Commentary: Are Golf Gloves a Help or Hindrance for the Aspiring Student Golfer? Part 2

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

In Part 1, the mainframe of the discussion regarding the use of a golf glove for the aspiring student golfer was discussed. In Part 2, we continue with further examination of this subject from a TGM and BIA™ perspective.

In the Preface of The Golfing Machine (Page XIII), Mr. Kelley states:

“It will be realized that conscious hand manipulation is indispensable in the learning process.”

Right away, Mr. Kelley indicates the vital role of the hands in the process of developing a lawful uncompensated stroke pattern.  The notion of conscious hand manipulation alludes to the bigger picture; that in order to execute a stroke pattern procedure, the hands must be properly trained and “educated”. Hence, the aspiring student golfer’s “learning process.”  A first integral “stepping stone” in this educational skill building process is the actual initial stage of selecting how to “couple” the lead hand’s anatomical landmarks to specific landmarks on the golf club handle, and, in what designated arrangement relative to all specified goals.

The unification of the hands to the golf club handle in a specific grasp arrangement is defined in our industry as grip.  How the hands grasp the club, in what arrangement to each other, as well as in what orientation to one of the Three Basic Planes (Vertical, Horizontal, or Angled), will either support or hinder all goals associated with the successful, lawful employment of conscious hand manipulation per desired procedure. The successful implementation of lawful conscious hand manipulation, as Mr. Kelley states, is “indispensable” for optimal learning and skill acquisition.

Since a key goal for the aspiring student golfer is to develop very specific, proficient, component based skill-sets, (of which educated hands is a critical key), then coupling of hands to the club, and coupling of the hands to each other, complying to a specific technique blueprint, must be as precise as is possible.

In 1-G (The Golfing Machine, 7th Edition, page 3), Mr. Kelley states:

“Scientific Golf means you can never consider the game an enigma.  Whether you approach the beginning, per 9-0 (Putting), or the end, per the Preface (The Triad), or somewhere in between, without the Key of Educated Hands per Chapters 4 and 5, more information only means more confusion.”

Aspiring student golfers greatly benefit in attaining both a theoretical and practical understanding of the specific proficiencies associated with the concepts defined in Chapters 4 and 5 in The Golfing Machine as they relate to educated hands.  Educated hands participate in the conscious hand manipulation process. If the lead hand is “concealed” with-in the domain of a leather or leather-like golf glove, the opportunity to incorporate a “scientific golf” approach of study is difficult at best.

The term manipulation is defined (source as: “skillful or artful management.” It is a derived from the word manipulate, which from the same source cited above is defined as: “to handle or use, esp [especially] with some skill, in a process or action: to manipulate a pair of scissors.”  

Therefore, the term manipulation as described by Mr. Kelley occurs after the hands have been placed in union with the golf club for a specific, defined, “process” or “action”.  Both skillful and artful management of the golf club for optimal performance expression by the aspiring student golfer will require deliberate, monitored, mindfully navigated, conscious manipulation technique skill acquisition through performance enhancement tutelage to attain the goal of developing educated hands. Hence, the need for TGM-BIA™ Fusion Lesson tutelage provided by the AI (Authorized Instructor) to the aspiring student golfer.

In reference to the scissors example described above, the best manner of manipulation of the scissors, using the involved hand, is through a prepared, knowledge based, applied, specific grasp type union of the hand with the implement, relative to the function/design of the implement, and the intended goal(s) of use.  Thus, a critical aspect to the conscious manipulation process is the specific manner of use the implement (scissors) is being recruited for relative to all premeditated assigned goals: cutting a piece of paper, cardboard, metal, etc.

Some level of a form of manipulation-like operation “can” be fabricated without training, education, and knowledge. This process is often referred to as trial and error. An estimation, speculation, and assumption “approach” is not advisable as the display will neither be skillful or artful.  Whether the implement of use is scissors or a golf club, the operational manipulative procedures incorporating the hands will usually commence after the hands have been placed in a grasp relationship with the implement of choice, i.e., a golf club handle.  

In addition, the definitions referred to earlier regarding the terms manipulation and manipulate implies use with skill applied in a process or action.  All of the aforementioned requires management which is created through tutelage via the watchful eye of the AI with an evolutionary development of motor skill by the aspiring student golfer of key technique constructs stipulated by Mr. Kelley in The Golfing Machine.  

Thus, how the hands are arranged and unified with the golf club handle should be derived from the process or action by which the intended use of the implement is required (by the laws of G.O.L.F.) to occur. This arrangement includes the understanding of the role and responsibility of each hand in the stroke execution procedural cycle of activity. How the manner of arrangement and orientation of the hands to the implement is to be undertaken must be designed in consideration of all of the goal oriented functions and usage factors to be conducted with the implement (golf club) for the desired successful execution of the intended stroke pattern procedure.  

The use of the golf club successfully in a lawful procedure requires a type of skillful manipulation. This skillful manipulation incorporates both static and dynamic properties. If the hands are not unified with the golf club with a proficient understanding of the intention of use as per the laws of G.O.L.F., then any form of skillful manipulation is unlikely.

It is important to recognize that certain key elements of the stroke execution under motion require (at very specific points in the cycle of activity) the hands to remain (while under motion by the biomechanical system) arranged so that the lead wrist-hand unit orientation is “level” and “flat”.  At designated, specific, and critical reference point(s), “attributes” of manipulation actually occurred prior to the procedural activity by the precise union of the lead hand to the golf club handle.

The key participatory responsibility “function” of the hands during these specific, designated, points in the cycle of the stroke pattern execution are to be “moved’ with rhythm, and, without wobble, by associated components of the biomechanical system.  That precise, participatory role by the hands, permits desired impact alignments for the uncompensated expression of the selected Hinge Action goal chosen (pre-planned prior to execution).  Otherwise, that desired expression, of the chosen for use, pre-participation Hinge Action, will be sabotaged through a spectrum of dysfunctional unintended consequential “meshing of gears” with-in the biomechanical system as the pattern of display will no longer adhere to the lawfully required technique blueprint map. Hence, the undesirable display of wobbly points, execution errors, and/or snares.

This pre-stroke participation procedure of the unification of the lead hand to the club is an integral, active, conscious manipulation requirement.  Moving the hands by other participators in the biomechanical system so that the precision required for all G.O.L.F. related goals may be achieved is how skilled, navigated motion is “manipulated” by the golfer.  “Quiet” hands are also “educated” hands.

The inert, Flat, and Level, lead hand-wrist unit during the arc of the pre-impact, impact, and post impact interval permits the entire conscious manipulation procedural process for alignment and ball behavior expression transmission between golf club and golf ball discussed by Mr. Kelley to occur “lawfully.”   How the hands are unified with the golf club handle will favorably or adversely influence the displayed manipulative operation competency by the aspiring student golfer of all conscious hand manipulation elements described by Mr. Kelley in The Golfing Machine.      
Furthermore, as we study specifically Chapter 4 in The Golfing Machine, and look at the photographs, particularly in regard to the lead hand, how does the aspiring student golfer navigate their own biomechanical motion to ascertain in a sensory (feel) and displayed motor manner, the precise alignments that produce the successful execution, as well educational differentiation of:

•    Horizontal Alignments: Flat, Bent, and Arched
•    Perpendicular Alignments: Level, Cocked, and Uncocked
•    Rotational Alignments: Vertical, Turned, and Rolled

To illustrate the above, try to precisely align the lead hand-wrist unit in the above alignments wearing a golf glove.  Then, please try it again without a glove.  Which of the two procedures was of greater precision? Which of the two procedures could be more favorably evaluated by the AI and/or compared to the photographs in Chapter 4?

In Chapter 5 (7th Edition, page 64), Mr. Kelley states:

“Monitoring is awareness—through Feel, Feedback, sensation—of the location, condition, direction, etc. of any element for any purpose.  When you watch as you reach for your cup, you are unaware of your hands.  But with the eyes closed, you are acutely dependent on them.  Then, notice how quickly they can adapt when monitored.”

When the aspiring student golfer begins their personal golf education journey, commencing first with the procedure for lead hand to club education, beginning with a golf glove on, the opportunity to attain the desired neurological sensory “feel” for the grasp alone as well as to accurately replicate key technical elements of static and dynamic alignments is vastly “challenged.”

As an analogy, take an item with a distinguishable scent from your refrigerator such as a lime or an onion.  Close your eyes and smell the item first in your normal manner. Then, please place a tissue over your nostrils and upon closing your eyes, repeat the procedure.  Which of the two activities achieved the goal of scent discrimination the best?

Thus, the tissue like a golf glove may create a “barrierdampening field for required sensory feedback discrimination needed to distinguish minute yet significant differences in biomechanical pose alignments, as well as desired motor feedback regulation needed to “adjust” the biomechanical pose patterns to optimal technique based pathway relationships as depicted in the blueprint concept “map” in The Golfing Machine.

Progressing from Chapters 4 and 5 in The Golfing Machine, there now emerges before us the selection regarding the orientation of the handle to the lead hand which is more recognizable as the development of the Number Three Accumulator Angle.  This placement from zero to maximum angular orientation has a significant relationship to the characteristics of the clubhead’s circumferential arc of travel, the length of the lead arm/club adjustable radius, the resultant angle of the inclined plane, the true inherent uncompensated hinge activity bias pattern display of the lead arm and club, the default mechanical type of prehension grasp (adjustable clamping) that the lead hand will resort to, and so, on. The domino effect upon the entire procedural and biomechanical systems of operation engaged are establish upon the grasp characteristics taken by the lead hand with the golf club handle.

The alignment relationship of the adjustable Lever Assembly Radius (lead arm, wrist, hand, and golf club) provides the foundation for how the rest of the entire biomechanical system will be calibrated for set up and operation.  The grasp of the lead hand to the club and the resultant Number Three Accumulator Angle chosen must be calibrated with precision and with a procedural cause and effect basis of operation.

As Mr. Kelley states in 1-L, Number 3, on page 11 in The Golfing Machine, 7th Edition:

“There is no wobble in the clubshaft attachment (Grip)."

Again, the creation of the unionized arrangement of the lead hand to golf club handle orientation must be so calibrated with precision and with a procedural cause and effect basis of operation.  This technical approach is crafted from a pre-ordained specified goal in mind as to how the adjustable Lead Arm-Club Radius Unit is required to function for a specific ball behavior goal objective.  An incongruent lead hand to club grasp would sabotage that objective and produce “wobble” in the clubshaft resulting in:

•    A loss of Alignment(s).
•    A disruption to Rhythm.
•    A loss of Timing.
•    A compromise to the imperative Flat Lead Wrist.
•    An execution error or snare.

Therefore, the use of a golf glove over the lead hand, with the inclination to avoid wear marks, and thus place the handle toward the superior margin of the base of the fingers, resulting in a default very large Number Three Accumulator Angle, causing the prehension classification of grip to rely more on the fingers (see Part 1), without consideration of how the adjustable Lead Arm-Club Radius Unit should be aligned for a designated G.O.L.F. goal selected by the AI for a specific, individual, aspiring student golfer, could unintentionally create what Mr. Kelley describes as “wobble” in the clubshaft, producing unintended compensations in all Three Zones. The aspiring student golfer may then suffer set backs or a stasis in skill-building without associating this lead hand to club grasp as being a possible source of the cascade of disruptions to harmony in the stroke pattern execution.  

So, the next phase of this discussion is to consider how the Number Three Accumulator Angle alters the grasp characteristics by the lead hand and to then consider what biomechanical options may be employed to provide stability of the lead hand to the club.  In addition, the compatibility of the lead hand to the golf club handle once established will permit optimal placement of the trailing hand to both the lead hand and the club.

Prior to that discussion it is important to again state that:

Crafting a lead hand to golf club handle grasp must be so designed so that the placement of the club to the lead hand (producing the adjustable Lever Assembly Radius Unit) considers all of the required aspiring student golfer’s goals and objectives for skill building at present and moving forward.

Some of these extensive goals and objectives include but are limited to:

•    Developing educated hands.
•    Ensuring that there will be no wobble in the clubshaft.
•    Creating a secure and stable grasp without tension.
•    Understanding and being able to visually and kinesthetically identify the pertinent and key lead hand landmarks.
•    Calibrating the size of the Number Three Accumulator Angle for a specific ball behavior goal as well as for a compatible relationship to a desired Basic Plane.
•    Fostering an assembly of the lead arm to the club that permits liveliness in the assembly such that the lead wrist may move effortlessly into and out of the key alignments outlined by Mr. Kelley in Chapter 4.

Part 3 of this series will discuss the role of the key landmarks such as the lead hand thumb and the role of the palmar gutter of the trailing hand in optimizing the coupled union of the hands to the club.  This again will continue in perspective from the viewpoint of the aspiring student golfer.
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