Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Thanks to everyone for the questions. We will see all of you next week. Jeff asks at 1:00: Is there
a difference between coil and pivot? Please explain what a proper pivot
is. Does a swing with an upright motion have a different pivot than a
flatter swing? Love the blog.
Very cool question Jeff. I will give you my definition of the two and see if that helps explain things. Coil is how your body "twists" against itself on the backswing. This is done differently by different players based upon flexibility, body type and most often pure preference. For example, Ricky Fowler uses his whole body to coil on the backswing, hips, knees, back and shoulders are all playing a very active role. In his case, he coils more against his feet than anything else. Camillo coils his upper body against his lower body. His hips turn very little going back making his back and shoulders do all the turning. Most older players, thicker players, and less flexible players use Fowler's style, many younger more flexible players use a form of Camillo's, but neither is more correct. Pivot on the other hand is the sequence of motion your body takes during the swing. It combines the "coil" or turn with the movement of weight across the feet from the very first movement of the swing until the follow through is complete. Pivot styles vary as well, with some players moving more laterally and some sequencing at different times but all can be effective. Think of the difference in sequence between a slow, smooth swinger like Couples vs a very fast one like Tommy Armour III. To answer your last question No, the pivot of a more upright swing isn't necessarily different than that of a flatter one. Mike asks at 12:40: I've come
to realize that I hit the ground before the ball, sometimes as much as
a few inches behind the ball. Anything I can work on to fix this?
There can be any number of reasons for this issue Mike, but I will give you the most common fix. First, get the ball forward in your stance. Yes, I said forward. Most people that struggle with hitting the ground first have the ball too far back in the stance to begin with, making it impossible to move the body properly during the swing. The next thing to understand is that the bottom of your swing (where the club hits the ground) is under your left pec. To hit an iron properly the pec must be closer to the target at impact than it was at address and slightly in front of the ball. This requires the weight to be on top of the left foot at when you make contact. The shift of weight to the forward foot should be what triggers the downswing. This is the same action as throwing a ball or hitting a pitch and should feel like an athletic motion to you. A great practice drill is to take your normal address position and then move your body into its proper impact location while the club is still behind the ball. This will give you a feel and a visual of just how far forward you need to be at impact. Here is a picture with some lines on it showing you the ball position at address and the correct amount of movement needed during the swing.  Ames Jason Jeschke asks at 12:30: I am
playing to about an 8 handicap right now and striking my irons very
well...a problem i am having is with my driver. I have to line up the
ball on the driver towards the heel to avoid hitting it off the toe of
the club. I dont know why this is, do you have any suggestions...
This usually happens when the downswing is excessively steep. Think of it this way, impact is three dimensional. The club should be traveling forward, down, and also OUT when it strikes the ball. If you get too much of one early in the downswing you can't have it at impact. In the case of hitting the toe, the OUT has occurred in the beginning of the downswing leaving you with no OUT at impact. This keeps the club from working on the proper path as it approaches the ball and the club can't get to a position where you can strike the sweet spot. This is why the toe keeps being contacted regardless of where you start the club. I would rather you start the ball towards the toe with the driver and encourage the club to work away from you during impact, rather than starting towards the heel and having it work closer. Check out the previous two questions and answers as they both relate to getting the club on the proper path. John asks at 12:15: I've been
playing golf for ten years, 6 handicap with strong grip. I've always
have a steep angle with my irons n wedge and as a result the divot is
big. How do i make adjustments to shallow out the swing with irons.
Thanks for the question John. If you look at the answer I just gave to the previous question it applies perfectly to you. The combination of a proper turn and a good idea about how the club works into impact will shallow you out. You have a specific type of swing that I call a "shut face" holder. Shut face because the grip is strong and holding because you are so steep. Shallowing out your path will certainly fix the divot issue, but it could also lead to an excessive amount of hook. If that happens, the time to weaken the grip slightly has come. Brian asks at 11:42: Brady, Any tips for a 6'3" 170lb hitting a draw? I find it more difficult to
swing "around" my body vs my shorter pals who seem to do it more
Bob Tway had a great line about taller players and the challenge they face playing the game when he said you have more angles to maintain than shorter players. What he meant was that the forward lean at address and knee flex where more severe than that of a shorter player and thus more challenging to keep together. With that said I am not a big fan of excuses, especially since you aren't 6' 7". Hitting a draw is the same regardless of your height, it is all about the path the club takes on the downswing and the release of the clubhead through impact. The most common mistake when trying to hit the draw is taking the club back excessively inside thinking that will make the downswing easier. What this usually accomplishes is the opposite effect and the downswing becomes steep and over the top. Assuming your grip is solid and not too weak, I would have you focus on two things during the swing. First, your hips should turn sharply on the backswing with no slide away from the target. This will help the arms and upper body achieve a position at the top that is far enough behind you. Second, you need to understand and embrace the idea that the club doesn't attack the back of the ball, but the INSIDE back of the ball. This can be the revelation that takes you to the next level as a player. Check out the picture below to help you get the idea. Foxlove

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