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GolfTEC’s groundbreaking study shows why you aren’t a pro golfer



GolfTEC has spent the past 21 years collecting and storing motion measurement data from more than 90 million golf swings and six million lessons. With the SwingTRU Motion Study, presented publicly in April, the company released the analysis of those findings, indicating how they’re turning Big Data into big results for their students —  students who are dropping an average of seven strokes over the course of their lessons.  

In broadest terms, crunching the data from the SwingTRU study identified six specific swing positions that correlate strongly to improvement: areas in which there are marked differences between elite amateurs/professionals and higher-handicap golfers. These include hip sway at the top of the swing, shoulder tilt at the top of the swing, hip sway at impact, hip turn at impact, shoulder tilt at impact and shoulder bend at the finish of the swing.

Of course, it’s important to mention that, for GolfTEC instructors, the positions and where individual students fit are merely references and points of departure in the course of a series of lessons. Here’s one of the six swing positions, hip turn at impact, highlighting the difference between high-handicapper and professional golfers at that moment in the golf swing.

GolfTEC-SwingTru-1The wealth of data from the largest-ever, fact-based study of golfers’ swings is staggering, and from an application standpoint, we’re just seeing the “tip of the iceberg,” says GolfTEC CEO Joe Assell. To learn more about the study, I spoke with Nick Clearwater, Senior Director of Instruction for the Centennial, Colorado-based company.

BA: How do you describe the study in a nutshell to a layman?

NC: The best way to describe the SwingTRU Motion Study is that it is the most fact-based analysis of the golf swing ever conducted. That is obviously a bold statement, but we say it because it is the first and only example of Big Data being applied to analyze the golf swing. What it proved was that there are specific body positions within the swing that directly correlate to handicap level and play a key role in improving distance, accuracy and consistent contact. In other words, the best players in the world routinely position their bodies in a very precise way, and the further golfers deviate from these positions, the higher their handicaps tend to be. While we will likely unveil additional findings from the study over time, the initial roll-out highlights six of these positions.

By understanding the specific movements correlated to swing and scoring success, it allows GolfTEC coaches to focus on those key motion elements that are proven to have the greatest impact on improvement. Essentially, we’re taking the guess work and theory out of instruction and focusing on just the facts.

[Clearwater indicated that for frequently asked questions and highlights with actual students, visit]

BA: How was it done?

NC: Over the past 21 years, GolfTEC has collected and stored motion measurement data on more than 90 million golf swings, captured during more than six million lessons since 1995. In total, we’ve archived more than 225 terabytes of data, which is roughly equivalent to the entire library of iTunes HD movies. For the SwingTRU study, a statistically significant slice of this accumulated data was examined to learn the differences between how golfers of all handicaps – from tour players to aspiring students and beginners – move throughout the swing. Once we started diving into the data, which was about two years ago, we discovered patterns in how professionals and elite amateurs use their bodies as compared to higher-handicap golfers.

In terms of actually capturing and storing the motion data, we utilized our proprietary teaching technology that includes electromagnetic sensors strategically placed on the student to measure incredibly detailed movements in a three-dimensional space. In fact, the Polhemus® PATRIOT Digitizer that we use to capture pinpoint data of the golfer’s movement is the same electromagnetic technology the U.S. Olympic Committee has relied on to improve athlete performance.  

BA: This doesn’t lead to a dreaded “method teaching” approach though, right?

NC: The phrase “method teaching” is often defined as instructing golfers to all swing the same regardless of their own unique problems. GolfTEC coaches always treat each individual golfer uniquely; we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. This study simply does what no one else in golf can, which is use a large sample of golfers to compare how the average player at every handicap level moves their body relative to the average player you may see on the PGA Tour.

These findings are a tremendous resource for golfers that struggle with their own games. Simply understanding the six concepts outlined in this first version of the study would be a great way to begin learning the game, and also a great starting point for an experienced golfer wanting to get past a plateau in their improvement.

BA: What’s the application for the average golfer visiting GolfTEC? 

NC: The SwingTRU Motion Study reinforces that every golfer should have their swing measured. Without those objective measurements, the average golfer may be severely missing the opportunity to lower their scores by assuming or guessing at what part of their swing needs work. GolfTEC coaches measure every client and use those motion measurements to solve the client’s individual golf problems.

Simply put, if you are the average golfer who wants to get better at the game, the very best initial step you can take is getting your swing measurements and comparing them to the swing measurements of the best golfers on the planet. That comparison will then give you a factual analysis for solving problems that ail your game (with your GolfTEC coach helping you every step of the way).

BA: Can you identify a few surprising/interesting/relevant findings? 

NC: We believe many of these motion measurements will surprise golfers and instructors, which will go a long way to help to eliminate bad advice and common misinterpretations of the golf swing. For example, the commonly taught idea that the hips should move away from the target in the backswing to load “behind” the ball is a direct contradiction to the results found in the SwingTRU Motion Study. Professional golfers were found to move their hips more toward the target at the top of the swing than high handicappers.

Another example is how many less-skilled golfers make backswings without tilting their shoulders toward the ground because they’ve been told to keep their shoulders level during the backswing, or perhaps just don’t know any better. This directly contradicts what the best players do according to our study, which is quantified by measuring the average degrees of shoulder tilt in relation to skill level. A 30-handicap, in this case, tilts their shoulders 25 degrees at the top of the backswing, while a professional golfer tilts their shoulders 36 degrees.

These are just two examples of how the findings from the study can not only help to pinpoint an ideal starting block for improvement, but also help to dispel grossly misinterpreted information which has been taught and consumed for many years. 

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    May 26, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Im not a pro bc I only hit my driver 220 yards…. My approach shots miss the mark too often, and my chipping isnt the best. Also putter is hot or cold (sometimes I actually putt like a pro)!

    Other than that Im basically a pro

  2. OH

    May 25, 2016 at 10:24 am

    While I’m sure there are plenty of great nuggets from this study they certainly didn’t shed any light on much of anything in this article. I’ve spent nearly 6 months in the GolfTec program and it shaved 8 strokes off my handicap, so I can attest that (with the right coach) you can improve. I’d love to see something more comprehensive from GolfTec on this study, though. Not just a couple of Q&A comments that don’t really tell us more than most people already know.

  3. B. Parsons

    May 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Dumb article only meant to drum up business. It’s more of an advertisement. Fail…

  4. Nick

    May 23, 2016 at 6:44 am

    I wonder how big a difference there was between different pros in this study? did all pros show similar characteristics or is this an average with some quite big differences?

  5. Pete

    May 21, 2016 at 6:25 am

    People get better and even good with, what they practice hard.

    The knowledge and beliefs of golf not being a sport sits tight in the public. Therefore probably more than not an average golfer is not as athletic, as required to swing properly.

    More so, i think there are some idioms many weekend players have heard over the years of their head moving or hitting down on or at the ball. All these facts of misinterpretations of what are causal to correct actions have driven hobbyists to faulty tracks on what to do.

    The fundamental should have been told in a way, people really understand, that is is not desirable to hit down, but sweep the ball forward. The mental image will influence the action more than anything else. Detailed single adwise of the cause, instead of action will make people do wrong things and most defenately hinder them from getting better in ball striking, yet they get better in whacking the clubhead down.

    All these empiric studies should be applied in teching. Not to point out, what is differen, but re-think and organize the methods to implement the right actions and mental images instead of the cause.

  6. Gazza

    May 21, 2016 at 5:27 am

    How is this Ground breaking? All they are doing is quantifying (with Averages) what everyone who knows a thing about golf is aware of anyway.
    Tour players have forward shaft lean of 5degress, you have -2 degrees… now that’s what you need to work on!

    • Justin Wells

      May 24, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      You really think the majority of golfers know this stuff? If you asked the average shaft lean question to 1,000 amateur golfers I think less than 10 would actually know the right answer (vs guessing correctly). The biggest problem I see with amateur golfers in buying new equipment is they do not pay enough attention to their shaft choice. It’s way beyond regular vs stiff at this point. The shaft lean you mentioned creates a de-lofted club face and with the proper angle of attack allows for increased distance without sacrificing optimal ball flight. Furthermore, shaft lean is usually dictated by proper hip rotation through the shot (as explained in the article). The quicker you move your hips through the zone, the quicker you can move your hands through the zone (if your hands lag you’ll block everything). So, I think this article will be good for some people looking to try a few things on their own. I don’t think it’s going to increase GolfTec’s business at all when people can just go to their local teaching pro if they really want a lesson.

      The absolute best advice you can give any one single amateur golfer… look at your swing on video!!!!! get a friend to record you at the driving range and you’ll probably find out a few things that you didn’t even know were going on.

  7. DB

    May 20, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Back in the day we simply said, the left shoulder must rise upwards whilst the right arm extends down at impact (RH Golfer) . Didn’t need a fancy machine and countless hours of swing videos to see that the long hitters make that motion. Nor is it a recipe for guaranteed success, Iv seen many golfers very capable of playing at a high standard who don’t hit the angles we are supposed too. But golf is about more than doing one thing right. The best do all things extremely well.

  8. DJ

    May 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    free lesson: take two weeks off…then quit the game altogether

  9. Lenny

    May 20, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Please let the high handicappers take a few lessons and speed up the game…nothing wrong with using some trick golf swing if it gets you down the fairway, onto the green and into the hole…if GolfTech, Don Trahan, Moe Norman golf etc can get players moving forward we all win..

    • ken

      May 23, 2016 at 9:47 am

      One does not need golf swing analysis and lessons in order to improve their pace of play.
      What they need is to simply use common sense.
      Get butt out of the cart, figure out approximate yardage, take three clubs, go to ball.
      Play ready golf.
      Result is an instant 30 minutes off each round.

      • Moe Norman

        May 23, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        Really?? Yeah – 3 clubs – shank one with your 6 iron – good thing you brought your 7 iron – shank again – opps hit the tree and went backwards – back to the 6 iron – shank – 7 again – oops, another shank – off to the third club – shank over the green into the water – good think you brought 3 clubs to speed up play – oh wait – you cant even hit the ball – you know the clubface – right here – the flat part with the grooves on it – thats where you should hit the ball – yep thats right – keep swinging as hard as you can and now try and hit that clubface – you are all set – no need for lessons – you got it.

        Lenny – I liked your response – Golf is tough – the best players in the world work with a coach(s)

        • Justin Wells

          May 24, 2016 at 12:04 pm

          you’re right Moe…. a lot of time is wasted hitting poor shots and looking for lost balls. Even if you hit it short, as long as it’s straight you can play very fast. BUUUUT… everyone wants to hit the long ball!!

  10. parker

    May 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    This is not a study. This is advertising. I can’t find that they have published anything in any kind of academic journal or released the subset of data used to create their infographics. So it’s not a study. They haven’t even hinted at their methods.

    This is not an interview either. It’s advertising. It reeks of sponsored content although I don’t see a disclosure anywhere.

    And even if this was a study, all it really does is continue the myth narrative in golf, that golf is really hard and complex and that we don’t really understand it and we need to study it and measure it and keep trying to improve and take lessons and see a pro and this that and the other… I think this is what turns a lot of people off to the idea of golf.

    • Doug Hansen

      May 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm


    • EX TEC

      Dec 29, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      I would ask Golftec to provide specific details on which tour players they measured. Previously they have used obscure tour players and with their putting model the only two players they measured were their at the time Directors of Instruction.

  11. mhendon

    May 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    You can study how the pro’s move and what the pro’s do, and you can study how the avg high handicapper moves and what he/she does but in the end you can’t teach athleticism. Contrary to popular belief golf is a sport that requires athleticism to play it well period.

    • Steve

      May 20, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      100% agree as with any Pro sport athleticism is the key, we called it hand eye coordination years ago…But if we separate Pro Golf from Amateur or even Country Club Golf there are many ways to get some good results on the Amateur level course and players…Amateurs need to understand if you want to play “good golf” once a week, once a month, 3 times a year then band aid golf instructions maybe the way to go Swing ideas like Square to Square, Moe Norman type swings and swing machine type golf swings can get amateurs playing very good golf as long as they understand they are playing for FUN and will never have Pro level games…..

    • The Real Swanson

      May 21, 2016 at 2:32 am

      Completely agree. I’m a former 3 handicap (now 7-10 only play once a month, if that) with a pretty good swing, but I have terrible flexibility. I’ve never been able to touch my toes (even when I was young), I’m 6′ 4″ and have a large wrist to floor measurement. I have early extension in my swing and have tried various methods to reduce it but I’m now in my mid 40’s so accept that is unlikely to happen. I definitely feel this has limited my ability but I’ve broken par several times on challenging courses and am happy with my golfing achievements.

      • ken

        May 23, 2016 at 9:52 am

        Early extension….Ok I learned from a friend who is about your height. He eliminated a lot of his moving parts in the swing. He had distance issues. So he simply cut back on the length of his swing arc. The result was the power curve was where it should be. 6″ from the ball and through the ball. Instead of half way through the downswing.
        Try it.

  12. Chris Riley

    May 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    So is this a fault of the swing or the physical limitations of the body. Are people not getting the right hip turn because they are too tight or not strong enough or because they haven’t taught their body to make a move it is capable of?

  13. golfraven

    May 20, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I would like to see the tools they use as a commercia app so I could go away and work on that stuff after having as evaluation with a pro when purchasing this app. This is where the real business is.

  14. Clay

    May 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Golftec will release the rest of their findings once you buy another lesson package… seriously I tried them when I first started golfing and my impression after 25 lessons is their only goal is to sell you more lessons, your improvement is irrelevant to them.

    • name goes here

      May 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Exactly. I won a free swing eval and it ended with the “pro” saying I should by a lesson package valued at over $3000. No thanks. Guy had me shanking consistently by the end of the session, and it took me weeks to fix my swing thanks to his “advice” I foolishly tried to replicate in my practice.

      • Joe

        May 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm

        $3000!!!! Wow, that is very expensive, I had no idea they were that expensive, too much. Sounds hard sell.

      • Joshuaplaysgolf

        May 20, 2016 at 5:41 pm

        Typically when making significant changes, there’s regression first. It’s the whole ‘this feels weird’ ‘good, that means we’re making changes’ thing. Im a scratch player, made a decent sized change in my stance this season and spent 6 weeks (partially because of crappy Colorado weather) putting up horrific 76-77’s until i was able to get comfortable with/trust it. I have an issue trusting Golftec, and personally wouldn’t go to them…my fear being the big-box store cranking out stock, ill-fitting clubs also cranking out ‘stock’ swings, but that’s my own perception issue. If your going to drop any instructor because you don’t see immediate results, your probably not going to find very many instructors or make very much progress.

      • PuffyC

        May 24, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        So are you shocked (shocked I say!!) when you go to the car dealership and they want to sell you the most expensive model? I would hope not, and it’s the same with GolfTec. You can buy a $3000 package or you can buy a $500 package, just depends on what you want. Personally, I’ve taken about 15 lessons with GolfTec over the past year and a half and have dropped 12 strokes from my average round. That’s after hacking around for over 30 years and making no real progress. The key is using the cameras. You may think you know what your swing is doing but I guarantee you don’t unless you’re watching it every single time. And as far as the price goes, I found it to be a steal. The average head pro where I’m at charges around $125 an hour and there’s no way I could get anything close to what GolfTec offered even for twice the price.
        With that said, lessons alone won’t make you a better golfer, nor will the latest clubs. But if you take a lesson a month, get some clubs that fit you and practice 3 times a week for a year, you’ll start seeing significant progress. The problem is nobody wants to hear that and nobody wants to do it, and instead they’ll just keep pounding away, grooving their flawed swing, insisting lessons don’t work and that their clubs suck.

    • Joe

      May 20, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      It is a business, I would expect selling is their prime concern. Since these are canned lessons how would they know if you are progressing? Were you able to talk or correspond with an instructor?

    • ken

      May 23, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Golf tech is pretty good. At least according to those to which I’ve spoken. The however is, Golf Tech is very expensive.
      For example, they wanted $200 for a club fitting. $150 if I bought clubs form them.
      That is beyond my budget.
      I mean, how many times do they want their customers to pay for their Track Man?

  15. Joe

    May 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Every article presented brings out the nay sayers, we live in society of negativity and armchair know it alls.

    It is a very interesting article and is probably right on about the physical characteristics of amateur vs pro. Of course to incorporate this into your playing habits is a different thing altogether. At my age I will never be coordinated or supple enough to repeat these finding. For a youngster learning the game and taking lessons it is beneficial information.

    Of course anyone who plays knows that method alone and practice won’t let you play at a pro level, but will help you reach goals you otherwise would not.

  16. Scooter McGavin

    May 20, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    No, sorry. The findings of this “groundbreaking” study are not why people are not pro golfers. We’re not on tour because we didn’t spend years taking weekly lessons and practicing for 6-8 hours a day. Correlation and causation…

  17. Jon

    May 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    The reason I am not a pro golfer is because of loft…Lack Of F’ing Talent.

  18. LinksGypsy

    May 20, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    90 million swings tracked! That’s an achievement in itself, I doubt any other competitor can say they’ve given that many lessons. With the numerous motions in a golf swing, clearing your mind before a swing can be a daunting task – just apply six motions – okay now that’s doable. Thinking about going pro isn’t the answer, just thinking about improving my own swing is how I’m viewing this study.

  19. Ra

    May 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Completely and utterly meaningless.

    Can you putt?

    • Justin Wells

      May 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      it doesn’t matter if you’re the best putter the world has ever seen… if you can’t hit greens in regulation you’re never gonna make birdies! Putting isn’t what gets you on tour, it’s what makes you stand out and win after you’ve already made it! being a great scrambler on and around the greens will save you a lot of pars, but you’ll have a really hard time shooting under par if you aren’t setting yourself up with 8-10 legitimate birdie chances per round. Driving the ball is underrated, no one beats Rory when he’s hitting it straight. set yourself up with a shorter approach from the fairway than the rest of the field and you’ll have a better chance of hitting it close and making the putt.

  20. 300 Yard Pro

    May 20, 2016 at 11:59 am

    You’re not a pro golfer because you are taking lesson at GolfTEC, thats why.

  21. Lefty16

    May 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

    GolftTec, Yep all about numbers we cant reach!! A good instructor will adapt to what you can do not what you cant do. How can you compare an “average” golfer to a Tour Player! That’s all they ever do there. Waste of $$ and time.

    • PutterMan

      May 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      But isn’t it good to know what the numbers are, if they are essentially saying they’ve proven that certain positions have an undeniable impact on overall performance? Higher handicaps might not be able to reach the “optimal” numbers with consistency, but unless I’m off base, they are saying the closer you can get the better you’ll perform, as evidenced by the 90 million swings they analyzed.

  22. Tom

    May 20, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I have more shoulder and hip rotation after I’ve had four beers.

  23. bk216

    May 20, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I did a swing evaluation over the winter and it was helpful. a lot of information in just 90 minutes. but my first round I had 87 swing thoughts. I play at about a 10 and told them I wanted to get to a 5 handicap. Apparently that required 25 lessons. At over $2000 I had lost interest at that point.

    • GAH05

      May 21, 2016 at 9:08 am

      After my spring evaluation they tried to get me to sign for over $3,000 for the year. I do see benefits with their teaching methods but to have me in every week for lessons is just too much. I asked about a quarterly package or an la carte lesson pkg at my pace but the instructor was against it so I said have a nice day. Money grab, no way I would want or commit to lessons all year on a weekly basis.

      • Regis

        May 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

        I’ve flirted with the idea but you’re right about the cost. For that kind of money I could take a late winter break, and enroll in top level golf school in Florida or Arizona. In either case my bad habits would gradually sneak back into my game (They always have) but at least with the golf school I get a vacation out of the deal. Unless of course you are anticipating returning to Golf Tec for follow up every few months. But for that kind of money I could return to the same golf school every year…………

  24. Don

    May 20, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I have tried Golftec on 3 occasions and just like any form of instruction it boils down to the instructor. The system they use is just a tool. What the instructor gets out of the data to assist you is going to be most prevalent. My first experience was the best and I had very noticeable improvement. But the instructor moved on and I was saddled with someone else who started changing the things I was already working on with the original instructor. I ended up quitting. I gave it another chance at another location and the instruction was somewhere in the middle between the first and second instructor. Same system differing results. I may go back if I can find the right instructor for me and my game.

  25. PutterMan

    May 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

    90 million swings…holy moly, that is a ton of data to record. Had no idea GolfTEC had such a following. Anyone here ever been in for lesson or fitting with them? I wonder if they have numbers on things like chipping and putting. Would love to see those but the site doesn’t indicate they exist, or at least they haven’t been published yet. It did however show the actual graphs for each of the six positions and a line indicating correlation to handicap, kinda cool. Good on them for taking the time to sift through the data and sharing it all. Got to imagine we’re going to start seeing more “Data” golf stories with all the stat-tracking apps and TrackMan training sessions becoming so common. A brave new world.

  26. cgasucks

    May 20, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Of course!! Why didn’t I think of that!?!? How stupid of me…I’ll just have to work on my hip and shoulder turn and I’ll be on the PGA tour in no time! Putting and chipping is overrated anyway.

  27. name goes here

    May 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

    “Hey everybody – lets get you to mimic a tour pro who has 8 hours a day to perfect their swing and body, while you sit in a cubical during that time and come here for a lesson once a month after work.” Sure…that’ll work!

  28. Jack

    May 20, 2016 at 9:10 am

    The ol’ Golftec method. If you just rotate your shoulders to a perfect 90 degrees and turn your hips at impact to 36 you’ll it it like a pro.

  29. 4pillars

    May 20, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I’m 60 years old.

    This is why I am not a pro golfer. Nothing to do with hipturn angle.

  30. larrybud

    May 20, 2016 at 8:41 am

    ” A 30-handicap, in this case, tilts their shoulders 25 degrees at the top of the backswing, while a professional golfer tilts their shoulders 36 degrees.”

    Are you speaking of shoulder plane from down the line relative to the ground? With what club? What height of player, etc?

    • beejaybee

      May 20, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Can be rephrased to “A 30-handicap golfer does not tilt their shoulders enough to the top of the backswing.”

  31. AllBOdoesisgolf

    May 20, 2016 at 8:18 am

    groundbreaking?? I think everyone knows why

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The Wedge Guy: The easiest-to-learn golf basic



My golf learning began with this simple fact – if you don’t have a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, it is practically impossible for your body to execute a fundamentally sound golf swing. I’m still a big believer that the golf swing is much easier to execute if you begin with the proper hold on the club.

As you might imagine, I come into contact with hundreds of golfers of all skill levels. And it is very rare to see a good player with a bad hold on the golf club. There are some exceptions, for sure, but they are very few and very far between, and they typically have beat so many balls with their poor grip that they’ve found a way to work around it.

The reality of biophysics is that the body moves only in certain ways – and the particulars of the way you hold the golf club can totally prevent a sound swing motion that allows the club to release properly through the impact zone. The wonderful thing is that anyone can learn how to put a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, and you can practice it anywhere your hands are not otherwise engaged, like watching TV or just sitting and relaxing.

Whether you prefer an overlap, interlock or full-finger (not baseball!) grip on the club, the same fundamentals apply.  Here are the major grip faults I see most often, in the order of the frequency:

Mis-aligned hands

By this I mean that the palms of the two hands are not parallel to each other. Too many golfers have a weak left hand and strong right, or vice versa. The easiest way to learn how to hold the club with your palms aligned properly is to grip a plain wooden ruler or yardstick. It forces the hands to align properly and shows you how that feels. If you grip and re-grip a yardstick several times, then grip a club, you’ll see that the learning curve is almost immediate.

The position of the grip in the upper/left hand

I also observe many golfers who have the butt of the grip too far into the heel pad of the upper hand (the left hand for right-handed players). It’s amazing how much easier it is to release the club through the ball if even 1/4-1/2″ of the butt is beyond the left heel pad. Try this yourself to see what I mean.  Swing the club freely with just your left hand and notice the difference in its release from when you hold it at the end of the grip, versus gripping down even a half inch.

To help you really understand how this works, go to the range and hit shots with your five-iron gripped down a full inch to make the club the same length as your seven-iron. You will probably see an amazing shot shape difference, and likely not see as much distance loss as you would expect.

Too much lower (right) hand on the club

It seems like almost all golfers of 8-10 handicap or higher have the club too far into the palm of the lower hand, because that feels “good” if you are trying to control the path of the clubhead to the ball. But the golf swing is not an effort to hit at the ball – it is a swing of the club. The proper hold on the club has the grip underneath the pad at the base of the fingers. This will likely feel “weak” to you — like you cannot control the club like that. EXACTLY. You should not be trying to control the club with your lower/master hand.

Gripping too tightly

Nearly all golfers hold the club too tightly, which tenses up the forearms and prevents a proper release of the club through impact. In order for the club to move back and through properly, you must feel that the club is controlled by the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the middle two fingers of the lower hand. If you engage your thumbs and forefingers in “holding” the club, the result will almost always be a grip that is too tight. Try this for yourself. Hold the club in your upper hand only, and squeeze firmly with just the last three fingers, with the forefinger and thumb off the club entirely. You have good control, but your forearms are not tense. Then begin to squeeze down with your thumb and forefinger and observe the tensing of the entire forearm. This is the way we are made, so the key to preventing tenseness in the arms is to hold the club very lightly with the “pinchers” — the thumbs and forefingers.

So, those are what I believe are the four fundamentals of a good grip. Anyone can learn them in their home or office very quickly. There is no easier way to improve your ball striking consistency and add distance than giving more attention to the way you hold the golf club.

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Clement: Stop ripping off your swing with this drill!



Not the dreaded headcover under the armpit drill! As if your body is defective and can’t function by itself! Have you seen how incredible the human machine is with all the incredible feats of agility all kinds of athletes are accomplishing? You think your body is so defective (the good Lord is laughing his head off at you) that it needs a headcover tucked under the armpit so you can swing like T-Rex?

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How a towel can fix your golf swing



This is a classic drill that has been used for decades. However, the world of marketed training aids has grown so much during that time that this simple practice has been virtually forgotten. Because why teach people how to play golf using everyday items when you can create and sell a product that reinforces the same thing? Nevertheless, I am here to give you helpful advice without running to the nearest Edwin Watts or adding something to your Amazon cart.

For the “scoring clubs,” having a solid connection between the arms and body during the swing, especially through impact, is paramount to creating long-lasting consistency. And keeping that connection throughout the swing helps rotate the shoulders more to generate more power to help you hit it farther. So, how does this drill work, and what will your game benefit from it? Well, let’s get into it.


You can use this for basic chip shots up to complete swings. I use this with every club in my bag, up to a 9 or 8-iron. It’s natural to create incrementally more separation between the arms and body as you progress up the set. So doing this with a high iron or a wood is not recommended.

While you set up to hit a ball, simply tuck the towel underneath both armpits. The length of the towel will determine how tight it will be across your chest but don’t make it so loose that it gets in the way of your vision. After both sides are tucked, make some focused swings, keeping both arms firmly connected to the body during the backswing and follow through. (Note: It’s normal to lose connection on your lead arm during your finishing pose.) When you’re ready, put a ball in the way of those swings and get to work.

Get a Better Shoulder Turn

Many of us struggle to have proper shoulder rotation in our golf swing, especially during long layoffs. Making a swing that is all arms and no shoulders is a surefire way to have less control with wedges and less distance with full swings. Notice how I can get in a similar-looking position in both 60° wedge photos. However, one is weak and uncontrollable, while the other is strong and connected. One allows me to use my larger muscles to create my swing, and one doesn’t. The follow-through is another critical point where having a good connection, as well as solid shoulder rotation, is a must. This drill is great for those who tend to have a “chicken wing” form in their lead arm, which happens when it becomes separated from the body through impact.

In full swings, getting your shoulders to rotate in your golf swing is a great way to reinforce proper weight distribution. If your swing is all arms, it’s much harder to get your weight to naturally shift to the inside part of your trail foot in the backswing. Sure, you could make the mistake of “sliding” to get weight on your back foot, but that doesn’t fix the issue. You must turn into your trial leg to generate power. Additionally, look at the difference in separation between my hands and my head in the 8-iron examples. The green picture has more separation and has my hands lower. This will help me lessen my angle of attack and make it easier to hit the inside part of the golf ball, rather than the over-the-top move that the other picture produces.

Stay Better Connected in the Backswing

When you don’t keep everything in your upper body working as one, getting to a good spot at the top of your swing is very hard to do. It would take impeccable timing along with great hand-eye coordination to hit quality shots with any sort of regularity if the arms are working separately from the body.

Notice in the red pictures of both my 60-degree wedge and 8-iron how high my hands are and the fact you can clearly see my shoulder through the gap in my arms. That has happened because the right arm, just above my elbow, has become totally disconnected from my body. That separation causes me to lift my hands as well as lose some of the extension in my left arm. This has been corrected in the green pictures by using this drill to reinforce that connection. It will also make you focus on keeping the lead arm close to your body as well. Because the moment either one loses that relationship, the towel falls.


I have been diligent this year in finding a few drills that target some of the issues that plague my golf game; either by simply forgetting fundamental things or by coming to terms with the faults that have bitten me my whole career. I have found that having a few drills to fall back on to reinforce certain feelings helps me find my game a little easier, and the “towel drill” is most definitely one of them.

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