The 68 Ballerina Move: Scourge of the Modern Golfer

WHAT IS THE 68 BALLERINA POSITION?

For those that don’t know what the 68 ballerina move is, look at the picture above: The arms are at P6 (shaft parallel-ish before impact) but the lower body is at P8 (shaft parallel-ish post-impact) with a ballerina toe mixed in for good measure.

I literally see more than half of my mid to low handicappers (Lickliter included and Rory even has a bit which causes his infamous hip stall) that end up here. Lower body leading too much and arms trail the rotation of the body. Why do so many good to great players end up here? It’s very simple. One of my seemingly never ending list of pet peeves is golf instruction aspires to the opposite of bad instead of what is good:

THE CAUSE

Most beginners start out swinging the club in a classic over-the-top pattern. The arms lead out, they swing across it, and the predictable disasters associated with that move make the game very difficult. So they get a lesson. And they’re told that to fix their over-the-top pattern, they need to:

  1. lead with the lower body
  2. let the arms be passive and stay behind.
  3. hold the lag
  4. swing to right field

This moves their path way too far right, creating a two-way miss pattern of big blocks and pull hooks. And if you’re curious what this looks like, take another look at the top image: it’s the 68 ballerina!

THE SOLUTION

EVERY golfer I have told to speed their arms up and get them more forward, couldn’t help but sequence better, even if I told them to temporarily restrict hip movement to get the feel. And the reason is simple:

Experienced golfers will automatically lead with the lower body.

There are all kinds of swing thoughts and feels that can correct the 68 ballerina:

  • Lead with right elbow
  • purposely dump right wrist angle from the top
  • chase belly button with the right elbow
  • get arms past or in front of the body as first move down

Hacks and beginners should NEVER be told to have passive arms, swing to right field, or any of these other “solutions.”. They do need to learn the pressure shift (bump) if their left hip actually works away from the target, but proper arm and hand movement learning is key.

Beginners and hacks who have the prototype over the top slice action need to learn two things with respect to the arms and hands and how they work:

1. In the backswing they can’t get their arms and hands in too early. That leads to an in, up, out, down motion. Adding some up to the left arm to match the shoulder turn can usually get this straightened out.

2. Whereas good golfers need to get the arms and hands more forward, the beginner needs to learn the arms and hands work in first, and then forward to start the downswing.

Another way to approach the 68 ballerina move is by focusing on a lower body key that can address these problems in a different way. I discuss them in a video here.

 

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33 Comments

  1. Nick

    Monte,

    If I’ve gotten my backswing fixed (used to take away inside) but now I come over the top, what do you mean by hands come in first? Do they work in towards the body or towards the ball.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Into the body. Also check your head isn’t moving toward target

      Reply
      • dogballz

        My teaching pro buddy always said, “try to hit yourself in the nuts.”

        Reply
  2. Road Runner

    I’d go for lifting the trailing heel. The knock on effect would be the trailing knee, hip and shoulder all going toward the target line; as the arms swing down.

    Watch the toes on Monte’s right foot in the zipper away video and then you will probably see why I am proposing the above root cause.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      The trail heel coming up is a reaction to something else.

      Reply
  3. PaulK

    I’ll hazard an answer – steepens the shaft in response to the weight of the head feeling as though it is dropping behind them.

    Reply
  4. Mark

    Right shoulder moving toward the target line

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      You want the right shoulder moving toward the target line. That is not an over the top move.

      Reply
  5. Ryan

    Hey I recognize that Ballerina move…and resemble it as well.

    My guess = at top of backswing, both shoulders and head shift toward the target before any rotation down occurs.

    You da man Monte!

    Reply
  6. north

    My guess for the first move from the top for OTT is rotate the hips.

    Reply
    • Mark

      You could be right. Turn is last after Bump and Dump, not first.

      Reply
  7. Road Runner

    So if lifting the trail heel is a side effect, let’s try something to keep it down….

    If you have secondary tilt away from the target, then the trail shoulder can rotate down and around the spine – sort of pushing the heel into the ground.

    So slicers have no secondary tilt away from the target during the downswing or at impact?

    Reply
    • north

      Doesn’t work, the trail foot coming up is part of the right side collapsing in the forward swing – secondary tilt doesn’t stop it as the collapse means there is no connection from the shoulder to the heal.

      Reply
      • Road Runner

        If I want to “guarantee” a non-OTT path, I close my left eye and increase my secondary tilt until my nose almost starts to hide the ball when viewed with my right eye – I’m right handed.

        Then when I swing my arms down, keeping that tilt the same for as long as possible, the right shoulder goes down and squeezes my right side.

        I have just gone outside in the dark and tried it! I cannot lift my right heel independently, the foot rolls towards the target side, the outer edge of the heel comes up together with the rest of the edge.

        No more guesses from me, will wait to see what Monte comes up with.

        Reply
  8. Chris

    OTT started by steepening the shaft either by pull the handle or spinout?

    Reply
  9. JB

    My answer would be a high, over- aggressive right hip which moves directly towards the target line from the top- which I think is a mis-interpretation of the phrase ” start the downswing with the lower body”

    Reply
  10. Dr Socket

    OTT caused by the head moving forward

    Reply
  11. SS

    Guessing spine towards target — no increase of secondary tilt.

    Reply
  12. Jake G

    I will take a guess at your question regarding first move of a slicer being hands move out (possibly why you want them to move in) first?

    Reply
  13. Calvin

    When I was a slicer my hips pulled away from the target. After I fixed that I was deep into early extension and shanking.

    Reply
  14. Joey

    First move is, hands go directly out toward the ball.

    Reply
  15. Calvin

    Real reason for slicers? They can’t believe their lyin’ eyes.

    Reply
  16. Bill

    Hands “flash out” (away from shaft plane) instead of down.

    Reply
  17. DC

    I know this one (unfortunately, lol), they (me) move their whole upper body (shoulders/head) towards the target.

    Reply
  18. apple

    I like what you say and award you a beer of your choice; please send me the bill 🙂

    Reply
  19. Michael C.

    I’d say the first move is a bump of the shoulders forward instead of the hips

    Reply
    • Michael C.

      This is the answer to the OTT question not what should be done.

      Reply
  20. ted

    Im the guy on the left side of pics from prev post, and no matter how much time, effort and money I throw at it I cant get to the guy on the right side. All this “arms faster” makes total sense, but even if I feel like Im starting downswing with right elbow/shoulder, I cant get my angles any better. I’ve shortened my backswing, I’ve made huge improvments in my swing overall, but still driving me totally insane.

    Reply
    • Monte

      The next few weeks will be fun for you.

      Reply
  21. dogballz

    My teaching pro buddy always said, “try to hit yourself in the nuts.”

    Reply
    • Calvin

      Aiiyeeee!

      Reply
    • Mark

      I like that thought. We punish ourselves as it is, why not add this.

      Reply

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