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Anyone Heard Of Marcus Bell Aka Zen Golf?


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#1 333pg333

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 06:52 PM

Ok so we're all approaching lockdown and that means more Googletubing golf stuff. Happened across this guy and at first thought what's this shyte...But persisted and watched a number of his videos where you can see him take quite a few mid level golfers through much of a lesson and they come out flushing with some decent compression. 

 

I like what and how he teaches. It has very little to do with position golf and much more about tapping into the pre-existing capabilities of all of us. Reminds me a little of the Timothy Gallway books re Inner game of Tennis / Golf. 

 

He also works with the foot pressure pad sensor thingy. I like this concept as you can see live where your weight / pressure is going. I actually searched these pressure plates out and there was a golf centre not far from me that was reported to be using them. I went there with high hopes but unfortunately they stopped using them but I wound up getting some lessons from the owner anyway. He's not entirely different from the guy in this thread. I'm now currently off 3 when I play my local course off the whites so it's definitely helped. 

 

I'd definitely go and see him if I were in the UK (and not shut in the house!). Devon??? 

 

Example below:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=symsEX13zSM


Edited by 333pg333, 26 March 2020 - 06:53 PM.


#2 golfguy33

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:19 PM

This is the sort of drill that would benefit OB and really help him it 100% better, longer !

#3 Devongolfer

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 11:14 PM

Hi, 333, nice to have some swing mechanics to talk about. Hope everyone is doing well through this Covid chaos. All golf is shut down here in the UK.

Just to get this out of the way first, looking at the video, starting at about 5 minutes and often after that, the "pro" started spouting all sorts of pseudo babble nonsense, which I absolutely hated.

The guy having the lesson was clearly just swinging naturally, and his good ones were impressive.

But the drills and gadgets focussed on footwork I agree with wholeheartedly.

What this reminded me of was a book "how to feel a golf swing" by Bob Toski. It is divided into sections, all feels based. Feel the club, feel the hands, arms, feet, legs, trunk, head and eyes.

Among those he says "the masters of rhythm and balance, the feet rank second only to your hands in their influence on the swing".

So, if you are following a natural, feel based path, then feeling good footwork seems like the place to work, which is why I think the coaching in this session is working on the right area for this particular pupil.

Contrast this feel based lesson with more typical lessons focussed on planes, power sequencing, release types etc etc etc.

Now, having said all of that, this is not the path I am on, personally. Playing golf where one 7i goes 190 yards and the next one is a shank is not my sort of golf. I don't hit a 7i anywhere near that far, but I think I last hit a shank in about 2016.

For me, whilst I can seen natural talent and an admirable freedom to this guy's swing, imo he takes the club too far back around his body which gives him a real problem if he starts too soon with the feet compared to the arms. Shot to shot variations in sequencing will give big differences in outcome.

I liked the pupil's swing more when he was trying for a fade, more out to in.

So, to sum up. I agree that footwork is vital, a lesson on footwork is never wasted, the gadgets seemed really interesting. Natural, feel based, swings have their plus points, but for me, I want more technical stuff than that because I want consistency above all.

#4 333pg333

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 06:09 PM

Perhaps I didn't select the best example video. I'd check a few more out before chucking him on the heap Dev. What else have you got to do anyway at this time. 

 

Here's a good example. This guy looks to have a very nice swing from the outset. But for some reason plays off 31. (He'd probably be off about 8 if he were in the US but that's another story) I think the pro makes good determinations without mumbo jumbo and gets this guy hitting more consistently than he ever has. 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=lLNL9BVf9es



#5 Devongolfer

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 06:27 PM

333, great, I will have a look at the next one.

Don't get me wrong, the core content of that first video was fine with me. I just triggered on the pseudo science chat because that is a pet hate or mine having had similar bs in lessons myself.

If he had cut down on the bs, worked on the feet with his gadgets and maybe had him trying for a tidy fade rather than a hook / shank, I would have been sold.

Back when I have had a look at the second video, thanks for posting, as you say, what better way to while away a bit of time?

#6 Devongolfer

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 09:16 PM

333,
thanks for that, I found that much better and very interesting.

The most striking thing to me was that this pro is not advocating a resisting right leg with the torso wound up against the resisting hips. Instead, the body rotation comes from the footwork.

I can see two big benefits from this. Less back strain and a more natural sequence.

By sequence, I mean this. If you wind up the torso on the way back, the instinctive thing to do on the way down is to reverse that, which just throws the right shoulder forward. In contrast, if you feel the backswing as being feet and legs, you might tend to start the downswing with the feet and legs, a better natural sequence imo.

This swing theory is well supported imo, I remember one pro who used to nag me "the shoulders don't do anything". Then there is Toski, as mentioned before, with feet and hands being the two keys. Mindy Blake, who I rate most highly at the moment, wants to get the power from the legs.

In contrast to the X factor wind up theorists.

This approach is consistent with my recent "big idea" to do with getting the right shoulder down plane. The less you do with the upper body relative to the lower body, the more naturally you achieve this.

So, feet and hands swing. Sold, imo.

All I would add to that from Mindy would be some thought about getting the right elbow leading into the downswing and not dragging the club too far to the inside on the backswing.
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#7 Devongolfer

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 04:05 AM

Not sure if people are reading posts on isg much these days, but I had a few thoughts on types of golfer and approach to golf, prompted by the two pupils in the videos in this thread.

I put these two chaps in the "hit the ball as far as you can" category. They seem strong and athletic, they generate a lot of club head speed and their good ones go a long way. The less said about their bad ones the better. Greg Norman started like this, according to one interview I saw some years ago. He said that he first wanted to work out how to hit the ball a long way and then later figure out how to hit it straight. He got to world number one, so I can't fault the logic.

In the the other camp are the golfers who focus on the score and their handicap. If they find some sort of a swing that keeps the ball in play, they tend to stick with it. Though they want to add distance, they quickly give up new swing mechanics ideas if they start to lose consistency. I put myself in this camp.

I have played the game for 50 years. My observation is that the vast majority of the first group, unlike Greg Norman, never really practice and play enough to find the way to hit straight, so their amateur career is long hitting but with some wild ones in every round. In my experience, this group typically get to about 13-14 handicap, then stall.

The other group don't spend much time on swing mechanics, they stick with their short hitting reliable method. This group gets down to 7/8/9 handicap because they have spent far more time working on short game, putting, course management and because they keep the ball in play. They can't get past 7/8/9 handicap because there are roughly that number of holes on their course that they can't reach in regulation.

The first group talk about wanting consistency and lower scores, but actually just keep buying new drivers etc and keep smashing the ball past their buddies.

The second group talk about wanting to hit further, but won't put up with the higher scores and handicap for several years that it would take them to convert their home made swings into something more powerful.

Both groups, once they hit their limit, face a mountain to climb before they can improve further.
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#8 333pg333

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 07:43 AM

Thanks for the thoughtful replies Dev. 

 

So I'd agree that this guy's emphasis is on weight shift and lower body movement. Although having said that he does work on the arm path in as much as he holds that hoop up to the high right of the golfer to get them to swing along an in-out path. To work on a draw swing.

 

As an aside this is what I was working on with a new coach (sans hoop) recently to get me to swing more from the inside. I used to hit draws and over time/age had started to hit with a slight out to in path without me realising it. Working with the new coach and Trackman, it's quite amazing how ingrained swing paths can become as I was actually struggling to hit from inside for quite a while. Last lessons were hitting a child's driver with really flexi shaft. Doing reps of trying to hit a draw with this club and only holding it in the left (lead) arm. Really quite difficult. With both arms on the club I started to get it to draw. This is a great exercise in getting you to (1) swing from inside and (2) wait. By waiting I mean that it teaches you not to jerk down at the transition point. Something I firmly believe is the bain of a high % of amateur golfers. The feeling he was trying to inspire was to swing more with the left side of the body than the right. When done correctly it shallows out the club on the way down and you get a nice little draw that also travels greater distances. 

 

If given the opportunity I'd like to combine the teachings of my Pro and this guy Marcus Bell. Once you get past some of the way he speaks I actually like his style of coaching. He's trying to get into, or you out of, your head if that makes sense. I was wondering how his pupils went after a week or two from their lessons? As we know, old habits/moves creep back in and can erode some of the newer teachings. You then have to sort of delve into your memory to try and find that groove you had going. This is definitely one of my failings!

 

I'd agree about your two groups, although add one or two more. I think it depends on what sort of course you play and the age of the membership as well. Also what facilities your course might have. Some have good, some have very basic facilities. I'm a member of 2 courses and one has a driving range, chipping area, bunkers, short game, and putting greens. The other has 3 nets and a putting green. This one is a short but tight course and has an older membership. Many of these guys are happy to pop the ball along 150 mtrs (x2), putt from off the green and get off with a bogey. With their higher h/cap they can win comps with this method. It gets frustrating when playing against these guys as it's very hard to win. The other course has much younger and higher standard players and I fall waaaay down the pecking order which is fine by me. I did manage to win the A grade comp a month ago with 2 off the stick but that is far and few between. However I do practice and play regularly so probably fall outside of your 2 groups. I play with guys in your 'Greg Norman' group and they ask me for tips or advice (outside of competitions) and I always reply "It's up to you how much you really want to improve. If that is a driving force in your life then you will get lessons and practice" Simple as that. However most of them don't and they just hover around that low to mid teen h/cap for years on end. It's just up to them which way they want to go. Obviously time/money/family/work can also have a huge bearing on our golf 'careers'. It will be interesting to see what happens when this 'thing' is finally over. Best of luck where you are! 


Edited by 333pg333, 30 March 2020 - 07:46 AM.

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#9 Devongolfer

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 05:32 PM

333,

good stuff. I just wanted to build on your point about path being ingrained.

My belief these days is that the downswing is mostly instinctive and compensating.

We might be determined to achieve an in to out path. Yet we execute an out to in path. I think the reason for this is that we move the right shoulder forward too much, then our instinct takes over and swings out to in because that is the compensation necessary to hit the ball.

There are quite a few ways to move the shoulder forward too much, too soon.

Footwork, moving onto the right toe. Driving the right hip forward. Unwinding the upper body. Maybe more. Once any of these have happened, we compensate with an out to in path.

As an aside, it is a common mistake to try to fix the mystery out to in path by taking the arms more and more to the inside on the backswing. You get "stuck" and that is horrible because you can hit a wide right and a wide left from the stuck position.

My personal discovery was this. If feet, hips, shoulders movement (as in "wait" to agree with your post) all have to be right otherwise the right shoulder is wrong, THE REVERSE SEEMS TO BE TRUE AS WELL. Meaning that if I simply focus on moving the right shoulder down plane, that has a positive influence on feet, hips, shoulders, sequence.

Which, to me, feels like an "ah ha" moment.

If the right shoulder is moving down plane, I think that sets you up for an in to out path. I just need to make sure I don't drag the arms back behind me on the backswing. Lag the right forearm by leading with the right elbow, and it works for me.

So, my suggestion is this. You have all the moves you are being coached on right now, and you like Marcus. As an experiment, set those aside and concentrate on moving your right shoulder up and down a plane that includes the ball. Once you have that feel sorted out, pay attention to what your feet, your hips, your shoulders are having to do to achieve your down plane shoulder movement.

My theory says that when you move your right shoulder back and down the plane, your feet will be doing what Marcus says, your shoulders will be "waiting", your hips won't be firing too soon etc etc.

#10 333pg333

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 11:37 AM

When you say ‘move the right shoulder forward too much’ are you referring to the front on or rear view? From rear too far forward automatically implies coming out and over the plane line.

When from in front this implies too much of a forward lateral move…or am I misreading your point? Either way, yes, of course, either / both of these are not good for many golfers. You can come out a little bit and still manage with a small out to in path. Playing with a gentle fade isn’t such a bad way of scoring, but in most cases you’d give up distance.

 

As for taking club back too far inside. That’s something we’ve all been told not to do. Instead we should go out low and slow and then drop down to the inside / shallowing out our downswing.

Sorry to keep mentioning my own swing btw…but I was just another golfer who tried to follow this…often with limited success. I tended to over rotate forearms and sort of drag the club inside via wrists. But then lack of flexibility meant eventually I had to lift the club up at some point just to finish the backswing. This also involved me standing up towards the end of backswing. Also not ideal. So my recent coach had me actually trying to bring the club back inside more which seemed to negate the lift&stand motion. It also meant that I was either going to come down from the inside rather than a forced manipulation…or come out over the top. Because he had me really trying to swing way from the inside and out approx. 25 degrees just to try and get me on an inside line, I wasn’t coming out and over the top. So far so good at that point. After a few lessons it really started to work and my swing was quite different resulting in draws and the occasional hook which didn’t bother me. Unfortunately that’s as far as we got due to the Virus. So TBC. However for me, swinging back on an overly inside line or at least what felt like that, really seemed to work.

 

I think your Right shoulder down plane move is more or less the same thing that I’ve been working at. Just thinking from a different perspective. Having said that, my coach really stressed the importance of the right shoulder so you’re probably on the correct path (no pun intended) anyway. Something I really like about my coach is that he does what he preaches. He gets up and hits whatever shots he’s advocating, so I can visualise the correct action. I’ve found in the past a lot of coaches actually don’t hit any/many balls at all. Not saying they can’t, but I find this really helpful in his teachings.  



#11 Fairybread

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 01:19 PM

I stumbled across this guy (and the guy who does the videoing for him - Robin Matthews-Williams who is the guy that runs around getting people to swing without looking at the ball).

 

I don't go much for all this sciency body movement physiology stuff but I have had success with his method of swinging freely.

 

I made myself one of those boards to stand on. Practiced with that for a few weeks and then transitioned that feel onto just swing on the ground. It has really helped me transfer the weight onto the lead foot.

 

The results out on course have been amazing. Now hitting nice little draws (compared to pulls, pushes and slices). 

 

The combination of swinging freely and not focusing on position A, B, C etc and the weight drills certainly worked for me.


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