Posts Tagged ‘84 degree secret’
In studying greatest golfers in the game, it became quite clear that there are many different ways to position the arms and club face throughout the swing, but almost every great player pivots the body to the top in a similar fashion. The great news is: the better the body position, the better the arms and club face position. I have often seen a frustrated student, striving for the perfect plane or look to their swing, suddenly have tremendous success simply by improving their body motion.
Here are examples of the two most common errors in pivoting the body and interestingly, both mistakes involve lateral movement:
- In this example, the golfer sways the hips away from the target in the backswing. In order to deliver the club to the ball correctly, there should be very little to no lateral motion in the backswing. In this case, the hips are going to need to drive very aggressively in the downswing, which most often leads to the upper body dropping back too far through the strike.
- In this example, the golfer moves the upper body laterally off the ball in an attempt to turn the shoulders or get behind the ball. The shoulders pivot on a flat plane, the arms lift in getting to the top, and as a result, there is very little chance this golfer will get back over the ball by the time impact occurs.
These two mistakes can be fairly easily eliminated by a: practicing the drills described below, and b: employing a good dose of patience and self-determination during the process.
It truly is amazing how, when the body works correctly, the arms and the club are given openings or slots to fall into. It’s even more amazing how, most often, those are the correct slots to deliver the club onto the back of the ball.
- For this drill you will need a basketball/soccer ball. Assume your address position by placing the side of your back foot against a wall. Fold your arms across your chest, and position the ball between your head and the wall. Pivot your shoulders and hips, without losing the ball, paying attention to the feel you have at the top of the “backswing.” Hold for five seconds to assimilate this feel, and repeat. This drill will clearly provide you with the sense of a stationary upper body as you pivot into the backswing.
- A complementary drill to the basketball/soccer ball version: Place a shaft in the ground outside your back foot and run it up the outside of your leg at approximately 84 degrees. Be sure to hit shots off a low tee in order to maintain a consistent ball position so that you will not need to move the shaft after each shot. This drill will assist in reducing a lower body or hip sway.
Thanks for reading and I hope these ideas help you and your game!
The most interesting discovery I made when studying the top golfers of all-time for Its All About Impact was the 84 degree secret. It is uncanny how different all their swings are yet the vast majority of them find a way to obey this important element in the swing.
Please keep in mind that the 84 degree line is only important as it pertains to impact. It serves to position the weight correctly throughout the swing so that the body can easily glide into the proper impact position.
As you view the picture above picture a line running up this golfers right side (left as you view it). The line forms an 84 degree angle off of vertical (90 degrees). The line should run up the outside of the right leg, cut through a portion of the shoulder and just barely graze the side of the head. When studying swings I started to use this line to isolate body movement and quickly found it to be a good guide for the address position and as a player approached the top of the backswing.
At address the head should not break the line. I noticed with golfers who had too much tilt at address this was quite prevalent and they all had a difficult time assuming the proper impact position once they had started poorly. Notice the picture below.
Another common fault was breaking the 84 degree line in the backswing with too much lateral motion. This fault very often originates with too much tilt at address. Try to feel centered over the ball throughout the backswing. Keep in mind that this can be done while still maintaining a sense of loading into the back side or leg. Notice the picture below….
I have found that an excellent drill that conveys the appropriate feel is the ball drill pictured below. Position your back foot up against a wall and place a basketball or soccerball between your head and the wall. Crossing your arms across your chest, pivot into your back side feeling the wind and torque in your core muscles. Hold the position at the top to absorb the sense or feel you have. This is what the body should feel like when it is correctly positioned to compress the ball at impact!
We have all heard the sound of a properly struck golf shot: the ball squeezing off the face and fizzing toward the target with the divot flying and the ball penetrating the air with a seemingly single-minded purpose. This is the sound of compression! This is golf acoustics at it’s finest.
The compression of a golf ball only comes from a well executed, subtle, downward blow on the golf ball. A strike where the face is square and the path is straight. The easiest way to achieve compression is by getting into a great impact position. Here is how:
- Set up with the stance width fairly narrow and the lead eye over the ball. The ball position should favor a little more back than forward.
- Remain fairly centered over the ball in the back swing. Obey the 84 degree secret!
- Drive the weight (hips and thighs) onto the front foot without getting the head forward of where it started. This is what I refer to as body curve!
- Trap the ball by leading with the handle into the hit. The hands must beat the club head to impact. With the weight comfortably favoring the front foot this creates the descending strike on the ball which in turn leads to compression!
Notice the uncanny similarity between Vijay and Tom in the illustrations. While they have each already impacted the ball it does appear that the handle of the club got beyond the ball prior to impact as they both achieve the appropriate amount of body curve.
A recipe for compression!
A great strike on the ball is a necessity when you play a course like the players will face in the 2009 U.S Open at Bethpage Black. The long and punishing test is designed to expose any ball striking flaws that may exist.
Here are a few U.S.Open notes:
Newsday.com has some great up-to-the-minute news and photos – Long Island style!
What does Hank Haney do while watching Tiger hit every single shot of the last two weeks? I think he was in every picture I saw of Tiger.
I find it interesting that there have already been four withdrawals. If my game or body was not in top shape I think I’d stay home too!
I predict a winning score of -5 and I predict someone in a red shirt will win!