4.30 - a different perspective


‘Such a Little Secret’ /i is indeed a most charming golf book, written by John Wilson Barrett, an English technical author, lover of golf and golf literature, who has been playing golf for over 50 years. The cover clearly sets the tone for the contents. Kind of up Lag’s sleeves as Barrett also feels that not much has been added to golf instruction during the last 50 years. His favorite golf authors – Harvey Pennick, Tommy Armour, Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones.

I am not familiar with the various modules but from what is posted on the public forum it appears to me that there is a lot in ‘Such a little Secret’ rather close to Lag’s ideas. The book’s cover is very indicative. Also the contents, written in witty English prose, with virtually no illustrations, is reminiscent of the past.


[i]“…the hitting stroke then returns the clubhead along a entirely different path. Down and around from the player to reappear as it gets to be laterally to the front at about the level of his right knee, arriving at the ball on a shallow angle and from inside the ball-to-target line…”

“When the clubhead is swung from the ball to the top, 60 percent of the total length of that path is laterally to the front of the player. The other 40 percent is laterally the the rear of the player. When the clubhead returns from the top to the ball, however, 70 percent of the total length of that path is laterally to the rear of the player. The other 30 percent is laterally to the front of the player. Put another way, the clubhead is behind the player for just 40 percent of the length of his back swing, but must be held behind him for 70 percent of the length of his hitting stroke.”

“What comes next is a somewhat less exciting, but absolutely necessary examination of the facets of the swing that makes it possible for a player to hold his clubhead laterally behind him for over two-thirds of the distance it must travel to the ball.”

“…not one moment before the transfer of weight has both powered and lowered an unchanged top assembly to its correct position above the right hip, do the arms or hands turn on any power of their own.”

"…it will not be lost on him that the discrepancy between the clubhead returning correctly to the front at the level of his right knee, and the clubhead returning incorrectly to the front at the level of his neck (or higher) has been as much as three or four feet.”[/i]


[i]"…Those who swing their clubhead to their front with a three-feet-discrepancy between the incorrect and the correct position will have the higher handicaps. Handicaps reduce in direct ratio to that discrepancy. When the discrepancy is zero, behold, the single figure golfer whose handicap then depends solely upon practice, fine-tuning, and his ability to hole puts."

“The bringing up of the clubhead into powerful release rests upon bringing the top assembly to its crucial position at the right hip.”

"It is the expert’s primary coordinate, producing both length and repeatability, the fulcrum from which he releases the clubhead from way behind him and higher than his head to explode through the ball with such speed and power that further coordinates from fulcrum to follow-through can only be subliminal.”[/i]

The transition being only a short fleeting moment in time is often overlooked. Yet it is frequently the cross road leading to either success or failure.


[i]“…from the top. As it is forced to move the assembly remains virtually unchanged, particularly in respect to the fully cocked wrists and right elbow. The assembly offers no resistance and supplies no power whatsoever to the move it must make. However, the direction in which it first moves is of critical importance."

“Assuming that the backswing has been completed to the best of the player’s ability, the direction in which the hands must be guided is exactly that in which the end of the rubber grip is pointing when at the very top of the backswing. There should be no conscious effort, only guidance in the direction indicated by the butt end of the grip.”

“” …the first move of the hands should be directed, not powered, exactly in the direction in which the end of the grip is pointing." [/i]

There are golf instructions with admonition for a ‘vertical drop’, to ‘get into the slot’, swinging down to the trail foot, or compressing the trail side as the first move. Dante’s ‘Four Magical Moves’ also comes close, but I can’t remember having seen golf instruction which such clear emphasis on a very pronounced ‘vertical’ motion as the first move and as a consequence a very shallow inside attack trajectory onto the ball.

I am delighted to see a golf instruction book clearly mentioning the notion that the back swing is primarily a matter of creating sufficient space and time for a proper down swing sequence, and hence not coiling for power or any like wise notion. This notion of gathering power in the back swing to be released in the down/forward sing is still omnipresent in golf instruction and has really no justification.


Good read Mandrin,
Maybe Lag’s alias as a writer is John Wilson Barrett…very nice explanations of the desired intent to propel an immobile sphere in the correct manner


Lag has interesting qualifications:

  • player
  • teacher
  • premium writing skills.

Perhaps more books distilling the essence of the knowledge of the true old masters of the game might perhaps counter balance a bit the massive inroad of ever more technology. Just extrapolate this tendency into the future… golf could well be played before long in an interactive 3d virtual environment without ever leaving home. :open_mouth: :unamused: :blush:

I think that is really wonderful, but I must admit, I am a bit startled that there is no description of how to properly initiate transition…

So close, but didn’t quite “get it” unless there is a page torn out of the book… :sunglasses:

Oh, ok…

I just re read the title of the book…

“Such a little Secret”

therefore, of course, he is still keeping it a secret, but I just gave it away in module #6 last week for those who have treaded so far up the good waters!

Golf is a land of misfits and magicians.

Lag, I have the impression that you are poking some fun at it all. :wink: So let me clarify my intentions just in case there is some misunderstanding.

My post refers to ‘4.30’ and what I understand of it. In ‘A Little Secret’ I sense a similar attitude towards the game of golf as is prevalent on this forum and there is a different and rather detailed description of the sequence down deep, followed by a shallow pass through impact. Only some paragraphs specifically relating to this specific motion have been quoted from the book. Transition is effectively treated and the title 'a little secret ’ refers to something totally unrelated to the either the concept of ‘4.30’ or the down swing.

The author neglects to mention the vertical dimension in his 60/40 ratio - a glaring omission. So is using the term “lateral” to describe a mostly rotary motion. And - telling folks to get the club “behind you” is one of the worst things you can advise most golfers, who actually have the club way too far “behind them” already during the Top of backswing segment and some will keep it there during Transition and create a way too much in to out path. Of course, it all depends on what the author defines as “you”. Most likely in his case, the golfers sense of self as identified with the eye gaze or eye line. This is the number one cause of the Arm Swing Illusion, what I call the “Fixed line of sight Illusion”. When I use the term “stuck behind you” I mean arms that have moved too much to the right side of the torso or too big an angle during the backswing, to even the actual side of the torso or for flexible golfers, even literally around the side.

You need to keep your hands and butt end of the golf club in front of your chest at all times almost to the finish to play great golf. NOT the mid-line of the body.The term “in front of” has been widely mis-interpreted to mean the mid-line.

I have said it again and again, must be a hundred times now on golf forums - you will never see through the so-called “mystery” of the golf swing until and unless you can start to see in three dimensions and see through the Arm Swing and related Illusions.

It surprises me to see experienced teachers opiniate with such certainty based on only a few paragraphs specifically selected to illustrate one particular aspect. Usually one has to read a golf instruction book in its entirety, likely several times, and moreover read also between the lines to get a fair idea what the author is trying to convey.

Ben Hogan’s five lessons, a tiny booklet, has been and likely will be discussed forever. Golf is not like mathematics, each teacher develops his own particular vocabulary. Each teacher likely thinks he only possesses the truth but so does the next teacher around the block.

If I take your own post as a typical example to illustrate how easy it is to criticize. I normally have my hands not in front of my chest as it would require to use a rather long shaft which I am not able to handle. :wink: I don’t feel your post to be readily understood either by any neutral reader not used to your particular prose.

Some golfers refer to hitting the ball with their hands or their stomach yet we all know, at least I hope so, that strictly speaking this is not the case. I don’t think it has changed since the last time I had a look at it, but usually one strikes the ball with the clubhead. :astonished:

A bit surprised by your reaction. Contrary to you I had exactly the opposite impression. I do feel that the author is emphasizing very strongly the vertical aspect in the down swing. It is the only way to get
the clubhead to the front at the level of the knees.

I rather prefer twomaster’s reaction. :smiley: Indeed, 'Such a Little Secret” is an interesting charming read, well written, very instructive, and showing a passion for the game of golf as practiced by the old masters, and delivered in a style very different from most golf instruction books. You read one and you have read them all. :cry:


Thank you for posting about this book…I found it a fascinating read.

Most interesting was the description of retaining the clubhead behind you for 70% of the downswing and the 3 ft discrepancy between hackers and great players.

The clubhead can only be held behind you until the level of the knee for 70% of the downswing if…you create a full and complete shoulder turn and then retain it during the downswing as Lag teaches in module 6.

The most important lesson from this book is that the purpose of the backswing is to permit the depth, space and time for the downswing.

Mandrin, I really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing. The above part of it is fantastic really. I think the confusion with some of this stuff can arise when a player tries to have his arms behind him as well as the club, which is easy to think is right in trying to get it back there and behind you. That then leads to all sorts of madness, and makes it impossible to actually have the club behind due to a loss of relationship to the ball etc. Having the arms come down to be in front of the body is one of the real keys to getting the club behind and late…

In relation to the post from the other thread about energy etc. do you think there’s an actual single scientific process for how speed is created in the swing? The clubhead generates speed but it’s due to so many different things going on that it’s tough to isolate specific causes. In thinking about that post I kept wondering how body speed plays it’s part. Interesting stuff. Thanks for your thoughts…


It is fun to see several people enjoy some of the ideas as given in ‘Such a Little Secret’. I felt that it was quite in line with ideas/concepts posted on this forum.

With regard to your question… "do you think there’s an actual single scientific process for how speed is created in the swing ? ", just some general observations.

The only interface between golfer and club is through the hands.

The golfer, through the hands, can exert both a linear force and a torque, where the linear force is by far dominant. Besides exerting force/torque, the hands also trace a 3D path in space.

Hence whatsoever any body part does it can only produce eventually some force/torque through the hands on the club and influence the 3D trajectory of the butt end of the club.

Forget about centrifugal force, the only important matter is the linear force, and some torque, both exerted through the hands onto the butt end of the club, by the golfer.

Another important aspect is how this force/torque exerted on the butt end is modulated with time. Quick initial loading and freewheeling through impact or perhaps rather a gentle start and explosive action through impact and beyond. Or perhaps just a continuous steady action.

With regard to how the body/arms are used to produce clubhead speed, I do feel that the kinetic chain concept, being useful and all, is not a be-all and end-all. Hence I feel that many different ways exist to descent golf. Whatever produces a consistent golf swing is to be taken seriously.

Controlling the 3D path is however much more important than the magnitude and modulation of the force/torque exerted through the hands by the body. In ‘Such a Little Secret’ there is indeed also much emphasis on the 3D trajectory of the clubhead in space.

Going down ‘vertically’ and then making subsequently a shallow swipe at the ball is primarily aimed at controlling the 3D trajectory of the clubhead. Elbows in close to body, club bisecting arms, etc., are all elements aimed ultimately at controlling path and orientation of clubhead.

I just guess a bit but feel that this is what Lag is primarily striving for in his teaching… accuracy, repeatability and control, first and foremost, and then only subsequently power and length.


we need to get control over the clubhead, so that we can then start to control the flight of the golf ball, and ultimately the golf course.

The clubhead should not be a quick blur through impact, then looking up with hope pouring out of you eyes. We want to feel and know exactly where the clubhead is a all times in our swing. If we have the clubface closing via pivot rotation rather than wrists flailing passively, then we can move into the type of ball striking that was more common place with some of the great masters of the game.

This stuff can be learned, because the laws of physics have not changed nor has biological evolution had much chance to alter the human condition over the last 50 or 100 years.

Great stuff, Mandrin…
In the last while I have become quite aware of the 3D nature of the swing and it’s been very helpful in my understanding of things. The linear nature of the swing is also something that I’ve become more and more aware of. Studying the feet and legs has strengthened my understanding and appreciation of the linear force, and in a strange way has opened up a lot of clarity about the journey of the hands.
I like that you clarified the butt end of the club in your description- very important. This is some big stuff here. It strikes me as the essence of actually using the club and manipulating it’s weight in space to create force. You have to listen to it, I think.
I agree with you about the kinetic chain concept, I don’t think it’s the holy grail that it’s touted as. One of the things that bothers me about it is that the examples of it are mostly single arm actions- throwing, fly fishing, whip etc. I can envision a single line journey of energy working in a simple bottom to top action, but having two hands on the club, with either side of the body going in different directions to a large degree, makes it a little more complicated I think. I’m not sure why exactly, but this definitely has an impact on the supposed kinetic chain of events. Fly fishing or using a whip is a hell of a lot more difficult and less effective with both hands on deck, and there’s a reason a baseball pitcher only uses one hand to throw the ball. It’s also a lot harder to coordinate 2 hands- as an example of this(assuming you can do it) try hopping a ball on the face of your wedge with 2 hands instead of one- it’s really hard to do. Less is often more.


Kevin Miyahira, who has done seemingly extensive empirical research on some of the best ball strikers that are active today, also has some reservations about the kinetic chain action in a golf swing.

[size=125]Revisiting the Kinetic Link Principle[/size]

On a different topic…Miyahira 's concept of firing through impact and beyond are somewhat similar to lag’s.

“ The second firing needs to be really explosive and it needs to drive you through the last 90 degrees of hip rotation till the end of the swing. “

Great stuff again, Mandrin… I’ve come across this guy before when looking for info on some other stuff- I really like some of his thoughts!
This is fascinating stuff to me… I’ve been actually working on a bit of an analysis of Rory’s swing over the last while. IMO, he turns the concept of rotation on it’s head and does something completely different that manages to look like rotation. And Ryo IMO has the best leg action in the game since Hogan…Lots to say about this stuff…

Had a dream last night that woke me about 4:30 am…it really did :laughing:

The dream was one of those goofy ones that changes subjects every second…very disjointed. But the theme that woke me up was Northwestern University getting a new coach because it’s sports program was at a new low point.

Now I’m not the most sophisticated rat in terms of dream interpretation…but perhaps the travel on the 4:30 line is a lot longer, and more in front of the ball than I was giving it credit for. I think the travel NW from the top, on that line, to the low point sets up a triangulation situation between the 4:30 line—ball—and low point which provides the nexus for turning the corner.

The rat is off to the range… :laughing: RR

Release those angles, Rat…just not the one between the arms and the club shaft!

Captain Chaos

Did I see a post where you pointed out that his hips actually started turning clockwise at impact? Did you post a video?

This feeling is an interesting one to work with. And seems to fall into Lag’s “opposing forces” concept.

I hear 'ya Captain…spot on!! Here’s what else I found today:

Don’t know if I can capture this in writing, but was really feeling opposing forces today but from a source I would not have expected. The club feels like it’s actually coming down and going up at the same time…hence, true loft of the club.

Starting to think that the following applies to the club being laid-off, flat, and open simultaneously coming down

Flat…is an inside path on 4:30 to the low point

Laid Off…saves R arm

Open…hits with full loft of club

Hit the 'livin snot out of it today…never lost a shot left…misses were 15 feet right tops. :slight_smile: RR

Forgot to add…I had forgotten that when I got my Hogans years ago they were bumped down…but I don’t recall how much. Will check that out asap versus the standard specs. Can’t seem to get myself to try an Apex #4 like you gorillas out there…for the time being, I’ll stick with the Apex #3:blush: RR