Friday, May 18, 2007
Swing Management 101
How to find your flaw and fix it right away
Reverse pivot results in fat shots and pop-ups
You don’t even need to see my upper body to know what’s wrong here! I’ve made a huge turn, but my weight has never left my front foot. As a result, I’m forced to lunge behind the ball on the downswing and “scoop” at it (resulting in a fat shot). If that doesn’t happen, another bad scenario is that I’ll never get behind the ball enough and will come at it steeply on the downswing, resulting in a pop-up (not to mention a scuff mark on the crown). As for my weight transfer, I’ve done little more than drive my weight downward into my forward foot. Also, you can see that most of the tension is on my forward leg, as indicated by the ripples on that side of my trousers. (Notice how my back trouser leg is wrinkle free?) This position is very unstable and weak, making it hard to make solid contact from here.
Manage your weight properly
Now we’re on the right track. To manage your weight properly, the majority of your body mass must shift to your back foot during the backswing. It’s imperative to remember that “shift” and “slide” don’t mean the same thing. A proper weight shift is due to a proper weight turn, or “coil.” As the body turns away, the weight should naturally shift to the back (my right) foot. Any contrived weight shift is probably a weight slide, which inhibits the body from turning properly. Turning is key for power! Here, you can see I’ve loaded up my back leg with torque and that my trousers are tightened. All that’s left for me is to continue turning my upper body until my club is parallel and then unwind in unison on the downswing. Due to centripetal force, the upper body will unwind faster than the lower, even though both are initiated at the same time.
Late wrist cock results in swaying and loss of distance
Among the most overlooked components of the golf swing is the importance of wrist movements. Many amateurs feel the key for more accuracy is to minimize wrist cock all together. Wrong! A proper wrist cock helps the body rotate more effectively and, in turn, helps increase speed through the ball. Here, I’m in a position that’s likely to lead to the position on the left page: a reverse pivot. Without a wrist cock, I’ll run out of room to swing, my body weight will tilt forward and I’ll have no idea what it should feel like to initiate the downswing. I’m also not going to get much clubhead speed and distance without cocking my wrists.
Set the wrist earlier
Now we’re talking! Once the hands reach waist high (as shown here), the wrists should be almost fully cocked to a 90-degree angle. My left arm is straight and my right elbow is tucked downward, unlike the chicken wing look in the “fault” photo. From this position, I’m able to make a much more efficient rotation during the swing. Also, pay attention to my shoulders. Because of the wrist cock, I’m able to avoid dipping my left shoulder. Any shoulder dipping in this direction is a big no-no, so by cocking the wrists, I’m able to swing with a more level shoulder plane. If anything, at impact I want the left shoulder higher than the right. Never the other way around!
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