Is Releasing or Throwing from the Top Actually Casting?

Monday, November 12, 2012

I got an email from a member of the site recently that I wanted to share with you.  Hopefully it will clear up any confusion you might have about delaying the release or 'holding lag'

Recently I sent you a video of my swing and I appreciated your analysis and I have set about improving the areas you made suggestions on. One thing that did puzzle me though is that you said I should release from the top, I always thought this was casting. I would appreciate your clarification on this as I am confused.

Regards, Alan, New Zealand

One of the unique characteristics of Mike Austin's swing technique is the full and free release of the clubhead, without impedance.  Although advanced analysis systems do show that an efficient down swing will be led by the navel, we are agressively throwing the clubhead from what feels like the top of the swing.

Of course, this won't serve to hit the ball straight and solid unless it is complemented by the Austin pivot.  Here is a quote from the greatest golfer of all time:

'It's impossible to release the club too early in the downswing -- as long as you move to your left side and swing the club from inside the target line.' - Jack Nicklaus, on releasing the clubhead during the golf swing.  Read the whole article here.

If we are going to move the lower body like this, which Nicklaus dubbed 'the stomp', we won't get the shaft to catch the left arm at the ball unless we unwind it early.  Incidentally, Nicklaus and Austin shared most swing DNA.  If you are swinging like Nicklaus, or Snead, you are almost perfectly replicating Austin.

So when is a throw from the top a cast?  Easy - when little or no pivot to the front foot is employed. 

For example, a modern PGA style lower body action, highlighted by less lateral weight shift and and a more abrupt turn around to the left, would not make the Austin (Nicklaus) release work.  The golfer would constantly smother hook the ball.  Tiger Woods is often using this combination with the driver and missing left.  I believe Tiger is an instinctual releaser, and now has to delay or curtail his throw to hit his low fade.  I think this is going against his natural feel.

So be careful not to mix and match Austin with other methods.  If you want the distance and accuracy gains we believe are available with the Austin swing, you cannot cherry pick.  Compound pivot, and throw from the top.

Here Nicklaus has already stimulated an ulnar deviation of the left wrist, and an extension at the right elbow.  The throw has begun!

Mike Austin's electromyograph research still holds up today, explaining his stimulus, reaction, response theory.  You are stimulating the release as early as possible, but there is a delay between this and the response.  The response is the club shaft catching the left arm even with the left shoulder at the ball (driver). 

If the ball is positioned slightly ahead of the shoulder, we will hit upwards with negative lead and hit high launch, low spin drives that go for miles!

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