sway

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Tyler here with a video showing you how to feel a pivot without swaying. If it is too difficult to stand on one foot then place the opposite leg’s big toe down for stability. This is a great 2 minute workout when combined with proper stork turns. Good luck.

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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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“Sway”

35.55% Lead arm line doesn’t match lead arm- bent

64.45% Lead arm line matches lead arm- straight

Defined-

A sway is any excessive lower body lateral movement away from the target during the backswing that forces the weight to the outside of the back foot. This fault makes it very difficult to develop a proper weight shift during transition and the downswing. If there is no stable platform to drive their weight off of during transition, golfers will lose power and inadvertently try to develop speed in an inefficient manner.

Causes-

1. Right Hip Internal rotation- is paramount for full rotation into the right hip without any lateral sway for a right handed golfer. If the body is unable to rotate around the right hip due to joint or muscular restriction, lateral movements will dominate the pattern.

2. Separation of Lower and Upper body- Separation of lower and upper body allows the lower body to laterally stabilize while rotating during a large shoulder turn. Limited trunk to pelvis separation is usually caused by reducing spinal mobility and shortened lat flexibility.

(tests- Torso Rotation, Seated Trunk Rotation, Half kneeling Rotation)

3. Glute Strength. The ability to stabilize the right leg during the backswing is directly proportional to the strength and stability of the glute muscles (your booty!) When it comes to lower body lateral stabilization, the glute medius is the king! It helps the right hip from elevating and shifting laterally during an aggressive coil into the right hip (tests- Hip Rotation, Single leg balance)

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Other causes-

1. Lack of understanding of proper technique
2. Injury to the hip, knee or ankle
3. Ball too far back in the stance

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sway

Defined-
A sway is any excessive lower body lateral movement away from the target during the backswing that forces the weight to the outside of the back foot. This fault makes it very difficult to develop a proper weight shift during transition and the downswing. If there is no stable platform to drive their weight off of during transition, golfers will lose power and inadvertently try to develop speed in an inefficient manner.

Causes-
1. Right Hip Internal rotation- is paramount for full rotation into the right hip without any lateral sway for a right handed golfer. If the body is unable to rotate around the right hip due to joint or muscular restriction, lateral movements will dominate the pattern.

2. Separation of Lower and Upper body- Separation of lower and upper body allows the lower body to laterally stabilize while rotating during a large shoulder turn. Limited trunk to pelvis separation is usually caused by reducing spinal mobility and shortened lat flexibility.

3. Glute Strength. The ability to stabilize the right leg during the backswing is directly proportional to the strength and stability of the glute muscles (your booty!) When it comes to lower body lateral stabilization, the glute medius is the king! It helps the right hip from elevating and shifting laterally during an aggressive coil into the right hip

Other causes-
1. Lack of understanding of proper technique
2. Injury to the hip, knee or ankle
3. Ball too far back in the stance

Sign up in the right hand corner for our Golf Starter Kit and you’ll find a golf fitness program that will  help you correct these issues!

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Golf is hard…

I had a big epiphany concerning the golf swing today. It was very thrilling. I realized that I had no idea how a swing plane feels. This was a sobering realization, but was very exciting to finally figure it out (I use those words cautiously because it is hard to say you’ve really figured something out in the golf swing). I want to let things settle and get a handle on what I learned today, but I am seeing how the hands work in a different way, which I hope will be a clearer image for golfers to imagine and feel (two key points before actually doing something).

So why do I rant her today? Look, I am like you. I am a do-it-yourselfer who has struggled with aspects of the golf game for years. My version of struggling is not what you might consider it, but it is my story so I will call it what I want.

At my peak, one year after college, I was a +1 handicap. That meant that for a while about one in five rounds I expected to be under par. I have always been a solid driver of the golf ball and struggled with the shorter clubs. I hit the ball a long way and putt pretty well. As one top instructor in my area claimed, “I do all the hard things well and struggle with the easy stuff”. Want to see my swing…well, here you go.

Not too bad. I sway off the ball; reverse spine angle at the top; early extend, slide and scoop a bit coming into impact. It really makes me wonder how I shot under par. Think about this, i’ve shot 30 for nine holes twice and I did it without being on plane.

Golf is mean, you’d think that you’d have to do something right to shoot under par, but you can get away with a lot if you are a good athlete. That being said, I don’t recommend those swing faults for everyone. More importantly, I think we can now fix most problems by testing for swing faults and fixing the biomechanics. But here is where the science breaks down a little bit. I can pass every test we have on requirements for the golf swing (my deep squat is borderline but much improved). So I could do everything required to swing the golf club correctly yet I still had all those swing faults. Why? I have drills to fix everything you could do poorly yet I couldn’t fix it until today. What changed?

Golf is about concepts. If you don’t know what you are trying to do you will never succeed. You might not use the same words as me, but you have to see it and feel it before you can do it. So this post is simple. You can do the best golf workouts and have all the golf tips in the world, but until you get someone to help you “see it” and “feel it” you will never do it in the swing. At least not repeatably.

Good luck golfers and thanks for listening…and stay tuned I’ll share what I learned about the swing plane soon!

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