I am often told that my Jacobs 3D Analysis seems complicated. Well let’s face it, the golf swing is the most difficult movement in all of sports therefore the mechanical explanation may be complicated on the surface. The research and analytics that Dr Steven Nesbit and I have been doing together has had 1 goal in mind, to make it simple!

In this article, let’s simplify force and torque for you:

One of the Fundamental Elements of the golf swing is the force that the golfer applies to the grip when they move the club throughout the motion. In the Fundamental Book, we discussed and displayed many examples of the “sum of the forces” applied to the grip from the golfer. 

The force, which is the predominate action supplied by the golfer, is categorized as the ‘linear’ component of the swing. The sum of the forces can be broken down into components. In our convention of analysis, we have several different coordinate systems to analyze the components of the force. 

During a golf swing the force is continually changing directions as it moves around in a curved path WHILE also playing a role in how the club rotates. The rotation of the club, which we call the ‘angular component’ of the swing, is effected by the force direction.

page from the Elements of the Swing Fundamental Book


An example of this rotation from the force can be seen when you make a loose wristed golf swing with no applied torquing at the handle, the club will still rotate as it curves around. Although the timing of the impact will be dictated by pure angular response in this example, you can still make contact with a decent amount of club head speed. 

How the club is responding to the force will effect your options in applying torque to the club. Applying torque to the club is a necessary component of a well timed golf swing. In the Fundamental Book and Video, we broke the rotation of the club down into 3 components: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. We also described and displayed how several golfers were applying their torque to influence the angular movement of the club.


More on applied torque 🙂

Your applied torque is also effected by the rotational resistance of the club at each instant in time. The rotational inertia (resistance to twisting) of the club is very interesting and requires tracking what point the club is rotating around and how that changes throughout the swing. Inertia about this point is a true indicator of what the golfer actually experienced. All of these items wrapped together are the ‘truths’ of the golf swing. The way that a golfer and teacher manage this rotational resistance is the art of swing instruction and shows up in a golfer’s Hub Path shape.

page 20 from the Elements of the Swing Fundamental Book

The kinetics just described are what create the swings we all feel and see, those are the mechanics of the swing in a nutshell.

Michael Jacobs



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