How to Shallow the Shaft

For most golfers this is a biggie! If they can manage to get the shaft to shallow or flatten in the early stages of the downswing their chances of drawing the ball, along with a consistently crisp strike are greatly improved.

There are a few key factors to implement that will firm up your ability to shallow the shaft in transition. Watch...

My three important keys are:

  1. A flat lead wrist at the top of the backswing. If you can shoot in the 60's this is not imperative, but it will make the job of flattening the lead wrist in transition and the downswing that much easier.
  2. Get the shaft either straight or laid-off at the top of the backswing. Where you point the handle ultimately determines where the shaft is angled and it's much easier to manage it this way.
  3. Allow the hands to travel out or in front of you slightly as you start down. Be careful you don't over do this, but there are few things worse than getting the hands tucked in behind you in the downswing.
Woods, Trevino, Pettersson and Snead

Woods, Trevino, Pettersson and Snead

In the above image Tiger displays a flat left wrist and a slightly laid-off shaft, Trevino has shallowed the shaft and has a flat lead wrist, Carl Pettersson really gets his hands to travel out at the start of the downswing and Snead follows suit. All positive swing elements to emulate.

I would recommend you start your quest to improve this important swing factor in front of a mirror. Get a feel for each of the three keys by watching them and "seeing" what they need to feel like and then you'll be free to head out to the practice ground.

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The Weight Shift

The photo of Sam Snead above perfectly illustrates where the weight should be positioned at these three key points in the golf swing:

  • Just prior to the top of the backswing the weight is almost always in the vicinity of 80/20 favoring the back side.
  • At the half way down point top players always seem to position their weight equally here (50/50).
  • At impact the weight is always in the vicinity of 20/80 favoring the front side.

The amazing technology from Swing Catalyst has been instrumental in educating me further on this important information. If you'd like to learn more about your weight shift please give me a call to book your session at some point within the next two weeks.

I will be posting at great detail on this topic later in the week so stand by. The evidence is clear!

Shaft Angle at Impact

All I can say after doing the research for this post is WOW! This is something that is really interesting and I've never really delved into it before. In looking at the illustrations above and the photos below you will see what I am referring to - it is very rare for any golfer to return the shaft/club at impact to the same position it occupied at address (when viewed from down the line).
In fact so rare, that I have only found four golfers who do it more often than not. The amazing thing is that this group of golfers is a collection of some of the finest ball strikers that ever played the game. They are Lee Trevino, who Jack Nicklaus claims is the best hitter he ever saw, Ben Hogan, Nick Price and Sergio Garcia.

I have included the picture of Tiger Woods from 2000 below to illustrate where most PGA Tour caliber players return the shaft to at impact. Notice how his handle is above where it started (on the red line) at address.

Out of the four golfers I have found to get the shaft completely back to the line it appears that Sergio might be the least consistent at always returning the shaft back to the line, but as noted above, he does so more often than not.

Another interesting point to note is the golfers who are very close to returning the club to the line: Vijay Singh and Joe Durant (who has led the Tour in GIR stats 4 times and finished in the top 12 for the last dozen years!). In fact looking at the stats Joe Durant is a much better hitter than Tiger Woods - and consistently so!

Two additional golfers who may get the club onto the line but I was not able to find enough quality footage on were Sam Snead and Moe Norman (I found these images on Moe HERE and it looks pretty close). Certainly no slouches in the ball striking department either!

So, the next time you are reviewing your swing, pay particular attention to your impact position, but more specifically where your shaft is at impact relative to where you had it at address. There's a good chance you'll be above the line (and zero chance you'll be below it!) but do what you can to lower the shaft angle at impact in order to dramatically improve your ball striking and accuracy. Plase check back soon as I will be filming a few drills soon to help you get closer to a truly great impact.

Read Part II of this article HERE

Any thoughts? Any other golfers who you think might get the club to the line? Evidence? Please chime in.

To learn more about better ball striking check out THIS

The Golf Swing

As a golf community we get so caught up in the "correct way" to swing that we lose sight of what is the correct way to hit. All that seems to matter to us is the look of the swing and golf's greatest champions are proof that looks have nothing to do with results. (Just like in life actually!) Function will always trump form and substance always wins out over style! Let's start to focus on what makes the golf ball go and get to work on that. There are many elements in the golf swing that are negotiable, like straightening the back leg, or lifting the left heel - just look at Sam Snead above. The key is being able to know which elements are non-negotiable, which are the key parts to the swing where the laws of physics must be obeyed. They all happen to occur in and around impact. Here are the most important ones: Get the weight onto the front foot (80+%) at impact. Keep the head over or just behind the ball at impact. This means that the weight shift onto the front foot must occur by driving/shifting the hips and mid-section towards the target. This move leads to what I call body curve. If the body is positioned correctly,

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