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The science of adding spin to your wedge shots

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This story was selected as one of the 15 best GolfWRX stories of 2015!

For as long as I can remember, golfers have been fascinated watching the professionals hit wedge shots into the green — especially when their shots land past the hole on the green, hop forward, and then zip back toward the hole. It’s a sexy shot that every golfer wants to have at his disposal.

What I have learned from teaching golf for more than 20 years, however, is that relatively few golfers can actually hit a high-spinning wedge shot. One of the main reasons why? Few golfers actually understand how spin is created. The purpose of this article is to help golfers understand just that, as well as how they can improve their chances of hitting a PGA Tour-quality wedge shot.

How spin is created

Since I starting using a Trackman launch monitor, my understanding of spin creation has grown exponentially. It has taught me and other teaching professionals that spin is created by specific, measurable factors.

The main factor is called Spin Loft, which is calculated by subtracting “Angle of Attack,” or the amount of degrees a golfer hits up or down on a ball, from “Dynamic Loft,” which is the amount of loft (in degrees) on the club face at the moment of impact.

Spin Loft Formula = Dynamic Loft – Angle of attack

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 2.36.44 PM

Yes, there are other factors that influence spin such as club head speed, face-to-path ratio, impact friction, and horizontal and vertical impact point, but they are relatively minor compared to the effect of Spin Loft.

Why you have trouble spinning the ball

The first mistake amateurs make when they try to add spin to their wedge shots is trying to hit the ball higher. Trackman has taught us that it is impossible to increase the spin rate of a golf ball while simultaneously increasing the ball’s landing angle. That means that most golfers won’t spin the ball more by hitting it higher.

The second mistake amateur golfers make is believing that an exaggerated downward hit on the golf ball more will create more spin. I’m here to tell you that this does NOT automatically increase your spin rate. When golfers hit more “down” on the golf ball, they also tend to lean the shaft more forward as well.

Remember the spin loft formula? Added shaft lean decreases Dynamic Loft, which either lowers Spin Loft or keeps it the same. That won’t give you the added spin you’re want. Here’s why.

Spin Loft in real life

Since we know that Spin Loft creates the spin we are looking, then what is the perfect Spin Loft value for maximum spin output?

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 2.50.53 PM

Trackman studies have shown that once your spin loft values rise above a 45-50 threshold, the ball will begin to lose friction/compression and it will slide up the face of your wedge, reducing spin.

If you look at the Trackman screen shot above, you’ll see that my AoA was -5.7 degrees (that means I hit 5.7 degrees down on the ball) and my Dynamic Loft was 34.5 degrees (that means the amount of loft on my club at impact was 34.5 degrees at impact). Therefore, my Spin Loft was 40.2, which is in the range for maximum spin production.

Spin Loft (40.2 degrees) = Dynamic Loft (34.5 degrees) – Angle of Attack (-5.7 degrees)

To create optimal spin, you must hit shots within a certain spin loft range to be most effective. For better golfers, that means hitting lower-launching shots that give them the “hit, jump, and grab” on the green they want. This flatter launch angle, combined with a shallower Angle of Attack, will help them reach the apex of what Andrew Rice calls the  “Spin Loft Mountain.” To learn more from my friend Andrew Rice, visit his site.

Increasing your spin rate without changing mechanics

Ok, so we’ve covered the technical part of spin creation. I know that a lot of golfers might need to work on their mechanics with an instructor before they can start to effectively tweak things such as their Dynamic Loft and Angle of Attack. And since this is GolfWRX, I also know that a lot of you are already spinning the ball like Tour players with your wedges.

For both types of players, here are my tips on increasing your wedge spin without changing your mechanics.

  1. Use a premium golf ball: To create maximum spin, you must be using a premium ball. If you’re not willing to spend $30+ per dozen on your golf balls, know that higher-compression golf balls tend to spin more on wedge shots that lower-compression golf balls.
  2. Use a versatile wedge: Most equipment companies sell two types of wedges: those that “match their iron sets,” and specialty wedges such as Titleist’s Vokey and TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred EF models, to name a few. Generally, specialty wedges have sole grinds and groove designs that encourage more spin, particularly on partial shots around the green.
  3. Use fresh grooves: Over time, the faces and grooves of your wedges become less effective due to loss of friction. For that reason, newer wedges will generally spin more than older ones. If you play or practice a lot and you’ve had your wedges for more than a season or two, it may be time to change. I don’t recommend that golfers use groove sharpening tools, as they often make wedges non-conforming in tournament play.
  4. Clean your wedges in between shots: If your wedge faces and grooves are caked with dirt and grass, you will not be able to achieve maximum spin. The only exception is if there is sand on the face of your wedge from a past bunker shot. It actually helps the ball spin more, but for consistency reasons you should clean your wedges before every shot. Better players may even want to do this between shots when they practice.

My last bit of advice is to understand how course and wind conditions will affect spin, and to have realistic expectations about the shot at hand. If you’re playing firm, fast greens, it’s going to be very difficult to get your wedge shots to spin back. Plan accordingly. The same is true for wedge shots that are downwind or shots from deep rough.

Finally, remember that wet conditions will decrease your ability to add spin to shots, as moisture reduces the friction between the ball and club face at impact. For that reason, make sure your club faces are as dry as possible.

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: tom.stickney@puntamita.com

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Keep it Simple

    Sep 30, 2019 at 12:49 am

    Seriously ? I thought this article was a joke at first,,,,

    You “Need” $40 golf balls and “new” wedges every year !!! 7 year old Cleveland and original 4 piece K-Sigs, spinning them back 2 to 3 feet ,,,, or hit and stop with chip shots

    Impossible to spin back with PING EYE 2 square grooves and Titleist DT’s,,,,

  2. Tailor

    Mar 11, 2019 at 11:26 am

    I own a One Length 60° Wedge and hit it once in an indoor trackman. The spin loft was 60,5° and the spin rate was about 13090 while the spin axis was -2,5°. This must result in a lot of backspin. But never experienced my ball rolling back on the course.

  3. Paul

    Jun 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Tom, Excellent article, but I’m afraid the theory of spin generation you have described is not entirely correct. The Dplane theory of impact you have alluded to, provides the basis of many impact models utilized by Launch Monitor Manufacturers. Unfortunately, as a geometric construct, it is not able to explain, or account for in any way, the dynamics of the strike or reveal what is happening to the ball and the clubface during the short period of impact.

    On short wedge shots, because of the lower clubhead speed and low compression of the ball, the amount of spin that can be generated per degree of so-called ‘spin loft’ is significantly less than you would expect to see for a full wedge shot. Hence, changing the delivered loft or attack angle, or attempting to ‘optimize’ the spin-loft to increase spin, will have a negligible effect on increasing the spin rate. Assuming we are using a premium quality ball and a clean clubface; in a high spinning wedge shot, spin is maximized by the degree of wrist torque and the nature and the quality of the strike, not by the spin-loft.

    In simple terms, the strike-induced spin on a high-spinning wedge shot is a direct consequence of the magnitude of the strike and the downward movement of the flat surface of the clubface relative to the ball during the short period of impact.

    In a premium quality ball, the outer layers of the ball have a high moment of inertia and are momentarily held in place on the clubface by the high frictional contact force as the clubface descends at a tangent to the ball. The strain energy produced is stored in the core of the deformed ball. During the latter stages of impact as the ball leaves the clubface, the strain energy is recovered and converted into rotational kinetic energy which adds to the spin rate already generated by the effective loft on the clubface (spin loft).

    The magnitude of the strike, the angle of descent of the clubhead, as well as the angle at which the clubface is presented to the ball, and the friction between the ball and the clubface, will all have a major influence on the amount of ‘traction’ that can be generated, and the degree of elastic energy that can be produced.

    Generally only skilled players possessing strong and flexible wrists are able to generate enough wrist torque to produce this shot. The skill can of course be acquired over time by the serious golfer. Those players learning their skills on a links course will have an advantage, as the very hard turf is also a factor in increasing traction on the ball.

    Trust this helps the discussion and opens minds to true and tested scientific theories rather than dwelling on those that are not. I enjoy reading your articles Tom which i’m sure are of great help to golfers of all standards, so please don’t misconstrue my intent with these comments.

  4. Dan H

    Jan 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Here’s a video with a study on it comparing a new wedge to a one year old wedge using Trackman numbers: https://youtu.be/PeOboLZcUuY

  5. ETW

    Sep 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Well lets not go back the 20 years like you say, Tom, because lets remember that there were SQUARE grooves before 2010 that helped with the zippy spin back balls

  6. KCCO

    Sep 13, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I get lucky from time to time, can make my ball stop on various greens, which tends to make me believe has a lot to the greens….ie. hardness, length, time of day, and angle of decent (not that angle of decent its even a golf related term), but believe it has an affect on ball just putting brakes on, or having some english and coming back to you after first bounce. And just a personal opinion, I get more backspin (type causing ball to come back) is from a little further out, with a 51.5 or 56 in my case. Where you would think getting under the ball with a 60 and putting back spin will give you that affect, IMO, your so close and the amount of spin generated (when using 60* on a 25 yard or in shot is no where near enough head speed to generate spin to get ball to come back to you (unless ur on the tour) This is just my opinion, I am no kind of pro, just always been fascinated by the same spin a lot of people try to acheive, and in my case, 9 outta 10 times its a situation where I wish it would have just put brakes on with the spin, being at right length, then spin comes into play and I’m 6 to 10 feet from the hole because I was 80 yards out and swing speed put more spin on ball, and didn’t come down softly as a short flop with a more lofted wedge would, so in turn ball spins back.

    * I do believe a softer cover, and fresh wedges do help in the scenario as well. Again, I’m no instructor, and may have just typed a useless post, it’s just based on my personal experience and observations. I’ve also just experimented on practice chipping green, and so many different variables can acheive spin to stop the ball or make it come back.

    All of that being said, in reality, if you have the distance, why do you want the ball to come back? Fun too watch, but if my distance is on, last thing I want is a ball to roll 2 more yards away from pin. Hope this made 2% of sense. Ha

  7. The Drop

    Sep 12, 2015 at 11:20 am

    How about an open face and cutting a sliding shot with an exaggerated out-to-in under the ball a beat more, not all the way a flop shot but like a tennis drop shot, of course you can flop it too for maximum

  8. birly-shirly

    Sep 12, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Interesting, and somewhat contrary, view here – http://shortgamesecrets.tv/blogs/news/14320709-can-you-buy-that-elusive-30-launch-angle-with-a-sand-wedge

    Suggests that the low launch angle is the result of fresh clubface, quality ball and clean lie and NOT 20* of shaft lean.

    If that’s correct, then that suggests that the Dynamic Loft measurement on Trackman is being “fooled”. It would then follow that the explanation of Spin Loft here is flawed, or at least incomplete.

    • Tom Stickney II

      Sep 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      B– increasing landing angle works as well and better for most players. However this article covered the “science” of spin not what was the easiest option.

      • Sc

        Sep 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm

        No, the title says “adding” spin to shots.

      • birly-shirly

        Sep 13, 2015 at 8:01 am

        Not sure if you followed the link, Tom. Friction is science too, no? The question is whether the 30* launch is the result of you leaning the hosel > 20*, or high friction between ball and face. In that link, JR appears to achieve a 30* launch irrespective of how much dynamic loft he presents. Have you verified that 34* dynamic loft figure on something that directly measures it?

  9. Wrong again

    Sep 12, 2015 at 2:55 am

    Of course there are some courses that are the opposite…hard and firm and don’t spin at all. It’s challenging in a different way, and while the PGA tour certainly plays at places like this, they certainly don’t all the time. When they go out to the greenbrier or john deer or these tournaments when guys are going out and shooting -20 or better, I can promise you those greens are spinning a lot. Thats what they mean when they refer to “scoring conditions”. When you can just throw the ball to the hole on almost any shot because its going to check once and stop takes all of the feel out of having to play bump and runs all day because the balls aren’t spinning as much. Thats what “scoring conditions” means. Easy to get the ball close to the hole.

  10. Steve

    Sep 11, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Mellonhead,
    Do you think it is better to make it more complicated? Or make it more simple. This is the reason the game is shrinking. It is explained in a over complicated way, by teachers that want you to believe they are educated. Golf will never grow with teachers like Mellonhead, they over complicate a simple game

    • Tom Stickney II

      Sep 12, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      I’m hopeful you are not referring to me sir as I’m only here trying to help you understand how things work. Knowledge is power if you can apply it…

      • Joe Golfer

        Sep 13, 2015 at 12:39 am

        Tom,
        Keep doing what you are doing. Ignore people like “Steve” who call names and such. There are some extremely immature people out there who simply must insult people to somehow feel superior about themselves.
        I gave your article both a Like and a Legit. Good job.

      • Jer

        Sep 13, 2015 at 8:36 am

        I would hope he isn’t speaking of you as you have went above and beyond to personally explain certain points thoroughly, and made it quite easy to understand. Thank you Tom

  11. Dennis Corley

    Sep 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Tom
    Looking at the Trackman screen at the bottom it says 56 degree. Did you deloft at 56 degree wedge down to 34.5? Is that alot? How much shaft lean is that?

    Thanks
    Dennis

  12. JeffL

    Sep 11, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Probably the main reason is that the pros catch their shots much cleaner. Even a decent shot from most mid- to high-handicappers is a little fat. That and clubhead speed.

  13. Bob Jones

    Sep 11, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    As far as the golf ball goes, I buy Bridgestone e5s, which you can spin the heck out of, for $25 a dozen.

  14. Bob Castelline

    Sep 11, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    This is a wonderful article about what happens to produce the most spin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help me much. There’s a big difference between knowing WHAT has to happen and HOW I make that happen. If someone could write an article describing how to create the appropriate angle of attack and shaft lean for producing the most spin loft, that would be exceedingly helpful.

  15. cmyktaylor

    Sep 11, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Another way to ask my question is this: Should I use the 54 without much shaft lean or downward AA from 90 yards out, or should I really contort my 60 from that distance if I’m wanting a lot of spin?

  16. Chris

    Sep 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for this article Tom.
    Question..You mentioned that better players want to combine a shallower Angle of Attack with a lower launch angle to get the best spin loft.
    I assume their spin loft tends to be too high then, correct?
    Now what about for the average player? Does there spin loft tend to be too low. Should they be trying to increase AoA while keeping the dynamic loft the same for example?

  17. cmyktaylor

    Sep 11, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I’d like to see this how this plays out with specific wedges. I have a good 54 that I could pull the string on without any effort the first year I got it. I don’t play too much, so It’s surprising to me that I can’t create any meaningful backspin for the life of me now, just two years and less than 50 rounds later.

    Does a 54 require a lot of forward shaft lean to hit that magic spin loft number? Or can I just dial back the AA and the shaft lean and get the same results?

  18. birlyshirly

    Sep 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Tom – you got those figures with a 56 degree wedge, delofted over 20 degrees. Can you get the same spin numbers hitting an 8 or 9 iron, same spin loft but less shaft lean?

    • Ballspeed

      Sep 11, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Hypothetically you could get the same numbers but the ball speed and landing angles would be different creating the illusion that the ball isn’t spinning as much. A lot of people don’t realize that ball speed has a lot to do with the illusion of backspin….the lower the ballspeed the less forward momentum the spin has to stop….I.E. say two shots that are spinning at say 6500 rpm’s but one has a ballspeed of 90 and the other has a ball speed of 120. It’ll look as if the latter didn’t spin for you, when in reality it was the difference in ball speed that eliminated the desired check. This is one of the most important factors to hard GREENside spinners (3-10 yard chips). Presenting the loft softens up the ballspeed and is going to spin it a little due to the spin loft as explained in this article. Go green side and look at the difference in ball speed when you hit a 5 yard chip with a sand wedge vs. a 9 iron.

      • birly-shirly

        Sep 11, 2015 at 2:03 pm

        If spin loft is the same in both scenarios, why would ballspeed be different?

        • Wrong again

          Sep 12, 2015 at 2:49 am

          Hypothetically you’re correct, but it would be impossible to get the same dynamic loft with a 9 iron that you have with a sand wedge while keeping the angle of attack the same. That is the difference. I.E.

          54* wedge at say (hypothetical) 4 degrees down = 32* of dynamic loft at impact.

          To get a 42* 9 iron to be at 32* of loft you’d have to only hit down (again hypothetical) only 2 degrees. If you hit down with the 4 degrees it would be lower then the 32* on the sand wedge. Again all of these numbers are purely hypothetical for sake of example. Make sense?

          • birly-shirly

            Sep 12, 2015 at 4:48 am

            I’m trying to make sense of the large amount of shaft lean that Tom’s TM figures imply. His SW is supposedly delofted >20*. Surely it would not be difficult to achieve mid-30* dynamic loft and a 5* AoA with a much less lofted club coupled with much less shaft lean. You’d achieve the same Spin Loft measurement – the question is, would the spin rate be the same?

  19. Andrew

    Sep 11, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Is it simplifying it too much to look at Dynamic Loft as the static club loft +- Shaft Lean at impact? I use a SkyPro Swing analyzer and both angle of attack and shaft lean at impact are reported. I obviously don’t have a trackman at home (like 99.9999999% of everyone else) and I’m just curious how I could compare my numbers or estimate spin loft.

  20. You'reNotAsGoodAsYouThink

    Sep 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    “And since this is GolfWRX, I also know that a lot of you are already spinning the ball like Tour players with your wedges.”

    Heh. Made me chuckle.
    Have never been on a forum with as many “experts” as there are here…

    • Double Mocha Man

      Sep 11, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      … even though the average handicap is about 13.

    • Ballspeed

      Sep 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Pretty sure he didn’t post this as a jab at “forum experts.” Spinning a golf ball is something that happens literally everytime you hit you. Just because (assuming?) You and the people you know may not be the best golfers in the world, you should know that there are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of guys that play this game at some professional level, let alone all the stratch golfers that play for fun. Not to mention that again, spinning the ball is something people do on literally every shot. Just because it doesn’t spin BACKWARDS, doesn’t mean its not spinning. Like the author stated, 90% of the time the ball not moving backwards is because of the conditions of the shot. Guys on TV are spinning the ball more because of the perfection of their fairways, the way their greens are cut (most people think you need slow greens to spin the ball but faster greens are way more receptive to spin), and (something you can’t SEE) they are smart enough to only try to play this shots when they have slopes that they know are there to work in their favor. So yes…i’m positive the majority of guys, professional or not, have seen a ball spin backwards in their time playing golf. But now you’re creating a new stereotype…theres the “forum pros”…and now the “forum pro haters”.

      • cmyktaylor

        Sep 11, 2015 at 2:58 pm

        Ballspeed – this actually makes more sense for me. I only really saw a lot of action when I was playing a very well kept course with a very tightly cropped fairway and fast greens that were soft and gently slopped back to front.

        • Yep!

          Sep 12, 2015 at 2:58 am

          Correct. While greens that are rolled and well cut ROLL faster, they receive the spin better, creating the illusion that they are spinning more. Also different types of green spin more then others.

      • Matto

        Sep 11, 2015 at 11:20 pm

        “Faster greens are more receptive to spin”
        Tell that to anyone playing Royal Melbourne in Summer.
        I watched Phil Mick in person at The Presidents Cup. Not even he could stop one!

        • Wrong again

          Sep 12, 2015 at 2:46 am

          There is a big difference between fast greens and firm greens, friend. Greens can be firm and slow and can be soft and fast. Two every different things.

        • Wrong again

          Sep 12, 2015 at 2:53 am

          I play golf on the golden state tour and one of the things that the courses do to make it tougher other then stimping the greens to roll really fast is make them CRAZY receptive to spin. This makes it so you can’t just hit stock numbers inside 150 yards. Say you hit your PW 140 yards stock. You cannot hit that club at 140 yards because it will spin off the green, so they make it harder on the players by forcing us to club up to say a 9 or 8 irons and bunt it (something a lot of guys are not comfortable with) to control the spin so the balls don’t spin off the greens. So again….if you don’t know what you’re talking about and don’t have experience with these things it’d be best that you don’t comment.

          • Matto

            Sep 12, 2015 at 7:23 pm

            You didn’t mention firm and fast, friend.

      • DS

        Oct 3, 2019 at 1:57 pm

        I think Tom’s too nice to be taking a jab at the ‘forum pros’ but I also laughed at his comment. You were specific in your note (thank you) but he specifically said ‘a lot of you are already spinning it like Tour players’. Not just getting the ball to spin – “like Tour players”.

        As for me, I like it when the columnists shoot back at the basket of miserables that seems to infest this site. Disagree if you want, and if you have a counter argument, please DO disagree, but you don’t have to be so disagreeable when you do it. That last part is lost on many of the forum pros, and I guess that makes me a forum pro hater, or at least a ‘miserable forum pro’ hater.

    • other paul

      Sep 11, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      But we are all experts… ????

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Instruction

Stickney: Sit on it (for a better backswing)

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As we know golf, is a very tough sport and one that involves many moving pieces. Whenever something overreacts or moves too much on the way back, you end up playing catch-up on the way down. One of my favorite things to watch is how the head moves or doesn’t move on the backswing. Sure, you can have some movement, but you can’t have too much or you put yourself behind the eight ball.

I have charted the head position of a tour player at address and we can see that this is a very normal set up position. It is one that looks positioned to do great things.

However, en route to the top, you can see that this player has put himself into a position where his rear knee straightened too rapidly off the start of his backswing. When this occurs the pelvis “runs out from under” the upper body on the backswing the hips will react and begin to slant downward. (You can see a -10 degree tilt versus 3 degrees the opposite way at address for you number people.)

This causes the head to move out in front of where it was at address. This is not a bad position for the irons but for a driver we have a pending issue. If you don’t make a compensation from here then the player will have an angle of attack that is too much downward through impact with their driver.

As the player moves into his transition, the hips have leveled as the rear shoulder lowers the club into delivery but the head and pelvis are still too far out in front of the ball. The only thing you can do from here is fire the lead side upwards and hope that your head falls back into the correct position. If so, you will have the correct angle of attack, if not, you will chop down on the ball causing your launch conditions to be faulty.

And as we see here that this is precisely what this player did at the very last minute…not the easiest way to swing the club but it is functional IF you make the right correction. So, now that you understand how simple things like the action of the lower body can cause your head to move and your angle of attack to become faulty, what is the secret to controlling your lower body?


Just “sit” on the rear knee flex slightly longer during the backswing as you see here. This will slow down the tilting of the pelvis on backswing and thus your head will stay more in position en route to the top.

Personally, I teach both flexion and extension of the rear knee to the top, depending on what the player is wanting to do, so it really does not matter. However, what does matter is the rate at which it begins to straighten for those of you who do allow it to lengthen. I try to make most of my students hold the most of their address flex until the club moves between belt and chest high, any sooner and you risk the faulty pivot we saw above.

Therefore, take it from me and “sit on it” slightly longer for more quiet head motions as well as a more balanced backswing—your angle of attack will thank you!

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Davies: Training the trail elbow in the golf swing

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Alistair Davies shares with you how to get the correct trail arm and elbow action in the downswing. He shares some great drills that can be done at the range or at home to help lower your scores.Get the correct training for the trail arm here today!

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Instruction

The important lessons you can learn from Peter Senior’s golf swing

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He may not be a household name in the United States, but Australia’s Peter Senior has a swing for the ages. At 60 years old, Senior has 34 worldwide professional wins including the 2015 Australian Masters beating a competitive field with several top-ranked players in the world. Turning professional in 1978, his career has spanned over 40 years.

Senior’s game and swing have stood the test of time, and the longevity of his career should be recognized. Senior formerly worked with Australian instructor Gary Edwin, and the structure to this swing taught to Senior paved the way for a future of consistent, high-quality professional golf.

Having a great golf swing isn’t the only key to becoming a great golfer, one must learn to play the game. However, you can learn a lot from Senior’s swing.

The origin to Senior’s swing lies in his set-up. Senior sets up in what I call his “hitting angles” or a position that mirrors impact.

From this position, Senior is able to simply keep these angles he established at address throughout the swing. This is why the set-up is so critical. The further he deviates from these “hitting angles”, the more he will have to find that impact position with his body in the backswing and downswing. In other words, more movement. The goal of his backswing will be to maintain these original starting angles.

From the picture, Senior has maintained his original body shape that he established at address. From this position, it will be much easier and repeatable to return the club to impact.

Note how his impact position now mirrors his original address position. All his original angles were maintained with a slight bump of the body towards the target. From impact, he can simply fold up his arms as his right side of his body rotates around his left side, keeping the clubface square to the body.

This standing tall finish position with the head following the torso is much easier on the back. His body has come forward and around beautifully, covering the ball for a proper strike.

The beauty of Senior’s swing lies in its simplicity. The changes Senior made to his swing can apply to anyone. Let’s look at two simple drills to make your swing more efficient and powerful.

“To a large extent, my backswing is a product of my set-up position” – Tiger Woods, Golf Digest 2020

To get into these impact angles simply practice pushing into an impact bag with the head and shaft of the club. Make sure your trail arm is tucked, lowering the trail shoulder as you pressure the bag.

To get the feeling of the proper coil from this set-up position, grab an impact bag and hold the bag in front of you.

From here, swing the bag around you with your arms keeping the top of the bag level. You will feel the trail side of your body move back and the lead side move out, coiling around your spine angle.

The trail glute will also move back and around with this drill, a key move the great Ben Hogan used to pivot his body. To develop an efficient swing and a long, injury-free career, take note of Peter Senior’s key moves.

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