate their observations to
the biomechanics studied in Stage Three of this website.
In The Golfing Machine Homer Kelley states, " The Golf Stroke involves mainly, two basic elements-the Geometry of
the Circle and the Physics of Rotation. And only two basic Strokes-Hitting and Swinging. The geometry (for
"uncompensated" Strokes) is the same for both. And for all clubs and Patterns. But, basically, the Physics of
Hitting is Muscular Thrust, and of Swinging, Centrifugal Force, and herein, "Motion" is Geometry - "Action" is
Physics. Hitting and Swinging seem equally efficient. The difference is in the players. If you are strong, then hit. If
you are fast, then swing. If both-do either. Or both." Interestingly enough The Golfing Machine never addressed
the action of throwing even though it is clearly a viable action. For many it simply comes down to a matter of choice
One of the main arguments in favor of using your arm swing as the dominant action in your golf stroke is that your
hands are the only contact your body has with the golf club. Thus, it is argued that your hands must control the golf
club. Additionally, since it is the arms that bring additional leverage into the stroke, their role is essential to the goal
of delivering a power stroke. Furthermore, others argue that using the arms to swing the club and/or clubhead is a
natural activity, much like throwing a ball, welding a sword or even a hammer, cracking a whip, etc. One more
supporting argument is that it is your hands and arms that have the dexterity to control the club with precision.
Homer Kelley (The Golfing Machine) discussed this process as educating the hands and implied that it was a critical
part of developing the necessary golf skills.
Proponents of being a Body Player argue that it is very difficult to depend upon these arm and hand actions when
playing under pressure. They argue it is much easier to depend upon the consistency of the large muscle groups
of the body. Body Player proponents argue that using a sound body motion, with proper posturing, connected
arms, and a fundamentally sound grip with will consistently return the clubhead and clubface alignments through the
ball time after time, and even under pressure filled competitive situations.
Even so, it is inevitably the case that golfers begin to play the game by using a stroke that is more arms and hands
oriented. This is because the first two fundamentals are concerned with delivering the clubface in a square to the
arc manner followed by following-through in a target oriented manner. Being that these activities are fundamental,
and that they are the first instinctive goals a golfer sets out to tackle, it is inevitably the case that each golfer learns
to use their arms and hands in a golf educated manner. Granted, there will be some golfers that begin the game
after they have already learned another body oriented sport or activity, and these novice golfers may be inclined to
start their golfing journeys as body players. Even so, this case will be more isolated and less the norm, at least until
they society of golfers changes its' basic mind set in relations to the game.
Though developing educated arms and hands is essential to the process of internalizing a sound golf stroke, most
golfers that continue to depend on the activity of the arms and hands as the control force of the swing tend to
produce a more fluctuating ball flight pattern than those that develop body controlled strokes. The question
becomes is this a good thing or a bad thing. The answer is it depends on the individuals mind-set and disposition.
Though Arms Players tend to spray their shots more than Body Players, this is generally the case when the player
is concerned with maximizing power. Phil Mickelson for example uses a throwing action and enjoying playing the
power game. Because of this he often experiences an inconsistent ball flight pattern. On the other hand, being a
throwing that depends a lot on his arm and hand education, Phil also enjoys a tremendous amount of feel and
touch in his game. Any of us that have watched him play realize that he has tremendous feel in the short game,
however, he also has tremendous feel in the long game. Being so, he also experiences periods of incredible shot
making in his long game. On Sunday of the 2009 Masters tournament Phil Mickelson played exactly this way, firing
at some of the most difficult pin locations, during some of the most difficult conditions, Phil continued to play
incredible shots within feet of the hole.
Also keep in mind that many Arms Players resolve themselves to playing a more accurate control game instead of a
power game. There have been many great Hands Players in the game, Henry Cotton probably being the most
famous. There have also been many great Arms Players in the game, Chi Chi Rodriguez for example. I would also
add Corey Pavin and Seve Ballesteros to a list of great Arms Players. Keep in mind that these players depend
more on creativity than they do on power. Lastly, Arms Players depend tremendously on rhythm and timing in their
golf strokes. Therefore, if you are a player that thrives on being creative, while depending on great feel, rhythm,
and timing, then being and Arms Player might be the method of play for you.
An in depth study of the Arms Player method of play would reveal that their are actually a variety of different
approaches to becoming an Arms Player. Many Arms Players do use their bodies to generate significant power in
their golf strokes. In general I classify these golfers as Athletic Golfers because the use what has often been
described as the basic athletic motion to produce power. Though I believe that the term "basic athletic action" is
very misleading, it has been used so often that it is useful for this discussion. In general, the basic athletic action
involves what is commonly called the basic athletic weight shift. This weight shift action is described as being a
lateral movement of the weight from foot to foot in the golf swing. This type a weight shift dictates that the golfer
use a "shift-turn shift-turn" type of action in the golf stroke. When you couple this action with the educated arms
and hands process discussed above you have developed the basic throwing action in golf. Thus, the golfer that
uses the educated arms swing to control the swing, yet supports the swing with the athletic "shift-turn shift-turn"
action of the throwing is an Arms Player that uses a throwing technique. Conversely, the golfer that uses the
athletic "shift-turn shift-turn" action as the engine of the swing and connects the educated arms swing to delivery
the stroke soundly becomes a Body Player that uses a throwing technique. With this in mind, some throwing
actions belong to Arms Players while other Throwing actions belong to Body Players.
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Arms Control - Body Responds