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In this video, I use one of my students as an example of how trail shoulders mobility can affect the golf swing. It is important to note that many structural factors can affect the golf swing. For the golfer in this video, the trail shoulder is just one example of how we can address physical limitations to improve the swing.

The drill I give this student utilizes the weight of the club to not only stretch the shoulder but to also start to retrain the motor patterns to get the club in a better position to start the downswing.

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Dan Gaucher is a Teaching Professional at Saratoga National Golf Academy. Trackman Level 2 coach, TPI Level 2 Golf Coach, and Multiple time U.S. Kids Golf top 50 instructor. Dan also has experience in the health and fitness industry which has allowed him to further understand the biomechanics of the body and how it correlates to the golf swing. Dan enjoys being a student of both the human body and the game of golf. Dan works with players of all abilities from beginners to aspiring professionals.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. geohogan

    Sep 11, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    If a golfer can turn the palm of his trail hand toward the sky at the top of the BS
    then he can shallow the club. Simply keep the palm facing the sky.

    Gravity drop and the hands shallow the club.

  2. Greg

    Sep 11, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Is there a role for the “Feel the stretch” device? The most important stretch in golf. feelthestretch.com

  3. tom stickney

    Sep 10, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Great points here…most teachers fail to understand the role of the shoulder girdle and how it can influence your transition.

    • ogo

      Sep 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      It’s imperative that the shoulder and chest structure be evaluated to determine the range of motion of the arms. Most instructors ignore this physical aspect of the golfer.

      • geohogan

        Sep 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        The deltoid has three distinct functions that correspond to the three bands of muscle fibers. Contraction of the anterior fibers flexes and medially rotates the arm by pulling the humerus towards the clavicle

        If trail deltoid contracts OTT will result. (humerus toward the clavicle)
        Palm of trail hand facing the sky disengages the deltoid.

        If a golfer can hold the proverbial ‘waiters tray’at top of BS, there is no need of physio.

  4. Alex

    Sep 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Don’t understand the logic here. Joe can rotate the right shoulder properly with only the right hand on the club, but has trouble when the left hand is applied. Then you conclude that his right shoulder is limited, when it seems that the problem is using both arms together. What am I missing?

    • Geoff

      Sep 11, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Joe does not rotate properly with right hand only drill …. and it’s a drill to start lightly stretching and to benchmark his progress. Pause vid at 2:41 …. he gets maybe 2-3 more degrees of ER (guessing) …. but he has to “cheat” it with abduction and horizontal abduction. Also keep his elbow extended which mechanically lengthens biceps to further pull into ER. The “cheat” is the point … it stretches the internal rotators (cuff, pecs, biceps). Again at 2:41 … no way he gets his left hand on the grip.

      Dan’s take home point in a 4 min video is “don’t prescribe motion and positions before checking for anatomical roadblocks”

      Dan is TPI Certified and routinely refers out to PT, AT, nutritionists, and Medical TPI professionals. They work out kinks and Dan goes to work with radar based LM’s, 3D motion analysis, and an approach that matches the learning style of every client …. even my son who is one of the toughest nuts to crack.

  5. mike

    Sep 10, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Range of motion is too often taken for granted . Bravo on reminding us that everyone has individual muscular – skeleton issues .
    Very frustrating trying to do something your body isn’t capable of .
    Good instruction will take these into consideration and find a way to fix or work around

    • ogo

      Sep 10, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      If the pecs are too bulky the chest will interfere with arm positions in the back and downswing. That’s what it looks like.

  6. Kevin

    Sep 10, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Would have been helpful to see an example of good external rotation (maybe yours) to compare with Joe’s. We have no idea watching the video how short of optimal is Joe.

  7. ogo

    Sep 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Excellent, excellent biomechanical analysis and remedy for internal and external shoulder rotation. This is the kind of instruction that is so beneficial for this forum.

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Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive

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Drop the mic on how the wrists should load and be positioned for compressive power, accuracy, and longevity! There is a better way, and this is it!

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Short Game University: How to hit wedges 301

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In golf, there is nothing harder than judging a flop shot over a bunker to a tight pin out of long grass. Why? Because there are so many variables to account for — in addition to what you can and cannot do with a wedge. In fact, up until very recently in the world of wedge design, we were limited to only increasing the landing angle to stop the ball, because relying on spin from this lie and this close to the green was next to impossible.

Now with the advent of things like raw faces, different CG locations, new groove design, and micro-ribs between the grooves, we can now spin the ball out of lies that we never could have done so before. This is not to say that you can now zip the ball back from these types of lies, but we are seeing spin rates that have skyrocketed, and this allows us to not open the face as much as we needed to do before in order to stop the ball.

Before we get into the shot around the green itself, let’s talk a bit about wedge design. For that, I called a great friend of mine, Greg Cesario, TaylorMade’s Staff Manager to help us understand a bit more about wedges. Greg was a former PGA Tour Player and had a big hand in designing the new Milled Grind 3 Wedges.

Cesario said: “Wedge technology centers on two key areas- the first is optimizing its overall launch/spin (just like drivers) on all shots and the second is optimum ground interaction through the geometry of the sole (bounce, sole width, and sole shape).”

“Two key things impact spin: Groove design and face texture. Spin is the secondary effect of friction. This friction essentially helps the ball stick to the face a little longer and reduces slippage. We define slippage as how much the ball slides up the face at impact. That happens more when it’s wet outside during those early morning tee times, out of thicker lies, or after a bit of weather hits. Our Raised Micro-Ribs increase friction and reduce slippage on short partial shots around the round – that’s particularly true in wet conditions.”

“We’ve been experimenting with ways to find optimal CG (center of gravity) placement and how new geometries can influence that. We know that CG locations can influence launch, trajectory and spin. Everyone is chasing the ability to produce lower launching and higher spinning wedge shots to help players increase precision distance control. In that space, moving CG just a few millimeters can have big results. Beyond that, we’re continuing to advance our spin and friction capabilities – aiming to reduce the decay of spin from dry to fluffy, or wet conditions.”

Basically, what Greg is saying is that without improvements in design, we would never be able to spin the ball like we would normally when it’s dry and the lie is perfect. So, with this new design in a wedge like the Milled Grind 3 (and others!), how can we make sure we have the optimal opportunity to hit these faster-stopping pitch shots?

  1. Make sure the face is clean and dry
  2. Open the blade slightly, but not too much
  3. Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the AoA
  4. Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

Make sure the face is clean and dry

If your thought is to use spin to stop the ball quicker under any situation, then you must give the club a chance to do its job. When the grooves are full of dirt and grass and the remaining exposed face is wet, then you are basically eliminating any opportunity to create spin. In fact, if you decide to hit the shot under these conditions, you might as well hit a flop shot as this would be the only opportunity to create a successful outcome. Don’t put yourself behind the eight-ball automatically, keep your club in a clean and dry condition so you have the best chance to do what you are capable of doing.

Open the blade slightly, but not too much

Without going into too much extra detail, spinloft is the difference between your angle of attack and your dynamic loft. And this difference is one of the main areas where you can maximize your spin output.

Too little or too much spinloft and you will not be able to get the maximum spin out of the shot at hand. With wedges, people equate an open clubface to spinning the ball, and this can be a problem due to excessive spinloft. Whenever you have too much dynamic loft, the ball will slide up the face (reduced friction equals reduced spin) and the ball will float out higher than expected and roll out upon landing.

My thought around the green is to open the face slightly, but not all the way, in efforts to reduce the probability of having too much spinloft during impact. Don’t forget under this scenario we are relying on additional spin to stop the ball. If you are using increased landing angle to stop the ball, then you would obviously not worry about increasing spinloft! Make sure you have these clear in your mind before you decide how much to open the blade.

Opened slightly

Opened too much

One final note: Please make sure you understand what bounce option you need for the type of conditions you normally play. Your professional can help you but I would say that more bounce is better than less bounce for the average player. You can find the bounce listed on the wedge itself. It will range between 4-14, with the mid-range bounce being around 10 degrees.

Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the angle of attack

As we know, when debris gets in between the clubface and the ball (such as dirt/grass), you will have two problems. One, you will not be able to control the ball as much. Secondly, you will not be able to spin the ball as much due to the loss of friction.

So, what is the key to counteract this problem? Increasing the angle of attack by setting the wrists quicker on the backswing. Making your downswing look more like a V rather than a U allows less junk to get between the club and the ball. We are not using the bounce on this type of shot, we are using the leading edge to slice through the rough en route to the ball. Coming in too shallow is a huge problem with this shot, because you will tend to hit it high on the face reducing control.

Use your increased AoA on all of your crappy lies, and you will have a much better chance to get up and down more often!

Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

The final piece of the puzzle through the ball is speed through the pivot. You cannot hit shots around the green out of tall grass without keeping the club moving and having speed. A reduction of speed is obvious as the club enters into the tall grass, but you don’t want to exacerbate this problem by cutting off your pivot and letting the arms do all the work.

Sure, there are times when you want to cut off the body rotation through the ball, but not on the shot I am discussing here. When we are using spin, you must have speed to generate the spin itself. So, what is the key to maintaining your speed? Keeping the rear shoulder rotating long into the forward swing. If you do this, you will find that your arms, hands, and club will be pulled through the impact zone. If your pivot stalls, then your speed will decrease and your shots will suffer.

Hopefully, by now you understand how to create better shots around the green using the new wedge technology to create more spin with lies that we had no chance to do so before. Remembering these simple tips — coupled with your clean and dry wedge — will give you the best opportunity to be Tiger-like around the greens!

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An awesome drill for lag that works with the ball!

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Many lag drills have come and gone in this game because they have a hard time working when the ball is there! How many times do you hear about someone having a great practice swing and then having it all go away when the ball is there? This one is a keeper!

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