Early Extension: The Difference Between PGA Tour Players and Amateurs


The next topic in our series is often not given enough weight (pun intended); a golfer’s Dynamic Balance during the golf swing.

The amateur golfer in this video is typical of what we see when a golfer struggles with early extension and raising the handle through impact. We really don’t need to look farther than the first few feet of club movement to see the foreshadowing of those two issues.

Swing Catalyst’s 3D Motion Plate lets us see how the golfer “pressures” the different parts of his feet throughout the swing. In this regard, the golf swing is like so many other athletic motions we’ve all made since childhood.  

Stand in a golf-like address position and just throw a ball down the target line. Your footwork and pressure movement will work exactly like the professional golfer in the video. You’ll be more dynamically balanced and supportive of what you are trying to do with your arm as you throw the ball. It’s very similar to what we’d like to see in the golf swing. Conversely, you could really derail your best intentions to send your ball down the target line if you start the motion by pressuring both heels and then rebounding to both toe boxes during the delivery.

In the golf swing, your golf ball isn’t moving away from you as you move closer to it.  A number of very fast alterations need to happen to strike the ball cleanly and send it at your target. That is very difficult to do swing after swing, day after day.

Starting your swing with the dynamic balance of an athlete will give you every opportunity to eliminate the hump and high handle!

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  1. It’s very clear the differences between the pro and amateur swings. Obviously if your an amateur who puts too much pressure on your front foot on the downswing, you need to reverse the pressure to the back foot.
    A good drill is to take one of those whippy orange sticks and time your follow through better. I had a hip replacement on my load side and it’s taken me years to trust myself on the load side. Meaning I was bailing out pushing off on my load side. A slower , deliberate takeaway is a good drill too. Hideki Matsuyama has this pregnant pause at the top of his swing which illustrates perfectly how he loading up on his back leg. I’m neither strong enough or flexible enough to pull this off but it’s a very good mental visual.

    • Well, once you know what the problem is, you can address it. I’m guessing you don’t have an instructor, and you are trying to improve on your own.

      The fix is simple, shift your weight on the backswing, return it to the front foot on your downswing. Now, you may need help with other areas first, such as strengthening the posterior chain of muscles to allow you to stay down through the swing. It isn’t likely to be a single action that ‘fixes’ your problem.