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Clinic - RST History
History of the Rotary Golf Swing from the RST golf clinic by Chuck Quinton.
One of the most common questions I get asked is how did I develop RST, how did I come up with these ideas to put the golf swing together in such a unique way that hadn't been done before. I'm going to cover that in this video. A lot of the answers are probably going to surprise you because it didn't come about the way that most people assume that it did. The first thing that I want to talk about is really what started me down this path. That is I was extremely frustrated with my golf game. You can probably relate that one because you're on the internet looking at another golf instruction video trying to figure out how to hit that stupid little ball with a stupid stick and get it to go where you want it to every time. It can be infuriating. That's exactly where I was. I was, when I moved to Colorado on a golf scholarship at an NCAA school, I was promised the world by my golf coach and in the end I ended up leaving even more frustrated because he promised he'd get us with the best instructors and get us help with our swings.
I grew up dirt poor. I grew up on a golf course that was $4.35. You could play as many holes as you wanted and for $4. Shoes and shirts were optional. I would just stay up there every single day during the summer in between school and play 45 holes a day swiping the ball around, slicing it off the planet, trying to hook one, and going through all the typical things that you do as a kid. I couldn't afford golf lessons, and so when I moved on a golf scholarship my goal was to get good. I wanted to be the next tour star. I wanted to play on the professional tour just like everybody else does and imagine myself winning the green jacket and sinking a putt to win the US Open, all these things that we all dream about, many of us still dream about today.
What happened when I got there is that I got my first taste of golf instruction. What happened is every little instructor that the golf coach would bring in, they'd tell us something different. In fact, most of the time it was the opposite of what the guy that was there the week before had told us. How do you discern between what's wrong and what's right and what this guy said and that guy said? Well, how do I know? Well, he said I should hold the club like this. The other guy said I should do this and take this way. I was so frustrated that I didn't know which way was up. My next goal was when I graduated college and I was going to turn pro, I wanted to get as good as I could and so I started flying back and forth from Colorado to Florida to try and find a serious golf instructor. I started seeking out a lot of the top name instructors that you've no doubt heard about on TV or seen on the golf channel. These guys have taught major winners. I was very serious about my game, so I'm taking the expense to fly across the country a couple times a month trying to interview golf instructors to find somebody that can help me achieve my dreams and goals.
As I was doing that, part of my interview process was if you're going to teach me, I'm a collegiate golfer, I was about a two handicap at the time, and if you're going to teach me something, you need to be able to demonstrate to me that you can do it. I insisted that every instructor that I interviewed as to be my coach go out and play a round of golf with me. I wanted you to look at my game, but I also wanted to see what you did, how you did it, were you a good player, did you understand the game at a high level. Were you better than me? Are you going to be able to improve my game? I have a hard time believing that if you can't break 90 that you're going to be able to help me.
That was part of the interview process, and not a single instructor took me up on it who was a "top name instructor," not a single one. These are names that you are very familiar with, except for one guy. He was kind of a lower level no-name kind of instructor, worked under a very well known instructor, worked with a lot of major winners. He was the only guy that said, "Yeah, I'll go out and play with you," nonchalant, didn't care one bit. He was like, "Yep, I'll do it." He went out that day in a cold windy Florida January day and I played my tail off. I played as good as I possibly could and I think I shot around par, maybe one or two over and he throttled me and shot a 67 and made it look effortless. I said, "This is my guy. This guy can do what I want to be able to do and he made it look so easy, hit the ball so far with so little effort." I said, "I can learn something from this guy." I hired him, and that's how I started working with a more prominent instructor as he became more prominent working with a lot of tour players. I got a taste of kind of that level of instruction back then, back in the '90s.
What I found next was okay, I had a question about the swing. My ball flight's doing this. You're telling me to sit here for the next six hours in the hot Florida sun and just drill this one move back and forth. That's cool. I'll do it all day long. I believe in you. I put my trust and faith in you and my money in you. I believe in what you're telling me, just tell me exactly why you want me to do it that way. Well, he didn't have an answer for that. It seems like a pretty simple question to me. If you're wanting me to do something, just tell me why you want me to do it that way and I'll do it. I'll sit here and work all day until my hands bleed. I'm a hard worker. I've got no problem with that, but just tell me why. How is that going to fix what we're doing with my ball flight here and how's that going to help this? Just tell me exactly how you want me to do it. You want me to do this take away drill, but do I shift first or do I just bend my arm or do I roll my wrist or do I turn my body? How do you want me to do it exactly? Nobody could tell me.
This led me to be even more frustrated because here I feel like I found these great ball striker, great golfer, but as far as teaching goes, he really couldn't teach me anything or explain to me why he was teaching me what he was trying to teach me. The simple answer was he didn't understand. He didn't have a cause and effect relationship understanding the swing. This was just stuff that he found that worked in his own golf swing. Well, your golf swing looks very different than mine. Why are you giving me stuff that you've just found that works for you? How's that going to directly apply to me? This stuff isn't rocket science. We're hitting a ball with a stick. There's got to be some fundamentals that you can establish and work with that everybody agrees on that says well, this is how you do this and this is how you do that, just like everything else you do in life. If you learn how to drive a car on a stick shift transmission, a manual transmission, you probably never put your right foot on the clutch pedal and your left foot on the gas, which is a fundamental established. We agree that the left foot should go on the clutch and the right foot should go on the gas because it's just much more efficient that way.
Well, but a golf swing seems to have no fundamentals that anybody agrees on. This didn't work for me either. As I started going from different instructor to different instructor after this, they all had the same answer. "Oh well, just do it this way because that's what Tiger does or that's what Ernie Els does or Ray Floyd or whoever." What difference does it make? This is just people that they had found that they liked moves in their swing, but couldn't give me a reason why to do it. I went from frustration to extremely frustrated because no one could answer simple questions. You should be able to ask your instructor why do you want me to do it that way and how do you want me to do it and they should give you a viable answer. Again, we're not brain surgeons here. This is hitting a ball with a stick. There's got to be simple fundamentals because there are laws of physics that apply, mechanics, biomechanics, and so on.
To me, I believe that everything should have fundamentals that are logical and make sense. Everything else in life I've learned like that. Everything else in life you've learned like that. To do that, to come up with fundamentals, you have to establish requirements. What I mean by that is what are you trying to accomplish? What are you trying to do with your golf swing and each component of your swing? For instance, what about stance width? That's a really common, I call it a misnomer in the golf instruction world because everybody tends to say your stance width should be the width of your shoulders. Well, what do the width of my shoulders have to do with my stance width because my legs are attached to my pelvis not my shoulders? Some people have really broad shoulders and really narrow hips and some people have really broad hips and narrow shoulders. How is that a fundamental because it's different for everybody? It doesn't make any sense. What do my shoulders have to do with it?
For me, I decided once I got so frustrated with the golf game and golf instruction, I said, "You know what, I don't believe anything that any of you guys are saying because you're all saying something different. You can't all be right. I'm just going to forget everything you guys have told me and I'm going to take my own look at the swing, an objective look, and just say what are we trying to accomplish." With stance width, for example, what are we trying to do with stance width? Well, I want to have a wide enough stance that I'm really stable so that I can produce some power in the swing and not fall over, not lose my balance. I think we can all agree that that is a valid fundamental of the golf swing and of stance width. You need to have a wide enough stance that you're stable. Another requirement, however, of stance width is that I need to be able to transfer my weight back and forth without my head moving all over the place because if my head's moving all over the place, now my eyes are moving all over the place, start messing with your vestibular process and your proprioception. That's all unnecessary added difficulty. Golf's hard enough without your head moving all over the place.
I need to be able to shift my weight for power transfer. Any other athletic motion, hitting or throwing motion, involves weight transfer. That's an agreed upon fundamental. If I need to be able to shift my weight without my head moving but be wide enough that I'm stable, those are requirements of stance width that we can establish a fundamental of, which is why RST goes two inches outside of neutral and joint alignment for your feet. That gives you a wide enough stance for balance, but a narrow enough stance that you can fully transfer your weight back and forth without your head moving all over the place. That makes sense. If somebody explained that to me and said, "That's why I want your stance to be this wide," I would say, "Oh, that makes perfect logical sense and I can do that consistently every time and it all falls into place."
Every single part of Rotary Swing was gone through like that, every single part, the take away, grip. Everything's based on biomechanics, physics, anatomy, and so forth because I look at the swing from a requirements based perspective. What am I trying to accomplish. Then, how am I going to do it. Then we go into another whole realm of RST, which is the neuro-mechanics, the how your brain learns new movement patterns. That's what the online learning system is at RotarySwing.com that walks you through step by step how to learn the golf swing. Long story short, you can probably relate to this, really frustrated with my game, went through the whole gamut of taking lessons, got really, really frustrated, and then finally said I'm going to step back and take a 30,000 foot looking down view of the golf swing and be objective. That is what RST is all about.