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An important aspect of Ballard is that he has never chased pros traveling to Tour events. Players travel to him if they want help. He’s been like that since tour players started working with him in the mid 70’s and won’t change his model. Whether you agree or disagree with this approach, that’s been Ballard’s model all along. I worked with Ballard for a number of years, and primarily stopped due to proximity to him as I moved around.

The one year I was frequently there for lessons, and saw several dozen tour players in for lessons at some point that year (and similar LPGA numbers). It’s a simple model of understood and followed consistently. While I’ve seen too many over-exaggerate the movements, I’ve also seen everything from tour long drivers, top tour ball strikers and amazing short games all using Ballard’s teachings.

 

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I don’t understand the point of the criticism. You are stating a fact without a conclusion. Am I to believe that I am somehow limited, because I don’t use a top 100 method? Old fashioned? Wrong? It can’t possibly work? I mean... what is your point?

Ballard has worked with more tour pros than anybody else I know of. Their names are known to all of us - Ballesteros, Strange, Dent, Sutton, and on and on. Is there any of the swings of these pros that you and I wouldn’t be proud to own, right now, in 2020? Of course not. These were the best in the game. So, while certain features of the Ballard method may not be currently taught, the method is sound, and there isn’t any question about it.  

A key value of the method is that it teaches a set of mechanical principles that work for any level of player. If I can walk down the street, put one foot in front of the other, I am able to transfer my weight which, along with connection, is the entire basis of the method. Further, for any of us who ever grew up throwing a football or baseball, hitting a baseball, swinging a tennis racket, swinging a hockey stick, etc. the Ballard method is a way of bringing that natural, effortless, athletic motion to golf. And it is simple. Ballard students don’t spend a lot of time with all of the complex mechanics that are being taught these days, in many cases to people who cannot possibly perform the mechanics or even comprehend them. Anybody at any level can do this method, as Ballard has demonstrated over and over.

The Ballard method is body sparing. I don’t know of any Tiger Woods-type multi-back/knee surgery stories for any Ballard player, ever. The modern tour is full of young players who use mechanics that are hurting them right now, in spite of superb conditioning, and their bodies will never hold up over time. I will be 76 years old in a couple of months. Golf used to kill my back. Now my body feels good. I don’t have a back problem anymore.  

You are a 16 and worried about how many tour pros currently use the Ballard method? I am a 5 and would a 3 if I would practice my short game a bit, and I am not a bit worried that the top 100 tour pros do certain things different. I spent 35 years roving from one fad to another, lost in the impenetrable wilderness of golf instruction. Now I use a single, simple set of principles that works for the driver, the putter and everything in between. The only thing that prevents me from being a scratch player or better is my inability to do the method better. I do not need a better method.

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  • 1 month later...

I decided to revisit the Ballard swing today because my back was hurting from a rotational swing. Man am I glad I did. I had some success with it a few years ago and Im not sure why I left it. It feels so natural. I equate the move to tossing a sack of grain into the bed of a truck while standing on a loading dock. Its just something you can repeat over and over. My brain interprets a lateral upper body move as power, so the swing works well for me. For the more experienced guys, these are my key points. Please add anything that might help me more.

-weakish grip

-wider than shoulder width stance

-take triangle back to hip high. This causes me to load laterally into my trail leg with limited hip turn.

-fold trail elbow when triangle is hip high and dont force a straight lead arm.

-Dont worry about how much my head moves.

-From the top, just let it rip down the line with a strong lateral move back to the ball.

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It sounds to me as though you’ve got it, but here are a couple of things that I would add, and maybe you are doing them already:

Posture: Take that mental image of a full grain sack and hold all that weight in your address position. All that weight will force you into an upright posture with butt tucked under and not out, and the weight off your toes, and no tipping of the spine toward or away from the target.

Grip: Yes it might come off as being a bit weak, but there is more to it, and it isn’t weak in this method. Grip the club (elbows down) in your lead hand up in the palm area, not the fingers area. Stop the video in this link at the 1:27 mark, exactly, and you will see where the club is, in Ballard’s hand. Up in the palm area, not fingers. This helps the wrists from getting overactive.https://youtu.be/CUhu1S1hI3Q

Arms: Total relaxation at address. If this swing (or any swing, actually) starts with upper body motion it will not end well. With Ballard we can play with wet noodles for arms and do well - the wetter the better in many respects. Gotta make the upper body react to the lower body, and soft/relaxed arms at address really helps promote his key principles. JJ Ayers posts here and has a great video of Sutton describing the way he starts his backswing. We cannot do Sutton and maintain the triangle if we have tension in the upper body because we will snatch the club back with hands/wrists/arms.

Impact: the elbow of that totally relaxed lead arm should be on our body at impact and should basically stay there. If it stays there the lead arm will fold after impact. This folding through/after impact is the opposite of a chicken wing and is an unbelievable source of effortless power. Anybody who pulls a Jordan Spieth with this method is going to be losing distance.

Your image of throwing a sack of grain into the back of a pickup truck is perfect. Keeps the elbows pointing at the ground (wow, look at that lead elbow fold after impact!) and gets the job done via the big muscles.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everybody

Just joined the forums for this specific discussion thread. So "Hi" to everybody and nice to meet you all.

52yrs old, re-ignited my golf passion just last year. Life-long sportsman (football, soccer, beach volleyball, now mainly tennis) with the usual accrued physical ailments of said sports life: shoulder and ankle surgeries and ensuing restricted shoulder/thorax mobility. My back does not really like bending over a golf ball too much. A modern rotational swing (tried Genkas model for a while) works to an extent but does not make for pain-free golf.

After going down the "golf swing rabbit hole" I stumbled over Jimmy Ballard. Intuitively made sense to me with my varied sports background. Read through this whole thread and made a lot of notes. So a big thank you to all the contributors. Gave the swing model a try over the last weeks in lock-down mode in the back-yard hitting in to the net. Hit a lot of balls every day. First and foremost: absolutely no pain. Second: Ties in with a lot of movements that I am familiar with, especially tennis.

Now ready to take it to the practice range and on the course once golfing is allowed again next week in my neck of the woods. Very excited to finally get to do that.

However, I am struggling a bit to even hit the foam and reduced weight balls consistently with the 5w and 4h. The 5wood better than the 4hybrid (I have not swung the driver much since I cannot really tee up).

Pattern seems to be that I kinda top the ball and dribble it into the net. Or I "ping" it of the toe to the left... I set-up the ball inside left heel as defined by Jimmy B.

Read a comment that the weight shift with the longer clubs should be a bit more gradual. I have a very strong "push" of right foot through the right knee - it is as if I am pushing off for a hard tennis forehand. This also springs the club nicely for all the irons (5-SW). But it seems to be too much for the longer clubs. If I go with a softer push I don't spring the club and my upper body dominance clicks in. Then it gets to "arms-y"...

Any advice, drills or feels?

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DTM14, were it me before I did anything else I would take my new swing to the range, where I can see the ball flight. Hitting into a net and not seeing the ball flight can be misleading. See how the ball flies with your shorter irons - the ones you are comfortable with - before going further.

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