Getting in front vs. Hanging back

I said I would talk about this again and I am going to make it really simple.

It’s about two things. Your turn never stops except in the transition and your spine/head don’t change positions.

We can put different labels and feels on this, but that is the gist.

I will give a few practical examples and as usual, not a comprehensive list.

When getting in front of the ball, the head/front shoulder/spine move toward the target to start the downswing. This not only changes the spine angle, the whole time your body is moving toward the target, the shoulders will not turn.

When hanging back, the spine/head move away from the target to start the downswing…or the spine tilts more behind the ball to start the downswing, often causing the rear knee to collapse.

I’ll make it even simpler. If your head doesn’t change position to start the downswing, you are probably OK.

Like most things in golf, be careful of the opposite extreme. Trying so hard to keep your head still that you lock yourself up.

As long as your shoulders are turning around your spine to start the downswing, neither of these problem will be much of an issue.

I’ll do a video and have a few drills next week to clarify.

EDITED: I can see by the comments that I need to clarify. I am not talking about subtle movements, nor the slight adding of tilt in the transition. I am talking about obvious and severe moves. If the move is subtle, as I said above, we are not into any of these issues.

It’s all a matter of degree.




  1. banchiline

    Now we’re getting somewhere……..

  2. Bob34


    Based on this; “As long as your shoulders are turning around your spine to start the downswing, neither of these problem will be much of an issue.”

    Do you feel like you’re using your shoulders in transition & to power the swing with the rest of your body just responding to your shoulders rotating?

  3. meateater

    I think an examination of videos of top players will show that almost all of them tilt their spines away from the target as they start their downswings. You cannot be bent over at impact, “maintained spine angle”, without doing so, because your body has rotated. At address you are bent from the hips forward, at impact you are bent sideways. The only way to get in that position is to tilt your spine to the right. Your lower , ie lumbar, spin does not rotate, so forget the idea that you somehow convert the front bend into a side bend by rotating your spine.

    Let the arguing begin….

    • Monte Scheinblum

      meat, I am not talking about what you said, which is very true. I am talking about the bad golfers who really tilt away from it, in order to “help” the ball in the air.

  4. meateater
  5. Ted Blanford

    This is so true. Last time I played I was hitting it everywhere and couldn’t figure out why. Went to the range afterwards and started to hit a few balls and saw my head shadow over the ball. Took a couple of swings and watched my head moving all over. Concentrated on keeping my head still and clean crisp shots happened.

  6. tom paine

    In the seminal work Search for the Perfect Swing, the authors cite professionals’ swing data showing that, on a drive, (1) during backswing, the right-handed golfer’s head moves approx. 2″ right, and 1″ down, and then (2) on forward swing (i.e., from top to impact), head moves another 1″ right, and 1″ more down. The authors say that where neck meets shoulders is the swing “hub,” which supposed to maintains set-up position; but head must move back/down to balance forward motion of the turning lower body. The McIlroy clip appears to confirm this. So, back + down OK in moderation; forward (toward target) and up = bad. Your thoughts?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      I would agree. I am not talking about minor movements. I am talking about obvious, sever ones.

  7. meateater

    I find this a fascinating subject, maybe because I just stumbled on it. Everyone who has ever had a lesson was told to “maintain the spine angle”, and if you read Hogan, you are supposed to start the swing with the lower body. We can argue that point another day, but if you rotate your hips and do nothing else, your upper body will rotate right along with it and get ahead of the ball. Good players have learned to tilt their spine to the right, and may not even be aware they’re doing it. When you see a Tour pro all bent over at impact, it’s not because they have such great flexibility, no matter what the commentator says. It’s because they tilted their spine on the downswing.

  8. Steve Bishop

    I believe this video should help clarify a lot. It also should help clarify WHY tilt is good.


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