Golf Science – Where Does a Swing Go Wrong?

Golf Science – Where Does a Swing Go Wrong?

The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Southern California is an event that benefits Tiger Woods’ TGR Foundation. This exciting event includes a Collegiate Showcase on the Monday before the tournament, which not only allows the winning collegiate golfer to participate in the event, but also donates $50,000 to the winning golfer’s University’s golf program. The event was therefore the ideal time to ask college golfers, some of the patrons of their teams and, of course, some PGA TOUR players, which body movements they consider to cause most of their swing inconsistencies.

According to Jimmy Kirchdorfer of Kentucky, who supports their golf program and has played the event for the past six years, he finds continuing to rotate his hips (“my hips stop turning”) during the downswing to be something that causes his inconsistencies. He believes it is probably a lack of mobility in the hips, resulting from his being a businessman and thus sitting for many hours a day. 

Noah Woolsey plays for the University of Washington. 

“My hips are not able to turn as well, especially on the backswing, when turning away from the ball,” he said. “My hips don’t rotate back enough so I get a little stuck on downswing.”

Professional Alex Noren, who is often seen on the driving range practicing a strange squat-jump type motion (which is really not seen during his actual swing), believes that getting into a good impact position with a little bit of lean on the shaft, and the correct loft angle, is most important. Even the squat practice move is, according to Noren, all about trying to get the correct impact position. When pressed on what pelvic/torso/arm positions he looks for at impact he did not have a response. Which begs the question of surely it is the body’s segments that have to deliver the club to the ball, the club cannot do that on its own.

Cameron Tringale, in excellent physical condition, responded to the question while walking backward up the famously steep slope that leads to the clubhouse of Riviera. 

“The thing I work the most on, and therefore the thing I find tough to be consistent with, is maintaining my spine angle in my downswing,” he said. “That requires using my legs properly to keep my chest engaged and pointing down at the ball instead of coming up and keeping the rotation.”

Troy Merritt believes that his swing is pretty consistent and repeatable, and that there are not many odd movements in it. If he has any issues, it’s usually with his alignment or takeaway. If anything, at impact his left hand might be a bit too strong causing the ball to go too far to the right. He focuses on a nice, smooth takeaway. When it gets a little bit too quick or a bit too far outside or handsy, he has to think about taking it away with his left shoulder.

Talor Gooch said that being from Oklahoma, he plays in a lot of wind back home. His issue, therefore, is that he gets moving too much into his left side to keep the ball low and out of the wind. So, when he’s not comfortable or is not swinging well, he tends to go back to that tendency. He thus has to make sure he’s not getting too lateral with his weight on the downswing.

According to Matt Kuchar, he believes it’s the hands, because the hands control the club. When asked, “If you had any inconsistency of hitting it left or right would you blame the hands?”, his response was, “For sure.”

And finally, what did the tournament host Woods have to say when posed the very same question? With a completely straight face he responded, “Bending, twisting, turning, moving. Other than that, I’m all good.” 

And that could be seen during his rather lethargic rounds during the 2020 Genesis Invitational.

Mainly then, all the golfers who were asked the question either felt it was hip rotation or inconsistent hand movement. What they probably fail to realize is that the hands are the last body part to arrive at the ball before impact, and the first to move past the ball after, and it is often some body position or movement that does not permit the hands to be presented correctly to the ball. When a human walks, it is the torso that positions itself appropriately for the required limb movements and so too should it be in golf. The torso should be positioned so that, from the top of the backswing, all rotations – hips, shoulders, arms and hands – take place in a sequential manner without conscious thought from the golfer.

Dr. Kiran Kanwar, golf swing consultant, is the developer of The Minimalist Golf Swing System – 100 percent scientific, simple and specific. She has MS (sports science and nutrition) and PhD (biomechanics and anatomy) degrees in Kinesiology and is an LPGA Master Professional. Visit her websites and