Sacred Burial Ground Defined | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Sacred Burial Ground Defined

Sun, 12/02/2012 - 10:00 -- Don Trahan

Most of you know that the sacred burial ground is classified as anything behind your toe line. I like to say that, "It's okay to stand in it, but if you swing in it, you're dead!" But, I think I need to elaborate on this "Surgism"  just a little bit because some of you may be confused. Don B. sent in a great question based off of his own observations of my swing. It was such a good question that it's forced me to provide you all with a much more detailed explanation of the SBG.

Surge,
When watching your video on the position of the catcher's mitt, I notice that your clubhead is actually at your heel line not your toe line at the top of the backswing. It seems then that the sacred burial ground is actually the area behind your heel line, not the toe line. I am sure you've seen yourself on video many times. Am I wrong?
Don, you are not wrong in what you're seeing, but I'm going to have to redefine for you what the sacred burial ground is. Also, I'll show you what parts of my body I'm checking that are on the toe line.
 
Let's first look at what you're saying. When I get to the top of the backswing, the clubhead (in the vertical swing) is somewhere near the heel line. This part of your statement is correct. But, it's not the club that I'm defining the toe line with. You turn your arm to the toe line, but the club is an extension of the arm. We must remember that we're swinging on a vertical, incline plane.
 
A plane is defined in the PPGS as swinging on a maximum, vertical, incline plane for one's posture. Posture is determined by the various lengths of the body parts (arms, legs, etc.) When we start the swing into the catcher's mitt (slightly inside the aiming line) and we turn to the toe line, the part of the body that we are checking to see if we turned 70 degrees to the toe line is only the upper arm from the elbow to the shoulder. This is because once I'm turning on an incline plane and I get my forward arm to the toe line, there's no more turn. From that point, it's all lift, but I'm lifting on an incline plane. So, the club and my hands are still going a little bit around my body because I'm going up.
 
If I kept my left arm over the toe line, I wouldn't be able to hit a ball very good from there because my arms would be too far out in front of my body. It's because of the incline plane that the hand, the shaft, and clubhead are all the way to my heel line. So, let's simplify this...
 
We turn only to the toe line in the backswing. But, the only part of the arm that truly determines this is the elbow to the shoulder. If those start getting inside your toe line, that's the sacred burial ground. This was super observation on Don's part so it's good to define what I mean and explain it in more detail. This also helps me make sure my defintions are correct because I know you guys are checking my swing closely! The part of the arm we're checking is only the elbow to the shoulder of the lead arm.
 
Keep it vertical!
 
The Surge
 
If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.

 

Comments

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

This is a great daily, Surge! It very directly addresses a lot of the misconceptions that regularly show up in discussions on the blogs here. Thank you!

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

The most common misconception about the PPGS in the years I have followed the blog, and no doubt in my mind, the biggest downfall of people unsuccessfully trying to execute it.

Doc did an outstanding job in a rather long "epistle", as he called it, a couple of years ago in a post, but it almost seemed like the information went in one ear and out the other for many readers.

Malcolm also addressed the issue in a video, that also seemed to be strangely ignored.

I predict that if enough people see this video they will greatly improve from when they were actually trying to keep the club head on the toe line.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Steve, Spot-on mate, had a lesson yesterday with the Doc in Australia and we
talked about this aspect for some time and he followed a similar path to the Surge. I think this topic/description will clear up many a myth and also allow
me to feel far more confident, now that I understand this concept better.

The Doc is truly a knowledgeable and fun character to be with, unlike his style
that we see on the video, would loved to have been with him for much longer.

mblumire@coverdale.com.au's picture

Submitted by mblumire@coverd... on

Hi Neil,
Glad to hear you had a lesson with Doc, I am having one this weekend in Sydney. Hopefully he can sort out my problems I had a dreadful round yesterday I think I was concentratiing too much on last weeks dailys on alignment, open and closed club face at impact, I was off line with my irons and ended up in the bunker on 8 differrent holes and struggled in all but one.
Michael from Sydney

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Neil,
Lynn is a genuinely nice Christian man whom I have had the privilege of meeting twice at golf schools/PPGS tournaments. Neat guy that knows his stuff. Great sense of humor and at times sarcastic. My kind of guy :) That must have been a nice experience to finally have those folks come down under for an event there. They will be in Arizona in 10 days and I am tempted to go(a three hour drive or 45 minute flight) if not for a slow healing right shoulder. It is getting better by the way. Any how thanks for sharing and tell us more about Doc's visit there if you can.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

SARCASTIC? Not me! :) Thanks for the kind words Robert!

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

I thought I was quite charming, knowledgeable, and fun on my videos?! Guess it just doesn't come across that way. Seems I need to work on presentation.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Charming,knowledgeable and fun and might I add modest. Ahhhh shucks!
Don't change a thing about your presentation. Your just fine the way you are.
As for sarcasm, that is being fun from my standpoint unless we take ourselves too seriously. Most of us enjoy a good poke and joke.
Hope you're well Lynn. Nice to hear from you. Like to hear you and Surge cover the putter controversy. I think they should leave putters alone and stop making the balls fly unreasonably far. Subject for another day perhaps.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

Ya know, I've had people argue with me about things I say about the swing. This is quite amazing, being one of the first 3 people certified to teach the swing other than Surge, I'd better know what I'm talking about. That being said, there is now a new number one myth about the PPGS swing and that is where the club stops in the back swing. 99 out of 100 think it stops with the hands at waist high and the club head straight up in the air. In other words, a half swing. I will be meeting with Surge when return to the States and will discuss with him several topics for future video clarification.

MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

I agree with Steve

This is the way I have been swinging the club ever since I took up the game until I took lessons from the wrong person. I now just have to keep working on keeping it 3/4 my tendency is to over swing in the BUS.

I can remember people saying to keep the hole arm on the toe line when I first came here. But I have always tried to mirror what Don and DJ are doing.

jgiles44@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by jgiles44@gmail.com on

Hello Surge-great stuff. I've always enjoyed the explanations you give to the people that write in. My thought on this particular subject is to simplify the takeaway process is this: regardless of whether you're a right handed or left handed golfer it seems to me that all you have to do is think "thumbs to ears", meaning that as long as you maintain a flat wrist, the object of the takeaway and the downswing is to get the thumbs headed towards the ears. With this thought, and regardless of an individuals stature, the club cannot get too "laid off"" and create swing problems. Please comment if you think I'm going down the wrong path on this subject. Thank you.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

This is a good thought that works for a lot of people ,but my tendency is to do it a little to literally and not keep the lead arm extended enough in the backswing. I've had a lot better luck thinking about getting the butt of the club's grip pointing at the shoe laces of the rear foot while doing the BUS. This thought makes it easy to get in the palms vertical, club upright position without losing the extension of the lead arm or overturning during the BUS. I use my own adaptation of Surge's "Ringing the Bell" visualization to trigger the BUS. All of my effort during the BUS is directed to getting the grip of the club in a vertical plane pointed to the shoelaces of the rear foot and the butt of the club just above an imaginary bell which is also on that same plane.

This might all seem like too much to think about during a backswing but has been a very consistent way for me to trigger the BUS. The simple swing trigger " Ring The Bell" is effective for me because it gives me a very concise purpose and goal to achieve while doing the BUS. If I can get the butt of the club in a position to ring that imaginary bell with a small vertical downward move, the rest of the swing will just happen.

jdtruji1's picture

Submitted by jdtruji1 on

Sorry I am a novice on the site. Is there a page for all of the definitions? Thanks

Russty Kiwi's picture

Submitted by Russty Kiwi on

BUS is back up swing. FUS is forward up swing .PLHR is pre loaded heavy right. If you go to the top right of this page, you will find a search box. Type in what you want to know ,& see what comes up. I would recommend getting Surges manual & starter videoes if you can, or haven't already

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

As Neil said, BUS is an acronym for Back UpSwing, the part of the swing where you lift the club from address to the top. It's actually an acronym coined by Robert Meade, as I recall, to go along with Surge's FUS or Forward UpSwing. After the BUS, there's the bump and transition into the FUS. EVERYTHING after the bump is part of the FUS, as we do not want to particularly think about impact. It will happen, but if you focus there, your energy stops there. We focus on swinging up to the finish because we want our energy accelerating through impact up to a nice T-Finish.

Brady's picture

Submitted by Brady on

Do you have the manual yet?

jdtruji1's picture

Submitted by jdtruji1 on

Yes and I just took a class in Phoenix. Class was great and meeting "The Surge" and Dave was well worth the drive. It all is starting to make sense.

Jeff S.'s picture

Submitted by Jeff S. on

Surge: I have been working on your swing for 2 years. Being the anal person I am, I took you literally about going to the toe line. However, I was focused on MY HANDS. I was having so much trouble eliminating the fade I nearly gave up on the vertical swing. One day, after frustration, I decided to go a bit more "rotational" and take my hands back to my heals, but keep the shaft vertical. OMG. The fade disappeared and I added 20-30 yards to my distance. I felt guilty that I had violated the rules, but it worked! Thanks for confirming what I found out on my own. One other comment, when I looked at your videos from behind I always thought you and DJ took your hands back to the heals, but I thought it was just the angle of the camera that made it look that way.

Ped's picture

Submitted by Ped on

for two years i have been trying to keep my club head vertical to my toe line. In the twelve step program they say trying is lying. No more lying for me. Now I know the truth and this truth will set me free. My swing will be much more user friendly. Thankyou for the redefinition and enlightenment. Ped

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Ped, I agree that the word try is weak. In fact it has been said that it is the weakest word in the English language. As Yoda wisely said, "There is no try, there is only do and do not". If I say I'll try to do it, it is not happening. If I say I will be there you can count it as done.

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on

Great explanation, Surge! I have been fighting to get vertical, but my understanding was wrong. I'll just chalk it up to this old dog trying to learn a new trick, not fully understanding what the new trick was. I've been trying to keep everything vertical over the toeline and as you say that will never work.

I don't have a lot of flexability in my shoulders, so my lift is just below my right ear. Any lift beyond that requires me to let my left arm break down which I try hard to avoid. My best results come when my hands are slightly ahead of my right heel at the top and I maintain "palms perpendicular" as best I can. Will I ever get the PPGS swing down perfect? No, but it's nice to know I'm a lot closer than I thought.

Golf is a journey, not a destination. Thanks for helping me take one more step forward.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Funny. I can't remember where I left my glasses over a 10 minute span but I will recall a blog/daily that Surge did three years ago.

Found the following from 2009 that covers the point of the elbow to shoulder being the aspect of the arm over the toeline. You'll notice this point in the third paragraph from the bottom. The entire article is a good read.
https://www.swingsurgeon.com/daily-video-tips/sacred-burial-ground-clarification
For those relatively new to the Swing Surgeon as you look at that 2009 entry you'll notice that it was originally accompanied by an audio version. That was really cool. We had to visualize and looking back I always felt Surge was a good story teller and his heartfelt explanations always hit home. Kind of miss those days. Unfortunately those audios were lost in transition. Long story. Any how we were thrilled at the time. Before that it was only a written golf article. We were happy then too. Now we have progressed to HD videos. Spoiled we are. And very thankful.
Been following Don now for 4 years and still deeply appreciate his efforts to help us golfers.

barrowcloughr@aol.com's picture

Submitted by barrowcloughr@a... on

ooops sent my comment twice, cant seem to see how to delete it , only edit.

barrowcloughr@aol.com's picture

Submitted by barrowcloughr@a... on

Robert , totally agree with you about Don, the mans enthusiasm never seems to wane, you can tell he LOVES what he does and he really wants his followers to be the best they can be. but what i really appreciate is the absence of the hard sell, sure he wants us to buy stuff but its never oppressive. on some other sites i feel a bit like a victim . keep it up !

barrowcloughr@aol.com's picture

Submitted by barrowcloughr@a... on

when Don demonstrates what the swing would like if everything was kept on the toe line i;m fairly certain that , that is exactly what i look like however i feel this is because of the 'butt on the wall drill '. obviously i have been misunderstanding the swing like steve says a lot of people do. but if its ok to let the hands and clubhead get to 'the heel line' surely on doing the butt on the wall drill the clubhead will hit the wall? as you can see i am rather confused. lol.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

The butt line is behind the heel line (if you are in a proper stance). Behind the butt line is definitely way too deep with the hands. More than likely most people will have trouble keeping the actual club head from hitting "the wall" with the longest clubs on the back swing, but it can be done. I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about it if videos show that the club head crossed the butt line by an inch or two but it's a pretty good goal (and doable) to stay inside of it.

On the FUS everyone should expect to hit the wall with a long club. Possible to hit balls with a driver and not hit it, but not realistic with any real power (and I certainly wouldn't recommend doing it). The club head will probably hit the wall on the way down or in the follow through, or both, but not by very much.

Personally, I have always gone deeper than most PPGS(ers) and STILL don't come anywhere near my butt line with my hands. Usually with a driver my hands are even with the front of my ankle at the top. Neither Don's nor DJ's hands go as deep as mine do (by a couple of inches) but their club head actually hits points deeper than mine in the FUS. The difference in good swings and bad swings. Ha ha!

golferice's picture

Submitted by golferice on

I couldn't find any other way to contact you (like email) so I decided to just use this venue. I purchased your videos about two and a half years ago because, like a lot of golfers, I was looking for something to help me be more consistent. I studied the videos, tried a few of the moves, and like a lot of golfers fell back into my old habits.

I recently returned to your videos and really studied them. I played golf this past Saturday determined to use the Surge technique. I am here to tell you that the key move that brought it all together for me was the "lifting" of the club to begin the backswing! Yes, the posture and alignment were important as well, but this one move, this one thought, brought it all together for me. I think this was because once I made that move, lift to vertical, everything just sort of happened naturally. I struck the ball as well as I ever have, shot 75, and let only a couple of poor course management decisions keep me from shooting under par!

I was amazed! As if to verify this finding I played the next day, let my focus drift, and lapsed back partially into old rotational swing habits. You can guess the result.

I just returned from the range where I focused on the lifting of the club to start the takeaway. Again, the results were spectacular. It may differ from person to person, but this one thought makes all the difference in the world to me. Simple. By the way, I am 59 years old and play to a 6 handicap from the whites. I can still get a drive out there 250-260 and hit a 9-iron 145. If I can stay focused enough to remember "lift" to begin my backswing, I honestly think I can approach scratch because of the consistency of hitting the fairways and greens I experienced that first day when I was full-on Surge swinging.

Better late than never! Thanks, Don.

cvoter@yahoo.com's picture

Submitted by cvoter@yahoo.com on

This was the most helpful video that really explained the back swing very well.

dbradley9@cfl.rr.com's picture

Submitted by dbradley9@cfl.rr.com on

Between Mondays tip and todays tip,I still need to work on this.