To Hinge or Not to Hinge

I always knew that an active wrist hinge (traditional golf instruction), changed the club face and was not repeatable. This wrist hinge was only done in preparation to throw the club head at the ball for power. Well, you may get a little power from it, but for every action there is an opposite reaction… so essentially… hinge on the backswing, leads to a flip on the downswing. The chances of timing this into a solid, straight golf shot are very small. Plus, when every thing is hinging at the wrists, the radius of the swing is cut in half (the length is only from the wrists, to the club head.

So as my method progressed, I wanted to have a full radius at impact (the front arm in line with the shaft leading the club head), AND use the body rotating as the source of power. I could see this in all other athletic movements (like throwing a ball).

For many years, I taught “passive hands” and “constant grip pressure”. Some of my earlier teaching mentions, the wrists passively hinge and unhinge on their own. This was in hopes that we could remove the inconsistencies of active hinging and active unhinging. These thoughts of passive hands and constant grip pressure, did help improve consistency.

As time passed, many of my students still had the urge to throw the club head and had trouble trying to stop flipping. It then dawned on me that since we want a straight line of the front arm and club shaft at impact, we could setup that way to begin with… then maintain that setup shape using the shoulders only to carry the arms/club to the top of the backswing (Steve Stricker look)… and since there was no change in the wrists, there would be no urge to have to flip to return the shaft in line with the front arm or square the club face back at impact. We could just use the body to unwind, bringing the arms/club back down in front of the body and around to the left (right hander).

Using this concept, I realized we can setup with the shaft in line with the front arm, elbows close together and SET THE WRISTS* (just how we want them back at impact)… then we just maintain that shape (hold the wrists in that shape and pinch the elbows), then use the shoulders only for the backswing. This winds the Large back muscles for a ton of power potential… then we just use the body to unwind.

* Experiment with the amount of grip pressure. Squeeze and hold pretty tight the entire swing and just use your turn to trap the ball…you should hit a nice solid shot via your body rotation not hands.

Golf Swing Elbows – The Chicken Wing (more help)

In a nutshell, a “Chicken Wing” is one of your elbows bending outwards, behind you. This can happen in either backswing or downswing. It disrupts many things. In my opinion, you could partially blame some form of the Chicken Wing, for almost every miss hit. It is that prevalent. Almost no golfers (Pros alike) use their elbows correctly by my discoveries.

Why Do golfers User Their Elbows?
Golfers use their elbows because they are getting ready to throw the club head at the ball with just the arms and hands. They subconsciously hinge every possible lever, and lift the arms, to try to create as much potential possible to throw the club head. None of these movements are consistent or repeatable.

I do not want to go into all the different miss hits caused by this problem. Let’s just get to what will make your swing more athletic, control your chicken wing, and improve your shot making.

Read the next paragraph slowly, then simulate with a club up against a door jamb.

If you look at a powerful, solid golf shot, at impact, the hips are slightly turned (not cleared)… the arms and wrists form a solid Triangle. The front wrist is flat and the back wrist bent in. The wrists are firm and holding this shape (being pulled by the body turn, not releasing). Also, the shaft is in line with the front arm, and the elbow pointing back at the front hip, with the back arm slightly bent in towards the front arm, and its elbow too pointing back at the back hip. At this moment, the body is pulling all this around to the left. This is the position we want to be in at impact.

If we are not in this position, what happened during the swing? Some thing(s) broke down, disconnected and disrupted everything. So who are the “Disrupters”? The “Disrupters” are the Elbows and Hands. We need to control the disrupters, how do we do that?

How to Take Control of the Distupters:
1. Setup shaft in line with the front arm, elbows pointing back at the hips, pinching a little. Maintain that pinching during the entire swing. They only separate at the very end of the swing.
2. Once the shaft is in line at setup, lock your wrists and keep them fixed in the setup shape, the entire swing. Let your shoulders turn around your spine on the backswing and your body unwind your arms/club for the downswing.
3. You should have a feeling of Squeezing your grip a little and Squeezing your elbows a little at the same time, the entire swing. This defeats them. Gives them something to do that is productive and allows the Large Muscles to take over.

Start with short swings/shots to feel this work. Make sure the club face stays square. Many of you will want to use the hands and roll it open (no hands).

Power & Consistency – My Dock Analogy

Restricting the lower body while turning your shoulders on the takeaway, is essential for big power. Your shoulders need something to windup against. If the lower body moves along or rotates with the takeaway, there is no potential being stored. So, it is a must Continue reading “Power & Consistency – My Dock Analogy”

Pull with the Left or Push from the Right… Both Work!

As I have mentioned, using the Large Muscles to control your golf swing will greatly improve your miss-hits, direction and distance. This leads to better scoring. Now, what I mean by using the large muscles is, on the backswing the Shoulders wind first while the hips resist… then once the shoulders have gone as far as they can, the hips are eventually pulled over a little by the shoulders. The hips never move on their own on the backswing… Then on the downswing, (the opposite happens) the Hips totally take over and lead the show unwinding and turning and pull the arms and club through to the finish.

I have found, that some individuals like to think of this “Hips leading the Downswing” as a “Pulling” from their left side (right handed golfer) and some like to think of “Pushing” or “Firing” from their right side. They are both great thoughts as long as it starts with the hips turning (not sliding).

For those of you who have been mislead to think that the arms start from the top, or the shoulders start unwinding first… You would never see a pitcher throw a ball with out taking a step, unwinding his hips first, then shoulders, then arm. It is exactly the same with the golf swing.

The gist of this post is to get you to think the “Hips” start and continue leading the downswing… whether it is your left hip unwinding and pulling or your right hip firing or BOTH working together. Just find what works for you, practice, keep your hands quiet and passive and enjoy consistent golf… Ross

The Front Hip – Where the Golf Swing Really Rotates

The longest point of the golf swing is a vertical line straight down from the front shoulder, down the arm, down the shaft to the ground. This is the bottom of the swing arc (not in the middle between your feet). This point is where every throwing sport pivots… any throwing movement pivots around the front hip. This is where the hips can unwind the lower body and shoulders to throw the arm. The golf swing also unwinds in the front hip. Not in the middle between your feet.

Now, the backswing winds up around the spine with slightly more that 50% weight maintained on the front foot… but again, the downswing unwinds around an imaginary vertical line about where the front hip rotates.

If you are not in a position to comfortably rotate around this hip, you have too much weight on the back side (probably from sliding during the takeaway).

As a drill…you can put most of your weight on the front foot and keep it there (no slide on backswing) and take little shots to feel how the swing unwinds around the front hip… Ross

var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-592630-6’]); _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]); (function() { var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true; ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();