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In this video, we look at the key differences between PGA Tour players and low-handicap amateurs in the way they move the center of the torso and the center of the pelvis throughout the golf swing.  

What we have found in our 3D research is that the classic “Reverse-K” setup is not something the best players in the world employ. Also, we see professionals in the downswing keep the torso on top of the pelvis (or even let it get in front of the pelvis) until the hands reach around waist high. At this point, the tour professional is able to push hard into the ground with his lead leg, which causes the pelvis to finally shift out in front of the torso.

Over the years in golf instruction, it seems that the industry as a whole has taken the static position of impact and tried to employ it in the swing via the Reverse-K setup and keeping the torso behind the pelvis during the entire motion. It does appear to make things simpler, but the problem is that this teaching can cause a severe in-to-out swing direction. It can also cause a reduction in ground-force production, as the player is not able to push as hard with the lead side late in the downswing (it would cause him to topple over!). Over time, we believe the teaching has caused countless players — especially better players — to struggle with hooking and pushing the ball.

Now, it’s true that most golf instructors have worked with a chronic slicer who has benefitted from some “Reverse K” feeling in their swing, especially if the golfer has the upper body well to the left of the pelvis at the top of the swing. Remember that in this video series, however, we are highlighting the lower-handicapper amateur who is trying to take their game to the next level.

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Athletic Motion Golf is a collaboration of four of golf's brightest and most talented instructors who came together with the sole purpose of supplying golfers the very best information and strategies to lower their scores. At AMG, we're bringing fact-based instruction that's backed by research and proven at the highest levels on the PGA Tour straight to golfers through our website. Our resources will help you "clear the fog" in your game and understand the essentials of playing great golf.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Tom Mc

    Aug 5, 2020 at 7:08 am

    Look up Bradley Hughes on You Tube. in almost 60 years of playing and teaching this game, he’s the only one explaining it correctly.

  2. Ray Bennett

    Jun 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Finally some real truths about the swing on the site. Well done to the authors of this vid and article.

  3. Scott

    Jun 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I understand what you are trying to get at, but it seems tome that in order to do this, you need to have a strong core in order to keep your entire swing supported. If you do not have a strong core, I can see A LOT of lateral movement and inconsistent ball striking.

    Other questions: Is it the address or impact position that makes a difference as opposed to the set up? What about people that have a difficult time keeping their center behind the ball at impact? I see a number of LPGA players that do not seem to stay centered.

  4. SH

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Gotta lift the leading leg though. Get a bigger turn that way, and hurts the back less

  5. Terry

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Maybe this swing is why there is so many back injuries among the 20 somethings on tour. Not a good way to go.

    • Jim Maron

      Jun 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      I’m 54, never had back problems in my life until I tried not swaying off the ball after some lessons. Immediately started having lower back pain. Maybe it’s coincidence but bad back isn’t worth the risk.

    • AMG

      Jun 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      One of those players in the video has had to have major back surgery… it wasn’t the pro 😉

    • AMG

      Jun 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Interesting comment because the am in the video was the one who had to undergo major back surgery. He also credits not Reverse K’ing anymore as the reason he’s been able to improve and play without pain.

      • Terry

        Jun 5, 2017 at 10:47 pm

        Probably because he is performing the reverse k incorrectly. For one he should be letting his front heel raise a bit in the backswing, which will free up the hips and take all pressure off the lower spine

        • Terry

          Jun 5, 2017 at 10:52 pm

          Also doesn’t explain the rash of back injuries among young pga tour players nowadays

  6. CB

    Jun 5, 2017 at 10:37 am

    You guys are making this way more difficult than it needs to be. Just set up to the ball with your whole body stacked on top (hips over feet, shoulders over hips) – no tilting either way. Then just swing the damn club around that base. Its really easy to be honest. Amateurs think too much – stop! This video and article are absolute golden if you apply it.

  7. Tourgrinder

    Jun 5, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Isn’t this basically the “stack and tilt” method that has now been mostly disputed and left in the dust by most swing coaches and tour pros? I’m not sure old “connection” pro Jimmy Ballard would agree with this, or that pro swingers such as Curtis Strange would be looking anything like this. Would they?

  8. mike

    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Best I can tell, you guys are getting closer and closer to Moe Norman’s single plane swing.
    Although Moe’s swing caused him to dip down to compensate for his distance from the ball, his hip motion (and shoulders) was lateral. A modern interpretation of Moe’s swing doesn’t need the stretch to the ball. Moe didn’t use the ground as well as he could have. But witness Bryson Dechambeau’s swing — centered and using the ground — and still single plane. That’s what the average golfer needs. Your research is for the advanced golfer who is starting to figure out why he has been having back problems.

  9. Patricknorm

    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Further to this article, there’s a good articles in the June 04,2017 edition online from Forbes regarding this technology in the lifestyle section written by Scott Kramer. I’m a Canadian so this tech isn’t available as far as I know.
    Regardless the author of this article ( Forbes ) is very satisfied with this analysis and solution to his swing flaws. Personally, my swing isn’t great due to sports injuries ( hip and knee replacement plus, a bent lead arm). Still my fundamentals are decent ( I’m a 8.8 factor/ index ) but I know having read this WRX article the comparisons (pro vs.amater) are valid. I just wish I could execute the fundamentals better.

  10. Lairde11

    Jun 5, 2017 at 6:04 am

    I enjoyed this. Can i ask if Ian Woosnam would be a good example of the non- reverse K approach? I always liked his minimalist rotational action.

  11. Tom Abts

    Jun 5, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Maybe for scratch amateurs. But … amateurs need the reverse k concept. Most amateurs either try to flip the club under the ball while making a reverse weight shift … or they just lift up the club and beat down on the ball.
    I respect excellence … and helping the best in the world.
    However, this is bad information for most golfers.

  12. M Sizzle

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Looks a lot like Justin Thomas to me

  13. Philip

    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks, that helps a lot with my visualization of what I need to do.

  14. Neil

    Jun 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I agree, more info needed. Also this is 1 amateur’s swing and 1 Pro’s swing. Should at least be another pro swing. Should also be some commentary on identifying the issue and drills to fix. PGA pros hit down on the ball on average as they have so much speed that they sacrifice a bit of distance to in favour of accuracy. The model pro may do this. If we need to hit up more like an LPGA player cause of lack of speed does this observation on stacked posture still apply …

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Correct, we only used 1 pro for this video, but I’m having a hard time thinking of one current PGA tour play in our database who doesn’t align their centers that way. The pro in the video is representative of ourthe swings we have captured.

      That particular pro also has a positive AoA. This does not confine a player to hitting down on it. (We also have plans to address the “average pro hits down” idea. That’s not what the data shows when the actual club face is tracked, but that’s for another video).

  15. Paul

    Jun 4, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Cool video.
    Who is the tour player?
    I tried to figure out what guys like bubba and JB are doing. I gained a lot of distance and my pain went away. Have you put them on your system?

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Awesome to hear you’re longer and pain free – that’s a strong combo!

      We’ve collected the data on several pros who move it north of 120pm, but we haven’t collected it on Bubba or JB yet.

  16. sam

    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    put Jack Nicklaus swing on that system and you will come back and tell us a completely different story…

  17. Mike

    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Ok, but how do you fix that? I tilt a lot worse than that guy and cannot eliminate it even on the slowest of swings. I know I do it, don’t know how to fix it.

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      You’re more than welcome to email me your swing, would be happy to take a look.

    • Joseph

      Jun 4, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      I’m with you. I tilt more than that guy and have done for my 66 years. Wish I could be that athletic.

  18. Dave

    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I think this is perfect a perfect example of the pure athleticism on the tour: Not many amateurs can turn like that, let alone swing a club while they do it.

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      In our view, athleticism is a good thing. But let’s also keep in mind that the golf swing takes less than a second from address to impact, so the amount of athleticism it takes is not a lot or very taxing by comparison. The oldest player we have in our database is 73 years old. He describes himself a way overweight and the only exercise he gets is from playing golf… certainly not a pure tour level athlete by anyone’s definition. Last year, after learning to neutralize his upper and lower (like depicted in the video), he shot posted 66 and 68 in tournaments. He won his 4th tournament last weekend since the change. He’s said on numerous occasions how easy it is to swing now.

      Everyone should do what’s best for them, but this has not been physically difficult for our amateur clients to do… in fact, most say it is much easier and less painful.

  19. Desmond

    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Not enough detail in explanation – just enough where people will do bad things. Vid needs more length. I think there is a balance between stacking and too much stacking, from what my instructor says, who teaches PGA Touring Pros, and the vid needs to clear this up. He should also talk about the first move going down. Just not enough here to be helpful, and just enough to be harmful.

    • AMG

      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      We’d love to make these much longer and go into greater detail, but we’ve been asked to keep them as concise as possible. I agree completely that overdoing it in either direction can be done, which is why we like neutral as a great demonstration/starting point.

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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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Instruction

Walters: Try this practice hack for better bunker shots

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Your ability to hit better bunker shots is dramatically reduced if you have no facility to practice these shots. With so few facilities (especially in the UK) having a practice bunker it’s no wonder I see so many golfers struggle with this skill.

Yet the biggest issue they all seem to have is the inability to get the club to enter the sand (hit the ground) in a consistent spot. So here is a hack to use at the range to improve your bunker shots.

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Golf Blueprint: A plan for productive practice sessions

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Practice range at the Dormie Club. Photo credit: Scott Arden

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

You’ve gotten lessons.  Several of them.  You’ve been custom fitted for everything in your bag.  You even bought another half a dozen driver shafts last year looking for an extra couple of yards.  And yet, you’re still…stuck.  Either your handicap hasn’t moved at all in years or you keep bouncing back and forth between the same two numbers.  You’ve had all the swing fixes and all the technological advances you could realistically hope to achieve, yet no appreciable result has been achieved in lowering your score.  What gives?

Sample Golf Blueprint practice plan for a client.

One could argue that no one scientifically disassembled and then systematically reassembled the game of golf quite like the great Ben Hogan.  His penchant for doing so created a mystique which is still the stuff of legend even today.  A great many people have tried to decipher his secret over the years and the inevitable conclusion is always a somewhat anticlimactic, “The secret’s in the dirt.”  Mr. Hogan’s ball striking prowess was carved one divot at a time from countless hours on the practice range.  In an interview with golf journalist George Peper in 1987, Mr. Hogan once said:

“You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but the truth is, I was enjoying myself. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning so I could hit balls. I’d be at the practice tee at the crack of dawn, hit balls for a few hours, then take a break and get right back to it. And I still thoroughly enjoy it. When I’m hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply—when anyone is— it’s a joy that very few people experience.”

Let me guess.  You’ve tried that before, right?  You’ve hit buckets and buckets of range rocks trying to groove the perfect 7-iron swing and still to no avail, right?  Read that last sentence again closely and you might discover the problem.  There’s a difference between mindful practice and mindless practice.  Mindful practice, like Mr. Hogan undoubtedly employed, is structured, focused, and intentional.  It has specific targets and goals in mind and progresses in a systematic fashion until those goals are met.

This is exactly what Nico Darras and Kevin Moore had in mind when they started Golf Blueprint.  In truth, though, the journey actually started when Nico was a client of Kevin’s Squares2Circles project.  Nico is actually a former DI baseball player who suffered a career-ending injury and took up golf at 22 years old.  In a short time, he was approaching scratch and then getting into some mini tour events.  Kevin, as mentioned in the Squares2Circles piece, is a mathematics education professor and accomplished golfer who has played in several USGA events.  Their conversations quickly changed from refining course strategy to making targeted improvements in Nico’s game.  By analyzing the greatest weaknesses in Nico’s game and designing specific practice sessions (which they call “blueprints”) around them, Nico started reaching his goals.

The transition from client to partners was equal parts swift and organic, as they quickly realized they were on to something.  Nico and Kevin used their experiences to develop an algorithm which, when combined with the client’s feedback, establishes a player profile within Golf Blueprint’s system.  Clients get a plan with weekly, monthly, and long-term goals including all of the specific blueprints that target the areas of their game where they need it most.  Not to mention, clients get direct access to Nico and Kevin through Golf Blueprint.

Nico Darras, co-founder of Golf Blueprint

While this is approaching shades of Mr. Hogan’s practice method above, there is one key distinction here.  Kevin and Nico aren’t recommending practicing for hours at a time.  Far from it.  In Nico’s words:

“We recommend 3 days a week.  You can do more or less, for sure, but we’ve found that 3 days a week is within the realm of possibility for most of our clients.  Practice sessions are roughly 45-70 minutes each, but again, all of this depends on the client and what resources they have at their disposal.  Each blueprint card is roughly 10 minutes each, so you can choose which cards to do if you only have limited time to practice.  Nothing is worse than cranking 7 irons at the range for hours.  We want to make these engaging and rewarding.”

Kevin Moore, co-founder of Golf Blueprint

So far, Golf Blueprint has been working for a wide range of golfers – from tour pros to the No Laying Up crew to amateurs alike.  Kevin shares some key data in that regard:

“When we went into this, we weren’t really sure what to expect.  Were we going to be an elite player product?  Were we going to be an amateur player product?  We didn’t know, honestly.  So far, what’s exciting is that we’ve had success with a huge range of players.  Probably 20-25% of our players (roughly speaking) are in that 7-11 handicap range.  That’s probably the center of the bell curve, if you will, right around that high-single-digit handicap range.  We have a huge range though, scratch handicap and tour players all the way to 20 handicaps.  It runs the full gamut.  What’s been so rewarding is that the handicap dropping has been significantly more than we anticipated.  The average handicap drop for our clients was about 2.7 in just 3 months’ time.”

Needless to say, that’s a pretty significant drop in a short amount of time from only changing how you practice.  Maybe that Hogan guy was on to something.  I think these guys might be too.  To learn more about Golf Blueprint and get involved, visit their website. @Golf_Blueprint is their handle for both Twitter and Instagram.

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