Poor weight transfer (and how we develop swing flaws)
By Dennis Clark
I recall an old joke about a guy who was lost on a country backroad. He spots a local resident and asks for directions to a certain town. The local responds: “You can’t get there from here.”
Whenever I hear that joke, I think about weight transfer in the golf swing. Yeah, a remote connection, I’m sure, but it works for purposes of today’s story. The analogy is this: A student recently swung to the top of the backswing and asked me how to “transfer his weight to the left foot” (he was right handed). I replied, “you can’t get there from here.”
The reason most players do not properly transfer their weight or “turn through,” is simply because they are not in a position to do so. They literally must move away from the target and head for the trail side.
Here are a few examples of why.
Over the top
As the downswing begins, if the arms and club go out, not down, effectively the player is not swinging at the golf ball. If she keeps going from there, she will not hit the ball, or barely top it at best. This player is swinging at something in front of the ball, or outside of it. Shoulders spin open early, arms/hands go out but stay UP, and now the club head will very likely get to the golf ball LATE. But, and here’s the catch, anyone who plays often attempts to correct this swing bottom problem by reversing course! The body senses the poor sequence and tries the right the ship by quickly backing up. Or casting. So, we get an out-to-in swing direction but a shallow attack angle! What I refer to a “left field from the right foot.’
When you see the flaw from this perspective, it becomes perfectly obvious why. Because, if the player kept going without a mid stream correction, they might top every shot, mo in an effort to get the ball airborne, the player lowers the rear side, raises the front side and swings UP from the outside. So you do bottom out nearer the ball, but you’ve introduced a HOST of other issues. I’m not saying this is a conscious effort in the less than two seconds it takes to swing the club, I’m saying that it develops unconsciously over time. And the more one plays, the more they “perfect” this sequence. In my experience, this is how most, if not all, swing faults begin. Correcting a fault with another fault. It is truly ingenious, really!
If the swing gets to the top and does begin down inside, unlike above where it begins down outside the line, or over the plane, but the club starts down on a very steep incline, it is headed for a crash; keep going from there, and you’re likely to stick it straight into the ground or, at the least, hit it straight off the toe. Again, over time, the player senses this, and develops a motion of “backing up; reversing the upper body to flatten the golf club and get it onto a reasonable incline to strike the ball. I see this day in and day out. The inevitable question is: “Why can’t I get through the shot”? Because…you had to reverse the upper body to avoid an even greater disaster..
These are just two examples involving improper weight transfer. But if we see other swing flaws in this light, I think it explains a lot. For example, “raising the handle,” or “standing the club up,” lower body extension (“humping”), holding on through impact, casting, sending hand path far away from the body (disconnection), all these can can almost always be attributed to something that preceded those flaws. That is, they are rarely the root cause, they are the REACTION to another position or motion. They are “save” attempts.
Here’s another way of describing it: Many, in fact most, steep swings result in a shallowattack angle. Many open club faces at the top of the swing actually hook the ball, many closed faces at the top of the swing hit slices or at least high blocks, and so on. How do I know this? I have stood right next to golfers for almost 40 years and observed it up close and personal on the lesson tee.
If you are serious about long term improvement, real effective change in your game, you will need to work on the fundamentals that will put you in a position from which you do not have to recover, or execute a “fit in” move to survive. Get a good high-definition, slow-motion look at your swing, get your Trackman or Flightscope feedback and take a close look, in terms of what I’m referring to here. It will be eye-opening to say the least.
I would agree that one CAN learn to live with some save moves and achieve a certain level of success, albeit less consistent in my opinion. In fact, when most people hit balls, that is what they are practicing. As always, it’s your call. Enjoy the journey.
Why “Keeping Your Head Down” Is Killing Your SwingThe head rotates in a tour-pro follow-through By Nick Clearwater; Illustrations by Todd Dewiler It’s probably a familiar scene in your foursome. Somebody (maybe even you) tops a shot and immediately offers a boilerplate analysis of why it happened: “I lifted my head.” Well, maybe, but that isn’t why most shots are topped. In fact, a lot of times it’s the opposite problem. We measure thousands of swings at GolfTEC studios around the country, and we also have an extensive database of tour-player measurements to compare what they do with what you do. What we’ve found is trying to keep your head down is probably doing more harm than good. If you want to learn a skill that will keep you from topping it—and get you closer to hitting the same kinds of consistently good shots the professionals do—develop a tour-pro follow-through that involves a rotation of the head. Here’s how. Pose like you see here (above, left)— legs straightened, shoulders and hips facing the target, head rotated in that direction, too, and the grip extended as far away from the body as possible—that’s key. You’ll notice this is a significantly different look to the follow-through we see from many amateurs—especially if you’re trying to keep your head down through impact (above, right). When you’re scrunched up like that, you don’t have room to extend your arms, and that lack of extension puts you in poor position to make solid contact. Keep rehearsing the tour-pro follow-through you see me demonstrating. Once you’ve burned the feel of it into your memory, hit some soft, slow shots while getting into that same position after impact. The closer you come to copying it, the easier it will be for your swing to bottom out in a predictable place every time. Then you’ll no longer worry about having to make an excuse for your bad shot before the ball stops rolling. —With Matthew Rudy Nick Clearwater, GolfTEC’s Vice President of Instruction, is based in Englewood, Colo. Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/why-keeping-your-head-down-is-killing-your-swing?utm_medium=social&utm_social-type=owned&mbid=social_facebook&utm_brand=gd&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR1qEkljyoAM6TDqWePqhfUUw_j9mmy8rwKqYCX7ewx6fhh9-Ar-MNKe36E
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