Today I’m going to show before and after photos of two students. Both made dramatic changes to their swings by making simple changes. Their after swings both demonstrate improved static swing positions without directly addressing any of them. Student #1 changed his backswing and ended up in an ideal P6 position. Student #2 produced lag and shaft lean by fixing other issues in his swing. This is the right away to address those sorts of problems in a golf swing.
STUDENT 1: DEEPER HANDS
This first student was given one thought to make these changes. I told him to get his hands deeper in the backswing. At the top of the backswing (photo 1)you will see his hands and the butt of the club are vertically above the front of his shoe. In the after on the right, all I did was put his hands there and said “deeper’ and he did it. The resulting improvements in the downswing (photos 2 & 3) are all a byproduct of this single change. These were literally consecutive swings. It makes me look a lot smarter when I have a talented person with lots of kinesthetic awareness.
Funny enough, another teaching pro who saw these stills, admitted the swing was better in photos #2 and #3, but aesthetically preferred the before in still #1. I was dumbfounded, as that position caused the poor positions in the before photos #2 & #3. All of these changes were made by changing the before position of photo #1.
This is why I always work backwards when analyzing a student’s swing. The first problem I see is often causing all the subsequent issues. Fix that first problem and you might get lucky. Sometimes it takes care of the rest on its own.
STUDENT #2: TWO SETUP CHANGES, TWO SWING THOUGHTS
This student made two changes to his setup (photo #1): He added more forward bend, and bumped hips toward the target. From there, we shortened the backswing (photo #2) and had him fire the arms earlier to start the downswing. All of these changes helped get his body and arms in better sync. If you look at the before side of photo #3, you’ll see the 68 ballerina position on display. The arms trail the body, creating lots of problems.
Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes the body rotation needs to be more active. But most good players with swing problems have trailing arms because they’ve been told to “lead with the lower body” and have overcooked it. When the arms trail, the student dumps the lag and has no shaft lean. And a lot of time, they will then attempt to fix these issues directly by trying to hold the lag, which slows the arms down further. And if the arms slow down, the body outraces the arms even more, compounding the problem even more.
This is why I speak out so often about the concept of “passive arms” in the golf swing. Combined with an overactive lower-body, it’s not a productive swing thought when it comes to producing lag and shaft lean.
These two examples prove a major tenant of my teaching philosophy. There are aspects of the swing that you can directly control, and aspects that are a result of a good golf swing, like lag and shaft lean. The key is to understand the difference. You can’t add lag and shaft lean to a golf swing, but you can create them by focusing on the issues that are preventing them from happening.
Monte, once again, great simple stuff that creates a gestalt for me: we are working too hard at this sometimes!
Question: you said “On the second set, here were the changes. More forward bend, hips toward target, shorter backswing and fire the arms earlier.”
Define your ideal “hips toward target”. Are you also saying 60/40 weight at address? Thx again
See, this is a high quality golf blog. Literary references, obscure references and terms Roget would be proud of.
Hips bumped slight toward target to line up shoulder and hips tilts, while maintaining 50-50 weight.
Incredible improvement on the before and afters! Nice work by all parties involved. It’s amazing what people can do with instruction that doesn’t take them off on a bad tangent
Great post again Monte. Your posts lately have really hit home for me. I have been working on a deeper hip turn in combination with the “no turn, cast” drill and the recent driver videos, and I am seeing really good results at the range. It has really minimized my 2 way miss.
The funny thing is that these are all things you have told me in online lessons, but for some reason they have all started clicking the past two weeks based on your blog posts and videos.
Hello Monte At the top of the swing if the left arm is 45 degrees to the target line (deeper) do this shorten the swing and help promote tilt away from the target at the top and give you the correct impact angles.( forward shaft lean)?
Monte is one of the few instructors I respect and follow. Some of our fellow instructors have questionable thoughts and ideas towards the golf swing.
Also, this is a point you make all the time… He has reverse tilting going on at the top of his swing. I am a victim of the 68 ballerina move, but with some experimentation over the last week or so I have drastically improved my reverse tilt at the top and FEEL like I’m tilting way away from the ball at the top, and make no change at all in order to speed up my arms and I found it is pretty much effortless to hit the ball further, and I’m assuming I have much better shaft lean (not on video). That is why I now officially believe, tilt away from the target at the top of the swing is THEE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN GOLF. If you have it, guaranteed quality distance for your size, strength, and age, and from there its just a matter of figuring out the angles. Like a pro I know always told his daughters… you make that swing monitor get to 90, I’ll figure out the angles and you won’t be paying for school. REVERSE TILT SUCKS!
Just putting a “get a little deeper” swing thought into my head has helped tremendously with synching up the arms and body. Little movement, big results. Thx again
Great, stuff, Monte! This helps reinforce what you’re teaching on the online lessons. My last instructor was telling me exactly what you’re saying not to do-gets the hip slide going first! It’s very hard to do that action and get the arms in the proper position. Monte, where have you been all my (golfing) life?
Great image Monte, especially the explanation of the flippy hand syndrome
Years ago in his book Practical Golf, John Jacobs former Ryder Cup Captain had a great illustration entitled “This happens in EVERY good swing”. It shows the angle between the arms and the shoulders increasing into impact.
Is this what you mean?
Thanks for posting, fantastic illustration. No wonder they wanted him as Ryder Cup “coach”.