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Do you have a fade-biased pivot?

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The way you arrange the components of your swing can make it better suited for certain ball flights more than others. Certain grip types work better for low shots, while others are better for hitting it high. Some transitions are more likely to produce fades than draws.

What I call making your swing “biased” is gearing your swing components for a certain shot shape, height and even distance. The more you align your components toward the same goal, the more likely the desired outcome.

Whether I’m with a PGA Tour player or amateur, a lot of my job is aligning components to get players hitting shots the way they want. I travel to 35+ PGA Tour events every year, and while I’m there to work with some of the guys playing in the event, I usually get to work with a few amateurs as well.

Wednesdays are when PGA Tour events hold their Pro-Ams, which give regular golfers the ability to tee it up with a real Tour player on a real Tour course. It costs a lot of money to play in a Pro-Am, and the entry fees support the tournament’s charity. 

When I’m at the course on Wednesdays to work with my guys, I get to see the amateurs play a little, too. Like most amateurs, more of them hit fades than hit draws. Unknowingly, almost all of them have aligned their components toward a fade, which is often the result of their pivot. 

My video on the pivot below could have saved me a lot of breath during Wednesday Pro-Ams over the years. So many amateurs are using a pivot that is best for producing low fades even though they want to hit a high draw. Watch it to learn more about aligning your pivot with the type of shot you want to hit.

The author, Scott Hamilton has created a four-lesson video course with his keys to achieving consistent, solid contact. The Solid Contact Series is available for free on his website OnTourGolf.com.  

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Currently teaching 14 PGA Tour players, Scott Hamilton is a staple on the PGA Tour range each week. In 2015, a poll of PGA Tour players conducted by Golf Digest ranked him as the No. 2 instructor on the PGA Tour. His players like him for his ability to conduct a complete analysis of their games and return a simple solution to help them play better. “You get the result you want without all the big words.” as Scott often says.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Mbwa Kali Sana

    Mar 28, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    A complétely misleading video lesson .There are so man y différent parameters other than spine tilt which create the draw and the fade ,That the wise Golfer should entirely disregard this simplistic ” lesson”.

  2. Obee

    Mar 24, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Great stuff. Definitely holds true in my group of 7 or 8 scratch and below amateur buddies. I create quite a bit of angle, as does one of my buddies, and we both hit low, trap draws as our “standard” shot. Another buddy has very little angle away from the ball, and he definitely favors a cut. A few others are more neutral, and their ball flights are, well … more neutral!

    Thanks! Will definitely keep this in mind when fading the ball. I think if I think of less lean back and away, that I will be able to more consistently fade the ball with my irons….

  3. Sean

    Mar 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Great video, never thought about that. Out of curiosity, the head movement is the killer here, right? Seems like the only way that angle changes is by the head moving too much forward or back. If you keep your head still, your pivot angle can’t come one way or the other too much. I only ask because I don’t think you offered a tip here so is that what you’d have these students work on to fix it?

    • Scott Hamilton

      Apr 6, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Good question Sean- Moving your head is one way to change your pivot. The way you slide or turn your hips can also change your pivot angle.

  4. Rocco Mediate

    Mar 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    This is how I swing guys! It’s good on your back!

  5. Jafar

    Mar 14, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been trying to find this in my swing and it does explain why my shots tend to fade when they look like they should be drawing.

    I also figured out that my “trigger” finger has been causing backswing issues and once I fixed that, I found myself in the draw position described here.

    Great info to check your swing with!

  6. Scott Hamilton

    Mar 11, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Hey guys-
    Thanks for watching.
    -Scott

  7. Butch

    Mar 11, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Thank you, Scott. I appreciate your sharing your insights!

  8. Hogg

    Mar 10, 2016 at 11:02 am

    What a complete load of hogwash.

    • birdy

      Mar 10, 2016 at 11:15 am

      willing to bet Scott has a little more knowledge of the swing than you….

      http://www.golf.com/instruction/scott-hamilton-best-golf-teacher-you-have-never-heard

      • Tom

        Mar 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm

        Amen to that

      • Wash

        Mar 10, 2016 at 7:08 pm

        According to that article,
        “I’m still an on-plane teacher, which some people think is old school, but it works.”
        “A quiet head tends to keep the clubface quiet through the hitting zone. Then, if you can just line up your left arm and the shaft, you’ll have a better chance of hitting the ball straight.”

        Oh that’s it, is it?
        You don’t need to know anything about tilting in a pivot in any direction to do this.
        And he wants people to hit it straighter.

        Hamilton talks a load of country hogwash. Don’t believe the explanation in the video. It’s another way to mislead people real quick in one direction, make money off them while doing that, then steer them back to make more money off them from those lessons, and then bring back into the middle. A classic method to keep the students coming back. Totally dishonest.

    • Leon

      Mar 10, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Agreed. Just common sense

    • Obee

      Mar 24, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      No it’s not — at least in my game and the games of my buddies. I see a pretty distinct correlation between what he’s saying and the shot shapes of the guys I play with. What you think is “hogwash,” I see as solid insight.

  9. Buddy

    Mar 10, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Scott – Thank you for sharing this tid-bit of information with us here on WRX. I hope you continue to share your knowledge with us in the coming years.

  10. Shallowface

    Mar 10, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Many years ago there was a golf shop on Dale Mabry in Tampa (no longer there as far as I know) and the owner had a son who was looked to be a pretty good player. He claimed the son could hit any shot just by changing how he rotated his shoulders during the swing. So I found this article quite interesting, and am looking forward to checking out Mr. Hamilton’s website.

  11. antonio

    Mar 10, 2016 at 3:07 am

    I appreciate any tip but just watching the video above it seems too simple and too obvious. It depends only on your tilt on your stance.

  12. Jack

    Mar 10, 2016 at 2:39 am

    This kind of “instruction” is why nobody ever gets any better. Just get guys hitting the inside of the ball and they will learn to draw the ball with a shallower swing — period; Let there natural athletic ability sort it out. And btw, not to be offensive, but you and other “coaches” are just security blankets for tour pros; They would play just as well without you.

    • Tour Pro

      Mar 10, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Jack,

      I’m a tour pro and Scott knows his stuff. Your comments show how little you know and understand a coaches job on tour. There’s a reason why Scott was voted the 2nd best teacher out there by your pro’s. Quit being a hater and be thankful that guys like he and Butch would share their knowledge.

    • Philip

      Mar 10, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Actually, I have been thinking about this the last few weeks. This video just confirms what I have been discovering. Personally, I like the approach and find the article quite clear. Horses for courses … oh, and thanks Scott, I’ll be checking out your site.

    • larrybud

      Mar 10, 2016 at 10:09 am

      I can hit the inside of the ball ALL DAY by sliding my upper body to the target, and I’m going to hit push-slices all day as well.

      • Jack

        Mar 10, 2016 at 11:10 pm

        Some people are never going to be good players and you may be one of them.

    • Tom

      Mar 10, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Jack you’ve been schooled!

      • Jack

        Mar 10, 2016 at 11:23 pm

        Really? Presumably you believe I have no credibility because I am an anonymous internet poster, however that logic would have to apply to the putative schoolers who would also lack any credibility for the same reason… Now you have been schooled through logic which stands on its own and requires no credibility from anyone in this thread!

        • Tom

          Mar 11, 2016 at 10:31 am

          Jack Mar 10, 2016 at 2:39 am

          “This kind of “instruction” is why nobody ever gets any better….”
          A broad statement, I don’t agree with.

          • Jack

            Mar 11, 2016 at 7:15 pm

            Fine. Not exactly a schooling, though.

            • Tom

              Mar 11, 2016 at 9:45 pm

              I don’t benefit from long hours and detailed instruction. I understand my flaws, simply describe them to me and prescribe a
              solution.

    • birdy

      Mar 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

      lol this comment no doubt comes from a hack who has no idea the knowledge and experience that scott hamilton has.

      • Jack

        Mar 10, 2016 at 11:19 pm

        He is doing what other coaches are doing — trying to put you in positions that he has seen good players in — this may work sometimes but only through a personal lesson. There is too much pseudo science in golf and most of these pros are not helping amateurs — especially with out of context generic videos. It’s like a doctor putting a drug out there and encouraging anyone to give it a try and see if it helps with something without first examining the potential patents!

        • Tom

          Mar 10, 2016 at 11:56 pm

          ” Whether I’m with a PGA Tour player or amateur, a lot of my job is aligning components to get players hitting shots the way they want. I travel to 35+ PGA Tour events every year, and while I’m there to work with some of the guys playing in the event, I usually get to work with a few amateurs as well “

          • Jack

            Mar 11, 2016 at 2:19 am

            And yet a generalized video is still worthless and most amateurs never improve even with lessons and practice. Why?

            • Tom

              Mar 11, 2016 at 10:33 am

              So your issue with the article is the video?

              • Jack

                Mar 11, 2016 at 7:18 pm

                The video will do more harm than good as all of the hacks venture to the driving range and attempt their best Curtis Strange sway off of the ball to try to finally hit a draw.f

    • Mike

      Mar 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Oh please enlighten us, anonymous golf site poster. Moron.

  13. Tom

    Mar 9, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    hawt damn. I’ve spent hours on the range with instructors only to have my question answered in five minutes reading your article. Now I have an idea of why I hit a draw. Thank you.

  14. Stephan Lechner

    Mar 9, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    I figured out that if you click on the link titled solid contact series it gives you the opportunity to create a login but if you click on the link to the website it does not. I hope this helps others trying to get there.

  15. Stephan Lechner

    Mar 9, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    It says that you can watch the rest of the videos for free on his website which you provide the link to in your article. When you go to the website it requires a login however there is no place to create a login. Please provide some insight. Thanks

    • larrybud

      Mar 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Scroll down, the create account is all the way to the bottom.

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Instruction

Why you are probably better at golf than you think (Part 2)

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Golf is very much a monkey-see-monkey-do sport. If you ever go to the local range, you are sure to see golfers trying to copy the moves of their favorite player. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. While I understand the logic of trying to mimic the “secret move” of the most recent winner on tour, I always balk when the person trying to create their best impression fails to realize the physical differences between them and the best golfing athletes in the world.

Read part 1 here. 

In addition to most golfers not being at the same fitness levels as the best players in the world, they also do not have bodies that are identical to their favorite player. This single statement proves why there is not one golf swing; we all are different sizes and are going to swing the club differently due to these physical differences.

You have to understand your swing

The biggest reason I believe that golfers are better than they think is most golfers I meet do not understand what their swings should look like. Armed with video after video of their golf swing, I will always hear about the one thing that the golfer wishes they could change. However, that one thing is generally the “glue” or athleticism of the athlete on display and is also the thing that allows them to make decent contact with the ball.

We are just coming out of the “video age” of golf instruction, and while I think that recording your golf swing can be extremely helpful, I think that it is important to understand what you are looking for in your swing. As a young coach, I fell victim to trying to create “pretty swings”, but quickly learned that there is not a trophy for prettiest swing.

It comes down to form or function, and I choose function

The greatest gift I have ever received as an instructor was the recommendation to investigate Mike Adams and BioSwing Dynamics. Mike, E.A. Tischler, and Terry Rowles have done extensive research both with tour-level players as well as club golfers and have developed a way to test or screen each athlete to determine not only how their golf swing will look, but also how they will use the ground to create their maximum speed. This screen can be completed with a tape measure and takes about five minutes, and I have never seen results like I have since I began measuring.

For example, a golfer with a greater wingspan than height will have a golf swing that tracks more to the outside during the backswing and intersects the body more towards the trail shoulder plane during the backswing. A golfer with a shorter wingspan than height will have a swing that tracks more to the inside and intersects the body closer to the trail hip plane. Also, a golfer with a greater wingspan than height will have a more upright dynamic posture than a golfer with a shorter wingspan than height who will be more “bent over” at the address position.

Sport coats and golf swings

Have you ever bought a sport coat or suit for a special occasion? If so, pay attention to whether it is a short, regular, or long. If you buy a long, then it means that your arms are longer than your torso and you can now understand why you produce a “steeper” backswing. Also, if you stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your middle-finger tips touching the top of your kneecaps, you will have perfect dynamic posture that matches your anatomy. If it appears that you are in a taller posture, then you have your second clue that your wingspan is greater than your height.

Translation to improvement

Using this and five other screens, we can help the athletes understand a complete blueprint of their golf swing based off their anatomy. It is due to the work of Mike, E.A., and Terry that we can now matchup the player to their swing and help them play their best. The reason that I believe that most golfers are better than they think is that most golfers have most of the correct puzzle pieces already. By screening each athlete, we can make the one or two adjustments to get the player back to trusting their swing and feeling in control. More importantly, the athlete can revisit their screen sheet when things misfire and focus on what they need to do, instead of what not to do.

We are all different and all have different swings. There is no one way to swing a golf club because there is no one kind of golfer. I encourage every golfer to make their swing because it is the only one that fits.

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How golf should be learned

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With the COVID-19 pandemic, golf is more popular than ever. Beginners being introduced to the game often find that golf is very hard, much harder than other sports they have played. To simplify the golf swing and make the game easier, it needs to start with a concept.

Golf should first be learned from a horizontal position. If the ball was placed four feet above the ground on a large tee, players would naturally turn in an efficient direction with the proper sequence to strike the ball on the tee.

Take for example, a person throwing a ball towards a target. With their eyes out in front of them? having an awareness to the target, their body would naturally turn in a direction to go forward and around towards the target. In golf, we are bent over from the hips, and we are playing from the side of the golf ball, so players tend to tilt their body or over-rotate, causing an inefficient backswing.

This is why the golf swing should be looked at as a throwing motion. The trail arm folds up as the body coils around. To throw a ball further, the motion doesn’t require more body turn or a tilt of the body.

To get the feeling of this horizontal hitting position or throwing motion, start by taking your golf posture. Make sure your trail elbow is bent and tucked with your trail shoulder below your lead shoulder.

From here, simply lift your arms in front of you while you maintain the bend from your hips. Look over your lead shoulder looking at the target. Get the clubhead traveling first and swing your arms around you. Note how your body coils. Return the club back to its original position.

After a few repetitions, simply lower your arms back to the ball position, swing your arms around you like you did from the horizontal position. Allow your shoulders, chest and hips to be slightly pulled around. This is now your “throwing position” in the golf swing. From here, you are ready to make a downswing with less movement needed to make a proper strike.

Note: Another great drill to get the feel for this motion is practicing Hitting driver off your knees.

Twitter: @KKelley_golf

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Instruction

Why you are probably better at golf than you think (Part 1)

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Golf is hard. I spend my career helping people learn that truth, but golfers are better than they give themselves credit for.

As a golf performance specialist, I give a lot of “first time working together” lessons, and most of them start the same way. I hear about all the ways the golfer is cursed and how s/he is never going to “get it” and how s/he should take up another sport. Granted, the last statement generally applies to an 18-plus handicap player, but I hear lots of negatives from better players as well.

Even though the golfers make convincing arguments for why they are cursed, I know the truth. It’s my job to help them realize the fates aren’t conspiring against them.

All golfers can play well consistently

I know this is a bold statement, but I believe this because I know that “well” does not equate to trophies and personal bests. Playing “well” equates to understanding your margin of error and learning to live within it.

With this said, I have arrived at my first point of proving why golfers are not cursed or bad golfers: They typically do not know what “good” looks like.

What does “good” look like from 150 yards out to a center pin?

Depending on your skill level, the answer can change a lot. I frequently ask golfers this same question when selecting a shot on the golf course during a coaching session and am always surprised at the response. I find that most golfers tend to either have a target that is way too vague or a target that is much too small.

The PGA Tour average proximity to the hole from 150 yards is roughly 30 feet. The reason I mention this statistic is that it gives us a frame of reference. The best players in the world are equivalent to a +4 or better handicap. With that said, a 15-handicap player hitting it to 30 feet from the pin from 150 yards out sounds like a good shot to me.

I always encourage golfers to understand the statistics from the PGA Tour not because that should be our benchmark, but because we need to realize that often our expectations are way out of line with our current skill level. I have found that golfers attempting to hold themselves to unrealistic standards tend to perform worse due to the constant feeling of “failing” they create when they do not hit every fairway and green.

Jim Furyk, while playing a limited PGA Tour schedule, was the most accurate driver of the golf ball during the 2020 season on the PGA Tour hitting 73.96 percent of his fairways (roughly 10/14 per round) and ranked T-136 in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee. Bryson Dechambeau hit the fairway 58.45 percent (roughly 8/14 per round) of the time and ranked first in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee.

There are two key takeaways in this comparison

Sometimes the fairway is not the best place to play an approach shot from. Even the best drivers of the golf ball miss fairways.

By using statistics to help athletes gain a better understanding of what “good” looks like, I am able to help them play better golf by being aware that “good” is not always in the middle of the fairway or finishing next to the hole.

Golf is hard. Setting yourself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations is only going to stunt your development as a player. We all know the guy who plays the “tips” or purchases a set of forged blades applying the logic that it will make them better in the long run—how does that story normally end?

Take action

If you are interested in applying some statistics to your golf game, there are a ton of great apps that you can download and use. Also, if you are like me and were unable to pass Math 104 in four attempts and would like to do some reading up on the math behind these statistics, I highly recommend the book by Mark Broadie Every Shot Counts. If you begin to keep statistics and would like how to put them into action and design better strategies for the golf course, then I highly recommend the Decade system designed by Scott Fawcett.

You may not be living up to your expectations on the golf course, but that does not make you a bad or cursed golfer. Human beings are very inconsistent by design, which makes a sport that requires absolute precision exceedingly difficult.

It has been said before: “Golf is not a game of perfect.” It’s time we finally accept that fact and learn to live within our variance.

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