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In this video, I use one of my students as an example of how trail shoulders mobility can affect the golf swing. It is important to note that many structural factors can affect the golf swing. For the golfer in this video, the trail shoulder is just one example of how we can address physical limitations to improve the swing.

The drill I give this student utilizes the weight of the club to not only stretch the shoulder but to also start to retrain the motor patterns to get the club in a better position to start the downswing.

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Dan Gaucher is a Teaching Professional at Saratoga National Golf Academy. Trackman Level 2 coach, TPI Level 2 Golf Coach, and Multiple time U.S. Kids Golf top 50 instructor. Dan also has experience in the health and fitness industry which has allowed him to further understand the biomechanics of the body and how it correlates to the golf swing. Dan enjoys being a student of both the human body and the game of golf. Dan works with players of all abilities from beginners to aspiring professionals.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. geohogan

    Sep 11, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    If a golfer can turn the palm of his trail hand toward the sky at the top of the BS
    then he can shallow the club. Simply keep the palm facing the sky.

    Gravity drop and the hands shallow the club.

  2. Greg

    Sep 11, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Is there a role for the “Feel the stretch” device? The most important stretch in golf. feelthestretch.com

  3. tom stickney

    Sep 10, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Great points here…most teachers fail to understand the role of the shoulder girdle and how it can influence your transition.

    • ogo

      Sep 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      It’s imperative that the shoulder and chest structure be evaluated to determine the range of motion of the arms. Most instructors ignore this physical aspect of the golfer.

      • geohogan

        Sep 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        The deltoid has three distinct functions that correspond to the three bands of muscle fibers. Contraction of the anterior fibers flexes and medially rotates the arm by pulling the humerus towards the clavicle

        If trail deltoid contracts OTT will result. (humerus toward the clavicle)
        Palm of trail hand facing the sky disengages the deltoid.

        If a golfer can hold the proverbial ‘waiters tray’at top of BS, there is no need of physio.

  4. Alex

    Sep 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Don’t understand the logic here. Joe can rotate the right shoulder properly with only the right hand on the club, but has trouble when the left hand is applied. Then you conclude that his right shoulder is limited, when it seems that the problem is using both arms together. What am I missing?

    • Geoff

      Sep 11, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Joe does not rotate properly with right hand only drill …. and it’s a drill to start lightly stretching and to benchmark his progress. Pause vid at 2:41 …. he gets maybe 2-3 more degrees of ER (guessing) …. but he has to “cheat” it with abduction and horizontal abduction. Also keep his elbow extended which mechanically lengthens biceps to further pull into ER. The “cheat” is the point … it stretches the internal rotators (cuff, pecs, biceps). Again at 2:41 … no way he gets his left hand on the grip.

      Dan’s take home point in a 4 min video is “don’t prescribe motion and positions before checking for anatomical roadblocks”

      Dan is TPI Certified and routinely refers out to PT, AT, nutritionists, and Medical TPI professionals. They work out kinks and Dan goes to work with radar based LM’s, 3D motion analysis, and an approach that matches the learning style of every client …. even my son who is one of the toughest nuts to crack.

  5. mike

    Sep 10, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Range of motion is too often taken for granted . Bravo on reminding us that everyone has individual muscular – skeleton issues .
    Very frustrating trying to do something your body isn’t capable of .
    Good instruction will take these into consideration and find a way to fix or work around

    • ogo

      Sep 10, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      If the pecs are too bulky the chest will interfere with arm positions in the back and downswing. That’s what it looks like.

  6. Kevin

    Sep 10, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Would have been helpful to see an example of good external rotation (maybe yours) to compare with Joe’s. We have no idea watching the video how short of optimal is Joe.

  7. ogo

    Sep 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Excellent, excellent biomechanical analysis and remedy for internal and external shoulder rotation. This is the kind of instruction that is so beneficial for this forum.

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Instruction

Stickney: Sit on it (for a better backswing)

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As we know golf, is a very tough sport and one that involves many moving pieces. Whenever something overreacts or moves too much on the way back, you end up playing catch-up on the way down. One of my favorite things to watch is how the head moves or doesn’t move on the backswing. Sure, you can have some movement, but you can’t have too much or you put yourself behind the eight ball.

I have charted the head position of a tour player at address and we can see that this is a very normal set up position. It is one that looks positioned to do great things.

However, en route to the top, you can see that this player has put himself into a position where his rear knee straightened too rapidly off the start of his backswing. When this occurs the pelvis “runs out from under” the upper body on the backswing the hips will react and begin to slant downward. (You can see a -10 degree tilt versus 3 degrees the opposite way at address for you number people.)

This causes the head to move out in front of where it was at address. This is not a bad position for the irons but for a driver we have a pending issue. If you don’t make a compensation from here then the player will have an angle of attack that is too much downward through impact with their driver.

As the player moves into his transition, the hips have leveled as the rear shoulder lowers the club into delivery but the head and pelvis are still too far out in front of the ball. The only thing you can do from here is fire the lead side upwards and hope that your head falls back into the correct position. If so, you will have the correct angle of attack, if not, you will chop down on the ball causing your launch conditions to be faulty.

And as we see here that this is precisely what this player did at the very last minute…not the easiest way to swing the club but it is functional IF you make the right correction. So, now that you understand how simple things like the action of the lower body can cause your head to move and your angle of attack to become faulty, what is the secret to controlling your lower body?


Just “sit” on the rear knee flex slightly longer during the backswing as you see here. This will slow down the tilting of the pelvis on backswing and thus your head will stay more in position en route to the top.

Personally, I teach both flexion and extension of the rear knee to the top, depending on what the player is wanting to do, so it really does not matter. However, what does matter is the rate at which it begins to straighten for those of you who do allow it to lengthen. I try to make most of my students hold the most of their address flex until the club moves between belt and chest high, any sooner and you risk the faulty pivot we saw above.

Therefore, take it from me and “sit on it” slightly longer for more quiet head motions as well as a more balanced backswing—your angle of attack will thank you!

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Instruction

Davies: Training the trail elbow in the golf swing

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Alistair Davies shares with you how to get the correct trail arm and elbow action in the downswing. He shares some great drills that can be done at the range or at home to help lower your scores.Get the correct training for the trail arm here today!

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Instruction

The important lessons you can learn from Peter Senior’s golf swing

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He may not be a household name in the United States, but Australia’s Peter Senior has a swing for the ages. At 60 years old, Senior has 34 worldwide professional wins including the 2015 Australian Masters beating a competitive field with several top-ranked players in the world. Turning professional in 1978, his career has spanned over 40 years.

Senior’s game and swing have stood the test of time, and the longevity of his career should be recognized. Senior formerly worked with Australian instructor Gary Edwin, and the structure to this swing taught to Senior paved the way for a future of consistent, high-quality professional golf.

Having a great golf swing isn’t the only key to becoming a great golfer, one must learn to play the game. However, you can learn a lot from Senior’s swing.

The origin to Senior’s swing lies in his set-up. Senior sets up in what I call his “hitting angles” or a position that mirrors impact.

From this position, Senior is able to simply keep these angles he established at address throughout the swing. This is why the set-up is so critical. The further he deviates from these “hitting angles”, the more he will have to find that impact position with his body in the backswing and downswing. In other words, more movement. The goal of his backswing will be to maintain these original starting angles.

From the picture, Senior has maintained his original body shape that he established at address. From this position, it will be much easier and repeatable to return the club to impact.

Note how his impact position now mirrors his original address position. All his original angles were maintained with a slight bump of the body towards the target. From impact, he can simply fold up his arms as his right side of his body rotates around his left side, keeping the clubface square to the body.

This standing tall finish position with the head following the torso is much easier on the back. His body has come forward and around beautifully, covering the ball for a proper strike.

The beauty of Senior’s swing lies in its simplicity. The changes Senior made to his swing can apply to anyone. Let’s look at two simple drills to make your swing more efficient and powerful.

“To a large extent, my backswing is a product of my set-up position” – Tiger Woods, Golf Digest 2020

To get into these impact angles simply practice pushing into an impact bag with the head and shaft of the club. Make sure your trail arm is tucked, lowering the trail shoulder as you pressure the bag.

To get the feeling of the proper coil from this set-up position, grab an impact bag and hold the bag in front of you.

From here, swing the bag around you with your arms keeping the top of the bag level. You will feel the trail side of your body move back and the lead side move out, coiling around your spine angle.

The trail glute will also move back and around with this drill, a key move the great Ben Hogan used to pivot his body. To develop an efficient swing and a long, injury-free career, take note of Peter Senior’s key moves.

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