reverse spine


Greetings loyal readers.  Tyler here, following up on Dee’s post to put in my 2 cents on the sway and possibly adding to that “other causes” section.

For me the sway is a funny move.  We are taught at TPI school that sway is a sequence (and consistency killer).  It definitely makes it harder to control the bottom of the swing.  It definitely makes it harder to release the club the way Ben Hogan described it.   And it definitely contributes to a reverse spine angle – the number 2 cause of back pain.  So where am I going with this, all of these things sound bad, right?

Camilo Villegas and Vijay Singh both sway in their golf swing.  You can look at some swings on YouTube and see it, but 3D motion analysis has confirmed it.  They sway.  Camillo is top 5 in ball striking this year and Vijay is known for being one of the best ball strikers of all time.  So 2 great ball strikers sway, in my book that means that it can’t be all bad.  But if we evaluate them further we can see a little bit of what makes it work.

In order to sway you must practice non-stop.  Camilo has toned it down according to an interview he gave in January, but early on in his career he was a range rat – always working on it.  He would work on it, but he was not very technical.  He has said before that he sees his swing coach a couple times a year and gets stuff to work on, but it is mostly feel.  So warning number one, unless you are willing to hit balls everyday you are going to struggle with a sway.

In order to sway you must have a scoopy release.  Yes you heard me.  A scoopy release.  Both Camilo and Vijay have very active lower bodies and a release where the right hand works more under the left not as much around the left as is more common.  In order to lean the shaft towards the target, that means they must slide their lower bodies forward to get in front.  A slide with a scoop is hard to maximize distance with.  Unless you are a strong athletic guy, don’t sway or you’ll have trouble compressing the ball and getting distance.

In staying with the scoop, I want to bring up one last point.  If you feel/see/think that the club should be released in a scoopy fashion then a sway will help you and don’t try to correct the sway until you correct the release.  If you do, you will instantly start hitting the ball worse and won’t commit to not swaying long enough to make it automatic so that you can go after the scoop.  Scoop first, then sway.  Got it?

In closing, there are lots of reasons that a golfer will sway so attack them in this order.  First, clear the body.  Dee is right, if you can’t internally rotate your trail hip, if you can’t separate, if you have ankle problems then fix that stuff first.  Secondly, decide if you need to fix the sway.  If you sway and have contact issues (lots of fat and topped shots) then you should fix the sway.  This is easier to do on grass then inside because the contact will be one of your best forms of biofeedback.  Hitting on mats will let you be sloppy with contact AND with release, be careful with this issue.  Thirdly, if you are going to fix the sway, then look at the release first.  If you know what you want to do with your hands, it will make a lot more sense to not sway with your body.

Good luck golfers, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s post by Dee about the chicken wing.

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