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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

What to look for in a golf instructor: The difference between transformative and transactional coaching

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Golf instruction comes in all different styles, methods, and formats. With that said, you would think this would be a good thing due to there being so many different types of people in the world. However, it is my opinion that the lack of standardization within the industry makes it confusing for the athlete to determine what kind of golf instruction they should seek out.

Before we can discuss what may or may not be the best type of instruction for yourself, first we need to know what our options are. Whether we are taking a “broad-spectrum approach” to learning or a more personalized approach, it is important to understand that there are differences to each, and some approaches are going to take longer than others to reach goals.

Broad-Spectrum Approach

Welcome to the world of digital golf instruction, where tips from the most famous coaches in the world are a click away. The great thing about the internet and social media for a golfer is there has never been more access to the top minds in the field—and tips and drills are plentiful. With that said, with there being so many choices and differing opinions, it can be very easy to become distracted with the latest tip and can lead to a feeling of being lost.

I would describe “internet coaching”—or YouTube and Instagram surfing—as transactional coaching. You agree to pay, either a monthly fee or provide likes or follows and the professional provides very generalized tips about the golf swing. For athletes that are new to golf or golf instruction, this tends to be the first part of their process.

There are people who prefer a more transactional approach, and there are a ton of people having success working together over the internet with their coach. With that said, for someone who is looking for more of a long-term individualized approach, this may not be the best approach. This broad-spectrum approach also tends to be the slowest in terms of development due to there being a lot of trial and error due to the generalized approach and people having different body types.

Individual Transactional Coaching

Most people who are new to golf instruction will normally seek out their local pro for help. Depending on where you live in the country, what your local pro provides will vary greatly. However, due to it being local and convenient, most golfers will accept this to be the standard golf lesson.

What makes this type of instruction transactional is that there tends to be less long-term planning and it is more of a sick patient-doctor relationship. Lessons are taken when needed and there isn’t any benchmarking or periodization being done. There also tends to be less of a relationship between the coach and player in this type of coaching and it is more of a take it or leave it style to the coaching.

For most recreational or club-level players, this type of coaching works well and is widely available. Assuming that the method or philosophies of the coach align with your body type and goals athletes can have great success with this approach. However, due to less of a relationship, this form of coaching can still take quite some time to reach its goals.

Individual Transformative Coaching

Some people are very lucky, and they live close to a transformative coach, and others, less lucky, have had to search and travel to find a coach that could help them reach their goals. Essentially, when you hire a transformative coach, you are being assigned a golf partner.

Transformative coaching begins with a solid rapport that develops into an all-encompassing relationship centered around helping you become your very best. Technology alone doesn’t make a coach transformative, but it can help when it comes to creating periodization of your development. Benchmarks and goals are agreed upon by both parties and both parties share the responsibility for putting in the work.

Due to transformative coaching tending to have larger goals, the development process tends to take some time, however, the process is more about attainment than achievement. While improved performance is the goal, the periods for both performance and development are defined.

Which One is Right for You?

It really depends on how much you are willing to invest in your development. If you are looking for a quick tip and are just out enjoying the weather with your friends, then maybe finding a drill or two on Instagram to add to your practice might be the ticket. If you are looking to really see some improvement and put together a plan for long-term development, then you are going to have to start looking into what is available in your area and beyond.

Some things to consider when selecting a coach

  • Do they use technology?
  • What are their qualifications when it comes to teaching?
  • Do they make you a priority?

As a golf coach who has access to the most state-of-the-art technology in the industry, I am always going to be biased towards a data-driven approach. That doesn’t mean that you should only consider a golf coach with technology, however, I believe that by having data present, you are able to have a better conversation about the facts with less importance placed on personal preference. Technology also tends to be quite expensive in golf, so be prepared if you go looking for a more high-tech coaching experience, as it is going to cost more than the low-tech alternative.

The general assumption is that if the person you are seeking advice from is a better player than you are, then they know more about the golf swing than you do. This is not always the case, while the better player may understand their swing better than you do yours, that does not make them an expert at your golf swing. That is why it is so important that you consider the qualifications of your coach. Where did they train to coach? Do they have success with all of their players? Do their players develop over a period of time? Do their players get injured? All things to consider.

The most important trait to look for in a transformative coach is that they make you a priority. That is the biggest difference between transactional and transformative coaches, they are with you during the good and bad, and always have your best interest top of mind. Bringing in other experts isn’t that uncommon and continuing education is paramount for the transformative coach, as it is their duty to be able to meet and exceed the needs of every athlete.

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The importance of arm structure

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How the arms hang at address plays a vital role in the golf swing. Often overlooked, the structure in which we place the arms can dictate one’s swing pattern. As mentioned in the article How Posture influences your swing, if you start in an efficient position, impact is much easier to find making, the golf swing more repeatable and powerful.

To start, I opt to have a player’s trail arm bent and tucked in front of them with angle in the trail wrist. While doing so, the trail shoulder can drop below the lead with a slight bend from the pelvis. This mirrors an efficient impact position.

I always prefer plays to have soft and slightly bent arms. This promotes arm speed in the golf swing. No other sports are played with straight arms, neither should golf.

From this position, it’s easier to get the clubhead traveling first, sequencing the backswing into a dynamic direction of turn.

@peterthomson

When a player addresses the ball with straight arms, they will often tilt with their upper body in the backswing. This requires more recovery in the downswing to find their impact position with the body.

A great drill to get the feeling of a soft-bent trail arm is to practice pushing a wall with your trail arm. Start in your golf set-up, placing your trail hand against the wall. You will instinctively start with a bent trail arm.

Practice applying slight pressure to the wall to get the feeling of a pushing motion through impact?. When trying the drill with a straight trail alarm, you will notice the difference between the two? arm structures.

www.kelleygolf.com

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What is ground force in the golf swing?

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There is no doubt about it, the guys and gals on tour have found something in the ground—and that something is power and speed. I’m sure by now you have heard of “ground reaction forces”—and I’m not talking about how you “shift your weight” during the golf swing.

Ground force in the golf swing: Pressure and force are not equal

With respect to ground force in the golf swing, it’s important to understand the difference between pressure and force. Pressure is your perception of how your weight is being balanced by the structure, in this case, the human body. Your body has a center of mass which is located roughly one inch behind the belt buckle for men and about one inch lower in women. When we shift (translate and/or torque) the center of mass, we create a pressure shift as the body has to “rebalance” the mass or body. This pressure shift can help us understand some aspects of the golf swing, but when it comes to producing power, force and torque are where it’s at.

Pressure can only be expressed in relation to the mass or weight of the body. Therefore, if you weigh 150 pounds, you can only create 150 pounds of pressure at one time. However, when we direct that mass at a larger object than our mass, all of a sudden that larger mass directs an opposite and equal reactionary force. So now, when a human being “pushes” their legs against the ground and “feels” 150 pounds of pressure, they now get 150 pounds of force directed back towards them from the ground, creating a total of 300 pounds of force that allows them to jump off the ground in this scenario.

If ground reaction forces don’t have anything to do with the “weight shift,” then what do they affect? Everything!

Most people use the same basic ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. However, almost everyone has chocolate chip cookies that taste slightly different. Why is that? That is because people are variable and use the ingredients in different amounts and orders. When we create a golf swing, whether we are aware of it or not, we are using the same basic ingredients as everyone else: lateral force, vertical torque, and vertical force. We use these same three forces every time we move in space, and how much and when we use each force changes the outcome quite a bit.

Welcome to the world of 3D!

Understanding how to adjust the sequencing and magnitude of these forces is critical when it comes to truly owning and understand your golf swing. The good news is that most of our adjustments come before the swing and have to do with how we set up to the ball. For example, if an athlete is having a hard time controlling low point due to having too much lateral force in the golf swing (fats and thins), then we narrow up the stance width to reduce the amount of lateral force that can be produced in the swing. If an athlete is late with their vertical force, then we can square up the lead foot to promote the lead leg straightening sooner and causing the vertical force to happen sooner.

While we all will need to use the ground differently to play our best golf, two things need to happen to use the ground effectively. The forces have to exist in the correct kinetic sequence (lateral, vertical torque, vertical force), and the peaks of those forces need to be created within the correct windows (sequencing).

  • Lateral force – Peak occurs between top-of-swing and lead arm at 45 degrees
  • Vertical torque – Peak occurs between lead arm being 45 degrees and the lead arm being parallel to the ground.
  • Vertical force – Peak occurs between lead arm being parallel to the ground the club shaft being parallel to the ground.

While it may seem obvious, it’s important to remember ground reaction forces are invisible and can only be measured using force plates. With that said, their tends to be apprehension about discussing how we use the ground as most people do not have access to 3D dual force plates. However, using the screening process designed by Mike Adams, Terry Rowles, and the BioSwing Dynamics team, we can determine what the primary forces used for power production are and can align the body in a way to where the athlete can access his/her full potential and deliver the club to the ball in the most effective and efficient way based off their predispositions and anatomy.

In addition to gaining speed, we can help athletes create a better motion for their anatomy. As golfers continue to swing faster, it is imperative that they do so in a manner that doesn’t break down their body and cause injury. If the body is moving how it is designed, and the forces acting on the joints of the body are in the correct sequence and magnitude, not only do we know they are getting the most out of their swing, but we know that it will hold up and not cause an unforeseen injury down the road.

I truly believe that force plates and ground reaction forces will be as common as launch monitors in the near future. Essentially, a launch monitor measures the effect and the force plates measure the cause, so I believe we need both for the full picture. The force plate technology is still very expensive, and there is an educational barrier for people seeking to start measuring ground reaction forces and understanding how to change forces, magnitudes, and sequences, but I’m expecting a paradigm shift soon.

 

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