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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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!