A better illustration of how the shoulder plane bisects the shaft. This simple thought changes everything! This simple thought forces several other good things to happen. It’s simple, powerful, easily repeatable and easy on the back. It removes the compulsion to early extend or snap release.
I think this simple idea is the key to every great golf swing. The clubhead must be delivered to the ball from behind the right shoulder. This thought prevents the clubhead from getting in front of the chest until well after impact.
Watch any great ball striker closely and you’ll see they all make this move. This is what separates the pros from the rest of us. They may kill me for revealing the most important swing thought ever.
I don’t want to write too much about this because it’s so simple I don’t want people to overthink it.
DO NOT WATCH THE CLUBHEAD AS IT APPROACHES THE BALL! The clubhead should be behind you enough that it’s almost outside your peripheral vision. You watch the ball disappear, not the clubhead moving.
The more I think about this more things come to light. What’s really happening here is the club is delivered to the ball from behind the back, just like we do in baseball.
I think about simplifying it more and it becomes “It’s like trying to hit the ball with your tail.” Yep. If you had a golf club for a tail and you tried to hit the ball with it, that’s the motion needed to strike the ball well. Crazy, I know.
Can you imagine Ben Hogan saying, “Hit it with your tail.”
This is completely opposite from what most people think they need to do which is hit it with your *!ck. We know from years and years and millions of failures that hitting it with your *!ck doesn’t work.
Hit it with your tail!
My friend recently asked me, “Why would you change your swing, you’re good enough already?”
My answer, “Because I want it to be as easy and efficient as possible. I don’t want to have to think about it.”
With this swing thought I only think of one thing, “bisect the shaft with the shoulder plane.”
Golf is the most fun when it’s easy.
If you’re thinking about every motion while you’re trying to do it you can’t move smoothly or confidently. Your brain simply can’t think that fast.
I have friends that play horribly in tournaments because they’re trying harder to do whatever it is they think they should be doing instead of just hitting the ball.
“This is a tournament, the time for thinking is done. Just hit the ball toward the target.” Golf has to be played with a casual confidence.
Do you look at a baseball when it hits the bat? No. You judge where it’s going to be then you put the bat there. The golf ball isn’t even moving. It’s not going anywhere why watch it?
Do what feels natural and what works. If you find it uncomfortable to look at the ball you’ll probably find that you have a sore neck if you force yourself to do it.
It’s pretty amazing what a very simple thought can do to your swing. I’m developing this thought further, stay tuned.
Backswing as usual, except, on the downswing be aware of the leading shoulder plane and keep the club head behind it or just bisecting it? All the way down through impact? The club head should not be visible until after you strike the ball?
Wouldn’t this cause excessive forward shaft lean? And the result of excessive forward shaft lean is a wide open club face. Unless I’m totally seeing it wrong. What are we doing before impact? Releasing ? Slinging the club head through ? How far can I keep the club head behind this plane before releasing?
I've drawn lines between the end of the shaft, the handle of the shaft and the right elbow. These points create a plane. This is the plane on which the club is swung.
Notice Mi-hyang doesn't lose this plane until after impact. Most people lose this plane way too early in the downswing. Think of this plane as a paper kite. If you move it on it's plane it will stay intact. If you move it against its plane, the paper kite will rip.
This plane is dependent on the position of the right elbow. It acts as a pivot point and fulcrum that the right arm and club cantilever around.
Also take note of how much she's facing away from target as she starts the downswing and how much her head is turned away. This top of the backswing, completely turned away from the target position is where we hit the ball from.
That is because this is where we start the downswing, we have to imagine that we're hitting the ball from this pose. Most people try to return to facing the ball and then swing, so they're trying to turn and swing at the same time.
This is not a natural move.
When we imagine striking the ball from the top of the backswing position, we have the sensation of hitting the ball backward. I say "sensation," because that's all it is.
When you do this, your body actually turns naturally through the shot just as Mi-hyang's does, but it happens without conscious effort from the player.
If you think about it, in baseball we set up with the bat up, back and cocked - ready to swing and we hit the ball from that position.
We don't "try" to turn our body toward the target and then swing, we just swing with the sensation that our back is facing the pitcher because when we began swinging, it was. In golf unfortunately we need to measure our distance to the ball before we can strike it with any confidence, we call that position "address." Golf would be much easier if we didn't have to address the ball.
People believe this is the position where you strike the ball, and that's just completely wrong. In golf, just as in baseball, we need to imagine hitting the ball from the top of the backswing while our back is facing the pitcher/target.
This allows you to swing the club naturally, retain lag and release the club in a relaxed motion. It also gives us the sensation that our body is moving less and therefore we can swing more smoothly and confidently.
This is what gives those players that "effortless look."
Good drill to learn the golf plane
Let's start with the simple things. Swing your left arm in big circles, similar to a golf swing. Notice that it does not move or rotate perpendicular or parallel to your shoulders or spine.
Keep swinging your arm and turn your shoulders and torso so that the circle your arm is making is parallel to an imaginary target line.
Notice that in order to get your arm to swing naturally in the direction we want it to, your shoulders have to be tipped and tilted about 45º backward, or away from the target.
This is the secret to golf. Most people attempt to turn their shoulders back to square before striking the ball which causes the left arm to move down and left, or over the top.
Although, you think this might be odd, it's not. Everyone sees the pros finish facing the target and falsely believe we should be half way there at impact, if not more.
Once you learn to do this you'll feel that sensation that the great ball strikers have of hitting the ball with your head back and stable and then turning through to a finish that faces you toward the target.
You should have the sensation that you're hitting the ball slightly backward from the direction you're facing.
Try that first. Let me know how that works for you and we'll go from there. Yeah? That may be all you need.
BTW, this should feel quite comfortable and easy. If the ball goes wildly left or right your grip is not correct. Alter the grip until the ball flies straight without changing the swing itself at all.
One more thing, you have a natural swing speed.
If you try to swing the club much much faster you'll disrupt your body's natural motion and rhythm and the ball will do all sorts of strange things.
Swing comfortably but powerfully and the ball will go far and straight
Cause: Your right shoulder is moving forward instead of down.
Solution: The right shoulder has to stay back and low - not high and forward.
There is a reverse loop, from what most people do, at the top. It's a very natural motion that we all make with a baseball bat. The reason we do it with a baseball bat is that we balance the weight of the bat directly above our hands at the top and then as we begin to swing the meat of the bat lags behind creating this loop. In baseball we perceive the meat of the bat being above our hands even though through the strike it's not but then it is again after impact, so we just think of it always above the hands.
The golf club is no different. What I think is the biggest problem in golf is that people try to invert the club so that the clubhead is way down and the handle is up. This move destroys all natural motion in the swing.
The club never needs to be what I call "up-ended." The weight of the clubhead during a full speed swing will cause it to dip way down striking the ball.
You couldn't stop it if you wanted to. Attempting to up-end the club in order to "put" the clubface on the ball is the worst thing you can do. You must learn to truly swing the club and "let" the clubhead hit the ball, not "put" it there.
The design of the golf club is almost like magic. It wants to square up through impact. A good player just swings and has total confidence that the clubface will be there when they want it.
It's as if he couldn't care less where the ball goes but it goes where he wants. There will always be some degree of variable in each shot which is why it's a game of skill. Butch Harmon says, "... hit it like you're hitting into the ocean. You can't miss." Which is why so many people strike the ball effortlessly and well on the range - because they couldn't care less where it goes, they're just hitting it, and because of that carefree attitude the ball flies well, but once you try to steer it, your natural motion is gone and suddenly you can't make it go straight.
It's all about balance. The golf club isn't very heavy but we still want to balance it. The club should feel very light in your hands, almost like it's floating through the swing. It will feel like you're swinging with the butt end of the handle pointing at your feet through the entire swing - like a baseball bat, but somehow the clubhead will reach the ball without you even trying.
Your body will tell you one thing but you can see that your body is wrong, because the clubhead does reach the ball. After practicing this way you can easily tell the difference between "swinging" the club and up-ending it.
If we think of golf as linear motions or straight lines, we can perform the golf swing much easier and better. When we try to make circular motions or arcs, we just don't do it well.
Our brains don't think "arc" they think "linear." Point A to point B, that's it. When you hit a nail with a hammer you only think, "straight path A to B," although the hammerhead actually makes an arc.
If you thought, "Arc from A to B," it would be very difficult to hit the nail and you'd most likely over-do it. Which is what we do in golf. That's why most people cannot get their hands ahead of the ball and fat, scoopy, flips.
Think of the clubhead as being delivered down to above the equator of the back side of the ball from a linear path off your right hip.
The blue line in the video is a weight on a rope. That, for some reason, we have no problem comprehending. The length of a stiff shaft is what perplexes our brains.
We could easily hit with the shaft itself but not with a weighted clubhead on the other end of it. We need to think of the shaft as being super flexible, like a rope, so that the weight, or clubhead moves on a linear path to the ball.
If you watch Dustin Johnson you can see this move. He starts the swing by raising his hands and moving them forward, essentially addressing the ball with the middle of the shaft.
Hitting an imaginary ball with the center of the shaft
When you picture hitting an imaginary ball with the center of the shaft the idea of the swing changes from thinking of swinging the tip of the shaft or the clubhead to swinging the entire shaft.
Also, anyone who's played baseball knows you need to stay behind the bat (shaft in golf,) you do not want to get on top of it or let it pass you. The hands will naturally be forward of the shaft and clubhead and the strike is much more natural.
This should help anyone with a flip and/or chicken wing.
I think anyone can perform a perfect golf swing if they only think about it the right way. "Trying" to make a perfect golf swing, does not work.
One final note: a great golf swing cannot be performed at slow speed. You cannot slowly practice the true motion of a good golf swing. There are contortions, inertia and other forces that only exist at high speeds that are necessary to contort the body into positions we cannot "put" ourselves in.
Think of throwing a ball. The contortions in your arm cannot be achieved without the weight and inertia of the ball.
Don't swing the club toward the target, bounce the ball
Imagine the clubhead is a ball on a stick that will fly off the stick and bounce on the ground. You want to imagine the ball will bounce about 3' behind the golf ball so that your hands will be above or vertically parallel with the golf ball.
The shorter the club the closer to the golf ball we need to imagine the imaginary ball bouncing.
We don't swing the clubhead well when we're thinking of hitting a golf ball with it. We need to swing the shaft in a way that clubhead meets the ball. Basically, we need to trick ourselves into making the proper motions.
Pros swing through the ball not at it. You can see when someone is swinging at the ball, there's usually a hitch or flinch as they strike the ball that the pros just don't have.
Swinging by imagining this ball bouncing on the ground removes the "hit" and the hitches caused by it.
We all seem to know almost instinctively that the ball will fly off the stick when it's at about a 45º to the ground. This gets your hands forward and left of the clubhead before the ball flies off the shaft and bounces on the ground
The secret to effortless power and a great move through the ball is positioning the clubhead properly in relation to the right forearm. Essentially we're throwing the club sidearm through the ball.
If the clubhead is above the elbow this simply doesn't work. When the clubhead is below the elbow the forearm twists and builds torque that is released in a level if not upward motion after impact.
If the clubhead is above the elbow the release happens at the ball in a downward direction.
Most people are so nervous about putting the clubhead on the ball that they rush things and cut corners to get there. This is why people come over the top. They're simply not lowering the clubhead while it's still behind them.
Instead they raise the clubhead and then can't get it back down to the ball without forcing it.
Feel as though the club is level with the ground when it's about hip high and the shaft perpendicular to the target line with the clubhead behind you and the handle in front. Continue to lower the clubhead down as you turn through the ball.
This is an extremely exaggerated motion but it's what it'll feel like.
Although, you'll feel like you're not going to get the clubhead on the ball, it will and it'll happen so fast you can't control it, which is exactly what we want.
After a few swings you'll begin to feel the torque in your right forearm and how that torque is being released level or even upward after impact.
That torque is the feeling you feel when you hit that amazingly great shot when you weren't even thinking about "making a golf swing." It's hard to describe this motion but it's what baseball players do.
They take the weight of the bat that's very high above their hands and as they turn their body that weight moves out and down so that the tip of the bat is below their right elbow, twisting the forearm backward in the opposite direction their going to release toward.
It's like winding up a rubber band so that it snaps back the way you want it to. Strangely though, this happens on the way down toward the ball. It can only happen through rotational forces.
Just as you can't make your arm contort anywhere near how it does when you're throwing a ball full speed.
f you swing the club in a circle over your head like a rope, with the right hand only, you'll notice the right forearm rotates in the same direction as the shaft, then reaches it's limit and flips over.
When it flips over is what we call the release. We do this naturally when swinging a baseball bat. This backward rotation of the forearm builds torque and keeps the clubhead moving smoothly on plane, in the proper direction.
Most people prevent this rotation because it feels like the club would be moving the wrong way.
Preventing this rotation is what causes "over the top," when you rotate the right forearm counterclockwise, which feels like it would make the clubhead move toward the ball, it does, but since you're body is turned away although the clubhead is moving toward the ball, the shaft is rotating in the opposite direction it needs to be moving when it strikes the ball.
This is because we need to strike the ball with the club at a large angle to the right forearm, like a bat, not like turning a screwdriver, (which is how many bad players think of holding the club.)
Picture the right forearm as the hub or axle of a propeller, it would have to rotate in the same direction as the propeller but since our arm can only rotate so far it has to flip over when it reaches it's rotational limit and then rotate in the other direction.
It's very hard to describe but we all do it easily and naturally when swinging a baseball bat or a rope over our head.
An easier example: Picture the club attached to a hub, you're going to turn that hub to hit the ball with your right arm. Which direction do you turn the hub? Clockwise or counterclockwise?
If your ball goes left way too often chances are you're standing up too soon. As you can see from these still of DJ in what I call "position A," his shoulders are nearly vertical and his hands are moving left of the target with the clubface pointing upward and left of the target.
This is how DJ has a strong grip and doesn't hook the ball.
Notice how his neck is parallel with the ground. He's not looking down onto the ball from a vertical position, he's looking level at the ball from a level position - as if the ball were eye-height if here were standing vertically.
To achieve this position, swing a club and look upside down, behind you off the left side of your body. Not that you really need to do this, but doing this will show you what it feels like to truly turn through the shot properly.
When you're looking downward at a ball below your head with a vertical or close to vertical neck, it completely impedes your ability to turn. Your head is never going to follow the body - it's always the head that leads and the body follows
The animation isn't perfect but hopefully you get the picture. Imagine the left side of your body is or is attached to a flexible rubber torsion bar.
By imagining the center of rotation is the left side of the body the entire golf swing changes and becomes very powerful and easy. When we think spine centered rotation, we have to think of things rotating different directions and we don't do that well.
Think of the shoulders being attached at the left shoulder to this imaginary tension bar so that it only rotates in one direction - like a pinball flipper or the way we swing a baseball bat.
At the maximum of the backswing, the tension bar is bent and twisted storing kinetic energy. The torsion bar will be strongest nearest the ground therefore as you allow it to unwind it'll pull the left hip first and then the shoulders.
A simple change in perception can change everything.
Ok, are you ready for this? Let's get super simple. Throw your left hand (overhand) with your right arm. Imagine your left hand is a baseball and you're throwing that baseball with your right arm toward the target.
You'll do this overhand so it'll feel like your right hand it above your right shoulder. Yeah, above! It won't be above the right shoulder in relation to the ground but it will in relation to the shoulder plane.
When you throw a baseball your right forearm is not parallel to your spine angle it's open and angled outward. When you bend forward properly toward the ball this will be a perfect strike pose.
Hold the club with your left hand,, throw your left hand with your right arm and forget all about the club. The club should whip through the hitting zone with effortless speed.
I think this is what Jim Furyk is doing with his 2 finger overlap grip. Furyk's 2 finger overlap may enable you to get the feeling of throwing the left hand with the right arm.
We all know how to throw a ball and we do it without thinking. What happens is we're using the forearm as a cantilever to whip the hand around. When you swing this way you're just thinking throw the left hand, not swing the club
When you swing down at the ball that forces your shoulders up and your hips forward toward the ball. Basically, if you swing down you have to stand up as you do it.
When you throw the club overhanded, over your right shoulder, you have to bend and tilt and twist as you strike the ball.
Watch Fred Couples Swing below as well
I always wondered what made Fred's swing look so cool. It's that he's swinging or throwing the club overhand. His hands stay high, he flies the elbow like a real throwing motion. When you think of the swing as overhand it changes everything.
If your ball goes left way too often chances are you're standing up too soon. As you can see from these still of DJ in what I call "position A," his shoulders are nearly vertical and his hands are moving left of the target with the clubface pointing upward and left of the target. This is how DJ has a strong grip and doesn't hook the ball.
Notice how his neck is parallel with the ground. He's not looking down onto the ball from a vertical position, he's looking level at the ball from a level position – as if the ball were eye-height if here were standing vertically.
To achieve this position, swing a club and look upside down, behind you off the left side of your body. Not that you really need to do this, but doing this will show you what it feels like to truly turn through the shot properly. When you're looking downward at a ball below your head with a vertical or close to vertical neck, it completely impedes your ability to turn. Your head is never going to follow the body – it's always the head that leads and the body follows.