In Your Own Words: Pendulum Motion | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

In Your Own Words: Pendulum Motion

Wed, 07/17/2013 - 14:00 -- Don Trahan

Whenever you find yourself putting for birdie, it's good to have a pendulum stroke that won't crack under the pressure. The same thought process or visualization can be used for your full swing too. This is a tip that Dave Pennell sent in recently. He says that it allows his arms to work together as one unit, which I love to hear.

If you decide to try this tip, there's one thing you must remember. A pendulum swing has no acceleration. It simply swings back and through at one constant speed. But, if you want to have any sort of power or distance, you have to be accelerating through the ball at impact. 

Thank you for all the lessons and tips.
 
I have worked diligently to apply the PPGS and am pleased with my progress. Using your book and videos, I am getting more comfortable with the PPGS each week because I am studying and working at it. At age 71, I started playing golf 20 years ago. I always swung a baseball bat from the left side and still would. However, when I began playing golf I was told I needed to play right handed. That is what I did and still do. I've used this as an excuse for not playing well until I discovered you and the PPGS. Now I finally have a foundation for a right handed swing and know how to practice and rely on "mental memory." (What could be simpler when it comes to the most complex sport I ever tried to play?) Having said all that, one thing that has also helped me in the forward swing is using the "pendulum" thought for every swing. It seems to get both arms working together better as one unit and makes me feel like I have much better timing and coordination as I employ the bump.
 
So, my bottom line question is this: Is the "pendulum" thought congruent with the PPGS or am I doing myself a disservice by thinking about that as I take the club back and come down and up through the ball?
 
Thank you again for your instruction and response.
 
Dave Pennell

I actually think it's a really good thought because it's helping Dave play better! That's really all that matters as long as he's staying within the parameters of the PPGS. The way he describes how it's helping is something I support as well. Dave is saying that it's helped him in the forward swing by getting his arms to work together as one unit. 

I've always said that you need equal pressure in both arms and hands throughout the swing. If any one arm works harder than the other, you will put your whole swing into disarray. 

I also get into a little bit on the subject of grip pressure in today's video. Most teachers suggest holding the club gently, as if you're holding a baby bird. That's garbage as far as I'm concerned! Again, ev erything must be equal but also firm. If your grip is weak, the club could twist in your hands at impact, sending the ball any which way. 

Equal grip pressure leads to equal lift. I like the idea of visualizing a pendulum motion, but you just have to remember that you must accelerate through the ball.

Keep it vertical and firm!

The Surge!

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.

Comments

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Pendulum? If it can work a clock it can't but help with our Ti-Ming and Tem-po as well, n'est pas? ; - )
Joking or attempting to add a modicum of humour aside. I like the pendulum idea. It makes a LOT of sense. DH

kjmduke@aol.com's picture

Submitted by kjmduke@aol.com on

Have been in Omaha and traveling, so hope my comment is not old. Got to watch the Senior Open live on an incredibly tough course as Perry averaged 300 yards, Allen set a course record and toughed out Sunday after a pinched nerve on Saturday. My big takeaway, the Pro's took the club away very methodical, slowly, got set, then pendulum down in a faster yet still smooth swing. It was so much FUN watching these guys as they huffed and puffed up the hills, and hit incredible shots from up and down angles. Surge, you are dead on that the momentum for speed starts on the downswing, not the upswing where I think it will get me quicker. That always ends in bad swing.
DH. I work continuously on keeping the swing together. Kevin McCarthy

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

This should be a good visualization, if the hands are seen as the end of the pendulum. It might help to encourage a smooth transition from the top of the backswing. My tendency is to use more right side for the BUS and more left side for the FUS. If this thought helps to get both sides contributing equally throughout the swing, it's sure worth a try.

louiek's picture

Submitted by louiek on

Doesn't a pendulum, falling with gravity, have acceleration?

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

Louie, you are correct; a pendulum swing does have acceleration. It is the tempo that is constant. I have an old pendulum clock. To start it, I move the pendulum to one side, as far as I want it to swing (just like the BUS), and let it go. Gravity takes over and the pendulum accelerates to the other side. AFTER it passes the bottom of the arc, it starts to decelerate until it reaches the top of the end of the swing. It then becomes a left-handed golfer at the top of the BUS and the process repeats.

I use the pendulum process in my practice to getting the proper feeling of my tempo. One thing I do is start at the T-finish and, when doing the recoil-and-relax, continue swinging back in one motion to the top of the BUS to repeat the swing. I do this 5-10 times before I start hitting balls. I find it is a great way to release the tension and get everything working together.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

This has nothing to do with todays daily but simply a fun report about a once in a life time day of golf.

Some debate weather to have the pin in or out when we are chipping and doing so with chipping in as the goal.

Today I had one of those days that may never happen again. On the front nine at muni it started on the 3rd hole. Par 3 of 95 yards. After my tee shot I was just off the back on a slope in fairly thick rough with the ball sitting up but below my feet. Just 5 feet off the green with 40 feet to the pin. Line it up like a putt and with my pw and chipped it in. Pin was in. Next hole was a par 4. Poor drive was right and short. Hit my 3 wood also right and had the bunker and an up hill shot at the green of 30 yards. Flopped my 55* just short in the fringe and again had about 45 feet. Lined it up like a putt again picturing where I wanted to land it and roll it. Chipped it in. Pin was in. Next hole was a par 4 too. Good drive and had a 7 iron which I pulled left with a tough 25 yard shot left up over a hill. Hit it a shade long and was about 10 feet off the green. The first two chip ins were left to right and this one would roll right to left and it was a fairly severe break. Judged the break it would take after it landed just on the green, lined it up like a putt and chipped it in. Pin was in. OMG was that fun. Never did that three times in a round let alone three holes in a row. Those three were for birdie,par,par. Oh what fun and Cindy witnessed all three simply shaking her head. What's the saying?.... "It's not how it's how many". Ended up with a 39. The back nine were less magical with a 42 for an 81.
Cindy said I was better off missing the greens so I could chip rather than putt. Today I had to agree:) Crazy stuff and might never happen again.

Golf. What a game.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

There is a reason that they changed the rules, so that we have to take them out while putting.

I had a little different experience with hitting pins today. One was a 40 foot downhill chip in, that would have been well past the hole, without the pin. The second was a sand shot, that would have been water bound, if it hadn't hit the pin about 3 feet up and enabled a par saving put. The third was a pitch that was hit too hard out of the rough and again hit the pin about 3 feet up and kept me out of a very difficult bunker. This left me a 10 foot par saving put.

We have 150 yard markers in the middle of the fairway that are another issue, however. They are plastic 2 inch tubes about 4 feet high and seem to attract golf balls. The result of hitting them is never good. I've manged to hit several of them since adopting the Surge swing. The ball will bounce off about 50 yards in any direction but a good one. Last week something freakish happened when my playing partner, who was having a bad day anyway, hit 2 markers, with terrible results in the same round of golf. The poor guy felt like he had been cursed by the golf gods after having hit 2 great shots in the middle of the fairway. Hahaha!

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

To me, the pendulum idea goes well with what I have been working on the last couple of rounds. Same back and same through. As I commented the other day, In Bee Park and David Hearn impress me with there soft start from the top in their transition. Acceleration? For me it just happens. My mind and body just know to step on the gas peddle with increasing acceleration. Swinging with enough speed and zip has never been a problem. Turning it on too soon from the top has been. So while I have a firm grip I want to have a soft and gradual transition. Like a pendulum in that sense. I like the expression and goal of "effortless power". I find that my clubs which are a blend of Mizuno 800's and Adam's Redline hybrid irons give me plenty of distance. Over swinging especially too hard from the top is bad news. Back and through is a good thought for me. Acceleration will happen at the bottom where it should be. The best example happened for me on the 8th hole yesterday. It's the #1 handicap hole because of it's length and playing uphill and most often against a prevailing wind. I hit an ideal wind fighting drive that pierced low and ran to about 250 leaving me 165 yards. Reminding myself to be soft in transition and taking two practice swings to get that feel I then hit my 5 iron pin high. Swing felt effortless yet gave me plenty of distance and straight as planned.

Now on shorter shots and putting the same back and same through with minimal acceleration works especially well. Never better than yesterday when I chipped in three times.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Amen Robert, to everything that you said about having a gradual acceleration from the top. A few days ago, I was pulling every club in the bag and especially the driver.
Beating balls on the driving range after a very bad round proved to be a waste of time and energy. The pull just got bigger and badder. After a little time on the internet, searching for causes of pulls, I found a swing thought that Annica Sorenstam used to avoid pulls, " Easy from the top." This gradual acceleration from the top requires soft arms, some patience and trust, but it sure has resulted in a lot of effortlessly straight and long shots, for the last 2 rounds.

My chipping got much better recently when I started using a tip from Dave Stockton. He says that you can't get to close to the ball when chipping with a putting stoke. I now feel like i'm crowding the ball so much, that I might hit my right foot, instead of the ball, but it works very well. It encourages a very compact stroke with few moving parts. My chipping is finally as good as my putting.

jbilco's picture

Submitted by jbilco on

Good info on Pendulum Swing. When Surge says it creates tempo, it's because for a given arm/club length, the system has a natural frequency (ie time it takes for the club to travel from full back position to full front position) as long as the swinger does not exert a force to speed up or slow down the swing. In the true pendulum swing, no matter how far back the club is taken, it takes the same time for the club to travel through the full arc. The longer the arm/club length, the longer the period becomes. The further back you start, the faster the club head speed is at the bottom of the arc. This is the principal behind the "drop" shot for chipping or pitching. This shot allows you to control the distance the ball will go without having to exert any force other than lifting the club to the desired back position. When you exert a force on the club during the down swing, the club is accelerated at a higher rate than gravity. This creates the lag or flex in the shaft which requires much more precise timing than the drop shot. Obviously you can hit the ball further when exerting an accelerating force than you can with a pure pendulum swing. In this extra acceleration swing, the club looks like a pendulum and there is extra centrifugal force and the club head acts like Surge says "a rock on a string".

chaletblais@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by chaletblais@gma... on

I like this. I've been following your site for quite a long time and was drawn to it because as I played more I drifted to a similar style. The pendulum motion has always been in my head but you have clarified some parts of it. Last week my back was killing me and there didn't seem to be any relief except for drugs. On Sunday I finally realized I was keeping my feet planted during my swing. After a visit to the Chiro he confirmed I was torquing my back and had strained it considerably. One treatment and renewed focus on the PPGS basics and I'm feeling much relief. Thank you for being there.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Hi All,
Was just writing an email to my golf mate in Christchurch and the table I am typing this on began to shake and groan, as did other items!!! Thankfully only about 20 seconds or so! Puts things into perspective that is for real ; - )
Only golf this weekend will be viewing. The slip on the wet course on Wednesday came back to bite me in the rear : - ( Left Quadracep,knee and ankle became sore yesterday. So it is back to heat, Tiger Balm and massage for a couple days. B*mmer! But common-sense prevails boohoo!
The pendulum swing is so simple that even I can understand the principle. I like it.
The last outing left me with a smile on my face even after the painful acrobatics. Slowing down and just thinking finish worked wonders for me. That plus the old wooden arrows performed well.
Interesting first round at THE OPEN! May the best man win on the day.
DH

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

DH,

Haven't I told you golf is to be played on feet and not ones behind??
Sorry to here about your slip and fall. Hopefully with a weeks rest you'll be back in action soon.

Both Phil and tiger looked fairly good today in Scotland. I saw that DJ was -5 today and playing well after day one. Perhaps this will continue to be a good week for him. Let's hope.
Take care of that left leg and get healed soon:)
Earth quake too? That's radical. Be safe!

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Robert,
Quite funny, but not at the time,performing un-scheduled acrobatics on the very wet course.Could have been much worse. Ironic, my younger next door neighbour is a 'retired' Circus acrobat', seriously. His wife has a family relative in Charlotte, NC. I always smile when I watch Surge and Mike Bartholemew presenting videos from there ; - )
The Open? Fell asleep after a couple of hours watching round one.Not usually that fussed with round one. 3hr replay on at 1pm. Strange that not one of the top 18 names on the leader board are non British! So who did they set the course up to favour? ; - ) heh heh heh.
Seriously now, thanks for your concern over the left leg. It will be OK in a couple of days with any luck and it will be onward and upward. Sun is shining another lovely day in paradise. Keep on chipping those babies in. My chipping, pitching and putting is coming along nicely. Static drills only today methinks,ie, grip and BUS drills perhaps. DH

raygawlak@cox.net's picture

Submitted by raygawlak@cox.net on

Hi DH- Looks like you had good luck with the pendulum and the "pit" with your injury (apology to Edgar Alan Poe). Guess you New Zealanders are in a period of more seismic activity. When I went on a boat trip in the South Island in '05 the pilot mentioned that there were over 1000 tremors a week but you wouldn't be aware of them since they occurred underwater. That said,I would return to NZ in a heartbeat if I could swing the expense---beautiful place.

Nice to see DJ shoot -5 today.....hope the next three days go as well.

Took my Enlow grips off today as they didn't work out as expected---I have small hands even though I'm 6' tall. If anyone out there in Surgeland is interested, I have 7 grips with virtually no wear which I will sell for $45 with shipping included (US). You can let me know if you're interested at raygawlak@cox.net. I'd like to recover SOME of the expense (over $100 with installation).

Hope this heat lets up soon as near 100 deg. can get old real fast.
Best to you DH and fellow Surgites.
Ray Gawlak

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Ray,
You are right about the tremors. Some just sound like someone closing a car door and nothing is felt. This morning's one was a short sharp reminder of where we are ; - ) I travelled on a boat trip on Doubtful Sound some years ago. It was well worth the expense! Er! It cost us absolutely nothing! I paid by credit card, and it was never debited. On enquiry, it transpired that the travel agents was robbed that night and all the takings and receipts etc were stolen. Lucky sometimes others not ; - ) It is a beautiful place, and a golfer's paradise. Most courses per capita population in the world. Not too expensive either. In China, what it cost for a round near where we lived, cost what a years membership of a club costs here!
On the pendulum swing. After a healthy application of Tiger Balm, I ventured onto the deck with an 8iron and tried the pendulum concept thought. Worked for me. Now early evening here and a shower and another application of the balm, and so far little if any discomfort. A good sign indeed.
The rock solid lower half makes the swing easy in the BUS and slowing down to a more sedate speed than my previous aggressive rotational swing makes it easier still.
Hope that the hot weather eases off for you. Spring and Autumn are our favourite times here in NZ Best to you and fellow Surgites from a less shaky NZ
DJ did well today, cut- day tomorrow [only 3hours away from rd 2 for us here] will see a lot of favourites heading home early. Wonder who?

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Cindy and i played again today. felt a bit hotter at 105*f and not a wisper of a breeze. lots of cold water and two shared bottles of gatore aid. Played the 9's in reverse order today- back nine first and then front. Same result for the back, a 42! Now a days never thrilled with anything over 40. Put myself behind the eight ball right away with a bogie and a double bogie on 10 and 11. # over after two, ugh!! Righted the ship after that and had four pars to go along with three more bogies. 6 over 42:(
Second nine seemed to get my stride again. Today rather than a 39 that included one birdie and 3 chip ins, today I shot a 38 that included four bogies balanced by two birdies. Both birdies were had the more conventional way the first on the 100 yard par 3. Hit my drive at the flag and it rolled by the cup to about 10 feet. Made that putt for a 2. The other came on the last hole of the day the par 5 9th. Good drive down the middle left me 210 yards. Another opportunity for my newly re-built 3 wood. Landed between the two green side bunkers and rolled up to the middle of the green. First putt was at least 65 feet and I rolled it nicely up to about 3 feet below the hole. Made that for the 4. Pleasant way to end the day.

Aside from a few wild drives on the back nine I did a lot of things well today. Most happy with better chipping and putting. Did have two three putts. So need some work on my first putts that have often been 5-8 feet by the cup. Feel i'm close to tightening up that part of the game too. Game is coming around and I should be breaking 80 again soon.

Hope you only have "good vibration"s in NZ in the coming days DH

kelela1@msn.com's picture

Submitted by kelela1@msn.com on

Surge, I've been watching your dailys for over 2 years, and my index is now a single digit. However I think this is due to becoming, as you say, "a short game wizard." Recently while playing an ocean front course, my friend took a picture that included me on the tee, and there it was, the dreaded chicken wing. I don't think you've ever done a daily on the causes and fix for the "Chicken wing." PLEASE, PLEASE help! This might put the finishing touch on completing my PPGS swing progress. Thanks again for all your wonderful help.

Cheryl Cassidy

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Cheryl,

Great to hear about your game and especially the good short game:)

Surge has done some dailies on the "chicken wing". It is also called the flying right elbow and is not always a bad thing. Jack N. won 18 majors with a high back (right) elbow. Allowing the right elbow to come up is vital if we want to get vertical too. it is only a problem if it goes to high and causes our right shoulder to raise also.

I'll leave you with several links that you can find also by using the Archives and the search tool in the top right corner of this page just below the log in/ log out bar.

https://www.swingsurgeon.com/daily-video-tips/chicken-wing-good-eating-b...

https://www.swingsurgeon.com/daily-video-tips/defining-flying-right-elbow

Hope these help.

kelela1@msn.com's picture

Submitted by kelela1@msn.com on

Thanks for your help. I did go to the range tonight and worked on making sure that the club was coming down inside. This definitely helped as one of the sites stated. I'll see how it goes on Monday.
Cheryl

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Cheryl,

Glad those links helped you out. Your participation and comments are always welcome. Please stop by often. Good golfing to you.

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

As I mentioned above, I use the pendulum process in my practice to getting the proper feeling of my tempo. One thing I do is start at the T-finish and, when doing the recoil-and-relax, continue swinging back in one motion to the top of the BUS to repeat the swing. I do this 5-10 times before I start hitting balls. I find it is a great way to release the tension and get everything working together.

I went to play my first round in a month at Chesley Oaks in Fairview, AL today. The starter suggested I go off immediately since I was a single and there were two foursomes getting ready to play, so I did. I did my above routine to loosen up on the first tee and striped my drive right down the middle of the fairway, 237 yards. For my second shot, I used my 9-iron, did 2 of my practice swings, and again hit a perfect shot to 4 feet of the flag, and sunk the putt for a birdie.

After that, the wheels came off. I went through the same routine on the second tee and proceeded to hit the worst shank-slice I have ever hit, 40 yards OB. My second tee shot was just like the first. Where in the world did this come from??!!! I took out my 17* hybrid and hit a low pull to the left rough about 185 yards. I used the same club again and rolled through the green. I hit an excellent chip with my 6-iron to 3 feet, and tapped in for a quadruple-bogey 4.

On the Par-3 third, I hit another shank-slice, this time with my 9-iron, into the creek to the right of the green. After my drop, I hit a really nice lob wedge that went above the hole and rolled back to about 2 feet below the hole. I tapped in for a bogey 4.

On the Par-4 fourth, using my 3-wood, I hit another of the dread shots OB. I then used my 17* again, going down the middle about 180 yards. I used my 23* for my fourth shot and air-mailed the green, almost to the 17th fairway. I followed that with a nice sand wedge which hit the down-slope and rolled off the front of the green. I pitched up with my 9-iron to 10 feet and 2-putted for another quad.

The rest of the front nine went the same (double, triple, triple, triple) until the ninth hole. On the previous seven holes, I though I was swinging the same as I did on the first hole, but realized I wasn't keeping my palms perpendicular and that I had too much tension in my lower body. The outward pressure on the knees is apparently supposed to be about a 3 on a 1-to-5 scale, just like the grip pressure. As soon as I adjusted both of those and made the same swing that I had been making, I hit a 242-yard drive right down the middle of the ninth fairway - Amazing!!! After hitting an 8-iron to 10 feet and stroking a perfect putt, I finished the front nine the way I started - with a birdie. Go figure!

I parred the par-4 10th and 11th, birdied the par-3 12th, parred the par-4 13th, birdied the par-5 14th, parred the par-3 15th, bogied the par-4 16th (my second shot with a pitching wedge carried 115 yards on a 95-yard shot, going OB; fourth shot stuck 6 inches from the hole), parred the par-4 17th, and birdied the par-5 18th.

+18 on the front and -2 on the back for 54-34=88. Sometimes, it is the simplest things that mess up a round of golf. I was tightening up my leg muscles too much. I have knee problems and was trying too hard to minimize the movement of my knees. The other problem with my grip occurred because, just as I set the club behind the ball, I would slightly over-tighten my right hand and roll it slightly over my left, preventing me from rotating back to square at impact. The pendulum tempo worked great. I think I focused so much on that that I ignored the other two problems. Once I got it all together on the ninth hole, life was great. It's a shame I take so long to correct things. There is hope for the future!