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Squat, Spring and Swing: A new breed of power

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDeQNBN_oiw

In the video above you will notice that Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer, does three things: he squats, he springs and he swings.

These three moves, as I have analyzed in the video, are imperative to create power and distance in your golf swing, as the world’s new breed of golfers have figured out.

The video above shows Chris Como, Tiger’s new instructor, trying to swing a golf club while free-falling, thus not having a ground surface to leverage. The result of his experiment? It’s nearly impossible.

If any of us were asked to jump, the very first thing we’d do is squat. Using the legs and the gluteal muscles to create power, we would squat and then push off the ground to create as much force as possible. We, as instructors, have come to see the value of Ground Reaction Force (GRF) as one of the main power sources in the golf swing. It is what long hitters use to create the speed they do, and it’s what many club golfers lack because they simply do not utilize the ground properly. The ground is the base of the kinetic chain and starts in motion the power that eventually reaches the arms and club. Without it, we’d hit it nowhere, and Como’s video is evidence of that.

Watch Rory as he uses his 5-foot 9-inch, 165-pound frame to create 125 mph of club head speed. If you still think the ground isn’t important in creating power, consider this: most of the long drive champions have a 30-inch or more vertical leap, which is amazing considering how big some of them are.

If you look closely at the video of Rory, you will notice something quite interesting — in the downswing, his hands reach their low point before impact and begin coming UP as the club reaches the ball. After the hands reach their lowest point in their arc, they begin pulling UP, which in turn snaps the head of the club DOWN! The low point is the “squat,” and the “spring” is the hand line coming UP.

For many years we were taught that in order to keep the force on the club, the hands drove DOWN as the shaft leaned forward, creating a position where the hands and club reached their low point together. But if you watch the best players recently, divots have gotten more shallow (I had the good fortune to play with Tiger once circa 2006, and I couldn’t help notice how shallow his attack angle was). The “barely bruising the turf” movement is the result of a whole new generation of players learning a new pattern of swinging the club IN and UP — forcing the club head out and down — as they spring up and turn through the ball into impact.

If you’re digging a lot of turf and looking for more distance, try the “squat, spring and swing” for yourself. At 66 years young, I’m one-club longer since learning to work within this pattern. Yes, you must be on plane and in good posture to do it, but if you are you’ll be amazed at how you will scrape the ball off the turf.

If you’d like me to analyze your swing, go to my Facebook page and send me a message, or contact me (dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com) about my online swing analysis program.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

107 Comments

107 Comments

  1. TB

    Aug 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I also think that this is a key move to be able to sustain your posture as you move through the shot. Try to rotate your hips in front of your upper body without some sort of sit down move and you’ll build a pretty nice early extension, sit down and weight shift keeps that spine in the right spot and the bum backing away from the ball. It definitely adds for power but I think that it allows the golfers to maintain spine angle, which makes for a nice consistent strike on the face. Maintaining posture is a key fault for a majority of golfers, myself included. As you get more flexibility/torque between your upper and lower body, you’ll need this move. But this article is not really telling you how to do it b/c the author makes a living from golf instruction and therefore he should not give you a step by step plan for “trying” this out. Reading something and executing something are two totally different things. So, stop trying to get freebies or criticizing his advice, the point of writing the article is awareness to a brand or a name, not to fix your golf swing for free.

  2. Matty D

    May 29, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    I “think” Butch and Tiger said it best.

    “when I really want to step on one” as in driving (aggressively stepping on) ur left foot into the ground, straightening ur left leg, causing ur hips to rotate over quickly.
    Creating lots of POWER 🙂

  3. Antoine

    May 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Forget to mention I feel less tired and less of back pain after a 18-hole round.

  4. Antoine

    May 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I have learned and praticed this GRF move for two years now. It is not an easy move in the beginning but it pays off (in distance and direction consistency) when you have it. It is all about finding the exact moment to start the little squat (down) and when to start/finish the little jump in the downswing. I found out that for my senior swing speed this move has to been done when my hands start to drop at the end of the backswing. Thanks.

  5. Josh

    Dec 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm

  6. zoots

    Dec 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I wouldnt teach my kids this. Looks like a good way to blow out your lead knee…ala Mr. Woods

  7. tim

    Dec 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Fascinating read! I vividly remember seeing Tiger do this and always being fascinated. I am surprised about the comments that this is not an athletic swing. Does anyone think that Tiger and Rory do not look athletic. Probably some of the most violent swings in the history of the game. I have started to play with this swing. What I have noticed, is a real increase in consistency, especially with the irons. However, I have lost significant distance with the driver. Anyone had similar findings with trying to move to this type of swing?

  8. Chris C

    Dec 9, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Fascinating discussion and impressive video. I have essentially attempted to maintain the same swing for the 55 years I have been golfing. Since I have lost at least 25 yards per club in length over the past several years, I figured why not? The good news is that I did not not require hospitalization following my attempt to incorporate squating and springing into my swing. The bad news is that I may need to refurbish my driver. My first two attempts at driving resulted in my bottoming out my driver a good six inches behind the ball. I concluded that I lacked sufficient spring and endeavored to channel Michael Jordan.Lo and behold! My next two drives resulted in dimples on the bottom of my driver. When the snow forces me into our local dome, I will venture forth with tin cup stuberness to see if I can master the right combination of squatting and springing prior to shattering either my club or my body. I suspect that I will eventually return to my efforts to emulate the beautifully simple swing of Steve Stricker.

  9. gvogel

    Dec 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I am calling bogus on this move.

    Sam Snead had a “silent” head – that is, it moved almost nothing at all – and he was as long as anyone in his generation. Sam could flat out kill the ball.

    Let’s say you are standing on a frozen pond. If you have flat leather shoes, you can’t generate any power. If you have spikes that you can dig into the ice, you can generate plenty of power. It isn’t because you can squat and spring, it is because you can pivot/torque off the inside of your right (trail) foot.

    It is the pivot/torque that we need; not the ability to squat and spring.

    By the way, I love Rory’s swing. It is poetry in motion. but it is poetry in motion because of his athleticism, and his amazing flexibility. Look at the way he walks – he is looseness personified.

  10. Jeff

    Dec 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    If you’re going to give this a shot, take some advice from Rory himself and get your body in shape. Strengthen your legs and shoulders and become an athlete. Making your body more explosive and powerful goes hand in hand with squat, spring, and swing. if you are going to attempt to swing like an athlete, please treat your body like you are one. Thanks for the write up.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Particularly your quads, hammys and glutes but anyone can do it just won’t create as much force. Squares with light weights with fit ball on wall is a great one. My wife teaches yoga and Pilates and has helped me a lot with that. Thx Jeff

      • Jeff

        Dec 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

        Absolutely. I’d love to get into some kind of “yoga for golf” or Pilates for golf instruction. I know there’s improvement to be had for anyone that takes it up and in that way it’s a truly under explored area of our potential. Again this is why I like your articles so much. Thanks, keep it up.

        • Pat

          Dec 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm

          Forget pilates. That stuff is for women. I’ve been in the fitness/bodbuilding/sports and golf industry for a long time. Focus on strength training and stretching. Speed trainin(plyometrics) also helps generate more speed with less effort. Foam rolling is also a must to break up inflammation from strength training. There, I gave you the “secrets” to making the squat move easier to perform.

  11. Jake Anderson

    Dec 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Very interesting article! Thank you Mr. Clark!

    There is one thing that I would like to clarify, because it might cause a lot of problems for average players.
    You note that McIlroy’s hands reach their low point before impact! That is correct! However it is paramount to explain why this happens! McIlroy has a lot of lag and his hands lead the club, so that the wrists are still hinged when the hands reach the low point of the swing and the club has not reached the ball.

    The average amateur must be warned that the low point of the hands in the swing must be directly over the ball or slightly in front. And only because of the lag that a good players has, it is possible to hit the ball after low point has been reached.

  12. Shut

    Dec 4, 2014 at 4:07 am

    Has anybody realized that perhaps this video is completely misleading? That Rory intended on hitting this club this way because of the kind of lie he had, the grass he encountered, the conditions he faced and the green he was attacking as well the pin placement? Besides, he is hitting a longer iron here, and when have you seen anybody really take a gouging divot with a 3 or 4 iron????

    What a totally useless video analysis.

  13. KDC

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    This is something that I have noticed over tha last couple of years. When I’m at my best I have the feeling of hitting “up” and there is never much of a divot. I think in Elkington’s book, Five Fundamentals, he mentions something similar (i.e not needing to take a divot)

  14. Mad-Mex

    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    A *WARNING* should accompany articles like these in my humble opinion, because you will have too many people out there who will go out and try this, jacking up an already jacked up swing!
    99% of us do not have the athletic abilities these pros have, much less a 15-20 handicap who plays with shafts in his blade irons that are way too stiff with not enough loft in his driver and demands to play from the black/back tees.
    BUT, I liked the article and took as , well, a very good, no, nearly outstanding INFORMATIONAL article. What ever happen to the “stack and tilt”?

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 4, 2014 at 7:01 am

      Mad, Good on ya for at least trying the idea. The worst thing that happens if you don’t like it, go back to the way you were playing. Just another few range ballsQ Thx

  15. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Watch Rory’s hand path, there a lesson there!

  16. Greg

    Dec 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Snead talk about sitting on a barstool back in the ’40s? Looking at classic photos or Barnes, Snean, Hagen, Jones……. They ALL made this move. This is THE move in golf. It’s nothing new though.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Yes the Snead “squat” I think he called it, nothing new you’re right. Its just that a lot more kids are are straightening left leg and driving up with with hand path which drives the club head down and out

  17. Bill

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Sadly I have played golf for 20+ years not understanding that the ground is my friend. I always heard the old Hogan slogan “The secret is in the dirt” but I wish I had heard “The secret is how your legs use the dirt”.
    Now that I have started solidly grounding myself & flexing my knees more in a athletic position straighter & farther than ever…even though I’m older.

  18. Mark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Excellent video. I experimented with this briefly at the end of the season and is something that I’m going to work on this year. One thing that I’ve done over the past couple of off seasons is a lot of olympic lifting (squats, snatch, clean and jerk) and I think there are a lot of parallels to this type of movement in the swing. The movement in the hips is almost the exact same as a jerk – small drop in the hip level and then explode up. Only difference is you’re adding rotation into the mix. I suspect that building strength in legs/glutes/hips and core will be very advantageous for those interesting in integrating the squat and spring into their swing.

  19. Regis

    Dec 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I’m always puzzled by those who criticize writers of golf tips. I have a golf library that would rival the Library of Congress (Seriously, how many of you own a copy of Mindy Blake’s “Golf Swing of the Future-I gamed it for 2 years). Using the ground as a swing platform has been preached in one form or another for decades. But just looking at Dennis’ video makes my joints ache. That being said I loved it. Thanks Dennis.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Regis glad you enjoyed it. I’d like to see your library. Mine is 500 and growing! Thx

  20. Drew

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Dennis,
    Is this a move you advise for those over 30? Rory’s swing is beautiful, but I look at it and wonder if his back will hold up over time.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Drew, Its a move anyone of any age can TRY. If it helps, great if not you can always go back to what you were doing. But if you do incorporate it, understand it thoroughly. It can be a big help. Thx for reading and commenting

  21. bradford

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

    My Dad (2hcp at 72, so no slouch by any means) has watched my swing for years and said “You’re dipping”…It’s tough to explain to him that it’s intentional.

    It’s like an upside down trebuchet, where the upward motion of the body acts as the normally gravity driven counterweight. The club head is the payload, the ball is incidental.

  22. Jonny B

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Great article and analysis pointing out some simple mechanics that many of us amateurs should work on to improve power.

    Does anyone else notice how eerily similar Rory’s swing is to Tiger’s swing with Hank Haney ala 2006 2007 timeframe when he was winning 40% of his starts – the massive squat and the spring action.

  23. tom

    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Thx Dennis. I enjoyed watching and reading this.
    Dennis is nice enough to spend his time to put this together, and people just criticize the heck out of it. I’m amazed that people continue to contribute here on Golfwrx only to get ridiculous backlash from so many others on here.

    • Philip

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Second that! Very thank-you for his persistence.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      we don’t even know they’re there 🙂 Thx

  24. Travis Tibbs

    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I find it funny how all of these people are so quick to disregard this as a legitimate swing philosophy. If you don’t like it or feel it is not for you, then don’t do it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, it just means it’s not for you. Take a look at Jim Furyk, how many times do you think someone told him that his swing was wrong. He is still one of the most consistent players on tour. This is merely a new style of swinging the club, no need to shoot it down so quickly.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      You’ve hit the nail on the head on Travis! read a suggestion and simply be critical for critical’s sake BEFORE you even try it. There but for the sake of some good sense go I

    • Shut

      Dec 4, 2014 at 3:55 am

      it’s not new at all.

      Rory will be done in 10 years’s time when his body refuses to do this. Problem is, in the argument, people will say “well nobody will care, certainly not Rory as he will have made billions.”

      That’s this modern swing in a nutshell. Swing your socks off (as in the video above), break your body, but make billions while you’re doing it. Why not? The sponsors moneys are huge, so go get as much of it as quickly as possible while you’re young.

      That’s why Snead’s swing was “Swing for a lifetime” yet Rory’s and many other modern swings like it will be “fatten up your bank account as quickly as possible” type swing.

      If Rory’s swing doesn’t stand the test of his body’s time into his 60’s (at least, since Snead was able to with his swing), then nobody should ever copy Rory’s swing, ever, if they wish to continue to be playing late into their life.

  25. Jafar

    Dec 3, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Can’t wait to try some of these techniques… wish I lived in warm weather climate.

    I don’t understand why people like to criticize these techniques, if it works for you then great, if not, move on and find something that does, no need to say someone is wrong, incorrect, or hogwash.

    Golf is the most individual game you can play, you don’t even need another person. So to each their own.

  26. Cardi

    Dec 3, 2014 at 9:35 am

    They have been teaching this for years on the Rotary Swing Tour website.

  27. Charlie

    Dec 3, 2014 at 9:31 am

    A spring promotes an upward swing (lessens a downward swing), thereby reducing backspin. Less spin = more distance when the golfer has a proper launch angle.

  28. James

    Dec 3, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I have swung the club like this as long as I can remember. Of course, I am not as talented as McIlroy but it is how I have hit the ball hard as I can. Thing is, I have had MANY teaching pros tell me how “wrong” this is. “You can’t swing like that!”, they would say. Glad I never listened. Basically, you are loading your legs and using them to apply all the power you have. Hence strong legs are important. Great analysis!

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Correct, it changes NOTHIBG else, your just adding power and using a more exacting force on the Golf club, Thx for participation.

      • Bobby

        Dec 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Thanks for posting about the golfswing. I always look forward to what you have to write about. This was a great article and gives me something to work on as opposed to trying to muscle the golfswing for distance. Disregard the critics. Teaching the golf may not be quite as dramatic as this but it holds some relevance I believe:
        It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm

          As a well known entertainer once said: “The critics, don’t even ignore them” 🙂 Thx for comments

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm

          Thx Bobby for your interest and comments.

    • Agree...

      Dec 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Agreed as I would take slight criticism for my head barely, but making a moderate lowering position as I tend to ball up (“ball up” is a bad descrip, but kinda feels like) my power in Backswing, but not losing where I need to be at downswing and moi. I would compare spring affect as pushing off ground with all of force I can to get a feel as I’m pulling club and my hands creating a more torquey snap just as I begin to come up from lowest part of swing arc. This came natural to me, doesn’t look weird…but I feel it gives me a really repeatable rhythm as well, an in an up path which for me is what I’m looking for, other theories may work great for some, but this exact description from Dennis is exactly what I feel and is the simplest swing for me to repeat and maintain a very consistent rhythm. Maybe I’m completely off base, but this works for me, and allows my legs to generate a very torque influenced swing which in turn feels like I’m loading as much power as my body can generate coming through the ball. It almost feels as if you’re using the “athletic position ” you use in pretty much every sport, but taking advantage of leg spring to unleash on a goofball. Just an opinion, and appoligize if this made no sense

      • Dennis Clark

        Dec 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        your not off base at all because it WORKS because I’ve seen it work. What I get a great kick out of is people who dismiss out of hand an idea that have not even tried. Thx for the comments

  29. Big Dawg

    Dec 3, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I think the heavier clubs of days gone promote more use of the ground for leverage. Although I wouldn’t think this stuff to death. Swing the clubhead ffs

  30. Jon

    Dec 3, 2014 at 5:09 am

    *sigh* More people talking about the golf swing who shouldn’t be. You can’t teach the most important parts of the golf swing because you can’t see the most important parts; you can only feel them. Thus the instruction industry is a joke, because unless you’re world class you’ll explain aspects of the swing completely wrong, ala everyone constantly talking about rory’s “Squat”. It’s not a squat. Anyone that is any kind of athletic intuits creating power by compressing and decompressing the spine, which creates the illusion that the legs are involved. They move passively, they move as a EFFECT of the spinal compression, not a cause. Chicken and egg. But by all means, the blind keep leading the blind.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Or as ben Hogan once said: My muscles have no memory; I TELL them what to do. Sightlessness is a terrible affliction that I encounter in golf forums all day.

    • bradford

      Dec 3, 2014 at 11:21 am

      While I agree with you about “feel”, I don’t think you’ve got this motion Dennis is talking about. If you did, you’d realize it’s a very active and intentional movement. The timing is where feel plays the biggest role.

    • Bobby

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Spinal Compression? Seriously? Your spine bends forward, backwards and sideways and points in between. It does not compress and decompress to any noticeable degree outside of pressure on the discs between the vertebrae. Try this, sit upright in a chair and “compress” your spine to lower your head without any sort of trunk flexion. Pretty much impossible. Your spine is not an accordian. Your upper body lowers either by trunk flexion or bending your knees.

  31. Duncan Castles

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Thanks Dennis. Interesting article.
    An extra club of distance is impressive, did it come at any cost in terms of accuracy?

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Thx Duncan; not at all. Unfortunately this is the beginning of my busy teaching season, so I wont get to play as much, but I’ve been real happy with making better use of the ground. Im glad you enjoyed the article.

      • Duncan Castles

        Dec 6, 2014 at 5:55 am

        Thanks for the reply Dennis. Am I right in thinking that spine angle and hip bend should be retained until the spring part of the swing?

  32. David

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:04 am

    “Well MY coach prefers Adam Scott than Rory McIlroy’s swing, you should hit it cleaner and smoother.”

    Yeah, but McIlroy is the better ranked golfer than Scott, is 10 or so years younger with a better career already. Look, nobody will be able to copy Rory, that is why he is the phenomenon that he is. It’s true you can hit the ball further by squatting and springing etc. but you wouldn’t be able to do it like McIlroy does.

    Stick to what YOU want to swing like, and work for YOU. Everybody has a different body, use your own strengths and hide your weaknesses.

  33. Mark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 2:39 am

    A couple of our top Juniors are being taught this technique. Both can bomb it off the tee but have no idea where it will finish. Both are worse than they were before the swing changes.

    • Scott

      Dec 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      I do appreciate the article, but come on. It is WAY too tough for any of the people on this board to be anything that resembles consistent with this method. Go ahead and try it if you like but get used to some shots. Rory has all the time in the world to practice this method. I doubt anyone reading this has enough time to make that work.

      • Dennis Clark

        Dec 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        Scott. Thx glad you enjoyed it. Its not at all radical, The thing about This is it’s not really much different than anything you’re doing now. Just push off and feel like the hands pull up a bit. Try it. Let me know.

  34. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I might add that I was introduced to this information through the work of Golf’s “Wise Guys”, Brian Manzella and Michael Jacobs, two of the most dedicated, hard working, accomplished teaching professionals in the world. AND the crack team of golf research scientists with whom they collaborate

    It has been my policy for over 30 years to study every qualified professional in my industry. But I do not simply take anyone’s word on anything. When I come across information that I feel will help my students, I TEST that info in the real world, that is on my lesson tee. EVERY single player I have helped through this process, has walked away a better player. THAT IS why I am suggesting it to my readers. If you think it will help you, try it, but be sure you understand it first. If not stay with what you’re doing. It IS for everybody who desires to incorporate ALL of it, not simply the parts that may feel comfortable. THx

  35. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:39 am

  36. Moist

    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

    “a new pattern of swinging the club IN and UP — forcing the club head out and down — as they spring up and turn through the ball into impact.”

    Complete and utter hogwash drivel. NOT true, in any way, whatsoever.

    It only APPEARS to be so, when the courses are made to run out HARD and fast.

    If you’d ask old Trevino, in countless interviews and speeches he talks about how he’d grown up on hard-pan, almost dried-dirt-like courses in Texas, and when he came to the Tour he encountered these “soft fairways.” Well, these days, in our obsession to get more yardages, a lot of the courses are set up dry, hard, and runs out for miles. Even if you tried to hit down and through that hard stuff, you hardly ever would see any extra-deep divots because you just can’t dig down enough.
    But, when the courses are wet and soft, you do still them digging them deep and have HUGE divots.

    So it’s not all about how the few times you see them hit shallow. It’s the conditions and the course set-up. That’s also why old Lee Trevino was so good at playing the British Open where the conditions are hard and fast, basically dusty most of the time.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Michael explains this concept very well below: Watch and enjoy.

      http://www.xgolfschool.com/golf-show/episode-01-the-release/

      • No bueno

        Dec 3, 2014 at 1:21 am

        The worst explanation possible for the simplest thing about the golf swing; that all we do is we HIT the ball. The rest is all just about how athletic a person is to coordinate his body movements to get the job done the best way he possibly can. That video was completely unnecessary and confusing for most amateurs.

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 7:05 am

          thx for the constructive addition to the discussion. I hope your students all improve this year.

  37. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:32 am

  38. Doug L

    Dec 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Shawn Clement does a great job explaining this movement.
    Create Serious Speed!

  39. gg

    Dec 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Jack used the ground and the power of his lower body was tremendous; watched it up close in person at Lost tree for years in shorts! Rory, Adam, Byron nelson and a gaggle of others chose to squat but even those players who remain “somewhat” level are compressing the ground. What’s “new” is the teaching and emphasis on it because it is science, not opinion. Thx

  40. Slimeone

    Dec 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Moe Norman advocated “bruising the turf”. Is he part of the new generation?

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Moe was not from any generation; he was from planet Moe, one of the most intriguing individuals to ever grace our game. or maybe our planet; watched him several times, talked to him and always loved his act. There is a savant in all greats to some extent

      • JT

        Dec 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm

        Sorry but this is silly. Good luck to anyone, Rory included, who hopes to bounce around and maintain any shot control.

        Please write an article comparing the swing from his hot steak at the end of 2014 to his pogo routine from the beginning of the year when he couldn’t contend.

        I would propose there is a noticeable calming of the bounce in the winning swing he produced during the last quarter of the season when he was on fire.

        • marcel

          Dec 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

          finally 😉

          to keep the correct distance between the club during the swing and turf and ball requires more control of the spine angle and same height…

          my AAA+ coach has always preferred calm posture and clean striking.. Adam Scott is the best example…

          • Alex

            Dec 3, 2014 at 1:35 am

            Explain how having the hands forward at impact can allow you to have them also the same height off the ground?

            It’s not possible. Diagonals are longer than vertical or horizontal lines.

            So since your shaft is a fixed length, if you have any amount of forward shaft lean you have to have it lower to the ground at impact. How do you lower the handle any amount while maintaining perfect height at impact?

            Think about what you guys write. It would probably do you some good. All good players have a head lower to the ground than it was at address. The key is keeping it low through impact. Some people raise too early and cause issues. But if you drop and stay down you’ll actually kill the ball.

            And it’s actually pretty stable…because in order to lower like that you have to use your core and thighs.

          • Alex

            Dec 3, 2014 at 1:36 am

            Not to mention, forward hands and keeping secondary spine tilt at impact…how do you not lower into the ball?

            Show one good player whose head is the same height at impact as it is at address.

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 12:09 am

  41. farmer

    Dec 2, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    The jump off the board is meaningless, because of the balance issues. The Rory swing mechanics may be fine for those physically gifted enough to copy them, but that’s an awful lot of stuff to try to incorporate into an existing swing.

    • Philip

      Dec 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Well I’m almost 50, 35 pounds overweight (have to fix this), not that flexible (and this too), work all day sitting at a desk and spend too much time looking at a computer at home and I actually find the golf swing easier with the squat. It occurs naturally if I relax my body and make my swing. Creates an explosive swing for sure. Plus I find it so easy to clear my hips this way.

      Trick for me is to practice making a very, very slow backswing with either 3 wedges or a weighted club (1 weight ring + sand in the shaft for a 7 iron, like I have) allowing the weight of the club to turn your upper body against your back leg making sure to maintain your balance. Now for me my left knee starts to collapse towards my right leg as I am not as flexible as Rory, but I’ll work on my flexibility over the winter. It still works for me though. I then trigger my downswing by turning the toes of my right foot clockwise.

      Personally what I find is that as I practice in slow motion the mechanics just become part of my swing, no different than walking. Just have to take your time and spent 5-10 minutes each night doing slow motion swings from set-up to follow-through. At normal swing speed, as long as I maintain my balance for the entire swing (address, backswing, downswing and follow-through) I am maximizing my potential. What more is there?

      • Philip

        Dec 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

        maintain balance (for me) = centre of gravity is not swaying all over the place

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 1:07 am

          Agreed, that’s not the point of the article. Center of pressure and center of mass are very different centers.

  42. Pat

    Dec 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    One more thing. I do not recommend the squat for older golfers or fat out of shape golfers. You will blow out your knee or lower back if you don’t have the strength. Get in shape first(cardio and strength training) and make sure you do your stretches.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      agree Pat; YOGA and PILATES. Stay off the weights, particularly as you get older

      • marcel

        Dec 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        stay off the weights? Cardio is the biggest problem of older ppl because it eats protein / muscle content and not fat as believed. muscle needs stimulation thru moderate weight lifting. yoga is part of it not only bit of it.

      • christian

        Dec 3, 2014 at 4:46 am

        Wrong, the latest science advises older people to lift as heavy weight as they can control, heavy enough to only allow 3 reps. This ti activate deep tissue muscles that older people in particular really need to activate. Many-reps training/light training won’t let you contact those deep tissue muscle fibers.

      • Pat

        Dec 3, 2014 at 6:28 am

        Dennis, I believe that strength training is essential for older people. The only difference is that younger folks can push themselves, while the older generation needs to really be careful because of joint issues. I would recommend doing lighter weights and higher reps for this group. I have an extensive fitness backround and have worked with high level amateur golfers and bodybuilders in the past. For my older clients, I had them focus more on machines and exercises on the medicine and bosu balls and have them do lighter weights with higher reps. Much easier on the joints compared to powerlifting style training. Yoga or even basic stretching is crucial for golf. You cannot generate speed without flexibility. Christian I don’t care what latest science says. Making an older individual do only 3 rep sets is ludicrous. It would mess up their joints and the chances of severe injury increase lifting like a powerlifter which you are promoting for old people. Ever notice how strongmen and powerlifters have bad joints and suffer from devastating injuries? Horrible advice. Do not listen to Christian people.

    • Philip

      Dec 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Personally I find this way more easier on my lower back, legs and knees. A more easier than my old slicer swing. Guess we are all different.

  43. Rich

    Dec 2, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I would argue that this a series of very complex moves in Rory’s swing that very few people could introduce into their game. Changing levels in the swings like that for most people would make it impossible to make clean consistent contact. Fat and thin shots would be the order of the day. While I’d like Rory’s 125mph club head speed, I certainly would not chase it to the detriment of solid contact. Solid contact will give you distance gains more quickly and consistently than this squatting business. If it’s natural, keep doing it. If it’s not, don’t try it for too long or you might sacrifice more than you gain.

    • rgb

      Dec 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      I tried, for the heck of it and no good reason, to do Kutcher’s rock-back-on-the-heel-before-the-swing swing. Totally threw me off. I love Rory’s swing (and Tiger’s old swing) but I’d damn near kill myself trying to tighten and unwind as much as they do. Ah, but to be 20-ish again.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Rich, the club forces and hand path are the dynamics most impacted by the ground reaction forces. Yes power might be a part of it, and I would not teach it carte blanche, it dramatically alters force for more competent players. Thx for comment

      • Rich

        Dec 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm

        No worries. So definitely not for everyone then?

    • marcel

      Dec 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      rich spot on. clean contact makes distance. if i hit my iron 2inch before the ball i lose 10% of the distance. i can out-muscle this by increasing speed and power by 10% and lose even more balance… or I focus all my power on correct height and swing plane?

      i am 5’7″ 36yo – driving close to 280yrd… 4i 200yrd… stiff shafts PX6.

      current back squat 242pnds, dead lift 220 pnds, shoulders 77pnds each hand. this helped my power and greater stability.

  44. Pat

    Dec 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I already do this in my swing. Being only 5’7, I can’t generate speed and power with width like taller guys, so I have found from an early age that doing the “Tiger” squat was the only way to add about 8mph to my driver swing. It also helps that I workout like these guys as well. Went from 110 to 120mph and currently sit at 71 kilos at 9% body fat which is just the right size for golf for my height.

  45. Dennis Clark

    Dec 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    on a more serious note…The ground creates power if you know how to use it, and the hands do NOT swing down and put pressure on the club.

  46. Double Mocha Man

    Dec 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    There’s already a sizable splash in the water where Mr. Como lands. Did he throw his bag of clubs in first?!

    • Philip

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      No, they turned on the jets for some reason just as he jumped. I can’t think of why.

      • pugster22

        Dec 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        The air bubbles make the landing softer and gives the diver a visual reference.

  47. Philip

    Dec 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I started doing this last week as a natural progression of my swing (after applying that Chris Como tip on triggering my downswing). I am pretty solid on my address now and I noticed as I made a “very, very slow” backswing that as my arms got to the top at some point my body would naturally start squatting to allow my club to get to parallel. I remembered that video above of Rory so figured it couldn’t be all that bad.

    To help “feel” it I either use three wedges or a club filled with sand + weight ring. I can take a full swing in my apartment now without fear of hitting the cement floor – pretty cool for a guy who 6 weeks ago was still taking divots behind the ball.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      it is amazing how it starts to shallow you and create power at the same time

  48. JC

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    This is cool. Dennis – any drills to help with these movements?

    • joey

      Dec 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      get your self a diving board and jump off it; if u can hit a ball while falling standing still should be no problem

      • Dennis Clark

        Dec 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        LOL well I think Chris is using a metaphor here…I know ur smart enough to not interpret this literally 🙂

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      I wouldn’t suggest a diving board :). But its really a matter of trial and error for me. Feel it. Hit some balls with the sun at your back, see if you can squat a little and the jump and let it go!

  49. CJ Bell

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Love love love seeing these types of videos getting traction on big golf websites, check out Trackman Maestro and Mark Crossfield for further info on IN and UP hand path/wrist flexion extension….plus anything that makes hacks like Brandel Chamblee look even dumber are great. Keep pushing this stuff Dennis.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Thx CJ, I wouldn’t go so far as to call Chamblee a “hack” he played the PGA Tour!! I disagree with a lot of his analysis but he could obviously play. 🙂

  50. Dennis Clark

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Exactly Chip-and by Miller, Faldo and the the like. Sad really.

  51. Chip

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Great video and article. I feel like Tiger has been doing this for years….. And getting criticized for dipping his head too much….

    • Denis

      Dec 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

      I squat and then spring into the ball as it sure does give me more speed. However, I am also pretty sure that for me this action hurts my shot dispersion and especially my back the next morning. I do it anyway though as I want to beat my friends drives.

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Instruction

More stroke-saving advice for seniors: Love thy hybrid

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Continuing our series for seniors, this is a topic I’ve written about before but it is so important to our senior games, it is worth revisiting.

Some of you may be aware of the “24/38 rule.” It deals with the idea that most golfers lose consistency with an iron that is less than 24 degrees of loft and over 38 inches long. That USED TO BE a 3-iron. And I always thought even that was marginal—a 3-iron for a middle handicap players has always been a bit “iffy.”

Then came the “juicing era” when manufacturers started making golf clubs with much less loft and some added length. Now, that “24/38” rule applies to 5-irons! The cavity back era gave way to some great innovations, particularly forgiveness, but it also introduced stronger lofts and added some length. For example, today’s 6-iron, on average is 31 degrees and 37.5-38.o inches. The point is this: Many golfers do not have sufficient speed to hit 5-irons, maybe even 6-irons, from the fairway!

This goes for golf in general, but in senior golf, it is even more important to remember!

What to do? Voila! The invention of HYBRIDS! We have to understand one simple golf impact principle:  Getting the golf ball airborne from the turf requires speed. If we lack that speed, we need clubs with a different construction. The HYBRIDS are built to help launch the golf ball. Basically, it works like this: when the center of gravity is further from the hitting area (face), it is easier to launch the golf ball. On an iron that CG is directly behind the ball. In a hybrid, it is moved back, so the ball can be launched higher. There are other factors, but basically, that’s it.

My personal recommendation is as follows

  • If your driver clubhead speed in under 85 MPH, your iron set might go 7-PW
  • Driver speed 85-90 MPH, your iron set might be 6-PW
  • Driver speed 90-100, your iron set might be 5-PW
  • Driver speed over 100, you can choose the set make-up with which you are comfortable

As this piece is largely for seniors, I’m assuming most of you are in one of the first two categories. If so, your game may be suffering from your set make-up. The most common swing issue I see in seniors is “hang back” or the inability to get weight through at impact. This is often the result of a club shaft too stiff, OR clubs too difficult to launch—example, a 3-iron. Please DO NOT beat yourself up! Use equipment that is easier to hit and particularly easier to launch.

The question invariably arises, what about fairway woods of similar loft?  They are fine if you do not mind the added length. The great thing about hybrids is they are only slightly longer than similarly lofted irons. My advice is to seniors is to get with a pro, get on a launch monitor, find your speed and launch conditions and go from there.

Note: I am NOT a fitter, and I DO NOT sell clubs of any kind. But I do know, as a teacher, that hybrids should be in most seniors’ bags.

 

Want more help with your swing? I have an on-line swing analysis service. If you are interested in a “look” here it is.

 

 

 

 

 

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Instruction

Clement: Long and short bunker shots

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It happens to all of us where: We get short-sided and need to put a shot together to save the furniture. The short bunker shot can really be a challenge if you do not have the right task to perform it and can result in you wasting a shot in the bunker or letting the shot get away from you because you don’t want to leave that delicate shot in the bunker.

And of course, so many of you are afraid to put a full swing on a longer bunker shot because of the dreaded skull over the green!

We have the easy solutions to all of the above right here and the other videos I have, which are great complements to this one including an oldie but goodieand this one with Chantal, my yoga teacher.

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The Big Shift: How to master pressure and the golf transition using prior sports training

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If you’re an #AverageJoeGolfer, work a day job, and don’t spend countless hours practicing, you might be interested in knowing that sports you played growing up, and even beer league softball skills, can be used to help you play better golf. We’re sure you’ve heard hockey players tend to hit the ball a mile, make the “best golfers”, while pitchers and quarterbacks have solid games, but baseball/softball hitters struggle with consistency. Did you know that a killer tennis backhand might help your golf game if you play from the opposite side? Dancers are way ahead of other athletes making a switch to golf because they understand that centeredness creates power and consistency much more efficiently than shifting all around, unnecessary swaying, or “happy feet.”

Lurking beneath fat shots, worm burners, and occasional shanks, are skillsets and motions you can pull from the old memory bank to apply on the golf course. Yes, you heard us right; your high school letterman jacket can finally be put to good use and help you improve your move. You just need to understand some simple adjustments different sports athletes need to make to be successful golfers.

In golf, shifting from your trailside into your lead side is what we’ll call the TRANSITION. Old School teachers refer to this motion, or shift, as “Foot Work”, New-Fangled-Techno-Jargon-Packed-Instruction uses “Ground Pressure/Force” to refer to the same concept. Don’t worry about the nomenclature; just know, as many GolfWRXers already do, that you must get your weight to your lead side if you want any chance at making solid and consistent contact. TRANSITION might be THE toughest motion in golf to master.

The good news for you is that TRANSITION happens in all other sports but in slightly different ways, depending on the sport. Golfers can more quickly learn TRANSITION, and speed up their swing learning process by understanding how prior sport experience can be applied to the golf swing.

[The basics of a solid golf move are; 1) you should have a SETUP that is centered and balanced, 2) you move your weight/pressure into your trail side during the TAKEAWAY and BACKSWING, 3) TRANSITION moves your weight/pressure back into your lead side, and 4) you FINISH with the club smashing the ball down the fairway. Okay, it’s not quite as easy as I make it sound, but hopefully our discussion today can relieve some stress when it comes time for you to start training your game.]

Baseball/Softball Hitters

Hitting coaches don’t like their hitters playing golf during the season, that’s a fact. The TRANSITIONS are too different, and if they play too much golf, they can lose the ability to hit off-speed pitches because their swing can become too upright. Golf requires an orbital hand path (around an angled plane) with an upright-stacked finish, while hitting requires batters to have a straight-line (more horizontal) hand path and to “stay back or on top of” the ball.

Now we apologize for the lack of intricate knowledge and terminology around hitting a baseball, we only played up through high school. What we know for sure is that guys/gals who have played a lot of ball growing up, and who aren’t pitchers struggle with golf’s TRANSITION. Hitters tend to hang back and do a poor job of transferring weight properly. When they get the timing right, they can make contact, but consistency is a struggle with fat shots and scooping being the biggest issues that come to mind.

So how can you use your star baseball/softball hitting skills with some adjustments for golf? Load, Stride, Swing is what all-good hitters do, in that order. Hitters’ issues revolve around the Stride, when it comes to golf. They just don’t get into their lead sides fast enough. As a golfer, hitters can still take the same approach, with one big adjustment; move more pressure to your lead side during your stride, AND move it sooner. We’ve had plenty of ‘a ha’ moments when we put Hitters on balance boards or have them repeat step drills hundreds of times; “oh, that’s what I need to do”…BINGO…Pound Town, Baby!

Softball/Baseball Pitchers, Quarterbacks, & Kickers

There’s a reason that kickers, pitchers, and quarterbacks are constantly ranked as the top athlete golfers and it’s not because they have a ton of downtime between starts and play a lot of golf. Their ‘day jobs’ throwing/kicking motions have a much greater impact on how they approach sending a golf ball down the fairway. It’s apparent that each of these sports TRAINS and INGRAINS golf’s TRANSITION motion very well. They tend to load properly into their trailside while staying centered (TAKEAWAY/BACKSWING), and they transfer pressure into their lead side, thus creating effortless speed and power. Now there are nuances for how to make adjustments for golf, but the feeling of a pitching or kicking motion is a great training move for golf.

If this was your sport growing up, how can you improve your consistency? Work on staying centered and minimizing “happy feet” because golf is not a sport where you want to move too much or get past your lead side.


Dance

My wife was captain of her high school dance team, has practiced ballet since she was in junior high, and is our resident expert on Ground Pressure forces relating to dance. She has such a firm grasp on these forces that she is able to transfer her prior sports skill to play golf once or twice a year and still hit the ball past me and shoot in the low 100s; what can I say, she has a good coach. More importantly, she understands that staying centered and a proper TRANSITION, just like in Dance, are requirements that create stability, speed, and consistent motions for golf. Christo Garcia is a great example of a Ballerina turned scratch golfer who uses the movement of a plié (below left) to power his Hogan-esque golf move. There is no possible way Misty Copeland would be able to powerfully propel herself into the air without a proper TRANSITION (right).

Being centered is critical to consistently hitting the golf ball. So, in the same way that dancers stay centered and shift their weight/pressure to propel themselves through the air, they can stay on the ground and instead create a golf swing. Dancers tend to struggle with the timing of the hands and arms in the golf swing. We train them a little differently by training their timing just like a dance routine; 1 and 2 and 3 and…. Dancers learn small motions independently and stack each micro-movement on top of one another, with proper timing, to create a dance move (golf swing) more like musicians learn, but that article is for another time.

Hockey

Hockey is a great example of the golf TRANSITION because it mimics golf’s motions almost perfectly. Even a subtlety like the direction in which the feet apply pressure is the same in Hockey as in Golf, but that’s getting in the weeds a bit. Hockey players load up on their trailside, and then perform the TRANSITION well; they shift into their lead sides and then rotate into the puck with the puck getting in the way of the stick…this is the golf swing, just on skates and ice…my ankles hurt just writing that.

If you played hockey growing up, you have the skillsets for a proper golf TRANSITION, and you’ll improve much faster if you spend your time training a full FINISH which involves staying centered and balanced.

Now we didn’t get into nuances of each and every sport, but we tried to cover most popular athletic motions we thought you might have experience in in the following table. The key for your Big Shift, is using what you’ve already learned in other sports and understanding how you might need to change existing and known motions to adapt them to golf. If you played another sport, and are struggling, it doesn’t mean you need to give up golf because your motion is flawed…you just need to know how to train aspects of your golf move a little differently than someone who comes from a different sport might.

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