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How to fix the chronic low pull shot

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This article was co-written with Ji McBryde, Senior Coach at KDV Sport, Gold Coast, Australia. I regularly work with Ji and the rest of the excellent coaching and fitness team at his high-tech facility. From time to time, I help them build out their coaching success stories into articles that will benefit the wider golfing population.

The low pull is one of the most damaging shots in golf. If you have been plagued by these, you’ll be well aware of the kind of issues it can create. The low ball flight offers little chance of carrying any hazards down the left (trees, water, bunkers). Even if you do miss the hazards on the fly, there is a greater chance of rolling into the trouble! Perhaps even more frustrating is that a pull actually feels pretty good due to the compression from a shut club-face. So your disappointment is even more magnified when you look up to see your ball ricochet around the trees. This is in stark contrast to the more benign high push. While these shots feel pretty terrible off the open club-face, they generally fly farther and land softer, thereby often avoiding the trouble.

The case study below provides a nice example of a student who was suffering from the dreaded low pull but managed to turn things around in just one session. Usually, changes this dramatic occur over the course of weeks or months once the student has had time to practice and adapt to the new feels and movements we have introduced. In this case, the changes demonstrated happened over the course of about 45 minutes!

The People

  • Golfer: Jayme, 16 years old, student, 9 handicap.
  • The Golf Coach: Ji McBryde, former Australasian Tour player, qualifications in Trackman, Balance Lab, Putt Lab, GASP, and TPI.

The Place

The Problem

Jayme booked in because he was hitting his irons low and left. He was also struggling to control direction with the driver.

To start the session, we used video capture and Trackman as diagnostic tools to help tell us why Jayme was struggling with the low-lefts. The screenshot below from Trackman tells us that Jayme had a swing path going left with a shut clubface, as well as a dramatically steep angle of attack. This combination of factors is a perfect storm for low pulls.

 

TrackMan Data – Before

We turned to video for clues as to how and why he was moving the club in that way. What we see below is a very strong grip, a very low right shoulder at address, a bowed left wrist, and arms moving away from the body — again, a combination that will most likely lead to a shut clubface and struggles with the lefts. What this also means is that during the rest of the swing, Jayme is simply doing the best he can to mitigate the shut face and get a decent result at impact.

The Solution

Our philosophy is to always focus on what is easy to control and likely to make a significant difference. In this case, Jayme’s setup posture, alignment, right-hand grip, and takeaway were the low-hanging fruit, so we decided to work on those first. As with most of our students, the first step was to introduce Jayme to the GravityFit TPro. This piece of equipment firstly gave Jayme awareness of his shoulder posture, specifically how far back and up he needed to orientate his right shoulder blade. This had the effect of automatically weakening that strong right-hand grip, which also needed a small amount of input to get it sitting more on top of the shaft.

Once a better setup posture and grip was established, we moved on to drilling a takeaway in which his arms were more connected to his body and club face in a more neutral position. See the video below for a snippet of this process.

As Jayme started to grow accustomed to the new feels, we moved on to hitting short shots while still using the TPro. He was starting to make some really solid contact with half swings, and we were beginning to see drastic changes in contact and ball flight. This encouraged us to move on to hitting full shots. As I have already alluded to, Jayme’s progress through these stages was extremely quick. It’s a credit to his level of talent and athleticism that we were able to progress to this stage in one session.

As you can see from the videos below, Jayme’s movement quality is really starting to clean up and the club face is in a more neutral position.

One of the best features of this tool is how it can accompany the student from the early stage of improving posture right through to hitting full shots, providing feedback on postural control and movement pattern quality as they progress. Jayme continued to hit shots with the TPro while we provided him with video evidence of the improvement to accompany the great feedback he was getting from the better strike, direction, and flight.

To finish off the lesson, we removed all of the feedback to see if Jayme could still move in the newly improved manner with reduced input from both myself and the technology. As you can see from the video below, Jayme continued to set up and swing it really nicely, demonstrating dramatic improvements compared to the start of the session.

The Outcome

As I’ve mentioned throughout the article, we saw a really nice change in the strike, ball direction, and flight during the course of the session. The image below serves as a strong demonstration of how far Jayme managed to progress in one session. In the “after” swing on the right side, Jayme’s path is now moving to the right, his clubface is neutral and attack angle is shallower. You can plainly see the effect this has had on direction and flight; a drastic improvement.

TrackMan Data – Comparison

By way of a summary, it’s tempting to address the “Low Pulls” by first addressing the main causal factor: a shut club face. Trying to simply manipulate the face can be very tricky to teach and train. As you’ve seen in this example, we would rather work on factors that are easier to control. With Jayme, we really only worked on setup, grip, alignment, and takeaway. With the help of Trackman, video, the GravityFit TPro and Jayme’s talent, we were able to focus on simple interventions and provide the guidance he needed to make the changes outlined above.

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Nick Randall is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter, Rehab Expert and Massage Therapist contracted by PGA Tour Players. Nick is also a GravityFit Brand Ambassador. He is working with them to help spread their innovative message throughout the golf world and into other sports.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Frankie

    Jul 14, 2018 at 12:22 am

    Anterior posture is so detrimental to the golf swing, literally every tour pro have their lower back straight between anterior and posterior and some a little posterior, never anterior. Adam Scott in the early 2000s before he really improved had an anterior posture and that negatively affected his ball striking, now in the 2010s, his lower back has 0 anterior posture.

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