It happened one morning in the early summer of 2011. I was hitting some 7 irons and everything was going fine. I was getting some extra practice in so as to prepare for my upcoming club championship qualifier. I hit a nice shot, and as I came around into my finish, felt a stabbing pain in my back – so sharp that it took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. OUCH! ( and some other expletives I’m not proud to say I uttered!) The pain was just opposite my right shoulder blade in what was either my lat or traps…I didn’t know and I didn’t care – it just hurt. I felt no pain in my backswing, or going down into impact, but every time I came around and finished, there was the pain. I tried a few more swings and stopped as now the pain was spreading. I was crushed. There was only a few days left before the qualifier and I really wanted to play in it. I went home, and rolled my back out with my Pilates foam roller for a long time. I gulped down five Ibuprofen and went to work.
When I got home I got on the computer and frantically started looking for “easy on the back” golf swings. I knew of Don Trahan’s work, and also Natural Golf and Graves, which I tried both as best as I could and still had the pain. My searches led me to YouTube, and somehow I ended up watching some videos by a female golf pro from India named Kiran Kanwar, talking about her “Minimalist Golf Swing” – MGS. The swing was way different from what I had been doing, using very little shoulder turn, no setting of the wrists, and no weight shift or hip rotation. She said it was easy on the body as it was more bio-mechanically correct. It looked like a swing I might be able to use for the qualifier, and then until my back got better and I could once again start swinging “normally”.
I went out in the backyard and gingerly tried the set up and swing. No pain, try another. Still good. I kept swinging adding more force and speed until I was warmed up and pretty much swinging at full speed. I got excited, grabbed my shag bag of birdie balls and headed to the park. I had no idea how the ball would fly, all I knew was that I could make this “minimal swing” with no pain. The ball flew straight, just a smidge of a draw, but boy was the swing easy to repeat. It seemed like I had lost a little distance, but I would need to hit real balls to know for sure. All I knew was I had a swing that would allow me to play in the qualifier. And play I did, under difficult conditions I shot a 42,39 – 81 from the tips and was the only 50+ year old to qualify for the scratch division on a day when only a handful of players broke 80. I liked this swing.
I liked it so much that I continued to work with it even though my back was better. I bought the book about the MGS swing written by Mrs. Kanwar. I shot video and posted some still shots and links about it on the single axis golf forum. I was able to contact Mrs. Kanwar by phone and we began to exchange many emails about the swing and my adaptation of it. She provided lots of feedback and commentary on my videos, my MGS, and my posts and I continued to “get it” more and more. My ball striking improved lots, an apparently my swing was looking different too. In our season ending USGA two man scramble, my three playing partners from my league noticed that my swing “looked more controlled”, more consistent, and while one mentioned I seemed to have lost some distance I was still plenty long and they all agreed it was “better”. It was good enough that we ended up winning the event shooting an excellent 4 under 68! I liked this swing a lot and when I tried to swing my “old way” it now felt unnatural!
What’s more, many of my students and Blueprint readers, after reading my posts and watching my videos, began trying it on their own. Using just the information from Kiran Kanwar’s Youtube channel, her website, my writings and videos, many reported the same positive results and improvement in their own swing and game that I was reporting. Mrs. Kanwar said she had sold more books in three months than she had the previous five years since she first published it!
Truly something remarkable was developing and I was a part of it. Students that had bought my book and improved their game were contacting me and telling me they have seen an even bigger improvement with MGS. Many phoned me and emailed me that they are once again excited about golf. And many were asking what this all means in relation to my current Blueprint teaching and where I am headed moving forward.
This MGS thing was taking off, and lots of golfers were being helped. With all the buzz and help people were receiving, I decided it was time for another paradigm shift, and to “add another room” to the Blueprint construction project. I asked the inventor of the Minimalist Golf Swing, Kiran Kanwar, if she would mind if I included a section on her swing in my third edition of the Blueprint when I released it. She agreed that it wouldn’t be a problem, as long as she received credit for the MGS and “signed off” on the content before release!
I happy to report that the project is currently in the works. The third edition of the Blueprint will include a complete section on MGS, Kiran Kanwar approved. It will highlight the differences between the more classic swing instruction of the original Blueprint, cross referenced back to each other for comparison, and will include a complete step by step process for acquiring the MGS swing using the same learning model that is so effective in the original Blueprint.