The technical key, he said, is to be able to bring the legs and hips, in a coordinated turn, "through" the ball before the shoulders, arms and hands cross that line. Sound simple?
"There are only about 400 people in the world who can do it, without fail, every time," Poen said. "We call them professionals."
The reason so few are able to master the leg-and-hip turn, Poen said, is that nearly all golfers are taught from the start that the arms must pull the club through the ball. And after a year or two of swinging that way, it becomes heavily stamped in the mind.
"We're going to change that," Poen promised his seminar students, "and you won't believe the difference."
The most monumental change, he said, is getting a golfer to allow his arms to free-fall from the top of the backswing. Not pull them through the swing. Not ease them gently through the swing.
Just let them fall.
"It sounds crazy. And it feels crazy at first," Poen said. "But it is the only way to hit the ball squarely every time."
The leg-and-hip turn, if done correctly, force s the shoulders, arms and hands to follow the correct path, Poen said. They can do nothing else. All of the slices and hooks that send recreational golfers into club-throwing, cart-kicking outbursts are caused by the golfer forcing the shoulders, arms and hands to take a different downward route, either inside or outside the position of the ball.
And slowly, The Secret reveals itself.
"The brain is the key," Poen said.
"It is the conscious versus the subconscious. And only in the subconscious can you perform the swing to get maximum distance and accuracy, the perfect, fluid golf swing. You get rid of the thousands and thousands of golf swings that your subconscious has learned, the shoulder and arm and hand swings, and replace them with new habits.
"You must stand over the ball, get the proper grip and stance and posture in place, and then turn it all over to your subconscious. You must swing at each and every golf ball subconsciously. That is the only way to play."
As you draw back the club, Poen said, instead of thinking of the correct position of hands or feet or shoulders or any of the other dozen mechanical aspects golfers burden themselves with, imagine only one thing: the flight of the ball. Draw an imaginary line down the center of the fairway and think only of that line, and of your ball leaving the tee and following that straight line.
An hour had passed now and Poen's 47 students were trance-like. Poen said it is a common look, one he has seen often during the more than 1,000 such seminars he has taught since 1986.
Moments later, the wide-eyed students stood and split up and practiced Poen's swing, with the correct stance and posture.
In little groups they stood and swung imaginary clubs at imaginary golf balls.
And murmured among themselves.
"I learned more in this seminar than I have in 15 years of lessons and playing and listening to advice," said Stan Laffler, 56, of Valencia. "Everything he said made so much sense. Just in these practice swings it feels so different, so new. I'm excited."
Others were even more enthusiastic.
"I've listened to so many instructional tapes and read so many Golf Digest articles about the swing, and nothing ever really helped," said Jack Gardiner, 40, of Camarillo. "I'd always go back to my old habits. But this, the whole approach makes sense. When I stand over a ball, all I think about are the things that can go wrong, keeping the wrist in place and all that stuff. He wants us to forget all of that and let the body swing."
Gardiner said he would hit golf balls later that day, in the heavy rain, at a practice range. Poen, however, advised against that.
"I just want you to think about this for a few days," he said. "Practice the new swing with your arms free-falling at home until it feels comfortable."
Others at the seminar came away less convinced.
"It all seemed to make sense," said Steven Montoya, 30, of Valencia. "But it contradicts everything I've ever read about the golf swing. It's a whole new philosophy."
That, said Poen, is the major obstacle.
"Most people just won't accept something new," he said. "Of the 47 here today, maybe 10 of them were listening to me. I mean really listening. I can see it on their faces. The others will go back to their old ways and never get any better. But 10 of these people will begin erasing years of habits and come away with an entirely new golf swing, a swing that will work for the rest of their lives."
Toward that ultimate goal, Poen offered a final bit of advice for his students. Your subconscious imitates most readily that which you see, he said.
"Don't watch your playing partners swing ever again," he said. "What you will be watching are all the wrong things. Just don't watch! It sounds rude, but turn your back when it's their turn to play.
"All you're doing with that anyway is helping them find the golf ball they're about to hit into the woods."