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When we look at the anatomy of the arms and wrists, we quickly realize that we were built for slinging objects with great velocity.

In this video, we compare the release of baseball, hockey, fencing, golf and hammering, and we notice that… hey, there is no difference! When you use your body the way it is designed, you set yourself up for decades of strain-free use with high performance gains. Another side effect of this proper use? No more slice!

Watch the video to see how our arms and wrists are designed to be loaded, and then how the weight of our “instruments” release us through the task without any conscious thought on our part. Enjoy!

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Shawn Clement is the Director of the Richmond Hill Golf Learning Centre and a class A PGA teaching professional. Shawn Clement was a 2011 and 2015 Ontario PGA Teacher of the Year nominee and was also voted in the top 10 (tied with Martin Hall at No. 9) as most sought after teacher on the internet with 65 K subscribers on YouTube and 29 millions hits.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Dill Pickleson

    Mar 11, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Shawn, I’ve taken lesson from many famous instructors and have seen all the others videos, too. I just came to say you are a great orator and keep up the good work. Hard not to enjoy and learn something watching you.

  2. Ted

    Mar 11, 2017 at 12:09 am

    lots of ways to get it around on the golf course, this is one, may work for some not others…great thing about the game it is a never ending search for something to support the loss of one or two strokes in a round. Like the “Hammer” idea look up Jerry Heards Super Swing from 20 years ago…now that is the “Hammer” idea taken to the max…

  3. Shawn Clement

    Mar 10, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Hey man! All you need to do is try the drill!! You will feel for yourself how the weight of the club releases you! It is not your job to place the club; it is your job to use the weight of the club to perform a specific task with it! Try it and let me know how you do!
    See also “hammer through shawn clement” “fencing for power shawn clement” and “how arms and club release shawn clement” as well as “throwing the club shawn clement” on youtube!

  4. Bert

    Mar 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Tried this today and while making sure my right elbow was ahead of my right hip, I hit quite a few really nice powerful high draw shots. Boy did they feel so much better than my weak fade.

  5. DaveT

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    You have to be careful with analogies. There are too many false analogies in golf instruction, and I think we’ve got one or two here. Just a few places where my mind rebelled:

    (1) Throwing a football lines up the radius and ulna. True. But pitching a baseball has radius and ulna in what was presented as a “weak position”. So you can pick and choose your analogies, but there are others that make the opposite point.

    (2) Continuing on this point, the hammer and sword analogies have the “impact” in the lined up position. If you did that in golf, you would hit the ball with the hosel, if you hit it at all. To get the clubface on the ball, you need the radius and ulna in what is called here the weak position at impact.

    (3) The hockey analogy is all about what the biomechanics community calls the “hand couple”. But in golf, the hand couple is not providing the power through most of the release; power comes from the moment of the pull on the handle. Encouraging a golfer to focus on hitting the ball with the hand couple is likely counterproductive.

    (4) “Engineers say” the force is 2000-3000 pounds per square inch. I’m an engineer, and I would NEVER say that. Pounds per square inch is a measure of pressure, not force.

    (5) As long as “compression” is just a buzzword, harmless and meaningless, I guess I won’t complain. But if you’re going to use it as a serious argument, you should say enough to distinguish it from ordinary momentum transfer. I don’t see genuine understanding conveyed here.

    Bottom line: there are so many errors in detail here that I don’t know what to believe and what to dismiss.

    • Shawn Clement

      Mar 10, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Hey Dave! Awesome reply, thank you for taking the time!
      Yes, agree with 1-Dustin Johnson would be the baseball and Bubba the Football; both can propel like crazy! 2-don’t agree there as there are G-forces at work tht you connot prevent the club head from being taken when in a full out kinetic chain; so the face of club comes around but only if the grip is strong enough…
      3-not encouraging anyone to do that; if you simply performed the drill with the sword without filters and felt how the weight of the shaft releases your anatomy; it would be very clear
      4-there are other engineers who say that (I am sure your clan is as varied as the golf clan as is the medical clan) and I am merely trying to demonstrate that there will be “an elastic collision” slowing down the club through impact that the Central Nervous System will compensate for in comparison to say “air or a whiffle ball” how would you describe it better so I can choose my words better next time?
      5-ok, let’s make this one crystal clear: our students are our best coaches as they convey their golden feedback to us as we teach them; I start with a solid understanding of human anatomy-blend that with breaking par both right and left hand and playing just about every sport in the book and growing up on a farm-apply this to 20 years of proper teaching 80 to 100 students a week after cutting my teeth for 10 years and get this validated byDOZENS OF MD’s including several orthopaedic surgeons and you get what you see today; so when I do a video like this, understand that you have literally, a stadium full of people speaking through me saying hey, this worked for me!!
      So please, this is not my first ride around the block; I have and continue to do my homework every day.

  6. Steve Wozeniak

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    WRONG.

    This is teaching people how to shank it. At least he demonstrates how to do it correctly while hammering, and then screws it all up when telling people how it works at impact…..SHANK!!!!

    Steve Wozeniak PGA

    • Shawn Clement

      Mar 10, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Steve;
      This could not be farther from the intention; have you tried the drill? Did you feel how the weight of the instrument releases the anatomy? This is a universal movement of a human being.

    • doc_c

      Apr 12, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Dear Steve,

      more constructive criticism would be helpful if you feel like there are errors. your trumpian like attitude is quite unbecoming. But maybe you play golf with the guy, so who knows.

      Shawns anatomical understanding is spot on. As a physician, I can attest to that.
      cheers,

      doc c

    • JR

      Apr 20, 2017 at 12:16 am

      Hey Steve, you have crapped on Shawn twice in the comment thread, but you have failed to tell us the “right” way to do it.
      Your attitude toward other golf instructors is a huge turnoff, dont know why anybody would take a lesson from you the way you conduct yourself toward other golf pros.

  7. James

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:59 am

    better have excellent hand eye control if your going to use this idea…this is the swing where you shoot 70 one day and 84 the next…major timing issues here…..I wonder how many new players watching this are going out and trying this idea on the first tee tomorrow…let me help “FORE RIGHT”.

  8. SoCal

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Ah!!! Don’t think so…

  9. Joseph

    Mar 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    While I appreciate the comparisons, I’ve got to speak out against his thesis – that the timing of the wrist action is the same across various sports.

    The main problem I had picking up golf was overcoming the comparatively late wrist release (rotation) I’d learned playing baseball. Hitting to the opposite field with power in baseball requires a delayed wrist release, i.e. the wrists don’t begin to rotate until well after impact. The same action in golf leads blocks and slices.

    Consider the demos from the video, but imagine Shawn is wearing a pair of wrist watches. In the hammering motion, the face of the watch would be oriented about 90 degrees from the target line at impact. Same thing in the baseball demo; as the bat travels through the contact zone, the watch faces would be facing up and down.

    But in golf, at impact, the watch faces would be oriented more or less along the target line, meaning that the release has already begun and your wrists have already begun to rotate before contact is made.

    So for anyone struggling with a beginner’s slice, understand that, while the loading motion of the wrists is similar across sports, in golf, your wrists must begin to rotate in the last half to quarter of your downswing in order to square/close the club face at impact.

  10. Ian

    Mar 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    When I try swing like that – my brain screams fore left.

    • Jim

      Mar 9, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Ian…Been there, done that! If I focus on releasing the club “at the ball” instead of following Shawn’s advice of releasing the club “To the Target” I can hit some nasty high hooks. OTOH, when I follow Shawn’s advice and focus on the Target, the same swing produces a tight, medium-high draw (his “Throw the Club” videos are awesome!) It’s kind of spooky, but changing the focus from the ball to the target down range makes the swing feel less powerful and more like a natural swinging / throwing motion, but the impact sensation is “WOW”…
      WARNING: any impulse at the top to “Crush” the ball for extra power instantly changes your focus to the ball and will validate your brain’s “Fore Left!” screams and can produce some lethal OTT snap hooks that threaten the OB boundaries of the next fairway!

      • Ian

        Mar 9, 2017 at 10:31 pm

        Well said. I’m just not sure it’s worth the risk – OTT snap hook spells disaster and can wreck my confidence/score card at the same time.

      • Shawn Clement

        Mar 10, 2017 at 8:45 pm

        Awesome comment!!

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Instruction

Your Body Is Your Most Important Piece Of Equipment; It’s Time For An Upgrade

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Clubs, balls, shoes, mental training, lessons. Golfers are always searching for the next thing that is going to transform their game. If a product has promise, golfers are like addicts; they must have it… regardless of the price. What’s usually ignored, however, is the most important piece of equipment for all golfers: their body, and how their physical conditioning pertains to golf.

Everything becomes easier by getting in better “golf shape.” You will likely hit the ball farther, have better energy and focus, fewer aches and pains, improved ability to actually implement swing changes and the durability to practice more.

When trying to improve your physical conditioning for golf, it would shortsighted not to mention the following requirements:

  1. Discipline: There will be times you don’t want to train, but should.
  2. Patience: Small, incremental progress adds up to big improvement over time.
  3. A Path: Make sure you use your time and effort efficiently by having a training plan that matches your goals.

If you can adopt these principles, I am confident you will be very happy with the return — even more so than the latest driver, putter or practice aid.

I like to compare having a well functioning body to a painter’s blank canvas. By ensuring you have adequate coordination, motor control, mobility, stability, strength and speed, you have the basic tools necessary for a high-performance golf swing. Of course, you will still need to develop a functional technique and specific skill level that matches your goals. On the flip side, if you are deficient in these areas, you are like a dirty canvas; your options are limited and you will need to make compensations to achieve anything close to the desired outcome. In simpler terms, movements that are universally desirable in the golf swing may be very difficult or impossible for you based on your current physical state.

Earlier, I mentioned the term “appropriate training,” and now I am going to discuss one of the ways to identify what this means for you as a golfer trying to use physical training to support a better golf game. The TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Movement Screen is a great start for everyone. It is a combination of 16 exercises that are used to assess your current movement capabilities, identify limitations and provide you with your “Body-Swing” connection. The “Body-Swing” connection is a term coined by TPI that illustrates the link between physical deficiencies and potential swing tendencies based on its “Big 12” model. The Big 12 swing characteristics that TPI has identified are as follows:

  1. S-Posture
  2. C-Posture
  3. Loss of Posture
  4. Flat Shoulder Plane
  5. Early Extension
  6. Over The Top
  7. Sway
  8. Slide
  9. Hanging Back
  10. Reverse Spine Angle
  11. Casting
  12. Chicken Winging

It’s important to note these as tendencies rather than flaws, as great ball strikers have demonstrated some of them. When done excessively, they make high functioning swings more difficult and may make potential injury more likely. Rather than going through all 16 screening exercises (which would be a very long read), I have selected five that I feel provide a lot of useful information. They can often broadly differentiate the playing level of golfers.

1. Static Setup Posture

There is a lot of debate in golf instruction about what is the correct way to assume posture for the golf swing. Some prefer more rounded shoulders akin to what was common in years gone by: Jack and Arnie being good examples. Others prefer a more extended thoracic spine (less curved upper back): Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott are good examples. I’m not a golf instructor and clearly both types can hit great golf shots. I am more concerned with the lumbar spine (the lower back, which doesn’t seem to get as much attention when the setup is being discussed).

Note the difference between the spinal curvatures of Jack and Rory. I’m OK with either as long as the lower back is in a biomechanically sound position (explained in video).

An overly extended or arched lower back (which I demonstrate in the video) creates too large a space between the alignment rod and my lower back. This is a common issue I see, and it can lead to a lack of pelvis rotation, a lack of power due to the inability to effectively use the glutes and abdominal muscles and lower back discomfort. Cueing a slight posterior tilt (tucking the tailbone underneath you) often makes a noticeable difference in pelvis mobility, power, and comfort.

 2. Pelvic Rotation

Pelvic rotation is essential for X-factor stretch, the ability to increase the amount of separation between the pelvis and torso during transition (moving from the backswing into the downswing). This is often referred to as starting the downswing with the lower body/hips (while the torso is still rotating away from the target or is paused at the end of the backswing). It is critical for effective sequencing and power production. Increasing the separation between your pelvis and torso on the downswing increases what is known as the “stretch-shortening cycle” of your trunk and torso muscles, which is like adding more stretch to an elastic band and then releasing it. If you cannot separate pelvic rotation and torso rotation, it will be extremely difficult to be a good golfer.

In the video below, watch how Rickie Fowler’s pelvis rotates toward the target independently of his torso. This increases the elastic energy stored in his muscles and tendons, allowing for big power production.

 3. Lower Quarter Rotation

The Lower Quarter Rotation Test shares some similarities to the Pelvic Rotation Test, but one key difference is that it doesn’t require nearly as much motor control. Many people fail the pelvic rotation test not because of a mobility limitation, but because they can’t control the different segments of the their body and perform the action they want (motor control issue). The Lower Quarter Rotation Test, on the other hand, does not require anywhere near as much control and therefore looks more directly at the internal and external rotation mobility of the lower body. People who struggle with this test are more likely to sway, slide and have reverse spine angle.

DJ Top of backswing.jpg

I’m confident Dustin Johnson would do OK on the Lower Quarter Rotation test. Look at how well he can turn into his right hip.

 4. Seated Thoracic Rotation

This one usually resonates with golfers, as “getting a full shoulder turn” is something that golf media and players like to talk to about regularly. I think most people understand the concept of a sufficient shoulder turn being important for creating power. Restricted thoracic spine rotation can stem from a few different causes. A common one is excessive thoracic flexion (rounder upper back). To test this for yourself: 1) try the test in the video hunched over and 2) with your spine as long as possible. You should notice you can rotate farther when you sit extended.

5. 90/90 External Shoulder Rotation  

Many popular golf instruction pages on social media talk about the importance of shallowing the shaft in transition and trail arm external shoulder rotation. I understand the reasoning for this in terms of swing technique, but something that needs to be taken into consideration is whether golfers actually have the ability to externally rotate their shoulders. This is often not the case. Two interesting trends I have noticed with golfers and external shoulder rotation:

  1. A larger percentage of U.S. golfers compared to Irish golfers (the two countries I have worked in) tend to have much more trail arm external rotation available. This is mainly due to throwing baseballs and footballs in their youth, which doesn’t happen in Ireland.
  2. Shoulder external rotation, shoulder flexion, and thoracic extension really seem to reduce as golfers get older compared to other movements. Please take note of this and put some exercises into your routine that promote mobility and stability in the thoracic spine and scapula, as these are the foundation for sound shoulder mechanics. Thoracic extensions on a foam roller, relaxed hanging from a pull-up bar and wall slides with external rotation are some exercises I like to use.
MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Toronto Blue Jays

I think this pitcher would have enough external shoulder rotation in his golf swing.

I hope this article gave you some more understanding of how learning about your body and then working on its limitations might be beneficial for your golf game. If you have questions about the TPI Movement Screen or are interested in an online evaluation, please feel free to e-mail me.

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Instruction

Let’s Talk Gear: Frequency and Shaft CPM

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When it comes to fine tuning a golf shaft and matching clubs within a set, frequency and CPM play a critical role in build quality and making sure what you were fit for is what gets built for you.

This video explains the purpose of a frequency machine, as well as how the information it gives us relates to both building and fitting your clubs.

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How to Deliver the Club Better With Your Trail Arm

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The vast majority of golfers want to be consistent. The reality is that they are… the consistency they have just doesn’t produce the outcome they want.

In this video, I share a simple drill that will improve the way you deliver the club with your trail arm and give you a more consistent delivery from the inside to promote more consistent outcomes.

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