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Finding the bottom of your swing arc with weight shift

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adam_scott address

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. One of the most popular tips in golf is for players to “keep their head still.” This is a broad term that’s better understood by looking at what I call the three posts in the golf swing.

These “posts” represent where your head and sternum should be at the top of your swing. As you can see in the photo above, I have drawn the the three posts that a player can rotate around during the backswing. What post you are — front, middle or back — will determine if your head remains still or moves slightly away from the ball on your backswing. There is no single post that is right for every player, but each player will fall into one of the three posts. The best way to find what post you are is to test all three and see which one allows you to make your own best personal swing.

So many players think that the head must stay centered on the middle post to produce the best results and this is not at all true. Again, it depends on the player. The one thing that we do know is that on the downswing all great players move to their front post before impact, or at impact and through impact to the finish.

Adam Scott

Here we can see Adam Scott at impact and how his weight and sternum have gotten over his front post. His head is in motion and following his turn. At the finish, he will be rotated fully around his front post.

A test that will help you choose which post is best for you

First, swing to the top and try to keep your head on the back post. That will mean that your head will not go back behind your back leg. If it does, you have moved well to far back. This will cause a mad race to catch up on the downswing and will have you trying to get over your front post at impact. If you are behind that front post at impact, the result will be a thin shot or a fat shot.

Next try the middle post. Swing to the top and keep your lower body quiet, keeping your head and sternum where they were at address. If you move behind the middle post, you will again have a tough time getting back to the front post.

Trying the front post will feel almost like “Stack and Tilt.” As you move to the top, your head will move forward slightly and it will feel like your weight has stayed on your front foot. You will remain there, then rotate around the same front post that you felt at the top of your backswing.

One of the three of these posts will work and feel the best to you, so fool around with all three on the range to see which one clicks. Once you find it, make sure that you don’t go back past that post on your backswing, and remember to always rotate around your front post on your downswing. This will allow your swing arc to bottom out in front of the ball, resulting in the forward swing bottom that we all desire.

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Bernard Sheridan is the owner and founder of Par Breakers Golf Academy and Indoor driving range located in Golf USA Limerick, Pennsylvania. Bernard is a certified in the following golf instruction methods: Golf Channel Swing Fix Instructor and Impact Zone , Putting Zone, Body Balance Fitness, U.S. Kids Golf, Eye Line Golf 4 Elements putting and certified Mizuno Club fitter. Bernard is now in process of acquiring his biomechanics golf certification. Bernard is also the founder of Par Breakers Junior Golf Camps and that was voted Best Golf Camp in the Philadelphia area by Main Line Life magazine in 2008 along with Best Golf teachers Honorable mention by U.S. Kids Golf 2009-10. Find out more at http://www.parbreakers.com

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Crucial Fundamentals of Golf: Mastering Golf Swing Mechanics – GoodLife

  2. Josh

    Dec 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm

  3. Pingback: Posting Posture- Poised To Swing Better - The Golf Shop Online Blog

  4. Andrew Cooper

    Oct 11, 2014 at 8:25 am

    “His head is in motion and following his turn.”?? Looking at the impact photo his head is more or less exactly where it started-right on the middle post-behind the ball.

  5. dapadre

    Oct 9, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Nice, though would have been nice to illustrate (with pics) the different test positions.

  6. JW

    Oct 9, 2014 at 4:40 am

    Good stuff. EA Tischler inspiried?

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Instruction

How to fix the root cause of hitting your golf shots fat

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Of all the shots golfers fear, hitting the ball FAT has to be right up at the top of the list. At least it heads the list of commonly hit poor shots (let’s leave the shank and the whiff out for now). After fat, I’d list topping, followed by slicing and then hooking. They are all round-killers, although the order of the list is an individual thing based on ability. Professionals despise a hook, but club golfers by and large fear FAT. Why?

First of all, it’s embarrassing. Secondly, it goes nowhere — at least compared to thin — and it can be physically painful! So to avoid this dreaded miss, golfers do any number of things (consciously or subconsciously) to avoid it. The pattern develops very early in one’s golf life. It does not take very many fat shots for golfers to realize that they need to do something differently. But rather than correct the problem with the correct move(s), golfers often correct a fault with a fault.

Shortening the radius (chicken-winging), raising the swing center, early lower-body extension, holding on through impact (saving it), running the upper body ahead of the golf ball and even coming over the top are all ways of avoiding fat shots. No matter how many drills I may offer for correcting any of those mistakes, none will work if the root cause of fat is not addressed.

So what causes fat? We have to start with posture. Some players simply do not have enough room to deliver the golf club on a good plane from inside to inside. Next on the list of causes is a wide, early cast of the club head. This move is invariably followed by a break down in the lead arm, holding on for dear life into impact, or any of the others…

“Swaying” (getting the swing center too far off the golf ball) is another cause of fat, as well as falling to the rear foot or “reversing the weight.” Both of these moves can cause one to bottom out well behind the ball. Finally, an excessive inside-out swing path (usually the fault of those who hook the ball) also causes an early bottom or fat shot, particularly if the release is even remotely early. 

Here are 4 things to try if you’re hitting fat shots

  1. Better Posture: Bend forward from the hips so that arms hang from the shoulders and directly over the tips of the toes, knees slightly flexed over the shoelaces, seat out for balance and chin off the chest!
  2. Maintaining the Angles: Casting, the natural urge to throw the clubhead at the golf ball, is a very difficult habit to break if one is not trained from the start. The real correction is maintaining the angle of the trail wrist (lag) a little longer so that the downswing is considerably more narrow than the backswing. But as I said, if you have been playing for some time, this is risky business. Talk to your instructor before working on this!
  3. Maintaining the Swing Center Over the Golf Ball: In your backswing, focus on keeping your sternum more directly over the golf ball (turning in a barrel, as Ernest Jones recommended). For many, this may feel like a “reverse pivot,” but if you are actually swaying off the ball it’s not likely you will suddenly get stuck with too much weight on your lead foot.
  4. Setting Up a Little More Open: If your swing direction is too much in-to-out, you may need to align your body more open (or feel that way). You could also work with a teaching aid that helps you feel the golf club is being swung more out in front of you and more left (for right-handers) coming through — something as simple as a head cover inside the golf ball. You’ll hit the headcover if you are stuck too far inside coming down.

The point is that most players do what they have to do to avoid their disastrous result. Slicers swing way left, players who fight a hook swing inside out and anybody who has ever laid sod over the golf ball will find a way to avoid doing it again. This, in my opinion, is the evolution of most swing faults, and trying to correct a fault with a fault almost never ends up well.

Get with an instructor, get some good videos (and perhaps even some radar numbers) to see what you are actually doing. Then work on the real corrections, not ones that will cause more trouble.

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Instruction

Right Knee Bend: The Difference Between PGA Tour Players and Amateurs

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The knees play an especially important role in the golf swing, helping to transfer the forces golfers generate through our connection with the ground. When we look closer at the right knee bend in the golf swing, we’re able to get a better sense of how PGA Tour players generate power compared to most amateur golfers.

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How to eliminate the double cross: Vertical plane, gear effect and impact location

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One of the biggest issues teachers see on the lesson tee is an out-to-in golf swing from a player who is trying to fade the ball, only to look up and see the deadly double cross! This gear effect assisted toe hook is one of the most frustrating things about trying to move the ball from left to right for the right-handed golfer. In this article, I want to show you what this looks like with Trackman and give you a few ways in which you can eliminate this from your game.

Below is the address position of a golfer I teach here in Punta Mita; his handicap ranges between scratch and 2, depending on how much he’s playing, but his miss is a double cross when he’s struggling.

Now let’s examine his impact position:

Observations

  • You see a pull-hooking ball flight
  • The hands are significantly higher at impact than they were at address
  • If you look at the clubhead closely you can see it is wide open post impact due to a toe hit (which we’ll see more of in a second)
  • The face to path is 0.5 which means with a perfectly centered hit, this ball would have moved very slightly from the left to the right
  • However, we see a shot that has a very high negative spin axis -13.7 showing a shot that is moving right to left

Now let’s look at impact location via Trackman:

As we can see here, the impact of the shot above was obviously on the toe and this is the reason why the double-cross occurred. Now the question remains is “why did he hit the ball off of the toe?”

This is what I see from people who swing a touch too much from out-to-in and try to hit fades: a standing up of the body and a lifting of the hands raising the Vertical Swing Plane and Dynamic Lie of the club at impact. From address, let’s assume his lie angle was 45 degrees (for simplicity) and now at impact you can see his Dynamic Lie is 51 degrees. Simply put, he’s standing up the shaft during impact…when this happens you will tend to pull the heel off the ground at impact and this exposes the toe of the club, hence the toe hits and the gear effect toe hook.

Now that we know the problem, what’s the solution? In my opinion it’s a three stage process:

  1. Don’t swing as much from out-to-in so you won’t stand up as much during impact
  2. A better swing plane will help you to remain in your posture and lower the hands a touch more through impact
  3. Move the weights in your driver to promote a slight fade bias

Obviously the key here is to make better swings, but remember to use technology to your advantage and understand why these type of things happen!

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