GOLF HERETICS: Axis of ABS Golf Swing

Lately I have been thinking about this issue. Traditionally we know that the left shoulder joint is considered the axis of the swing and the resultant low point and ball position etc etc. But the ABS ideal of pinned upper arms (lets say we can achieve both arms totally pinned to the body) interrupts the link between the hands-club assembly and the shoulder joints. So essentially the swing becomes a spinning of the torso with an extension arm i.e the hands-club assembly. Now this will affect everything from address to ball position to low point. I know its kind of heretic but makes sense to me.???


I don’t think that there is too much heresy in what you said here. I don’t have a copy of the book to hand to quote from, but in Power Golf, Hogan says that the Hub of the swing is the top of the spine between the shoulders. So you are in pretty good company there.

I like your thinking, Macs…
If I understand what you’re saying correctly, this is linked to something I’ve thought a lot about- a bent left elbow. It has a big impact on the ability to accelerate the hands and club while also making it possible to stay connected and accelerate the body correctly on the left leg/spine axis. This is because it stretches out the low point a little beyond the left shoulder. It eliminates the old idea of bowing out the left wrist or having the hands way ahead in order to find ball contact while in motion, because it basically replaces them. I haven’t fully figured it out yet, but it’s also linked to and aids in utilizing the energy stored in the compressed body. It also brings a little consciousness or awareness out of the body and into the arms and hands- it allows you to feel more connected to the club. It’s got a lot of good things to it. Hogan and Peter Senior did it as well as a lot of other great players. Sergio does it a good bit. Sadlowski is the master of it- in fact looking at his impact position you can see as clear as day that his left elbow is dictating where his club bottoms out, and I don’t think anyone has ever utilized the left leg/spine axis more efficiently than him. And interestingly, he keeps an amazing angle alive in his left wrist which I think is a direct result of letting his left elbow lead. It makes way too much natural motion sense for it not to be important…
Talk about heresy…

Before joining ABS, i didn’t get what Hogan had said in Power Golf. Like Macs, I thought that the left shoulder joint was the axis. But now i am learning to use my right side as well as my left, it all makes good sense now.

I’m pretty sure the term ‘axis’ is misunderstood in this regard… a point like the left shoulder would be a fulcrum not an axis… the AXIS of rotation for acceleration would be the left leg/spine line… my response to Macs was regarding the effective low point that resulted from the fulcrum he was referring to, ie. the left shoulder… I would see the left elbow as a more effective fulcrum point…
but that takes a little stretch of the so-called possible or correct…

in my post I was actually looking for the right word. Fulcrum is the correct word. The picture in my mind is a little different than yours. It almost seems there is no swinging motion because right around impact both elbows are packed pinned onto the body. So the club moves only because the torso is rotating. I have recently started feeling this in my swing. Its almost frightening because all of sudden your torso is facing left field (or midwicket in cricket) with the hips relatively square. Feels like you ripped your spine. I have watched Sadlowski’s video. But you can see through his left armpit. I dont think with the arms pinned to the body you can hit as long as he does.

Cool Macs… I was thinking there was a bit of a vocab mix up- I didn’t want to make a point of it so I responded originally with what I was assuming you meant… It’s a very interesting area and is a valuable discussion point which is why I was pleased you brought it up…
Sadlowski is a freak of nature for sure, but there’s a lot to be learned from what he does even if you dial it back a little. IMO he’s at the outer edge of what a body can do to accelerate a golf club so you can only gain from analyzing his motion.
You can still have the elbows pinned to the chest even if the left arm is bent, that’s important to remember… that’s how most of the “golfers” do it that I was referring to… that still stretches out the low point beyond the left shoulder reestablishing the practical high point of the arc thus reestablishing the effective low point… it’s interesting stuff but not typical…

Great image here, Macs… there’s a few photos early in that small word thread that really speak to this image… I think we’re hovering around the same idea here…

I think it is important to understand the various combinations of post impact action, be it the bending of the left arm, or the flatness of the torso rotation, and also the acceleration rate of the torso post impact. If the pivot isn’t accelerating quickly, then the chicken wing is the next best option for keeping the shaft on plane. All this also depends upon how the hands will be working, how quickly and strongly they can fire or not. If the shoulders are moving steep, then it changes things dramatically.

The axis tilt is crucial too, because this sets up the ability to work the club left and around. Without it… it’s OTT or a cut move without a lot of power. Those swings can be refined, but won’t be as strong.

You can only fire what you have loaded…

Likewise, if you over load, then that can inhibit the ability to fire.

Do you think there’s any role for the left elbow to replace some of the post impact pivot thrust? Do you think they could work in unison and be as effective and maybe easier to do… this is the idea I’m working on. It seems that the pivot has to step in for the unnatural maintenance of the straight left arm…
You kind of referenced it in saying how the chicken wing can take over for the stalled pivot or however you put it, but I think there’s a genuinely natural action in there that’s a similar thing, but is genuinely functional and real…

I don’t think you have to chicken wing, but it is a viable move for those you don’t have good post impact torso rotation.
Lanny Watkins was a perfect example.

I guess that’s what I’m saying, should the left elbow actually be a real part of the motion, and not just a cover up for supposed bad torso rotation. My question is whether or not the hyper active pivot thrust is actually the compensatory move for an unnaturally forced straight left arm. If I gave you a piece of rubber tubing to pull apart would you pin your upper arms to your sides and have it far away from you while you pull it apart or would you activate your elbows, bring it in close, and get stuck in? I wonder why shouldn’t this action get used when activating our pivot/ left side acceleration?

Pulling the arms outward is a different action than what we do in the golf swing, but I get your point.

It can work with the pivot in any amount of varying degrees… but typically it is a result of a good player finding a way to
hit the ball straight with a bit of power loss.

As far as some of the long drive guys… I don’t usually think of them as models, because golf is more than just how far you hit it. I like power and accuracy.

I don’t necessarily promote the chicken wing, but I do understand it, and am not too critical of it either.

It’s better in my opinion than pivot stalling and driving the right arm way out to right field.

Kind of like this guy?

P Senior.jpeg

Sadlowski is a freak of nature! Looks like his massive pivot acceleration through impact finally overcomes the strength of his left arm to remain straight. It’s like he developes an additional hinge if you will to pop the club through impact and beyond. Talk about post impact acceleration!


And there is this guy advising Sadlowski to get rid of that chicken wing and swing it like Zuback.
Sadlowski’s action is basically sound and comaptible with accuracy. Thats why he is a scratch golfer as opposed to other Long drive guys.

That’s just shocking stuff there- lets hope this guy never gets within 100 yards of Sadlowski…
Yeah he’s a player beyond the length for sure- it would be interesting to see him compete at some point. Macs, I want to clarify even though it was clear in my reference to looking at his swing, but I’m not saying this guy is a model to copy, but definitely someone to analyze and learn from…

His home town is only a 100 miles from me. If I bump into him I sure will tell him not to mess up with anything. I like his swing a lot. It throws a lot of the gospel out the door like FLW, Straight left arm etc etc.

Bom’s comments are interesting and I hope to hear more of his thoughts on this. Lee Westwood is another player who has a very soft left arm through impact. So does Retief Goosen.

Another interesting thing about Sadlowski’s swing is that at P4 the driver clubhead looks like it hasn’t even rotated. Looks like he has a pure underhand action.

Westwood has an odd action through impact and might fall under the category that Lag was talking about regarding pivot stall being saved by the left elbow. He’s very steep with his shoulders through impact and since something has to be going left in some flatter rotational manner, his left elbow does some work for him. And very effectively too I might add- he’s similar in that way to Jose Maria Olazabal. They both are kind of steep through impact with their heads significantly down so something has to pull away left in that instance. They do similar things with their hands and left elbows through impact.
Goosen’s left elbow could also be seen as compensatory in that he comes in pretty steep and late and needs an out, so his left elbow gives a little to allow him some time. Again, he was similar hand action to Westwood. Jose has slightly earlier a rollover release.
What’s interesting about these guys is that they let themselves do it, and didn’t focus on that area as the ‘flaw to fix’. I think this is genius on their behalf’s or maybe their coaches. In common golf understanding, it would be very easy to look at that action as the problem, but they’ve proved it’s a fine thing to do.
With Sadlowski, Senior, Hogan, Segio et al, it’s a different deal, they’re using it purely as a power move in a very natural way. Nicklaus in his early years also did it just prior to impact. In fact most strong hitters do it, you just have to look closer to find it in some cases.
When you turn on the power at the right time, instinct takes over. When the club is in the right place coming into impact it’s pretty low. In order to accelerate something that’s down low and behind you, you have to pull it. Thats what the left hand/arm/side realizes in a good motion. If you want to pull something from down low you’ll see pretty quickly that that takes place up through your pivot and into your elbow- not your shoulder. I’m not talking golf here, I’m talking basic motion. You’ll feel it in the rear of your lat muscle and up through your body, but the elbow bends and the force in many ways feels like it’s reliant on that bend, as if it’s channelled through it.
If you put a short piece of rubber tubing or even an old sock under your right foot and try to pull it up with your left hand you’ll see it. Try it in different ways and you’ll see that the most powerful way to do it is up through the left elbow with it pulling away, almost leading in a conscious way- depending on how much you step on the sock with your right foot, that is. There is a ton of power available through pure body extension, and if you’re talking about a bag of bricks, I’d say maybe the short lift up through left shoulder is as high as you could focus. But there is also some real power available though the shoulder left elbow lift too, and if the object allows it then the body will understand. And if we’re talking about something you want to accelerate that’s held in your hand that’s of a reasonable weight, then the arm should be utilized as much as it can imo.
I think the body knows instinctively that the elbow can reach higher than the shoulder so if you want to pull something with force, it figures out a balance between strength and positional understanding. Obviously it understands that the hand can get the highest but the length of the lever all the way out to the hand requires in inefficient use of energy to do that depending on what you’re lifting. The distance from the shoulder through the upper arm to the elbow is both short and packed with power. You’re body instinctively knows that this is the best deal available. It knows that it can blend the power of the pivot with the arm in the best way possible through that channel so you do that every time. This is not a literal, direct translation to the golf swing, but important to understand…