The lower body and preventing over the top

First off, OTT is not what people think it is. Bryce Molder comes over the top and I don’t think any amateur golfer in the world would not want to play as well as he does. Peter Kostis perpetuated this nonsense and misconception with his comments. Craig Stadler and his son are OTT, Bruce Lietske was OTT…it is not necessarily a bad thing. So if you do something to prevent this on purpose, you are likely taking yourself out of a possible good shot pattern.

The OTT that plagues most amateurs is improper weight shift, no shoulder turn, hands that are too active, a bad release, and most likely, a swing path going back that is too far inside causing the rest of the problems already listed. (not a comprehensive list)

I have said many times that trying to turn the lower body independently of the upper body to initiate the downswing is a terrible idea…and it is.

What you want is the lower body moving toward the target to initiate the downswing and have everything turn together. This will prevent the over the top move (that everyone hates, but doesn’t understand) or hands being too active.

One might say this is a slide. It is not. If your body is turning and the lower body moves toward the target, it is not a slide. It also creates the proper weight shift and stops the “hang back.” As long as you are in balance and your body is turning, it would never be considered something bad.

Even if it is a slide, it beats the alternative. Hanging back and snatching it with your hands.

Some might feel better moving their zipper toward the target. Whatever feel that gets your lower body shifting to the front side while your upper body stays behind the ball (head still) is the feel and movement you want.

The reason I point this out is two fold.

1. Shifting to the front side and not controlling the downswing with your hands is huge.

2. All of the “know it alls” out there want to tell people to stop OTT, get the club in the slot. lag the club, etc., etc., etc., by initiating the downswing by turning the hips and leaving the upper body behind…are trying to screw you up or know as much about golf as I know about women.




  1. banchiline

    Excellent post .

  2. Calvin D

    Thanks Monte, for clearing up OTT in my head. Whew.

    I’ve always been confused because most pros downswing plane is outside
    their backswing plane viewed down the line. Viewed face on their downswing
    arc is inside their backswing arc so I always thought maybe that’s what they mean.
    But they’re not that smart are they?

    Thank. I feel better now.

  3. s.

    Since I have tried every possible wrong way to swing the club, I feel qualified to comment on this.

    First off, people can’t agree on plane, so they can’t agree on what Over-The-Top of it is. A Hogan plane (pane of glass) is not the same as a Hank Haney plane, which is actually two planes.

    “I have said many times that trying to turn the lower body independently of the upper body to initiate the downswing is a terrible idea…and it is.” And you are so right.

    The key here is, how do you get your lower body to turn—without turning your lower body? The answer is your lower torso–maybe from your waist up to the bottom of your shoulder blades. And easy demonstration is to stand relaxed with your arms hanging at your sides. Now, turn just your shoulders, without trying to involve your torso. Next, try turning just your hips. Finally, try turning with your lower torso. If you’re like me, nothing much happened with the first two. With the third experiment (torso), I could turn a lot, and centrifugal force even got my arms flying out. Message.

    But in order to utilize that, you need to get your torso wound-up on the backswing (apparently, there are different ways to do this effectively), and you need proper balance, and something to turn away from on the downswing.

    If you did everything effectively enough on the backswing, all you would have to do is unwind (turn down to the ball), and it would cure improper weight shift, no shoulder turn, hands that are too active, and a bad release,

    No pro is ever off balance. The reason is that he is not trying to turn hips and shoulders (as the gurus say) and hope that everything is synchronized at the ball. They’re unwinding their lower torso, like baseball, and that will turn both hips & shoulders. Experiment: take two childrens’ toy blocks, and place one on top of the other. Turn the bottom one (lower torso), and the upper one (chest & arms) moves too. (So, Hogan was right, but he just didn’t explain it very well.)

    The pros are not primarily going up & down or back & forth with the downswing. Their swing is rotary, and they utilize angular velocity (small movement at the center produces a big movement at the outside) and centrifugal force.

    “One might say this is a slide. It is not.” True–so Toski is wrong. But it “feels” like a slide because if the player stays balanced with his head (and sternum?) behind the ball, the torso unwinding + swinging moves the lower body ahead, and the balance shifts. Maybe that’s why just about every pro looks like he is leaning back somewhat at impact.

    “As long as you are in balance and your body is turning, it would never be considered something bad.” And you just about wrapped it up.

    I’ve heard the zipper thing, and Faldo says “navel.” Whatever works. But the muscles that do this are in the lower torso–back & abs, which is why you like core exercises. Feel isn’t real, and it doesn’t have to be.

    Maybe I’ll try all of this sometime.

    • carrera

      Good post s.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      “Since I have tried every possible wrong way to swing the club, I feel qualified to comment on this.”

      This is something you and I have in common…lol. Great post.

  4. Steve Bishop

    It’s kind of strange that all of this correlates with my recent videos. Here is the last one I did and I think it will be very informative.

    The hip turn may be the “initiator” of the forward swing, but it doesn’t mean it move independently from everything else. This is where most people get messed up with all of this. They start off pulling with their left shoulder to start the swing, then learn about the infamous “Hogan Hip Turn” and begin to yank their left hip away from the ball. From then on no one knows how to correct them because they are obviously doing what Hogan said!

    There is no “deep thinking” about what works and why it works. It’s just mimicry. So and so who is a top 50 teacher said it, so it must be good and everyone should repeat it. Or how about that guy who said it on The Golf Channel! He must be right cause he’s on TV!!

    Bottom line is that your hips cause the weight shift and sustain the lower part of the spine angle while turning the body. Not just themselves but YOUR WHOLE BODY. Then once the momentum gets started the arms and upper body keep going with it.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      I promise I am not stealing your stuff Steve…LOL.

      This was inspired by a post on Golfwrx.

      • Steve Bishop

        Not a problem. I didn’t think you were. It’s just funny how sometimes these things fall at just the right time.

  5. carrera

    “then learn about the infamous “Hogan Hip Turn”

    also known as the “Hogan Power Move”?

    • Steve Bishop

      Yes, it’s a misinterpreted move because everyone has some strange variation. Hogan was Hogan. His turn worked for him. But unless you are Hogan it may not work for you. I teach a particular type of hip turn to the masses. With it MOST people would improve. It’s the same one I think Monte wants, it’s the same one I perform, and it’s the same one most athletes use. There will always be exceptions though since every move can be compensated for. Hogan compensated for a very flat plane, supinated wrist, and incredibly deep, fast hands that stayed ahead of the clubhead for nearly 2/3rds of his golf swing with a hurried hip turn. If he didn’t start his hip turn WHILE his backswing was still in motion he would have pull hooked it. That’s precisely what Hogan was fighting all the time and fixed it by doing his famous hip turn.

      But unless you are flat, supinated at impact, incredibly fast handed, and your hands lead the swing 2/3rds of the way forward, there isn’t much need for you to rush the hip turn. So why teach it? Most people teach it because it was HOGAN. Regardless of whether or not it’s best for the golf population it is the move an icon made and therefore it must be what everyone should do.

      After all if Jack Nicklaus wore black shoes with white socks, we should all wear black shoes with white socks.

      • JW

        Darn. I wear black shoes with white socks. I thought I was a rebel.


Leave a Reply

Share This