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Turn a Slice Into a Draw By “Reversing The Loop”

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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. As a golfer, you must change something in your golf swing to change your ball flight. Grip, stance, alignment, and posture are extremely important in the setup, but I consider them variables, not fundamentals. You see phenomenal golfers with all type of setups, grips, alignments, and postures.

Can you change your ball flight and make impact conditions different with grip, stance, alignment, and posture changes? Absolutely, but in my experience one of the worst things you can do is change a golfer’s grip without determining what the outcome needs to be. I have seen golfers with strong grips slice the ball and golfers with weak grips hook the ball, so as a golf instructor I have to be very careful.

My goal for the majority of my students is “getting the car out of the ditch,” so to speak. I want to get them back on the road to competent golf as quickly as possible. Watching ball flight and listening to impact is the best way to help a golfer improve, and my diagnosis of a golfer always starts with the ball flight. Then I go to the club face, then to the shaft, and then what the body is doing in the motion to create the golf shot.

Golfers do not need to change their entire golf swings to improve their ball flight, but if the goal is to change ball flight — hit the ball higher, farther, and make the bottom of the swing more consistent — we need to find a way to improve impact, face angle, and angle of attack.

The first few feet in the takeaway is crucial to have a repeating swing, and the majority of golfers I give lessons to or watch on the range have a distinct movement in their takeaway that directly affects their downswing. In an effort to create power, the golfer whips the club too far inside and usually opens the face way too early in the backswing. Compensations abound from creating this type of position with the club face and shaft. The handle of the club will move up and out, making the front arm become disconnected from the body, and golfers experience an automatic loss of power.

Doing this, the club head will also move too far behind the body in the backswing. At the halfway-back point in the backswing, golfers are doomed to an over-the-top, out-to-in downswing, which causes the ball to curve to the right (slice) for a right-handed golfer. The club face is now way too open, and the golfer has created a steeper angle of attack. It’s no wonder most golfers have never hit a real draw in their life.

In the video at the top of the story, you will see the shaft is above the shoulder in the start of the downswing. It creates an in-and-over motion with the club head and shaft that leads to a slice. Now, there have been some very successful golfers with this type of motion: Bruce Lietzke, Hale Irwin, Raymond Floyd, and Colin Montgomerie to name a few, but these are professional golfers who have perfected their technique. They are swinging on a path with a club face that works for a ball flight they want to see, and they also have awesome wrist, hand and body action.

The following motion will have golfers picking the club up with their arms and not completing their pivots. They are lifting their arms up and not tilting properly, which may cause them to lose balance.

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These golfers will most likely have an open club face at the top of the swing, too. Having an open club face at the top of the swing leads to many swing faults, including hitting behind the ball, too much weight on the trail foot at impact, and casting the club, which adds way to much loft to the club face. The golfers will generally have a major, backward shaft lean at impact with the handle leaning back to their trail leg.

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On the downswing, the golf club will start moving across the ball like a butter knife. The club face will be slicing across the ball, resulting in pulls, slices, and weaker shots. Loss of distance and accuracy will be a huge factor with this type of motion. The arms will be pulling apart, usually having the chicken-wing look after the ball. Topping can also occur with this type of motion because the head of the club is swinging too much up and in toward the body. The trail arm will also have space in between the trail elbow and the body during the downswing.

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Reversing The Loop

How can we fix this type of motion? Very simple! Reverse the loop! What I mean is that golfers can reverse engineer their entire motion to create a very effective swing with the desired ball flight. For your backswing, take the club up the path of the faulty downswing, and then bring the club back into the ball on your original backswing path. This is called “reversing the loop.”

Your golf swing will feel as if you are swinging way up and outside, but this is what you need to feel and create to change your ball flight. You can even feel an early hinge in your backswing, making your takeaway and backswing steeper and having the shaft shallow on the downswing. You will start to create a swing path that travels out on the downswing, not in to your body, which jams you up.

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The shaft will now be working properly and not coming down over your neck in a steep fashion. You can keep swinging back up and around on your follow through, because the golf club will be swinging around in a circular motion. This is an excellent way to change your impact conditions and path.

Now your club face will be looking slightly right of your target with a path that is farther to the right, creating a perfect drawing opportunity. Make sure you do this slowly at first before you build speed.

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8I always recommend 10-15 minutes per day of slow motion swings that are 10 percent speed of your normal golf swing. Begin practicing with a ball on a small tee and gradually move the tee down until you’re ready to start hitting shots off of the turf. You will have completely changed your impact, the bottom of your swing, your contact and ball flight.

Reversing the loop is a change you can do!

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Jess Frank is a PGA Teaching Professional at Deer Creek Golf Club in Deerfield Beach, Florida. He's owner of the Jess Frank Golf Academy, and his passion is to help golfers play better and have more fun on the course. Students have described his instruction style as non-intimidating, friendly and easy to understand. Jess works with every level of golfer, and his lesson tee includes complete beginners and high-level golfers. Playing lessons are also a very important part of his lesson program. His greatest joy is seeing his students smile and get excited about playing golf! Please feel free to email him at pgapro@jessfrankgolf.com or contact him directly at 561-213-8579.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Harry

    Sep 8, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Hi. Seems like I tend to tilt my shoulders rather than turning them when practicing this drill. I then return slightly from outside the target line. I am having a hard time “feeling” the move from the backswing to the finished shoulder turn position. With this being said, this is one of the best drills to help me shallow out. Any comments would be appreciated.

  2. Jo

    Aug 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” You mean just like all these one hit wonder “fixes” for your swing. Yup. Doing these quick fixes over and over expecting a different result is in fact insane….

  3. Ted

    Jul 30, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I don’t think this drill is only for slicers. I am a drawer of the ball, but I tend to get v steep in transition which ends up in pull hook stuck flip vortex. I always struggled with the steep to shallow concept and doing a drill similar to this move was the only thing that ever got me to produce that steep to shallow move on video.

    Problem is taking this loop swing to the course was near impossible and I struggled with finding a back and thru type thought to replicate this continuous loop drill when playing golf. But when I go back to just a back and thru thought, I always end up back to steep.

    • Jess Frank

      Jul 30, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      Hey Ted! Thanks for your comments and reading my article! I have also struggled from steepening and then shallowing with too much lateral movement. You have to spend a lot of time to get rid of a movement that you are speaking about and then taking it to the course is even more of a journey. However, one of the best swing thoughts is pushing the club out away from your body. If you push your hands away from your body this will keep width in your swing and will shallow with out steepening. Thanks again!

  4. Jess Frank

    Jul 28, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    The changes usually will occur pretty quickly because of my hands on approach to teaching. I will move a student through the motions over and over again. And I will use obstacles to make sure the shaft and club head move in the direction I know will help a student. Nothing is guaranteed but I have had a lot of success with golfers looking to improve. I see students regress too. Changing movement patterns is difficult for a lot of people so if I can improve contact and ball flight in a non-invasive manner that is my goal:)

  5. Jess Frank

    Jul 28, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Hey ooffa! You are correct each student is different:) Thanks for your comments!

  6. beachsideandy

    Jul 28, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    It’s a drill people! I have worked for while keeping the clubhead outside the hands after years of yanking it real quick… It always helps me to exaggerate the motion a few times on the range to get the feeling… When I play an actual round I don’t hit the ball doing any kind of “feel” drills but I may take a few practice swings to make sure I know what I am trying to do when I get up to the ball… This type of people would greatly benefit major slicers (like my Dad) because the path and motion are just so over the top.

    • Jess Frank

      Jul 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks for the comments beachsideandy! I agree, once you are on the course you have to believe in what you have practiced and the positive results you have seen. You can absolutely rehearse this type of motion in your practice swings and during the round.

  7. Lloyd

    Jul 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    You are worthless. Your only here to personally attack Obs. You are a troll. sooo obvious

  8. Harley

    Jul 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Jess frank is an awesome teacher. my personal experience.

    • Jess Frank

      Jul 28, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      Harley! You are the man! Come see me soon and thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Simms

      Jul 29, 2017 at 1:43 am

      I know back around 1996 or so I watch John Daly hitting pitch shots pulling the back swing in but it seems he just came back around to the ball and hit it straight without going over the top…I did notice years later he was not doing it that way….I think that was back when they talked about how good his hands and short game were (Were is the message here).

      • Jess Frank

        Jul 30, 2017 at 9:07 am

        Hey Simms! John Daly is one of the most talented golfer to play the game. His short game and putting was simply the most under rated of all time. Watch him on the Champions Tour!

  9. Gorden

    Jul 28, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Pulling club inside and looping back straight into the back of the ball also works there have been a few Pros make good money doing it that way, I believe the term is called getting the club back into the slot….knowing what the club face is doing is the key.

    • Jess Frank

      Jul 28, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      You are correct Gorden! Especially, what the club face is doing. Ball flight and club face:)

  10. surewin73

    Jul 27, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Invest in a better camera.

    • Jess Frank

      Jul 27, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Thank you for your comment surewin73. I will make needed adjustments for the next time.

  11. M S m i z z l e

    Jul 27, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Turn a slice into a push slice by “reversing the loop”

    • Jess Frank

      Jul 27, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Hey MSMizzle thank you for you comments. You are correct you also have to fix club face but what I find is that slicers already have a club face pointing left at impact a large majority of the time. So if you fix the path this usually will help a slicer.

  12. larrybud

    Jul 27, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Why not just teach the proper path, rather than another bad loop that the player will have to fix again later?

    • timbleking

      Jul 27, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Perfect comment.

      • Jess Frank

        Jul 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

        Thank you for you comment timbleking. But when you are in the trenches and need to get a result sometimes exaggeration is necessary.

        • Timbleking

          Jul 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm

          Hi Jess.

          Why not teaching a simple drill such as: one ball ahead of the ball you hit inside the target line, one grip length; one ball back in the stance outside the target line, one grip length from the ball you hit. Of course, the ball you hit is in the target line. From there you have to swing in to out, otherwise you hit the wring balls as well. Now…loop or not loop, my drill against yours, if the rythm of your swing is not good then you will mess it anyway. How do you fix that rythem issue from there?

        • ooffaa

          Jul 31, 2017 at 9:48 pm

          ooffaa strikes again … wotta loser am I

    • Bryan

      Jul 27, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Since we are so used to our “bad” swing sometimes it is helpful to do something drastically different, to shake up the way the body feels during a swing to get a different result. If you stick too closely to your “bad” swing you probably won’t get too far away from it, while if you can start to feel what a wild hook swing feels like versus your own slice swing you can work back to the middle where you’ll hit is straighter. I had read that before and thought it was crazy, but it worked for me.

      I still play a little bit of a fade with most clubs, but rarely hit the high banana ball off into the woods anymore. And when I do, I can usually feel it and understand what I did, where if I had not forced myself to swing the other way I’m not sure I would notice as much.

      • Jess Frank

        Jul 27, 2017 at 6:51 pm

        Thank you for your comments Bryan! You have hit the nail right on the head! I have been teaching for nearly 20 years and have had a lot of success with students getting better quickly with this type of motion.

    • lopey986

      Jul 27, 2017 at 10:44 am

      You could read the article to understand why.

      “My goal for the majority of my students is “getting the car out of the ditch,” so to speak. I want to get them back on the road to competent golf as quickly as possible.”

      This is a quick way to do so and then you can work from there on getting the path straightened out to a more normal approach.

      • Jess Frank

        Jul 27, 2017 at 6:53 pm

        Yes sir Lopey986! You have to improve impact to get the ball flight better and different. That’s the key to golf instruction. Make a student have a better ball flight and more solid contact and your book is full:)

    • Jess Frank

      Jul 27, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Hey Larrybud! Thank you for your comments. I totally agree with you but sometimes you have to a mile to get an inch. Most golfers who don’t practice need to feel an exaggeration or else they just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.

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Instruction

WATCH: How to stop swaying during your golf swing

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In this video, I share with you how to stop swaying for good. I demonstrate how to use PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) to create the correct movements in your backswing. This video is part of a series on PNF drills.

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A shockingly simple drill to hit the golf ball farther

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One of the biggest requests I get on the lesson tee is for more distance. Everyone wants to hit the golf ball farther. Obviously. That being said, there’s many things that go into producing distance, such as…

  • Swing Length — how long is the swing or how long does the club stay in the air before hitting the ball?
  • Swing Width — are you at full extension at during the swing or do you get soft arms?
  • Impact Point — the horizontal and vertical point of contact that influences gear effect, launch, and spin rate.
  • Spin Rate — how much backspin does the ball have?
  • Height — how high is the ball in the air?
  • Launch Angle — what is the angle of the ball off the face during impact?
  • Ball Speed — how fast does the ball leave the blade?

But one thing remains true: if you want more distance, then you must swing faster with all of the above being maximized for your current swing speed. So how do you create more speed? Simple — set up the drill as shown below.

Use between 6-to-10 balls and swing 100 percent all out with no regard for where the ball lands. Then repeat the drill and make your normal speed swing and you will find that your clubhead speed will slightly increase. Do this drill 5 to 10 times per practice session and you will train yourself to swing faster.

However, it’s up to you to figure out how fast you can swing yet maximize the qualities listed above so you can maintain consistent contact.

Remember, you don’t have to get complex to solve your distance problem. Try this first and see what happens!

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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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