Debating the existence, and usefulness, of the 5th PA


I find your logic so flawed that I suspect that we cannot hope to fruitfully communicate.

You posit extreme situations where the club is either near-vertical or near-horizontal, and I believe that the clubface scenarios that exist under those conditions have no relevance.

The reality is that golfers only have their clubshaft between the TSP and the hand plane at impact. At those degrees of inclined plane, the difference in clubface angle/orientation is insignificant (relative to other factors involved in hitting the ball straight).

From my perspective, hitting the ball straight requires control of three major elements - control of the clubshaft path, control of clubhead lag and control of the clubface at impact.

If you want to discusss those factors in a constructive manner, then I will continue participating in your forum. Otherwise, I will depart and leave the playing field to you and other forum members.


I am sorry but you have become a total believer in Homer Kelly mainly because he worked at it so hard(he can still be totally wrong). Lets say how do you control Lag (I know your TGM answer is monitor the PP#3) but do you really believe two fingers are all it takes to control the huge amount of forces the body is supposed to generate. I have tried that and only succeeded in having a constantly sore PP#3 for more than two years.
If John tells you the extremes then why do you think a difference of 10,20, 30 degrees will have zero effect (I think the diference between TSP and Hand plane is about 25-30 degrees from your drawing). By the way the difference between the extremes is 90 degrees.
This may come as harsh but I believe, by now your aim is to be accepted as the greatest golfing mind and not seek improvement in your game. I have never beeen this blunt on any forums but your wanting to run a golf school looked very kiddish to me. Being physicians does not give us a license to go at each and everything and claim expertise.
I know you are retired and my very sincere advice will be to stick around here, sign up for the ABS calss and enjoy your retirement by playing good golf. Our bodies are not as limited as we think. Our minds may be!

Somebody recently put a video up demonstrating the difference between flat and steep when opening and closing the clubhead, demonstrating that flat had less horizontal effect and more vertical effect, therefore prooving that a flat club will have more effect in trajectory (high/low) than left/right. Whoever posted that would be useful to posst it again.

Macs, good points.

My modern driver is close to 59 degrees, the Persimmon Driver i am rebuilding is going to be about 46 degrees, 13 degrees flatter. 13 is a significant number over 59.

I might be over over simplifying things, but i am expecting my open or closed face misses to be approximately 22% staighter than my old misses. Thats is a significant amount and not at extreme ends of the scale.

Though i abmit that 13 degrees in a bit on the flat side.

Jeffman said that he had already read the Flat v Upright thread, so presumably he was unimpressed.


Mac - If you persist in making totally unnecessary ad hominem comments, then this will be the last time that I respond to your posts. I do not mind vigorous counterarguments that are targeted at my opinions on golf mechanics/biomechanics/physics/geometry, but all other ad hominem comments have no value when it comes to assessing the “truth” of my opinions. I am also not a TGM groupie - I was banned from Lynn Blakes’ TGM website for criticising many of Homer Kelley’s TGM beliefs.

If you believe that a variation of 10-30 degrees in the clubshaft angle can affect the clubface orientation sufficiently - presuming that a golfer appropriately adjusts his lie angle so that the bottom of the clubhead is parallel to the ground at impact - then you have to produce solid “evidence” to support that belief.

Moe Norman was the greatest striker of the ball in the history of golf - in terms of consistently straight ball flight - and he had a much steeper clubshaft angle at impact. It was between the elbow plane and the TSP.

Regarding the role of PP#3 in clubhead lag. It only monitors lag - it doesn’t have to produce lag.



I looked at that video.

What precisely are you seeing that allows you to conclude that a flatter clubshaft angle (43 degrees versus 56 degrees) affects trajectory more than direction?

Did that golfer adjust his lie angle so that the sole of both clubheads were equally parallel to the ground at the impact position?

What movement is that golfer actually performing with his arms, and how does that translate to a “real life” golf swing?



Sorry - I apparently quoted the wrong figures in my post. It is 53 degrees versus 65 degrees, and not 43 degrees versus 56 degrees.


Isn’t solving problems greatly aided by considering extremes, or even inverting( considering the opposite). Didn’t one of those famous mathematicians( Pascal?) say “Invert!! Always invert!” Don’t engineers and scientist do that? Isn’t that how things are done in calculus( maximum/minimum) and algebra(inverting)? So I would think Lag’s suggestion is a good one, and I am disappointed if you will not go down that road with him a bit before backing off so soon…we may all learn something.

His example of how ball flight direction is not affected by clubshaft rotation if the clubshaft is horizontal is an eye-opener. If you disagree, please say. Again, as Gerry has said…there’s no competition…we’re all just trying to find a nugget or two of truth.


You can see that the line traced with the first upright club is nearer horizontal than the flatter club that is more vertical. Surely you can see how the corridor of error would more narrow with the flatter club?

Yes, otherwise they would not be both pointing the laser forward. The upright club would have been pointing nearer the window on the left if i had not.

I was doing nothing with hands and arms, simply rocking my shoulders to open and close the blade.

Just shows what would happen with an open or closed blade at impact with these 2 clubs. By the way, i can hit balls with both these clubs with full swings and hit straight shots, its just easier to hit the flat one straighter, my misses are less extreme, but that’s the point.


Using myself as an example…
When I was younger I used flat clubs…approx 2 degrees flat. I was longer in distance and better in accuracy. I didn’t have to practice that much. I had the dynamics in place to play well pretty much most days, although we all have an off day here or there.
In an attempt to get better I started receiving tuition. My swing became more steep. I had to shift to more upright clubs (one and half degrees up) to accommodate this change according to the ‘experts’ and their fitting me for clubs based on this newer delivery line and impact position.
I started to lose distance and my bad shot became progressively more off line.
I didn’t have a clue why as I was meant to be swinging better based on tuition. I saw all these lines drawn on a computer that said I was in excellent positions yet the ball flight was lying squarely to my face.
I have now in the past 6 months dropped my lie angles progressively per month as I grew accustomed to the look. I am now at 6 degrees flat in lie angle.
My distance is returning and my accuracy is much better…Why?
The flatter lie angle invites the torso and body rotation to get involved again. The club is swooshing more from inside in it’s delivery path. This has enabled me to get more clubhead movement and clubhead range of motion (speed) into the hitting area and BEYOND with body rotation…instead of coming down the line too much with upright sticks and having my body stall so my hands can flip at it.
Less body work brings less distance and accuracy…in my opinion and probably in the opinion of every one of Lag’s students…they all know better now.
I am not a machine…obviously All I am pointing out is my own observations through practice and play.
The more vertical or down the target line the club comes into impact the more the shoulders want to get steep, the more the pivot stalls and the hands want to flick…causing distance control problems…distance issues by less body action…and directional issues by the hands slapping, arms straightening and hands flicking. It is no co-incidence that the true ‘great ballstrikers’ all pretty much to a tee came from a shallow entry into a shallow path through which gave them more control of the ball…the shallower you enter, the faster the club can continue on and up into the PV5 position John talks about. Again- all the great ‘ball strikers’ reach this vertical PV5 position , so it can’t just be a freak of nature that they all did/do it.
Lag has made numerous remarks about Moe Norman and how he swung on a one plane elbow path. He actually loves it- but it is probably beyond the realms of possibility for most people so we go with the other 100 or so great ball strikers in history and their very similar method of swinging/hitting
It all makes sense to me…give it a shot Jeffman…you may be surprised…or you may not…(but I doubt it)…depends on the openness of your mind when you want to look on the other side of what you traditionally know and believe.
PV5 is not a forced position however…it comes as a result of all the other stuff mentioned above. Show me someone who folds the club into a PV5 position and I will guarantee that is someone who has lost club head speed and directional control of the ball

cosider the club was like this flat with 0’ lie angle. Now if you swing that club on its plane i.e horizontal to the ground (thoeritically of course) you can not alter the ball flight dirction by excessively closing or keeping open, it will only affect trajectory. Yes OTT can still happen but not the effect of open or close face. And I know for a fact you believe the club face is something like 80 % responsible for direction control (from Manzella’s D Plane).
Now in real life that effect may 20-30 % but I will take it.

Sorry the club should look like this


I cannot interpret your drawing.

I have no idea where the angled clubface is pointing.

My way of thinking about this problem is as follows.

Presume that you have a 20 degree lofted 5-iron clubhead. Attach it to two clubshafts so that the sole of the 5-iron sits flush on the ground at impact (presume that perfect impact is at low point for the vertical-traveling clubshaft), and have two clubshaft-clubhead attachment arrangments so that one clubshaft can travel along the surface of the ground (0 degrees to the ground) and one that can travel perpendicular to the ground (90 degrees to the ground).

If both clubfaces are perfectly square to the target at impact and the clubhead path at impact is directly facing the target, then the ball should go straight (zero clubface error and zero clubhead error). That can only occur if the ball is at the point on the clubhead arc when it changes direction (going from down-to-up in the vertical traveling shaft and going from in-to-square-to-in in the horizontally traveling shaft). For the clubhead traveling horizontally, if the ball is hit before its reaches the peak point on its rounded arc, the clubhead path and clubface will be facing right, and the ball will go right. For the clubhead traveling horizontally, if the ball is hit after its passes the peak point on its rounded arc, then the clubhead path and clubface will be facing left, and the ball will go left. For the clubhead traveling vertically, if the clubhead hits the ball before (or after) it reaches the nadir (low point) of its clubhead arc, the ball will still go relatively straight - because the clubhead path is always directed towards the target and there is only slight variations in the degree of clubface loft at impact.


Now, whats’ the likelihood of hitting off-line (left-or-right) if the timing is wrong so that the clubhead is either ahead of the hands,

The club that I want you to imagine has the shaft and hosel in line with the leading edge/grooves. In your comparison you assume if the club is perfectly square at impact. Yes then there will be no difference. But what if you can not assure a square club face every single time. We are talking about those situations. The effect of a non square club face will be none in this theoritical 0’ lie angle club while it will be exactly the angle of open/close club face in a theoritical 90 ’ lie angle club. 45’ lie angle will be exactly in between and so forth.
This is why Lag says it takes timing out of the swing. Actually it just decreases its effect and increases the probability of hitting it straight.


In my example, I also presume that the shaft and hosel are perfectly lined up with the leading grooves.

I don’t presume a perfect impact alignment. I presume an imperfect impact alignment due to poor timing.

In a vertically moving shaft situation, poor timing will mainly affect trajectory - because it mainly affects the degree of clubface loft at impact if the clubhead is not perfectly soled at impact. The clubhead is always moving in the direction of the target if the vertical pendular movement is straight-in-line with the target (moving along the ball-target line).

By contrast, poor timing in a horizontally moving shaft will mainly affect the precise direction of clubhead path and clubface orientation at the exact moment of impact if the clubhead/clubface is not perfectly square to the target due to the poor timing.


I am not talking about the tangential swing path of the club; I am talking about the rolling of the club face like acc# 3 in your lingo. Do yourself a favour : make two paper triangles. Stick a pencil along the base of one and at 90’ to the base of the other; then all you have to do is rotate the pencil between your fingers. We are getting there.


I understand your argument… and yes in a controlled lab situation… if both the perfectly upright and perfectly flat models of yours hit the ball square and flush… both will produce near perfect golf shots…


In golf… we are not machines, but flesh and blood humans that swing the club more flawed than we do perfect… so given that golfers are far from swinging the club perfectly every time, myself included… we need all the help we can get from the geometry of things we can control, and how we can set up our gear to our advantage. (new, old, vintage, hickory)

If I can drop my swing plane 8 degrees to help me straighten out my shots and not give up any feel, I am all the wiser to do so.

I also think history has shown us that the best ball strikers have swung the club on much flatter swing planes than the majority of the “popular golfing opinion”.

Is it any coincidence that when the subject of all time purest ball strikers comes up, most anyone’s list is littered with players that are deemed shorter in stature also? (FLAT)

As far as Moe… Moe stood a long way from the ball… he wasn’t as upright as you would like to believe.
I can take a 6 degree flat iron and extend it out away from my body and swing on a TGM turned shoulder plane…

Jeffman, you are not really thinking that one through very well…

I agree, that if you are going to “swing” as in TGM’s definition… then by all means swing it like Moe.

I’ve been working with Micheal Lavery who sought out my thoughts on Moe, and Micheal has a very unique approach to striking a golf ball. I have been working him much more into a “Moe” type of action… because he is clearly feeling that kind of golf swing, and having success doing so. We have done quite a bit of work adjusting his clubshaft path to work into such a protocol, and he has informed me that things have been working very well. What he is doing is pure pivot driven swinging… like Moe…

If you think Moe swung the club with his arms and not his body you are WAY off course… Was Moe lying to us when he said
“I swing the club with my chest and my legs” I have him talking about that on my film that I took of him in 1987. Macs and Arnie have seen it.

Was Moe doing this? YES… of course he was doing this.

Was Moe swinging really upright clubs? NO! He just stood a long way from the ball to take advantage of that kind of swinging geometry. It’s good stuff… Did Moe swing upright? NO! Moe was very flat…

Do I only teach the golf swing one way? NO… ask Lavery. I understand what Moe is doing … but I don’t claim to really understand all of the nuances and subtleties of his approach, because I don’t swing that way. If I teach Moe, I am in many ways just like other observation based instructors that can’t walk their talk. I am making some educated guesses on a few issues.

To fully understand a technique, you need to be able to execute it. I say FULLY understand. Homer Kelley and other observation based instructors were or are limited by the scope of their experience. Why did Homer completely drop the ball on ground pressures? Why did he believe that a stationary head is an essential when it clearly is not? That a flat left wrist is an alignment, or something someone could possibly achieve as if it was mutually exclusive?
Why did he omit a frozen right arm through the impact interval as a component variation or option? Why? I suspect because he never experienced these very real sensations within his own body. Other than his observations, much was left on the table as subjective opinion… and not very scientific. Homer was at best a 15 handicap. How could he really know?

Paul Smith thinks that the hands control the action of the pivot… if you put the hand here or there… the body will follow…
Ok… Paul is a 15 marker. You might be able to get down to a 15 doing that… but you won’t beat me. EVER!!

All great ball strikers use the pivot as the primary source of power for the golf swing… that one is a given… anyone taking issue with that is likely a higher handicapper who is trying to makes sense of the golf swing without having any idea of how to properly strike a golf ball.

Gosh I am learning more and more about the flatness. FLAT is in relation to the ground not the golfer’s body. A 5’5" guys elbow plane may be flatter than a 6’6" hand plane. Then you can get flatter by bending your knees or cutting an inch off of your clubs.
That leads me to question: We should be able to go progressively flatter the shorter the club length. e.g 10 degress flat with wedges. John you have a lie angle machine and lots of clubs. :wink:

It seems to me that one of the main difficulties with defining a swing as pivot driven is that most people kick the pivot in too soon, generally from the top. It appears that it does drive the club through the impact area of all great strikers, but without the fall in of the arms and club, or the free ride down that Hogan talks about, people are doomed to CF throw out over the top. The more pivot driven it is from the top the less it can be when it matters. The average guy doesn’t have the subtlety of feeling to differentiate the term from the total action. Trevino was incredible at a seemingly static body ‘arm and club fall’ from the top. I only recently saw this in him particularly with his wedges. It could be argued that his pivot responded to that fall, or that the arms fell in order to use the pivot. It’s very difficult to differentiate cause from effect in these cases. It has become clear to me that the arms are not strong enough to override a turning torso- this being a great thing through impact, but disastrous from the top. I guess a good question would be when does the pivot drive a pivot driven golf swing?
I’m pretty excited for this conversation to make the move towards the 5th PA!
It all makes for great reading!