Often in the golf swing, an action is followed by a reaction later in the swing. Sometimes, this chain reaction is a good thing, but, unfortunately, sometimes it’s not. In my teaching, two scenarios stand out to me as a chain reaction you would like to avoid.
A reverse pivot is when the head, shoulders or hips lean or tilt toward the target as the club swings back in the backswing. At the top of the backswing there’s too much weight on the lead side, or left side of a right-handed golfer. As a result the club tends to get “casted,” or released too early, in the downswing to make up for the body being in front of the ball. This chain reaction makes it difficult to make contact with the ball and ground at the same time.
To fix this chain reaction, the eyes need to stay level and a shifting of weight should take place in the backswing. Weight starts equal at address. As the club swings back, keep the eyes level to the ground and allow some weight to shift to the right leg as the shoulders turn. As the pivot becomes better, there will be a need to maintain your wrist cock longer in the downswing before you release the club at impact.
Takeaway Too Far Inside
When a golfer takes the club underneath the established plane in the takeaway, they are setting themselves up for an “over the top motion” at the start of the downswing. A consistently correct swing is one that travels up and down the established swing plane at address. When a takeaway is too far inside, too much motion has been used up going in or around at one time. As a result, the club and the golfer’s arms are going to have to lift up later in the backswing and then move out and over at the start of the downswing.
The swing may not come outside the target line on the way down, but it will come over where the club went back. This “over the top” motion will be a steepening motion, forcing the golfer to hit more down on the golf ball. This motion is damaging for iron play and a disaster for the driver or a club that has the ball teed up.
Work to get the club traveling straighter back and up at the start of the swing. The arms should swing back as the hands allow the club to start cocking up. As you approach the top of the backswing, feel the start of the downswing slot underneath – or more to the inside – of where the club swung back. The feeling will be like making a small loop.
These two chain reactions will require some practice swings and practice time on the range to improve. As you get closer to being correct your shots will react accordingly. Enlisting a good PGA Teaching Professional will certainly speed up the recovery process.
Tim Cusick is the Director of Instruction at the Four Seasons Resort and Club/Dallas at Las Colinas. The Northern Texas PGA named Cusick Teacher of the Year in 2005, 2009 and 2015, as well as the 2014 Horton Smith Award winner for education. He’s the author of ‘The Four Keys to Improve your Swing.’ Follow him on Twitter @timcusickgolf and visit his website: timcusickgolf.com.