Commentary: Are Golf Gloves a Help or Hindrance for the Aspiring Student Golfer? Part 3

By Dr. Matthew M. Rosman, GSEE
Director of Biomechanics and Sports Science, The Golfing Machine, LLC

In Part 3 of this series, the discussion will now focus upon the role of key landmarks such as the lead hand thumb and the role of the palmar gutter zone region of the trailing hand in optimizing the coupled union of the hands to each other.  This again will commence from the viewpoint of the aspiring student golfer.  

In The Golfing Machine, 7th Edition Preface, page XIII, Mr. Kelley States:

“Every part is carefully related to every other part to be one complete harmonious whole—as a whole or piece by piece.”

This statement by Mr. Kelley especially applies to the connection of each hand to its counterpart. The union of the lead hand to the trailing hand can be a bit of a jigsaw puzzle for the aspiring student golfer, as initially the pieces of the puzzle don’t seem to have clearly defined borders or segments that seem to naturally fit together.

Part of this conundrum relates to prioritization attention as to whether the union of the hands to each other is of a higher precedence than the union of each hand to the golf club handle.  Another aspect relates to how each hand’s operational responsibilities are to be performed in relationship to the function of the implement: the golf club.  

In Chapter 10-0 Mr. Kelley states:

“The Star System does not advocate teaching ‘unorthodox’ procedures, but does make provision for them.”

Thus, the hand’s operational responsibilities as per the geometry and physics of “The Star System” must be biomechanically comported to the golf club handle, in a coupled union of “hand-to-hand” arrangement, and “hands-to-plane” alignment, that contributes to the “one complete harmonious whole”, which operationally navigates the motion of the golf club to comply with a pre-determined procedural goal for golf ball control display.

So, lead hand-to-trailing hand “arrangement” AND lead hand-trailing hand “alignment” orientation to a designated Basic Plane must be carefully engineered. Then, the conscious hand manipulation procedure displayed by the aspiring student golfer while under motion will achieve these desired objectives.     

Hence, a proficient approach is one that permits compatible “variations”, but yet remains with-in a spectrum of convention such that the laws of geometry and physics will not be violated. This approach must also provide the opportunity for the aspiring student golfer to be able to reliably and consistently reproduce all stroke execution procedural components of the performance pattern in congruity with the technique pathway required for desirable skillful participation practicing or playing golf.

The aspiring student golfer‘s “hand-to-hand” arrangement (10-1) and “hands-to-plane” alignment (10-2) must be calibrated to the stipulated golf ball control goal (10-10). The aspiring student golfer must be made aware of this vital lawful principle in order to productively participate in golf based activities.  One critical key to golf “ball behavior” control properties (7-10) is successful employment of a specific Hinge Action (10-10, “Ball Control”) procedure.  Therefore, the aspiring student golfer must receive comprehensive, specific, technical tutelage which will include subject matter pertaining to the role and responsibility of each hand for this vital endeavor (arrangement and alignment).  This educational process provides scholastic, theoretical, and applied benefit advantage of greater proportion in comparison to a preselected strategy of avoiding a wear mark or erosion hole in a golf glove worn on the leading hand.

In addition, what feels comfortable, or natural, or comparable to any other grasping characteristics with any other implement is not the foundation for a technical skill-building approach in developing the appropriate” hand-to-hand” arrangement and “hands-to-plane” alignment specific for golf operations. Hence, again the importance of the Authorized Instructor providing the aspiring student golfer with all the scholastic tools needed in developing “educated hands” for all associated G.O.L.F. operations.

The notion of reaching and grabbing the golf club handle, in any indiscriminate manner with the hands, and giving a whack to a stationary, small, white ball, will never create “educated hands”, never produce skillful “conscious hand manipulation”, nor ever carefully assemble an uncompensated Stroke Pattern, “piece by piece”, creating “one complete harmonious whole”, that operates in a lawful manner for a specific desired golf “ball behavior” based display goal.  This is because any golf “ball behavior” control procedure (2-G, 7-10, and 10-10) requires specific operational and navigational mechanisms that are so constructed by the biomechanical system with guidance and regulation mechanisms.  These mechanisms foster the capability for an educated hands conscious manipulation system that Mr. Kelley designates as “indispensable.”

Yet, every day, many enthusiastic, well-intentioned, self-taught golfers, assemble themselves at their local public golf driving ranges and participate in this very activity of grab and whack.  And, a large percentage of these types of golfers will have one aspect of their participation in common: wearing a golf glove on their lead hand. If only these golfers knew what Mr. Kelly states in 2-M-3:

“The Hands are strong, educated, adjustable Clamps attaching the Club to the Arms for control of the Clubface alignments.”

With regard to “adjustable clamps”, Mr. Kelly indicates in 10-1-0 that “all” of the fingers of either hand that “encircle the Clubshaft ‘grip the Club’”, which implies that “gripping” the club is distinctly different than the arrangement of the hands in a coupling union with each other. Thus, there is the “hand-to-handcoupling relationship arrangement component AND the fingers-to-golf club handle clamping union that comprises the complete procedural constituents of the biomechanical operations that encompass the comprehensive golf prehension process. The final aspect is of course the orientation of the “hands-to-plane” alignment as per goal for golf “ball behavior” display control (7-10 and 10-10).

To restate again, as per Mr. Kelley’s 10-1-0 reference: not all the anatomical structures of the hand “grip” the club. The trailing hand’s right forefinger is excluded by Mr. Kelley (10-1-0) and assigned “Lag Pressure Sense Responsibility.”  The thumbs are also excluded as they do not customarily “encircle” the golf club handle for “clamping” function.

Gripping the club then is that specific procedure by which the golf club handle is secured to the hands via a finger “encircling” biomechanical “clamping” function. Thus, the lead hand thumb has other integral functions and responsibilities. The fingers-to-golf club handle clamping function serves as a bridge providing the practical (and necessary) aspects for the 2-M-3 mechanism for a conscious hand manipulation process by which “control of the Clubface alignments” can be biomechanically performed. After all, the golf club must be unified with the Triangle Assembly via a “clamping” mechanism in order for the golf club operations required to be performed by the golfer.

Therefore, the lead hand thumb has a designated, precise, technical, participatory function that is outside of any “clamping” function responsibility.  Again, any fingers which “encircle” the clubshaft are assigned with the responsibility for “gripping” (clamping) functions and thus are designated in this article series as a fingers-to-golf club handle clamping union function.  

Please take a moment before reading any further and experience all the biomechanical distinctions between a “hand-to-hand” arrangement coupling in comparison to a fingers-to-golf club clamping union function using any readily available golf club. Using visual and sensory-motor neurological discrimination, please experience the synergistic but distinct aspects of a “hand-to-hand” coupling arrangement as well as a fingers-to-golf club clamping union function. Observe the separate but synergistic aspects of the comprehensive golf prehension process. In this manner of participation, each person may have a first hand experience in recognizing the biomechanical operational role of designated components of the Triangle Assembly System in creating specific golf club operational maneuvers.

The aspiring student golfer must be educated as to how each designated anatomical structure of the hands are assigned specified biomechanical responsibility in participating in a “lawful” stroke procedure.  Thus, “hand-to-hand” arrangement (with fingers-to-golf club clamping function) and “hands-to-plane” alignments must be a key part of the educational curriculum employed very early on in the lesson process so that the relationship of “educated hands” with optimal clubface and clubhead operational controls may be clearly understood.

Each structure of each hand must be identified and discussed regarding specific participatory role in the “educated hands” learning process required for the aspiring student golfer. It is difficult to identify such structures if the lead hand is camouflaged by a golf glove.     

Referring to the “hand-to-hand” arrangements, a key in attaining successful coupling of the hands with each other relies upon the union of the lead hand thumb with the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region.  Regardless of the degree of Number Three Accumulator angle, and excluding 10-1-B #2 (Exaggerated) as well as 10-1-E (Cross Hand) for this discussion, the orientation of the aft aspect of the lead hand thumb is to align with-in the palmar gutter of the trailing hand in a very specific alignment orientation.

In 10-2-0, Mr. Kelley states:

“Unless otherwise indicated, the left thumb is always placed on the same line as Pressure Point #3, and covered with the cup of the right hand palm.”

Please note the reference to the words “line” and “cup”. These are very important terms of distinction and specificity.  The aft aspect of the lead thumb must be so arranged that it “aligns” to a “line”. The word “cup” may be concluded to infer reference to the palmar gutter zone of the trailing hand in association with the thumb pad (thenar eminence) creating what Mr. Kelley describes as a “cup.”  

Hence, in 10-2, Mr. Kelley is stipulating that an aspect of “lawful” “hand-to-hand” arrangement must incorporate a very specific navigational alignment of the aft aspect of the lead hand thumb in connection with the palmar gutter zone of the trailing hand, in a coupled relationship, such that a line running along the aft aspect of the lead hand thumb would align precisely with a line running up from the Number Three Pressure Point with-in the aforementioned palmar gutter zone region of the palm of the trailing hand (Mr. Kelley’s 10-2-0 “cup”). This straight line connects two specific landmarks: the Number Three and Number One Pressure Points of the trailing hand.   
Mr. Kelley stipulates the need for such an “arrangement”:

10-2-0: “The Thumb position encourages the ideal Right Wrist Bend-identical to the Accumulator #3 Angle-which avoids the disruptive Feel of an Off Plane Follow-through Swivel.”

Thus, a very specific alignment orientation of the lead thumb with-in the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region exists when an imaginary straight line is drawn (with-in the palmar gutter zone region) commencing from the central aspect of the Number One Pressure Point anatomical landmark to the central aspect of the Number Three Pressure Point anatomical landmark (running superiorly-inferiorly in direction, with-in the palmar gutter zone region). This straight “line” would function as a marker for alignment docking of the aft aspect of the lead hand thumb as a key procedural step of the coupling process of “hand-to-hand” arrangement.

The palmar gutter zone region provides the specific alignment blueprint as well as bolstered security enhancement desired for “hand-to-hand” coupling.  The lead hand thumb’s level of security is greatly bolstered when it is coupled with-in the palmar gutter zone region of the trailing hand.  The security of the coupling of the lead hand thumb with the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region lessens the risk of “wobble” as well as unwanted tension in the arrangement.  This will also facilitate the fingers-to-golf club handle clamping union deterring “wobble.” The alignment of the lead hand thumb with-in the palmar gutter zone region as described above is absolutely essential for lawful participation and function.  

Any wobble effect in any aspect of the assembly increases the probability for compensatory excessive clamping by those fingers which “encircle” the golf club handle in an attempt to counteract this instability. Such excessive tension would deter sense discrimination and create cascading ripples of concomitant tension radiating upward from the hands throughout the entire Triangle Assembly.  The counterproductive ramifications would impair orchestrated coordination rhythm of all components associated with Triangle Assembly function while altering the entire rhythmic relationships of all Three Zones.

The “hand-to-hand” arrangement must incorporate a specific unionized coupling of these specified biomechanical structures. If the lead hand thumb is not accurately navigated into a precise orientation alignment with-in the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region, there is a risk that the trailing wrist bend will be in misalignment with the pre-selected Number Three Accumulator Angle (10-2-0). Planar congruity will be lost. This may then result in a loss in the entire orchestrated composition of motion conducted by the aspiring student golfer which may result in:

•    A violation of 1-L #3 resulting in a “wobble” in the clubshaft
•    A loss of desired Number Three Accumulator Rhythm during the release arc
•    A loss of Alignment to the Plane Line
•    Impairment to the Paddlewheel mechanism’s efficiency functioning action of the trailing arm
•    A sabotaging of the desired Hinge functions
•    A loss of Primary to Secondary Lever Assembly Alignment and Rhythm
•    The development of a “Snare” or “Execution Error”
•    A loss of harmony of the Rhythm coordination of the Three Zones
•    Etc…..

An important key in creating an optimal “hand-to-hand” arrangement is to ensure that both “wrists” are in the 4-B-1 "Level" orientation first before engaging in the coupling process. The use of a golf glove in the lead hand of the aspiring student golfer may disrupt the learning process by which “hand-to-hand” arrangement, fingers-to-golf club clamping function, and “hands-to-plane” alignment may be mastered.  Especially, if the lead hand union to golf club handle focus is to locate the handle in such an arrangement with the lead hand as to deter the development of erosion or wear marks in the glove.  Often, such an approach may prioritize the hold of the hand without attention to monitoring the maintenance of a “level wrist.”

Remember, regardless of the size of the Number Three Accumulator angle, the connection of “hand-to-hand” must ensure that both “wrists” are “level” first before coupling commences.

In Part 4, the discussion will conclude with:

•    A summary of all the key constructs of this series  
•    Some suggested recommendations for the aspiring student golfer
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