Lexi Thompson Swing 2014 – Analysis of Joint Positions and Anatomy

Even the most talented professional golfers do not make ‘ideal’ swings in terms of how their joints can work best, simply because prior to this no-one has ever thought to consider that aspect.

So, an athlete such as Lexi Thompson can improve too, by positioning, at the top of her backswing, her entire spine (head to tail bone), right shoulder and right thigh closer to the positions of her impact, rather than diametrically opposite of what they are!

For instance, if she needs her spine to be tilted away from target at impact, it should be so at the top of the backswing. If her right shoulder is to be externally rotated at impact it should be so at the top. her right hip should not be so extended backwards at the top, as the ‘close-packed’ position requires some aggressive repositioning to get it into its desired downswing position.

18 replies on “Lexi Thompson Swing 2014 – Analysis of Joint Positions and Anatomy”

  1. Good Morning Kiran…I have a question…I agree totally with your MGS principles and how you position the body to take advantage of muscle and joint function…but consider this…a bowler doesn’t stand at the foul line and deliver the ball…a shot putter doesn’t put the shot from the edge of the circle from his preset biomechanically perfect setup…same with the javelin, disc, and hammer…all these athletes use the body to get everything moving with some speed and the delivery package effectively hitches a ride until the exact moment when the proper muscles fire…thereby allowing greater speed than would have been possible without this “headstart”….to generate the clubhead speed required to play on the pga or lpga tours I think it is probably necessary to have this headstart.even though it complicates the movement a great deal…your thoughts?…thanks

    1. Joel. Thank you for the post. With the MGS, the arms ARE able to start down with gravity, to kick-start the movement. Then, because the head and shoulders are ‘locked away’, the hips continue, followed by the upper body.

      Elsewhere I have read that gravity does not act during the downswing – naturally it cannot be used efficiently as people constantly place their arms and shaft well past the (about 10 o’clock) position of maximal (gravitational) potential energy.

      Besides this, MGS requires very little hip rotation – only the main end phase, after which all the other ‘links’ GO immediately like a set of dominoes falling, with no LONG, INSURMOUNTABLE lag phase between links.

      I’m currently doing a summer internship studying baseball pitching mechanics and think there HAS to be a better way than with people having so much elbow injury from too much ‘lag’ during the baseball pitch. More lag means more time for the successive joint to ‘catch up’, which is not possible in a living organism with finite muscle force production capability, unlike in say an automobile – so why lag excessively!

  2. One more question please Kiran…how are the “head and shoulders locked away”…Thank you again…Joel

  3. Hi Joel. I discovered something today which seemed very helpful and may relate to your questions about “locking away the head and shoulders.”

    I was on the range goofing with my sand wedge seeing how high and straight I could hit it when I tried narrowing my stance so my feet almost touched. I tilted my head back, lifted my left arm up my chest and wow! I went on to shoot a 43/41 mainly because I couldn’t believe how simple the club path down can be! I hit all my chips well just a bit offline as I was adjusting to the motion.

    My body felt like a wall, solid and locked in and the with my head tilted back, the club path looked like a straight line down and through.

    Anyway, feet are narrow, feel like you are standing tall when you tilt your head. The LEFT ARM FEELS LIKE IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN MOVE! Once the club is lifted a very small step forward sends the club down with real power and accuracy. It will take awhile to visualize the club path with the thumbs horizontal but it is such a simple path that it can be used for chips, pitches, and putting as you know.

  4. A lot of food for thought here Kiran…thank you for sharing it with us. A few points of confusion…not quite sure what you mean by “tilting the head back”…i.e. moving right ear closer to right shoulder or moving right occipital toward right trapezius…and are you recommending a moving stance when you say “a small step forward” sends the club down with real power and accuracy….and I believe I understand and perform the horizontal thumbs visual. Thanks again for your findings….Joel

  5. Hey Joel, I am not Kiran so I do not want to cause any confusion-MY OPINIONS ARE ONLY MY OWN AND I REPRESENT NO-ONE BUT ME, LOL!

    I was speaking of standing tall-check out some of the vids with your left hip out as a woman carries a baby on her hip and following that right side tilt with the right ear dropping to the right shoulder. AND KEEP YOUR HEAD BACK FOR STABILITY AND CORRECT SHAPE-unlike my many mistakes with that.

    That produces enough turn of the chest to let me hit a power fade on all shots-more twist really gives me a genuine controllable draw.

    I do place weight on my left heel to drag the counter balance forward and today I parred 7 holes in a row on my way to my lowest 9 ever a 38! I parred the 3 hardest holes on our course easily-meaning I missed makable birdie putts. On the back 9 I forgot to shift the left hip and didn’t remember until the 14th hole to shoot a 44 for my lowest 18 in two years before my right knee broke down. That hip shift really flattens/shallows the stroke and provides great accuracy for all shots tee to green!

    Tomorrow I am getting a total right knee replacement so I will follow your posts starting Sunday with enthusiasm looking for inspiration on my rehab!

    Kind Regards,


  6. A couple other notes for what it is worth-my chipping let me down today as I forgot to slide the chip back and left several birdie chips really short like 10-12 feet short! I just got into a good place with Kiran’s stance and putting so i had 7/ 1-putt greens and 11 total on the front 9-it could’ve been as few as 8 given the sand shots I left within 2 inches of the hole, twice-and yes it is her stance for sand shots!

    Baby-on -the front hip! : >


  7. Hi Patrick…good luck with that tkr…I had a double hip replacement 18 years ago…still feelking excellent…and three years ago I completely avulsed my right quadricep which was surgically repaired…end result despite intensive rehab and strength training is that it is as good as its going to be, but no where near as good as it was….knees are much more complex than hips…good luck and stay minimal!

    1. Common reply to Joel and Patrick. The ebook was written in 2006 and updated in 2010. I went to grad. school starting 2011 and ending 2014, where I studied anatomy really well, knowing it’s what the golf swing is all about. So, my knowledge of anatomy has increased exponentially, as has my dislike (if that’s small-minded of me, so be it) of people using bits and pieces of my 25 years of work, adding in their own and ‘teaching’ it to their ‘students’ (they mostly have no academic credentials, leave alone golf ones), so I have not posted any of my latest information on the blog in a long time. However, all the information from the ebook still works, although not for all people, all the time, as the current information (only available now from personal lessons) does.
      Obviously, if it’s working for you, stick with it! As they say, ‘why fix something that ain’t broke’. Happy summer 2014 of golfing.

  8. Thanks Kiran and congratulations on such a fruitful intellectual and practical career! I will attempt to sign -up both myself and my significant other to undergo lessons with you after I recover. I have the post 2010 book I think.

    I should’ve mentioned that my right knee is so sore and swollen that I really cannot push off that leg in my downswing so I used my left step. That is why my knee is being replaced tomorrow. I do not pretend to understand how to start the club down but I hope you will teach us someday in person!

    Is the downswing a left arm pull? I don’t know but all my misses today were my failure to keep my shape and bad chips. There were also two sand traps saturated with rain from yesterday on the first hole. The first trap I hit in was the first time I have ever reached it, lol!

    I have tried to be very active these last several weeks forcing myself to use all my muscles so I am strong enough to recover from surgery with aplomb!

    Anyway, thanks Kiran for making a great game easy and so much more enjoyable for so many!


    1. Patrick. Best wishes for the surgery. A replacement or an arthroscopy? In any case you’ll be in good company, Fred Funk and I believe a total of 5 or more Champions Tour pros have had knee replacement surgery!

      With the MGSS your knees do nothing very much except get twisted a bit, as the entire torso – shoulders, trail elbow and hip get twisted, pre-swing. There is no medially-directed bend of the forward knee, nor a resulting similar bend of the trail knee, which is what really messes up knees.

      The downswing has no intentional movement. Everything is so ‘locked into place’ that the only possible movement is the arms dropping down from the top, a few feet, until the hips, followed by the shoulders and arms, unwind in correct sequence. People always ask, “how to start the downswing” but if you get the set-up and backswing right, it’s a ‘do-nothing’ downswing.

      A few years ago someone said, “you must have a moniker for your swing method”. So I thought a lot and wanted to call it the “do nothing golf swing” but then figured that not everyone has a mad sense of humor, so settled for “Minimalist Golf Swing”, with the word “System” to imply that it’s not a ‘method’ and also to include the basic pitch/bunker, chip and putt strokes.

  9. Thanks Kiran and let me apolgize to you and Joel and anyone else for my inadvertant mistakes.

    Prior to surgery which went very well today, thanks, so much I was entertaining the nurses and docswith my silly boast that I am getting to be better than Tiger as I shot an 38 yesterday on my front 9 while he shot a 39-it was the drugs!

    Anyway I had a realization. Because my right leg is an inch longer my WEIGHT IS ALWAYS ON MY RIGHT LEG. So even when I say shift my hip forward left it does not really negate the right side length at all. So please Joel disregard my baby on the left hip remark since I am stuck on my right side until I bump forward or push into it or gravity drop my arms. I am physically forced to do as Kiran describes even if I cannot apprehend the objective reality of what I am doing! She is the golfguru and I am a lowly public school teacher!

    I have walked around 3 times since awakening from surgery and have resolved to try to keep my weight even on both feet,tilt my head twist my chest lift and push off or bump to the left slightly or just drop my arms and experiment.

  10. I just had a skype lesson with Kiran…it was most helpful. We share a common interest in biomechanics…muscle and joint function…and efficiency of movement. She spotted my faults and misinterpretations quickly and we made the corrections…now I have to put in the “reps” as Tiger likes to say so that I can make this swing my own. A total pleasure…thank you Kiran…Joel Waldman

  11. The saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words…well a skype lesson with Kiran is worth a thousand pictures….after my lesson I did about 20 minutes of rehearsals without a ball concentrating on maintaining the lateral flexion right of my cervical spine(right ear listening to right unshrugged shoulder) and keeping my right hip back longer…I crapsmacked 30 balls…10 wedges, 10 6irons, and 10 drivers…I was delighted with the results…the horizontal thumbs at the top of the backswing is crucial to the width and max clubhead speed…wonderful

  12. Very helpful Joel and I’m digging the Skype lesson idea! Last week, shooting 41, 44, 38, and 44 before surgery, It was so cool standing up to the longest holes on my course and trusting Kiran’s swing method. I felt like tilting my ear to my back shoulder was very important and really helped me with my driver and longer clubs-several times I hit the driver so powerfully that I did not feel the impact, just a soft squish and the ball kept flying and rolling!

    During my 7 pars in a row I was able to have birdie chips and puts on the 4 hardest holes on our 27 holes. 410 yards up hill with flag on the upper tier of the greenl-Driver/7 iron (normally 3 hybrid) to 20 feet, 546 yard par 5 driver, 5 iron (used to be a 3 wood/2 hybrid) wedge to 40 feet, 430 yard par 4 driver 5 iron to 40 feet, and on a 210 yard par 3 where I have always hit driver, I hit a 2 hybrid pin high and missed the birdie chip of 20 feet.

    Please keep us up to speed with your progress and insights as they will help me as I recover and my leg swelling goes down!

  13. My doctor, Kiran, is quite the golfer and I was showing him your pre-turn tilt and set-up and the lack of radical twisting. He was amazed at my reports of the distance of my drives and scores. I told him your website and that it seemed to me that you were simply creating the longest, straightest lever to move the ball!

  14. I have had a total knee replacement and I appreciate the success I have had with just a few of your insights Kiran. Shooting a 38 on our toughest 9 holes was quite the talk in the clubhouse afterwards as my friends knew how sore my right knee was.

    We have a $20 cap on all matches so we all stay friends and on the last 2 rounds I “capped” all my opponents!

    The head tilt really helped with the chips and sand shots and I believe it will also help with putts which I will practice in about a week. Kiran, how do we reach you on Skype?

  15. BTW-Kiran, congratulations on your most recent achievements:
    Logan Univerity Honors Award for summa cum laude MS Nutrition, Sports Science, Rehabilitation April 2014
    Logan STAR AWARD, by Logan University Alumni Association’s Spring 2013
    MS in Sports Science and Nutrition, Logan University, St Louis, MO, 2014

    I have no doubt they are well-deserved and well-earned! I’m sure you will make Logan University very Proud!

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