Spine tilt through impact and the lower body leading.

As many of you know, I am against the lower body leading and everything working in sync, but I may not have been clear about a very important detail.

I said yesterday that when hanging back, the spine tilts more through impact as the rear knee buckles. I also would add that is often accompanied by the leftt shoulder going up too much and/or right shoulder dropping.

meateter commented that all great players add tilt through impact and what he doesn’t know is that I agree 100%, but it is different than a hang back and it has to do with weight shift and the lower body “leading.”

Now we are on the the part I inadvertently wasn’t clear about. The lower body doesn’t lead by rotating sooner while the upper body remains still (although in high speed film it happens for a split second but doing it consciously way over does it). What happens is as the upper and lower body rotate together, the lower body drives toward the target. That is what happens in transition when the weight shifts from the right foot toward the left (for a right handed golfer). If the upper body remains relatively still while the lower body drives to the target with the weight shifting from the right foot to the left, that creates tilt through impact.

So the lower body leads the weight shift, but not the rotation.

When you hang back, the weight is not properly shifting to the left side and the tilt is created by the upper body moving away from the target.

To put it another way, when you transition to the downswing, if the upper body goes with the lower body, you are in front of it. If the lower body stays with the upper body, you are hanging back.

I know a bit technical…and any clarification you might want, feel free to ask.

I will be posting some videos of some drills that deal with all of this.




  1. S.

    (Not that I know what I’m talking about, but that never stopped me before.)

    My first observation is that when I look at a good golfer’s lower torso, it is on the move on the downswing, to the extent that your navel is pointing to the target (or even left of it for a rightie) at the finish. The $zillion question is: is this produced by “shoulder” rotation, or does it precede and enable “shoulder” rotation?

    I don’t think Mike Maves would mind me embedding a video, to demonstrate what I’m talking about.


    So, is the lower torso (back & abs) the engine of the swing? And, does the right leg begin this unwinding of the torso? And do the “shoulders” launch off of that moving platform?

    That would make it a lot like baseball. Or, maybe that’s just one way of doing it.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      I think it is individual and each golfer is a bit different. When they work together is the most efficient way. As another poster put it, sometimes you have to initiate something on purpose if it is too slow and not in sync with the rest.

    • meateater

      The issue I have with the right leg initiating the downswing is that it will tend to cause poor lower body positioning. In a good swing the hips move slightly toward the target, then rotate. If you push off with your right leg/foot,, you will end up driving your legs either too far forward, as the guy in the video is doing, ie a Tom Lehman move. You can play like that, but it costs you power. Or, you will thrust your legs toward the target line and have trouble getting turned, ie you will belly out, lose the “tush line” or produce an “early extension.”

      I agree with Monte that ideally, your upper and lower body starts the downswing more or less together, although this is something of a new idea for me. I was always in the lower body first camp, which after all, was the way Hogan said to do it, whether or not he actually did it that way or just felt like he was. What is clear is that Hogan did not drive his legs toward the target but instead rotated his lower body.

    • steve holmes

      I am against the lower body leading and everything working in sync. is this what you really said??

      • Monte Scheinblum

        To clarify. I am against the lower body leading the rotation as a conscious effort and I prefer everything working together (in sync)

  2. meateater
    • seveonsunday

      I’ve been down this rabbit hole before… Timing anything in the swing adds to frustration, like Monte says everything should move together. It feels strange but works. I think Hogan successfully and permanetly confused the heck out of the golfing world just read 5 lessons :<

  3. meateater

    No right leg drive here either. His right foot is doing a little tap dance while he is starting the swing.

  4. Steve Bishop

    There are multiple ways to perform a golf swing. Therefore when someone says “do it this way” what that really means is that it’s their preference because they want something specific.

    I would in fact say that even though Jamie makes a great move, it could be better. He COULD load up better on his right side and COULD make a better hip turn. That doesn’t mean what he is doing now it’s good.

    Hogan had a different way of using his hips too. He actually did get to his back foot but then pushed forward off of his right leg while still completing his back-swing. This helped tremendously in creating the greatest amount of lag we’ve ever seen.

    For the majority of amateur players the biggest problem I see is an inability to get to their left side properly and for that, sometimes it requires a specific intention to start the forward swing with the lower body.

    I prefer the push off of the right foot but it must be SPECIFIC and not just a general push. The right leg needs to push the right hip toward the toe of the front foot. This direction is not AT the target nor is it at the ball. It is both out and forward. There must also be a “hang back” of the torso. It is not a restriction of turning but in fact a TILT. Both the hips and the shoulders generally turn together, but the tilt makes the upper body stay back.

    I think I explained that relatively well with the following video.


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