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Could you be overlooking something so simple yet so important?


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Alright gang... I'll come clean - I also occasionally read the articles on that "other" golf website.  You know, the one that rhymes with hex and has 'golf' in the name...

 

I actually think that there is a space for both MGS and the other one to co-exist in the golf blogosphere.  Both sites bring very good content to the table.  As far as the forums go... don't waste your time on the other one... MGS is where it's at.  :)  :)

 

I saw this post today and had to share it.  It really is eye-opening.  This drill seems so simple yet so so amazingly important to master.  

This is definitely one to bookmark and review periodically - especially if things start to go haywire with your swing.

 

Hope you get as much out of it as I did... I cut and paste the content of the article here.  Feel free to head over to their site for the full thing.

 

------------------------------------

 

First, let me say that I hate blanket statements in golf instruction. There are so few absolutes in the golf swing, which is why recommending one thing for all golfers is usually one of the most detrimental things you can do as an instructor. With every rule there is an exception, however, and I believe this drill to be that exception.

A ton of golf instructors, commentators, and average golfers have noted throughout golf history that there are hundreds of different combinations of golf swings that can produce world-class results. Even today, it is very difficult to find any commonalities that hold true, for all, or even a large percentage of PGA Tour players. I am here to tell you that much smarter scientists and biomechanists than me have discovered a very important commonality. Based on this commonality, I believe this is the most important drill for every golfer.

Article-5.jpg

This picture always amazes me, and it's proof of why function is so much more important than form in the golf swing. It always keeps me grounded as an instructor, and even as a player, to not always sweat the minute details of form. I know for a fact that all the golfers in the photo can hit the same shots when necessary despite the differences in their swings. When I was on tour with TrackMan, I saw all sorts of players hitting the same exact shot and delivering the same exact club path and face angle at impact. They were doing it in a multitude of ways, however, and none of their full club numbers were exactly the same. Having said that, there is one commonality between them all.

So, what is the drill? All I want you to do is to figure out how to hit straight shots with your non-dominant hand on the club. If you're a right-handed golfer, use only your left hand. If you're left-handed golfer, use only your right hand. All I want you to accomplish is to start the ball on line. Distance does not matter. I know this sounds really easy, but I know the first time I ever tried it I thought it was almost stupid. Boy was I wrong.

What you will find out pretty quickly is that this drill is not easy. Almost all golfers who first try it will either struggle making contact or always start the ball way right of the target line. There is some pretty in-depth science about why this happens, but I will try and explain things in the simplest terms possible.

Article-3.png

In the swing sequence above, I'm demonstrating what happens when a golfer first tries this drill. The club face is open throughout the downswing and even more open at impact, which causes the ball to start significantly to the right of the target. There are a couple of reasons why this happens. When swinging with only my left hand, I don't have enough strength to rotate my forearm or left wrist in time to square the club face. So when I pull the butt end of the grip down toward the golf ball in transition to try and create power, the club face remains open and the ball starts right.

Article-4.png

Now, look at my second swing above. The ball started on target and was hit well. Hopefully, you notice quite a difference between these two swings. As you can see at impact, the club face is square and the ball therefore starts on target. You may be asking yourself, what is the trick?

In the second swing I am creating passive torque to help square the clubface. I know… I probably just lost you. What is passive torque? Well, in simple terms, I am creating a relationship between the club's center of mass and the force I am applying to the grip that naturally helps square the club face up at impact.

For all of you familiar with this topic, I may not be saying it 100 percent accurately, but I want to try and describe it in a way most golfers can understand. If you are looking to fully understand this relationship and how it happens, I suggest you look up the work Dr. Sasho MacKenzie has completed. In the frames below, you can see a better representation of what the club head and shaft are doing differently in the two swings.

Swing #1

Article.png

As you can see in Swing #1, I start to pull the butt end of the grip down toward the golf ball at the top of the backswing. This begins to steepen the shaft and open the club face through the transition. At this point, I do not have the strength with only my left hand to square the face, so the club face remains open and the ball starts right.

Swing #2

Article-21.png

In Swing #2, you can clearly see that in early transition the club head and shaft shallow while the club face remains square. I am accomplishing this by relaxing my left hand and feeling like the left wrist bows in transition. Now that I have created passive torque, the club head wants to line up at impact and the face is square. It's important to note that just because I am creating this look or relationship does not mean I am going to only hit draws. Plenty of drawers and faders of the golf ball create this relationship. Just look at Ben Hogan or Lee Trevino if you don't believe me.

So why is this important?

According to the research from Dr. Sasho MacKenzie, all but one PGA Tour player he has measured has this relationship in the early transition. That means it's very difficult to be a world-class ball striker if you don't create this relationship in the early downswing. That's why I believe this drill to be the most important drill in golf. Even if you already have this relationship, I think it is helpful to revisit this drill in your practice. I would compare it to taking a daily multivitamin. It really can't hurt you, even if you're eating all the right foods.

The vast majority of golfers I see on a regular basis have no concept of this motion, which is why I consider this drill to be something than can help everyone. It's a blanket statement I can get behind. This drill is easy, fun, and it won't cost you anything to practice. And most importantly, it can be a game-changer.

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Look at the photo at the top in which all of their positions are different at the top of the backswing.

However - they all need a square clubface when making contact...so how do they get that ???

This statement just spoke volumes to me... the one thing ALL of them have in common:

 

all but one PGA Tour player he has measured has this relationship in the early transition

 

They all successfully shallow out their club (am I saying that right ???) and square the face at impact.

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Well this is just a perfect drill for me right now. I'll give it a shot and report my findings. Thanks for sharing stroker.

 

 

I do tend to think you should still source the OP and give him credit even if he's from those other guys.

 

 

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Very interesting and well written. It's early in the morning though so I honestly have no idea what other site rhymes with hex. Is there a "golfsex.com" out there I should know about (Googles furiously)? Sadly there isn't. There should be.

 

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Look at the photo at the top in which all of their positions are different at the top of the backswing.

However - they all need a square clubface when making contact...so how do they get that ???

This statement just spoke volumes to me... the one thing ALL of them have in common:

 

all but one PGA Tour player he has measured has this relationship in the early transition

 

They all successfully shallow out their club (am I saying that right ???) and square the face at impact.

I wonder who the one golfer is??? I might have to try this next time on the range.

 

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I wonder who the one golfer is??? I might have to try this next time on the range.

 

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Haha... Probably big John...

 

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I had read the article and figured I would give it a try and see how I do.,

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I hate to say it but this one makes sense to me. I will however ask my teacher before trying it. :)

 

 

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Gave it a shot in my basement. Took me a few swings to hit it straight but I got the hang of it. Every forth or fifth ball will get skulled but most are OK. I can really feel the head lagging and get a good load.

 

Then when I put my right hand on the club, it really feels like it's just along for the ride. Seems like I'm turning over better too. Will have to see how this translates to real shots.

 

 

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I tried it on the driving range today and most of the balls went straight or had a slight fade.  Really didn't seem that tough to me.  

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Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 816H1 19* set at 18* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
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One of my major flaws in my swing was shallowing out the club on the downswing... I would be cautious doing this without a pro monitoring how you're changing your swing as it can become extremely detrimental to a quality strike... Think of it this way: the flatter your club gets on the downswing, the more “correction” is needed at the ball to correct for it. This can lead to flipping, over-active hands, in-to-out swing path, etc.

I get the “feel” and theory, but be cautious of just adding it without a pro's advice.

 

For reference, go to YouTube, search Adam Scott Golf Swing and select the iron swing from the Crowne Plaza... If he shallows the club, it isn't anywhere near the extent to which the photos of this drill show. Be cautious!!!!

 

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I asked a good friend of mine about this and here is what was explained to me. It teaches an approach of bringing the arms and hands down earlier so the shoulders are more square at impact. There are a few ways to this, and the drill is an old one of swinging only with the left hand. However; what it really is supposed to teach is a bump of the hips towards the target that automatically drops your arms in that position. When you take the right hand off the club, it is more noticeable. You almost can't drop the club with just the left arm without the hip movement.

Another way to get there is to drive down the left heel. This works for those who lift the left heel during the backswing. When you drive the left heel back down it causes the bump of the hips and drop of the arms.

The full sequence of events starts by driving the left foot down, which cause the left knee to kick out towards the target, causing the hips to shift towards the target, which then cause the arms to drop as the hips rotate.

 

That's how it was explained to me at least. I hope that helps some.

 

 

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I asked a good friend of mine about this and here is what was explained to me. It teaches an approach of bringing the arms and hands down earlier so the shoulders are more square at impact. There are a few ways to this, and the drill is an old one of swinging only with the left hand. However; what it really is supposed to teach is a bump of the hips towards the target that automatically drops your arms in that position. When you take the right hand off the club, it is more noticeable. You almost can't drop the club with just the left arm without the hip movement.

Another way to get there is to drive down the left heel. This works for those who lift the left heel during the backswing. When you drive the left heel back down it causes the bump of the hips and drop of the arms.

The full sequence of events starts by driving the left foot down, which cause the left knee to kick out towards the target, causing the hips to shift towards the target, which then cause the arms to drop as the hips rotate.

 

That's how it was explained to me at least. I hope that helps some.

 

 

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I agree that there are many ways to get from here to there. One thing that might be overlooked in the article is that he has his right hand in his pocket. He is actively preventing the right hand from being involved.

Turning the hips is critical. I don't think there is a way to do this without getting the hips turned.

I have heard about bringing the left heel down and it can work but you need to be careful not to change your spine angle.

Once you do that your in trouble...

 

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I agree, turning the hips is critical and you can't do this without that.

 

The problem I have with the article, not the OP, is he doesn't explain the drill very well. He explains it as creating passive torque. No, it is not passive torque, and if it was, how did he create it? The article is a great example at how misleading drills can be. The drill doesn't explain, at all, what is actually occurring, or how to do it properly. It is a nugget that gets you coming back for more. It is extremely important to know why this drill is useful, and what you have to do, to get this drill correct.

 

My good friend in his spare time loves watching and reviewing swing videos. I call him my swing guru and he will break down a swing to the most finite of details. I'm always bouncing swing thoughts and ideas off him and seeing what he thinks. He has recommended to me this same drill several times, and I've read about this drill in Penick, De La Torre, and King's book. So the idea isn't new, but understanding the reasoning behind it, is what is important. You can do this drill even without a club, and my friend recommends using a coat hanger.

 

As my friend has told me, most golfers don't transition their weight to the left foot like they should. We all know this. Another issue is the bump, or lateral shift of the hips to towards the target, that cause the rotation. At some point most golfers get the hip turn before the shoulder turn, but the arms still lag way behind when fully turned, hence where this drill comes into play. When you shift weight correctly to the lead foot, a small lateral shift should occur with the hips, which simultaneously drops the arms as the drill prescribes. It isn't passive torque per say, it is the bump and turn that Hogan is so infamously known for.

 

If you dig further into Penick, De La Torre, and King, they all say the same relative thing. The downswing starts in the opposite sequence of the backswing, with the feet, legs, hips, shoulders, arms, and hands in that order (Even Hogan says this). The left heel is big for I think De La Torre, and definitely with King. They both advocate a natural raise of the left heel. In other words, don't fight your left heel wanting to naturally rise during the Backswing. At the same time don't create it if you naturally don't have the left heel rise. The transition is putting that left heel back into the ground which initiates the weight shift, and then the lead knee coming out over the foot, and the lateral hip movement towards the target. All of that causes the arms to drop without thinking about it, as if passively (must be why he says passive torque lol). At that point, the shift of the hips will cause and start the hips to rotate as they should, ahead of the shoulders, and the arms/hands. Your wrists, thanks to the hip movement are still hinged, giving you more leverage, and result in a later release.

 

I will say, if you don't naturally raise your left heel, don't try to create it, focus more on the lead knee and/or hip bump. I personally don't raise the left heel, and my lead knee going over the lead foot does the same correct movement at transition. 

 

I will agree that forcing the left heel movement can cause spine tilt issue which can lead to bigger issues. It is important to stick with what you naturally do going to the top, and from there use your heel, knee, or hip bump to initiate the transition, which will cause the arms to drop, like the drill suggests.

 

Keep in mind, this drill is also for a two plane swing. You can see it when he draws the swing plane of the shaft. If you are a one plane swinger, this drill will probably do little for you, and I'm willing to bet, that one pro golfer who doesn't do this is Deschambeau, since he uses a true single plane swing :D.

 

I hope this explanation helps explain and break down what is supposed to happen. Everything I've mentioned comes out of the books I've read and my friend who loves studying swings. I don't want to miss lead anyone, and if you feel mislead, please let me know.

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@StrokerAce - good post, thanks!

And,

@JBH - really interesting comments; thanks for posting.

 

I'm not a golf instructor, nor do I play one on TV, but I occasionally do a version of this drill and do find it helpful for me.

 

To dumb it down a bit further, and to try to paraphrase how it's been explained to me by two different PGA pros (one who's played competitively and one who's coached Tour players, so they're the qualified ones!) -- it's more about using the body .. aka your core .. to move and power the club, vs the arms.

 

The way they each demonstrated the idea to me was by holding up a club, in their non-dominant hand with just the index finger and thumb on the butt end .. not gripping it .. then slowly rotating just the wrist to start the clubhead moving back and forth. A few more swings and the clubhead starts traveling in a larger arc, and .. the club face starts rotating .. on its own, "naturally" .. open on the "backswing" and forward on the "downswing" .. while passing through _square_ at the bottom of the arc.

 

Or:

A lot of what we're doing in our swings *interferes* with the natural movement of the clubface from open to square to closed............

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..Callaway Big Bertha 4H and 5H (both Recoil ZT9/F3)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT 60/A) 
..Cleveland CBX2 54 and CBX 60 (Rotex graphite)
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@StrokerAce - good post, thanks!

And,

@JBH - really interesting comments; thanks for posting.

 

I'm not a golf instructor, nor do I play one on TV, but I occasionally do a version of this drill and do find it helpful for me.

 

To dumb it down a bit further, and to try to paraphrase how it's been explained to me by two different PGA pros (one who's played competitively and one who's coached Tour players, so they're the qualified ones!) -- it's more about using the body .. aka your core .. to move and power the club, vs the arms.

 

The way they each demonstrated the idea to me was by holding up a club, in their non-dominant hand with just the index finger and thumb on the butt end .. not gripping it .. then slowly rotating just the wrist to start the clubhead moving back and forth. A few more swings and the clubhead starts traveling in a larger area, and .. the club face starts rotating .. on its own, "naturally" .. open on the "backswing" and forward on the "downswing" .. while passing through _square_ at the bottom of the arc.

 

Or:

A lot of what we're doing in our swings *interferes* with the natural movement of the clubface from open to square to closed............

 

Great point CK!  I think a lot of times we inhibit our body's natural inclination to move in a certain way during the swing and it causes more harm than good!

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Great point CK! I think a lot of times we inhibit our body's natural inclination to move in a certain way during the swing and it causes more harm than good!

Thanks! I feel like this season - where I've made some good progress - I'm almost "un-learning" mechanics and working on trying to *move* better.
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WITB of an "aspiring"  😉 play-ah ...
..Callaway Big Bertha B21 driver (Recoil ES 450/F3)
..Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 (UST ProForce V2-HL 5/F3)
..Callaway Epic Max 5W (PX Cypher 50/5.0)
..Callaway Big Bertha 4H and 5H (both Recoil ZT9/F3)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT 60/A) 
..Cleveland CBX2 54 and CBX 60 (Rotex graphite)
..EvnRoll ER5 or MLA XDream (Edel EAS 4.0 on the bench)
..all in a Datrek bag on an MGI Zip Navigator electric cart.

Forum Member tester for the ExPutt Putting Simulator (2020)

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@CK - Thanks for the input. I hope its not misleading at all.

 

I also agree with what you are saying as well. I believe a lot in the natural motion of the swing. As Ace put it, we probably inhibit our own natural swing with all these swing moves.

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  • 3 years later...

Bump.

Left arm only swings has been a game changer for me.  I'm surprised we don't hear more about 1 arm drills.  I looked on youtube and found a couple, but man... this should be mandatory drills for am golfers.

Surprisingly, the drill even helped me with tempo. Forced me to slow down and lose that hit impulse that I've always had.  One doing one arm drills you can't spin the hips too fast, or open up shoulders too early, or fire your right side at the ball.  And the drills translates to the full swing very well in my experience (I filmed the before and after swings).

Routine

1) Warmup (swing butt end of the club while trying to hear the "swoosh" well past impact.  Make this a free flowing movement to warm up)

2) 10-20 LH Only Swings

3) Alternate between LH Only and Full Swing (repeat 10-20 x's)

    When you put your right hand back on, at first, have a super light grip with RH.  Even consider letting the hand fall off near impact (if your RH is still trying to throw the club too much). 

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