My MGS Story

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.

Kevin

13 thoughts on “My MGS Story

  1. Oneputt

    Kevin, I admire your zest for MGS! Thanks to you and Kiran’s e-book I have been able to learn the swing. You have made the statement that the amount of twist is about a 30-35 deg. angle, that you did not measure it and not to hold you to it! I have noticed that in Kiran’s videos that she uses much less twist. It seems that the twist is very minimal with a short iron and a little more twist as the clubs become longer. The reason I question the amount of twist is that with me, too much twist with a driver and the ball will go to the right. A little less twist, swinging from the inside out with a closed face to the ball target line, I produce a nice draw. My take on all this is that if you are looking for accuracy with a short iron, less twist, if your looking for a nice draw with a longer club, a little more twist. Any thoughtson this? Thanks, Oneputt

    1. realgolfer Post author

      Hey Oneputt! Well first, if you have learned to adapt MGS torso twist and set up so that you can hit good shots from what you figured out, hey rock on brother! For me I prefer simple, so I make the same amount of twist for all “swinging shots”. All full shots and wedges, including 1/2 swings and pitches from about 40 yards out.

      The amount of twist is easy to set. Stand with your feet together, parallel to the target line. Now bend over from the hips as your let your arms hang loose and free until they are over your the line of your toe joints. Now, keeping your forward bend, make your torso twist. Twist until your trail arm is opposite the outside side of your trail thigh, or – if you drew a line straight down from your middle finger, it would intersect your trail ankle. That is the amount of twist that works for me.

      Another visual cue is that at address before twisting, the line of your shoulders points LEFT of your target. When you make a proper twist, the line of your shoulders points directly at the target. In other words standing at address before twist and swivel your head as far as you can to the target, and you should be looking LEFT of the target, unless you are not flexible in the neck – then you need to check with video. After the torso twist when you swivel your head, you should be looking right at the target.

      Watch this video about getting into MGS posture and see if the above make more sense. but remember, IF YOU HAVE FOUND SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN REPEAT AND WORKS, ROCK ON. DON’T OVER-ANALYZE OR TRY TO FIT YOUR SWING INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S DESCRIPTION. BE AUTHENTIC! Here’s the video:

      Kevin

      1. Oneputt

        Played golf yesterday using MGS. I did quite well with it. I used your method of closing my shoulders by aiming my left shoulder at the target after I started with a square stance. It woked really nice! Thanks! Oneputt

        1. realgolfer Post author

          Nice going Oneputt…to help Barry and the others could you give a report on your distance with MGS vs your other style? It seems Randy has no loss of distance hitting a 9 iron 150 is “okay”, but still it is good to hear from all.

          1. Oneputt

            I am 68 years old and do not have the flexibility of a younger person. At the driving range my nine iron flys 125 yds. no matter what method of golf swing I use. I have gained distance with the longer clubs using MGS because of more consistency hitting the ball flush. With a driver, I fly the ball about 210 – 225 yds. My game is all about keeping the ball in play, be an excellent chipper and pitch shot maker, and never three putt! I will take 180 yds. down the middle over 280 yds in the woods every day! MGS has improved my accuracy and I have gained distance because of more correct ball striking. Thanks MGS, Oneputt

  2. Randy

    MGS seems to be the easiest and most efficient way I have found to hit a golf ball. My last shot of the year was a beautiful 150 yard 9 iron draw about 6 feet left of the pin. Now it is snow and cold weather but I cannot wait until Spring.

  3. realgolfer Post author

    @ Randy. Is the the “world famous” Doc from the land of cheese and beer? :) I think it is….

    Regarding the draw – it is next to impossible to slice with this swing if you adhere to the simple set up and swing procedures. In fact when first learning, I was having some trouble using the MGS to purposely fade the ball. kiran “squared me away” (hint) and now I can hit fades or draws at will.

  4. Barry

    Kevin

    All but 4 of the 350 golf books I have and all 21 videos write or speak of “turn or rotate the body” during the full swing. What distance loss can I expect with MGS? I am looking for accuracy with a slight draw off the tee.

    1. realgolfer Post author

      Barry, that is the most common question/assumption that people have with MGS – is that because there is no turn, you will lose distance. This is absolutely not based in science or fact, but rather on the principle that since all the best golfers in the world use a turn and rotate swing, it must be the correct way to swing the club / generate distance. Just free your mind from those 346 books’ teaching for about five minutes and consider this.

      MGS has a turn, but you turn your shoulders/torso before you swing. This sets or locks the glutes and lower body in place so that IF you keep the set as you swing, it facilitates the firing of all the muscles at the correct time. And because your feet are flat at impact, you make better use of ground reaction forces, finally because your body mass is better focused through impact, you get power from this also.

      With the classic golf swing, there is more SEQUENCING and TIMING involved, and the action is more through the ball. With MGS, you set everything in place with the torso twist, take the lead arm up, drop it back down – keeping your posture – there is no weight shift in the traditional sense, and no hip rotation, and with MGS the action is AT THE BALL.

      Having said all that, Kiran has a nice write up on her blog about why MGS Works, and explains things quite well.

      Also, you can watch this video where i make three different type swings and note the club head speeds. I now have virtually the same club head speed and distances with MGS that I had with my more classic Blueprint style swing. if you want to hit it more accurate and with a draw, MGS is the place to be, and once you learn it, I think you will hit it the same distance. here’s the video:

      Initially, I think because the action is unfamiliar, and you are getting used to it, you will experience a slight loss of distance with all clubs. I know I did, and others have reported the same. But once you “get it” and understand how to make a correct MGS move, you will hit it the same distance, and wonders of wonders, even hit it farther. Your contact will more flush and centered with MGS too, so any slight loss of swing speed is often made up by a more solid centered strike.

      My driver club head speed initially was about 5 mph slower than my normal swing

  5. boomer

    Kevin, Kevin from Japan here. Thank you for the introduction to MGS. I’ve been working on it almost daily
    for a few weeks now, every day another something to add or subtract and feeling more and more comfortable with it and making discoveries that seemed to make the next day’s practice just that much better. Yesterday I thought I’d zeroed in on the tidy package that is MGS hitting all my wedges and irons down to the six with distance and authority and reasonable accuracy, really nice high arcing shots, not much push or pull (slices and fades are long gone). I’d discovered the left arm only key and combined it with an Ernest Jones-use-the weight-of-the-club head imagery to start really hitting some very nice iron shots. Couldn’t wait to get to my first round of golf this year and put it to use. Disaster! Pushing, pulling, a shank, fat, thin, you name it. My drives were right on – so nice to see consistent draws for the first time in my life and I’d not practiced with fairway woods so accepted what they gave. Any suggestions (from anyone) for taking one’s range swings to the real deal? I didn’t know where to post this – couldn’t find the ‘success’ slot. Thanks for the work you’ve done.
    slot to rave about the new swing and it’s not a question per se about the swing itself.

  6. realgolfer Post author

    Hey Kevin! Check out the forum tab at the top of the page. As far as taking it to the range, review your process for getting to automatic by using your clearkey. if you can hit them on the range you can hit them on the course…just gotta let your body do it. Until your newer approach with MGS gets more ingrained you will have mixed results…….practice on Clearkey the way the Blueprint teaches you to, and then play on clearkey too.

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