Club distance to “back in front”

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    DaveF Mar 09, 2017
    Hi Ross,
    Set me straight on this please. Now that I have a pretty consistent backswing (that took a ton of work[smile] it feels like since the club head travels further with long vs short clubs, the Ross move to get the club “back in front” is different/dynamic? With Driver In particular, if I use a mid-iron timing/rythym the swing gathers too quickly and my arms take over even though my hips are STILL MOVING. I’ve been chalking it up to just a inconsistency in my overall downswing, but as I work on this more, it seems like the “inflection point”, for lack of a better word, is different? Is there a better way of thinking about it?


    Ross Mar 10, 2017
    If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying you have trouble doing the Ross move throughout all the clubs. Yes the distance the arms/club travel on the backswing is different for shorter and longer clubs. This is why I developed the Ross move.

    One of the main reasons that happens is, the shorter the club length, the more tilt in the spine, and the more restricted (limited) the shoulder turn is on the backswing… or, in other words the longer the club length, the more vertical the tilt in the spine, and the shoulders can rotate farther on the backswing.

    If you are truly using only your shoulders on the backswing, and then only using your body to unwind the down swing, there should be no issue. My point, is if your arms/club are being left behind on longer clubs, then your body rotation is NOT bring your arms back down in front of you and around to the left (right hander)… in other words, your body has lost touch of where your arms/club are, and the body is not doing its job to “bring” them back down in front.

    If your body needed to throw a huge boulder to your left, and you were holding this boulder with your arms and hands, the body would not just spin out leaving the arms and boulder behind … The body would totally be aware of the boulder’s weight, and it’s job to move the boulder and arms through to throw it to your left. Try to be aware of your arms/club at the finish of the backswing, and use your body to bring them down and around.

    NOW… those last paragraphs were about leaving your arms/club behind… and you said arms take over and that is usually for different reasons.

    It can be from leaving them behind and you created a need for them to catch up, so they move themselves or take over (as you say) …AGAIN, this is the Ross Move not being achieved on the downswing. You created an “urge”, usually a panic move for the arms/hands, trying to get back to the ball in time 🙁 The worst part of this is the body “stops”* rotating to let the arms/hands catch up, … and once the body stops, the arms/club past the body’s rotation and you’re in trouble.

    I would practice the Ross Move using your Driver at a very slow pace. Copy Hideki Matsuyama’s pause in the backswing to help you feel “The Ross Move”. It will help a lot.

    *It is extremely rare that the hips keep moving while the arms take over. Your hips are probably pausing/stopping for a 1/2 second, then what you see is the arms momentum start pulling your hips around to the end.


    DaveF Mar 22, 2017
    Thanks, got it.
    I wasn’t entirely using my shoulders on the backswing, so I was trying to create a bigger backswing using arms/torso, and losing connection as you state. I created a routine to help prevent that. I realize I always have be wary of that instinct though. Much more work to do, but I turned it around pretty quickly and had great ball striking this week. Managed to keep it together over three rounds and several hours on the range. Many compliments from golf buddies who I hadn’t played with in a while. Pretty great, but not going to take my foot off the gas.


    Ross Mar 23, 2017
    Great Dave ! Since there are fewer “moving parts” to my method, usually does not take much to get back on track. Also, what you mentioned about not “entirely” using the shoulders can occur later in the round as (we all) get a bit tired depending on our conditioning. That is why having the “shoulders” thought or keyword in our routine, to start the backswing, helps keep the shoulders “starting” and “controlling” the backswing.


    DaveF Mar 23, 2017
    Thanks Ross, I hear that! I do start losing focus around the 15th hole. Luckily my short game bailed me out. Your method gives me tremendous confidence with my lob and sand wedges that I got up and down after a couple poor tee shots, in long rough and to short sided tricky pin positions. I nearly holed both of them.

    With a full swing it’s sure difficult to resist the urge to “muscle up” on the backswing, regardless of the fact that it NEVER works! It doesn’t help when your partners inevitably trot out the old stale comments like “you must have had your spinach this morning!”, “are you on steriods?”, or “you crushed that”.
    I personally just focus on placing my shots and keep it in play, and try and keep to a routine – NOT my strength, working on it.
    I had one of my longest drives Saturday and heard all those comments and more. What they should have said was “wow, you had a controlled and compact backswing, you paused, and turned through to a controlled balanced finish”. I just try and tune that nonsense out. So many challenges in golf, never the same game twice!


    Ross Mar 24, 2017
    I’m sure many golfers can relate to what you just said. Might be time for new friends that are more encouraging.

    Golf has so many competitive areas… score, distance, direction, attitude, self control… there’s really no end. Your friends don’t “mean well”, they’re just “mean” and want to rattle you so they can win. Some think that part of golf is the best part.

    I remember playing a tournament one day and a fellow competitor would rattle his pocket full of spare change just before my takeaway on almost every shot/putt. Pretty soon I was more focused on when he was going to rattle the change than my routine. Hum… where do you draw the line. Is that cheating?

    Golf used to be called a “Gentleman’s Sport”. Guess that got lost somewhere [confused].

    I think wearing ear plugs or head phones might be something to try. Then you could pull one of them off your ear and say to your friend… “Sorry, did you say something… I didn’t hear you”. Hahaha


    DaveF Mar 27, 2017
    Don’t think I could deal with that “rattler”. Wow!

    BTW, one of those guys this weekend told me he wasn’t going to play with me anymore because I’m too good now. I think he meant it as a compliment, but obviously to your point, everything is a competition to some people…even when they don’t keep score, oddly enough.

    I do have a follow-up question on the Ross Move. I made some errors with misinterpreting it, like stabbing or sticking myself in the side with my right elbow (almost) and then trying to turn everything together (more like a whole body heave [frown] Obviously I wasn’t rotating as a result. Worked through that.

    So a question on a slightly alternate way of thinking about it:
    Since the goal is to swing through the correct impact position, once I have rehearsed it, and I have an impact feel and visual saved, if I let the hips do all the work on the downswing and I rotate around my left hip, and I finish correctly, I must be executing the Ross Move by default right? I mean instead of thinking of it as a separate piece of the swing. I’m finding if I start the downswing gradually with my hips (although I think more about my left knee), and think about everything “collecting” into impact, it’s all good, and I confuse myself less with different clubs.

    PS My dad started us on golf, and somewhere he picked up that chestnut of
    “Let the club do the work!”. I wonder where he got it from, I’ve yet to hear any teacher, pro, commentator, magazine article or book mention it. Anyway, it’s feeling that way more and more by taking the upper body out of the equation!


    Ross Mar 28, 2017
    I remember the “let the club do the work” phase… and I’m still waiting… haha. The club never wants to take over and do the work…. haha. What I mean … is, that “Let the club do the work”, is a useless (detrimental) thought because, obviously the club can not move itself, so some part(s) of the body have to do the work and that though actually works against you.

    This EXACT reason is why I developed my method of teaching. So few teachers know how the body works and make comments like “Swing your arms”… okay with what?? What swings my arms?? Or “release the club”… if I do it will fly out of my hands… or “Load up on the backswing” Many are like parrots just repeating the same old non-specific thoughts…. “Keep your head down” or “Hit down on it” …. sorry (little rant)… all useless, because they don’t tell you or explain what muscles need to move and how they work together.

    I don’t like your “collecting into impact” that sounds like something culminates there. Impact is just a moment in the trip where the ball happens to be. We are ACCELERATING through impact, to finish together. Jon Rahm is an awesome example of this… short backswing and then turns fast to the finish and everything ends together (like one move). This is thought is MUCH better. Everything finishes together! Now, they don’t swing together … there is a wind-up, and un-wind on both the backswing and downswing, but everything finishes together… EVERY SHOT.

    The Ross Move is to teach you to let the body bring the arms/club back down in front of the body, and around to the left (right hander). This is all one continuous, accelerating move. Uninhibited and nothing “happens” … the ball just gets in the way. Forget about the ball. Picture the whole downswing trip at the pace you intend to turn through, … then COPY IT! … see how you want to finish together, then DO IT! Your body will follow the mental image you send it and will find a way to get it done.


    DaveF Mar 28, 2017
    Thanks Ross, I’m getting there however slowly. I learn something new every day though!

    Right on, I was watching Rahm and Kjeldsen in the WGC and it seemed like they were competing for “shortest backswing” lol. More than proves your point (if they make a few adjustments they can have the perfect “Ross Swing”…[smile]

    So regarding the poor state of golf instruction, I have to share a couple things I’ve been meaning to mention to you for a long time.

    #1- I took some lessons at Poppy Ridge here in California years ago, and one time the Pro stopped me for a moment and said “turn your elbows in all the way and give that a try”. The odd thing was after I did it she dismissed the idea immediately, like it was something she invented on the spot.

    #2 I’ve been meaning to ask you about another tidbit my teaching pro of 2 years shared with me one day on the range that I thought you would enjoy, that was confusing to me at the time, but makes some sense to me now, but not in a good way.
    I was hitting the ball pretty good, but certainly wasn’t winning any distance competitions. His comment was “you can swing faster, but you aren’t going to hit it any further, the ball will just go higher”. I don’t think he was speaking from a technical standpoint, but rather from his teaching experience. Thinking about it now, I think what that meant was when the average golfer tries to get more speed, they use more hands and flip the club head at a faster speed and add loft and so mostly just DO hit it higher?

    #3 OK, one more. A popular golf shows always end with “…and go see your PGA professional for more on how to improve YOUR swing!” (I think people know who I’m referring to). So I asked my PGA professional at my home course a question I didn’t think needed asking, but I was VERY surprised at the answer. Maybe you can fill in the blanks. I said something to the effect of “So to get your PGA credential, you probably spend a lot of class time analyzing the golf swing, studying physiology, looking at the best swings on tour, using Trackman, etc etc.?” I was, and am still somewhat stunned that they do NONE of that. It requires passing an on course test in competition, but has NOTHING to do with knowing anybody’s golf swing but their OWN?? Really?
    Our guy is a classic “jock” type, and tells everyone the same thing (I know, because I ask) “swing hard through to the finish!” Not terrible advice, but you know what I mean.


    Ross Mar 29, 2017
    #1 No comment

    #2 That is not true. It depends on the shaft angle … and depends on his “swinging” concept. We don’t swing the arms … our body is unwinding and dragging the shaft/arms through and around to the left. Everything is moving the ball. This is much different than traditional flipping the club head or letting the arms swing past the body through impact. That can add loft (effective loft) and spin. It also depends on when the club face makes contact with the ball with respect to the swing arc … before the bottom, at the bottom or even a little bit after the bottom on the way back up. They all affect the ball flight.

    #3 Oh yea !! that is truly the case. There is no education on Golf Instruction (per se) and anyone can teach golf. There was a very old outdated teaching manual that contained all the traditional golf teaching cliches. I have always had big problems with this topic and just kept (and keep) searching for better more reliable instruction.

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