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In this video, we look at the key differences between PGA Tour players and low-handicap amateurs in the way they move the center of the torso and the center of the pelvis throughout the golf swing.  

What we have found in our 3D research is that the classic “Reverse-K” setup is not something the best players in the world employ. Also, we see professionals in the downswing keep the torso on top of the pelvis (or even let it get in front of the pelvis) until the hands reach around waist high. At this point, the tour professional is able to push hard into the ground with his lead leg, which causes the pelvis to finally shift out in front of the torso.

Over the years in golf instruction, it seems that the industry as a whole has taken the static position of impact and tried to employ it in the swing via the Reverse-K setup and keeping the torso behind the pelvis during the entire motion. It does appear to make things simpler, but the problem is that this teaching can cause a severe in-to-out swing direction. It can also cause a reduction in ground-force production, as the player is not able to push as hard with the lead side late in the downswing (it would cause him to topple over!). Over time, we believe the teaching has caused countless players — especially better players — to struggle with hooking and pushing the ball.

Now, it’s true that most golf instructors have worked with a chronic slicer who has benefitted from some “Reverse K” feeling in their swing, especially if the golfer has the upper body well to the left of the pelvis at the top of the swing. Remember that in this video series, however, we are highlighting the lower-handicapper amateur who is trying to take their game to the next level.

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Athletic Motion Golf is a collaboration of four of golf's brightest and most talented instructors who came together with the sole purpose of supplying golfers the very best information and strategies to lower their scores. At AMG, we're bringing fact-based instruction that's backed by research and proven at the highest levels on the PGA Tour straight to golfers through our website. Our resources will help you "clear the fog" in your game and understand the essentials of playing great golf.

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Ray Bennett

    Jun 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Finally some real truths about the swing on the site. Well done to the authors of this vid and article.

  2. Scott

    Jun 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I understand what you are trying to get at, but it seems tome that in order to do this, you need to have a strong core in order to keep your entire swing supported. If you do not have a strong core, I can see A LOT of lateral movement and inconsistent ball striking.

    Other questions: Is it the address or impact position that makes a difference as opposed to the set up? What about people that have a difficult time keeping their center behind the ball at impact? I see a number of LPGA players that do not seem to stay centered.

  3. SH

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Gotta lift the leading leg though. Get a bigger turn that way, and hurts the back less

  4. Terry

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Maybe this swing is why there is so many back injuries among the 20 somethings on tour. Not a good way to go.

    • Jim Maron

      Jun 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      I’m 54, never had back problems in my life until I tried not swaying off the ball after some lessons. Immediately started having lower back pain. Maybe it’s coincidence but bad back isn’t worth the risk.

    • AMG

      Jun 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      One of those players in the video has had to have major back surgery… it wasn’t the pro 😉

    • AMG

      Jun 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Interesting comment because the am in the video was the one who had to undergo major back surgery. He also credits not Reverse K’ing anymore as the reason he’s been able to improve and play without pain.

      • Terry

        Jun 5, 2017 at 10:47 pm

        Probably because he is performing the reverse k incorrectly. For one he should be letting his front heel raise a bit in the backswing, which will free up the hips and take all pressure off the lower spine

        • Terry

          Jun 5, 2017 at 10:52 pm

          Also doesn’t explain the rash of back injuries among young pga tour players nowadays

  5. CB

    Jun 5, 2017 at 10:37 am

    You guys are making this way more difficult than it needs to be. Just set up to the ball with your whole body stacked on top (hips over feet, shoulders over hips) – no tilting either way. Then just swing the damn club around that base. Its really easy to be honest. Amateurs think too much – stop! This video and article are absolute golden if you apply it.

  6. Tourgrinder

    Jun 5, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Isn’t this basically the “stack and tilt” method that has now been mostly disputed and left in the dust by most swing coaches and tour pros? I’m not sure old “connection” pro Jimmy Ballard would agree with this, or that pro swingers such as Curtis Strange would be looking anything like this. Would they?

  7. mike

    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Best I can tell, you guys are getting closer and closer to Moe Norman’s single plane swing.
    Although Moe’s swing caused him to dip down to compensate for his distance from the ball, his hip motion (and shoulders) was lateral. A modern interpretation of Moe’s swing doesn’t need the stretch to the ball. Moe didn’t use the ground as well as he could have. But witness Bryson Dechambeau’s swing — centered and using the ground — and still single plane. That’s what the average golfer needs. Your research is for the advanced golfer who is starting to figure out why he has been having back problems.

  8. Patricknorm

    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Further to this article, there’s a good articles in the June 04,2017 edition online from Forbes regarding this technology in the lifestyle section written by Scott Kramer. I’m a Canadian so this tech isn’t available as far as I know.
    Regardless the author of this article ( Forbes ) is very satisfied with this analysis and solution to his swing flaws. Personally, my swing isn’t great due to sports injuries ( hip and knee replacement plus, a bent lead arm). Still my fundamentals are decent ( I’m a 8.8 factor/ index ) but I know having read this WRX article the comparisons (pro vs.amater) are valid. I just wish I could execute the fundamentals better.

  9. Lairde11

    Jun 5, 2017 at 6:04 am

    I enjoyed this. Can i ask if Ian Woosnam would be a good example of the non- reverse K approach? I always liked his minimalist rotational action.

  10. Tom Abts

    Jun 5, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Maybe for scratch amateurs. But … amateurs need the reverse k concept. Most amateurs either try to flip the club under the ball while making a reverse weight shift … or they just lift up the club and beat down on the ball.
    I respect excellence … and helping the best in the world.
    However, this is bad information for most golfers.

  11. M Sizzle

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Looks a lot like Justin Thomas to me

  12. Philip

    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks, that helps a lot with my visualization of what I need to do.

  13. Neil

    Jun 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I agree, more info needed. Also this is 1 amateur’s swing and 1 Pro’s swing. Should at least be another pro swing. Should also be some commentary on identifying the issue and drills to fix. PGA pros hit down on the ball on average as they have so much speed that they sacrifice a bit of distance to in favour of accuracy. The model pro may do this. If we need to hit up more like an LPGA player cause of lack of speed does this observation on stacked posture still apply …

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Correct, we only used 1 pro for this video, but I’m having a hard time thinking of one current PGA tour play in our database who doesn’t align their centers that way. The pro in the video is representative of ourthe swings we have captured.

      That particular pro also has a positive AoA. This does not confine a player to hitting down on it. (We also have plans to address the “average pro hits down” idea. That’s not what the data shows when the actual club face is tracked, but that’s for another video).

  14. Paul

    Jun 4, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Cool video.
    Who is the tour player?
    I tried to figure out what guys like bubba and JB are doing. I gained a lot of distance and my pain went away. Have you put them on your system?

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Awesome to hear you’re longer and pain free – that’s a strong combo!

      We’ve collected the data on several pros who move it north of 120pm, but we haven’t collected it on Bubba or JB yet.

  15. sam

    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    put Jack Nicklaus swing on that system and you will come back and tell us a completely different story…

  16. Mike

    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Ok, but how do you fix that? I tilt a lot worse than that guy and cannot eliminate it even on the slowest of swings. I know I do it, don’t know how to fix it.

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      You’re more than welcome to email me your swing, would be happy to take a look.

    • Joseph

      Jun 4, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      I’m with you. I tilt more than that guy and have done for my 66 years. Wish I could be that athletic.

  17. Dave

    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I think this is perfect a perfect example of the pure athleticism on the tour: Not many amateurs can turn like that, let alone swing a club while they do it.

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      In our view, athleticism is a good thing. But let’s also keep in mind that the golf swing takes less than a second from address to impact, so the amount of athleticism it takes is not a lot or very taxing by comparison. The oldest player we have in our database is 73 years old. He describes himself a way overweight and the only exercise he gets is from playing golf… certainly not a pure tour level athlete by anyone’s definition. Last year, after learning to neutralize his upper and lower (like depicted in the video), he shot posted 66 and 68 in tournaments. He won his 4th tournament last weekend since the change. He’s said on numerous occasions how easy it is to swing now.

      Everyone should do what’s best for them, but this has not been physically difficult for our amateur clients to do… in fact, most say it is much easier and less painful.

  18. Desmond

    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Not enough detail in explanation – just enough where people will do bad things. Vid needs more length. I think there is a balance between stacking and too much stacking, from what my instructor says, who teaches PGA Touring Pros, and the vid needs to clear this up. He should also talk about the first move going down. Just not enough here to be helpful, and just enough to be harmful.

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      We’d love to make these much longer and go into greater detail, but we’ve been asked to keep them as concise as possible. I agree completely that overdoing it in either direction can be done, which is why we like neutral as a great demonstration/starting point.

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Instruction

WATCH: What to do when you’re short sided

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Top-100 instructor Tom Stickney shows you how to avoid compounding a mistake when you’ve missed the ball on the wrong side of the green.

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Why flaring your left foot out at address could be a big mistake

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In his book “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” published in 1957, Ben Hogan recommended that golfers position their right foot at a 90-degree angle to the target line, and then position their left-foot a quarter of a turn outward at a 15-degree angle (Note: He was writing for right-handed golfers). The purpose of the left-foot foot position was to assist in the “clearing of the left hip,” which Hogan believed started his downswing.

Through this Hogan instruction book and the others he wrote through the years, there four categories that defined his advice;

  1. He accurately described what was occurring in his swing.
  2. He described a phantom move that never occurred.
  3. He described something that occurred but to a lesser degree than indicated.
  4. He inaccurately described what was happening in his swing.

As evidenced by today’s modern video, Hogan did not open up his left hip immediately as he described. This piece of advice would fall into the fourth category listed above — he inaccurately described what was happening in his swing. In reality, the first move in his downswing was a 10-12 inch shift of his left hip forward toward the target before his left hip ever turned open.

SPINNING OUT

Those amateur golfers who strictly adopted his philosophy, opening the left hip immediately, ended up“spinning out” and never getting to their left foot. The spin-out was made even worse by the 15-degree angle of the left foot Hogan offered. That said, based on Hogan’s stature in the golf world, his advice regarding the positioning of the feet was treated as if it were gospel and adopted by both players and teachers. Since that time his hip action has been debated, but the positioning of the left foot has remained unquestioned — until today.

THE FLARED FOOT POSITION

The flared position of his left foot may or may not have been of assistance in helping Hogan achieve the desired outcome in his swing. That really is not the point, but rather that over a half-century there has never been a voice that argued against the flared foot position he advocated.

The rest of the golf world accepted his advice without question. In my opinion, the left foot position advocated by Hogan has harmed countless golfers who slowly saw their swings fall apart and wondered why. His well-meaning advice was a poisoned pill, and once swallowed by golfers it served to eventually erode what was left of their left side.

DEAD WRONG

The subject of this piece is not to debate Hogan’s hip action but the piece that accompanied it, the 15-degree flare of the left foot. I’m of the opinion that it is not only wrong. Because of its toxic nature, it is DEAD WRONG.  The reason has to do with the tailbone, which determines the motion of the hips in the swing. The more the left foot opens up at address, the more the tailbone angles backward. That encourages the hips to “spin out” in the downswing, which means they have turned before the player’s weight has been allowed to move forward to their left foot and left knee.

As a consequence of the hips spinning out, players move their weight backward (toward the right foot), encouraging a swing that works out-to-in across the body. You can see this swing played out on the first tee of any public golf course on a Saturday morning.

FOOT FLARE ISSUES

The problem with the 15-degree foot flare is that it promotes, if not guarantees, the following swing issues:

In the backswing, the flared left foot:

  1. Discourages a full left- hip turn;
  2. Encourages the improper motion of the left-knee outward rather than back
  3. Reduces the degree that the torso can turn because of the restrictions placed on the left hip.

In the downswing, the flared left foot: 

  1. Promotes a “spinning out” of the left hip.
  2. Does not allow for a solid post at impact.

STRAIGHT AHEAD

In working with my students, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most advantageous position for the left foot at address is straight ahead at a 90-degree angle to the target line. The reason is not only because it encourages a positive moment of the player’s weight forward in the downswing, but it also improves the player’s chances of making a sound backswing.

THE POWER OF THE LEFT HEEL

There is an inherent advantage to placing the left-foot at a 90-degree to the target-line. It is the strongest physical position against which to hit the ball, as it provides a powerful post at impact that serves to increase both power and consistency.

JACK NICKLAUS

A number of years ago, Jack Nicklaus appeared on the cover of Golf Digest. The byline suggested that in studying Jack’s footwork, they had discovered something that up to that point was unknown. The “secret” they were describing was that after lifting his left heel in the backswing, he replanted it in the downswing with his heel closer to the target line than his toe. The intimation was that this might be a secret source of power in his swing.  This was hardly a “secret,” and something that Nicklaus was probably unaware of until it was pointed out to him, but it’s a demonstration of the fact that his natural instinct was to turn his foot inward, rather than outward, on the downswing.

THE DISCUS THROWER

The discus thrower whirls around in a circle as he prepares to throw. On the final pass, he plants his left toe slightly inward, relative to his heel, because this is the most powerful position from which to cast the discus. This position allows the thrower to draw energy from the ground while at the same time providing a strong post position from which additional torque can be applied. The point is that as the discus thrower makes the final spin in preparation for the throw, he does not turn the lead foot outward. Why? Because if it were turned outward, the potential draw of energy from the ground would be compromised.

The same is true when it comes to swinging a golf club for power, and you can test the two positions for yourself. After turning the left foot into a position that is 90 degrees to the target line, you will immediately note the ease with which you can now turn away from the target in addition to the strength of your left side post at the point of impact. Conversely, when you turn your left foot out, you will feel how it restricts your backswing and does not allow for a strong post position on the downswing.

REPAIRING YOUR SWING

Do you have trouble cutting across the ball? You might look to the position of your left foot and the action of the left hip. The first step would be to place your left foot at a 90-degree angle to the target line. The second step would be to turn you left hip around in a half circle as if tracing the inside of a barrel. The third step would be to feel that you left your left hip remains in the same position as you scissor your weight towards your left toe, and then your right heel, allowing the club to travel on the same path. The combination of these changes will encourage the club to swing in-to-out, improving the path of your swing.

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WATCH: Over-the-top vs. over-and-through: 1 destroys a swing, 1 can save it

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This video is about OVER-AND-THROUGH, which is very different than being over-the-top. Over-and-through is a great recovery from a backswing that is not quite in the right position. Over-the-top is flat-out a full default to the ball. See how you can bridge the gap with getting your swing to deliver better to the target!

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