Watching Tiger this weekend reminded me of something…

that may help a lot of you.

There is a golf message board I frequent (as I am sure many of you) called Golf Equipment Aficionados. I have seen many posts on that board, have gotten many questions here, as well as many conversations in real life about the same problem.

Major problems with one club or group of clubs while hitting everything else well. Even though Tiger dominated Friday thru Sunday, he has this issue right now.

I have had this issue for 5-6 years and there is a simple reason why.

While I agree there are differences between a wedge swing and a driver swing, there is something to be learned from one club or club group struggling while the rest are fine, or even great.

When this happens, there is usually a fundamental flaw in what you are doing that causes the issue in one section of the bag and you get away with it with everything else.

I won’t rant about Tiger’s dive for the hundreth time, but let’s begin with that in context of this topic. Since irons require more of a downward trapping motion than woods, Tiger is getting away with the dive when hitting irons most of the time. However, woods being more of a sweeping motion, he is having a hard time timing those shots.

Here are some examples of what might be troubling some of you and you want to start with simple things, like setup.

1. If your ball position is too far back in your stance, you wedges and short irons could be just fine, mid and long irons decent, hybrids and fairway woods manageable and driver just terrible.

2. Standing too far away from the ball, your driver, woods and hybrids are great, long and mid irons fine, but thin and short irons and wedges are terrible.

3. If you are aimed too far left (for a right handed player) it is easy to hold on and hit the irons good, the hybrids and woods manageable, but driver off the tee is probably a push slice waiting to happen.

These are just three of many examples, but it is to illustrate a point. If there is a major disparity with one section of your bag you probably have a fundamental flaw in what you are doing.

It is important to recognize this because unlike Tiger, it is usually a very small issue and there is no need to go through major changes in swing or equipment.

The best thing you can do to check several of these possible issues is to get something to measure all of the setup issues. You can buy those sticks you see in everyone’s bag that cost $7-10, or some dowel rods for 50 cents. Either way you can measure all sorts of ball position, setup and alignment issues this way.

In other words, always monitor setup issues before you let someone make major changes in your equipment or golf swing.

Once you have ruled out setup issues, then start with things like rhythm and balance and a level shoulder turn. Start with the simple and slowly move up the ladder to the more complicated issues.

FYI-Not having a level shoulder turn is almost always the issue when everything else is great and driver is just terrible. Turning you shoulders around your spine or 90 degrees to your spine is another way of saying this.

I mention this one specifically because I see it so often when I go to the range. Beautiful shoulder turns with every club in the bag and a horrible one with driver.

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8 Comments

  1. Carrera

    Monte — interesting. What do you typically see as the difference in driver shoulder turns among folks at the range…what makes the driver shoulder turn “horrible”? Does this contribute to posture issues during the swing (either dipping or more likely standing up)?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      It is a common occurrence for golfers to want to hit up on the ball to help it in the air with all clubs. The combination of most golfers not having enough loft on their drivers and modern driver heads being so big exacerbates the situation.

      Many golfers have a nice shoulder turn with the rest of their clubs, but as soon as they take the giant appliance out, their shoulder turn ceases to become level to their spine and it stops at impact to help the big driver in the air.

      Obviously the left shoulder goes up through impact on a proper turn, but it it goes up too early to help the ball in the air, the shoulder turns shuts off and it becomes a hands and arm swing. That can results in a top and/or shots all over the place.

      Reply
  2. doug shepherd

    Monte I thought I would ask here instead of GEA because you touched on subject and excuse me if it is inappropriate to ask a personal situation. That said I have severe back/hip problems that need to be addressed this winter. I seem to have a problem ocassionally with my hands going thru shots faster than hips due to poor rotation from health problems discussed. End up with smoothered duck hooks. Problem mainly with driver and fairway hybrids. When calm on range I naturally slow down so problem not as evident. Any temporary bandadge fix? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      It’s no problem to ask here. I am happy to answer. If you have physical problems, temporary bandaids are a bad idea, because in time it can add to the injury/pain. You need to find something permanent. Your first priority is to find what you can do that doesn’t hurt and second something that will aloow you to hit good shots. Experimentation through trial and error is the only way and I can make a few suggestions.

      I don’t like to get too technical, but since I haven’t seen your swing, I have to speak in general terms. When you don’t turn, or are unable to turn properly, the hands can drop underneath the plane to start the downswing. That can open the club face, then there is a need to shut everything down and flip the hands at the bottom. That is where most duck hooks come from. A club that is actually too open and the body reacts by slowing down and shutting it quickly.

      My advice to people who have this problem is to setup left and play a fade. If you are aimed even 1 degree right of your target and you don’t turn, that is a duck hook waiting to happen. When aiming left and trying to play a fade, you are less likely to do all sorts of bad things.

      Reply
      • doug shepherd

        Thanks Monte. I have always liked playing from an open stance plus it’s definitely more comfortable now with my back/hip problem. That said of the two lessons I got at beginning of year along with comments from my old pro watching me play a month ago were to square up more ( ie make sure zipper is even or behind ball or make sure back right pocket (old pro) was turned right). I think both things were to get wieght back and make better shoulder turn. Personally I think the root of my problems is turning back with hands not shoulders. Back to range,

        Reply
  3. Mono

    i’ve seen you talk about ‘level shoulder turn’ several times, I’m not sure that it’s a great term for what you want to happen with your shoulders, could you you expand on the topic?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Like I said in this post, I worded it a few different ways. When i say level, I mean level to your spine angle, 90 degrees to your spine or around your spine. Whichever way makes more sense to each individual.

      I understand what you are saying. Level might be taken by some people as level to the ground and that is bad.

      If you stand behind someone and they held a shaft to their shoulders with both hands and rotated their shoulders, you want that to be level, 90 degrees, perpendicular, around, or how ever you want to put it, to the spine angle at address.

      Reply
  4. BruinMel

    “Beautiful shoulder turns with every club in the bag and a horrible one with driver.”

    This would be me.

    MEL

    Reply

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