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Friday, November 6, 2009

Doing the Bump

(PAY ATTENTION, RIGHTHANDERS! Normally I describe things as a righthander, and lefties have to transpose it. But Brian is a lefty and this is his project, so you righties will have to substitute “right” for “left” and vice versa. It will give you an appreciation for what lefties have to go through when they learn the game. But here’s a hint that will help: View any diagrams as if you were looking in a mirror.)

“The Bump” is a swing image often used to help players learn proper hip motion. It comes from the idea of bumping your hip against a wall, not from a dance move. I have eliminated arms and shoulders from the following diagram, as they merely cluttered it up. You can imagine where the arms should be.

Start and finish of the bump

Wow. Impressive, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good image to use… provided you perform the bump properly. As it is, most players don’t. Let me enlighten you about some finer points of the bump which are rarely emphasized.

First, I would prefer you to do the bump against a door jamb rather than a wall. Why? Because most walls have baseboards, which allow you an extra inch or so of movement. Many teachers talk about your hip sliding and bumping, but “bump” a jamb (again, not a dance move) and you’ll discover that there is no noticeable slide! From the top of your backswing, your hip will probably move less than six inches before bumping to an abrupt halt.

Try it on your own jamb. I bet you’ll be surprised how little side-to-side movement is really involved.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice something else about the bump. For all the talk about moving toward the target, you’ll notice that the bump actually requires a more rotary motion; you need to move your hip back and across the jamb to get to a good finish position. In his comment Brian made mention of “opening” the hip; this is the move to which he is referring.

There’s one last thing worth noting about the bump. You’ll hear many teachers say that the downswing is started by dropping the shoulder. (You may remember that I wrote a post several weeks ago disagreeing with a Golf Digest article about this.) A proper bump prevents this from happening, as it doesn’t allow for much side-to-side movement during the downswing. In order for you to purposely drop your shoulder, your hips would need to slide toward the target more than the bump allows. (Just to be clear, the shoulder does drop slightly when the downswing starts, but this is a side-effect of a proper downswing move, not the cause.)

The bump is one of those images that everybody has heard of, but most don’t really know what it teaches. It teaches neither a slide toward the target nor a shoulder drop, but it does teach a much less active lower body than is popular today. The hips turn, but they don’t spin. In fact, if you do the bump properly, your hips will turn about 45 degrees past their position at setup. When I do this move in jeans, the jamb contacts my hip about halfway between the outer seam and the zipper. (And for reference, your shoulders will be almost in their setup position, with one shoulder slightly lower than the other. Your lead shoulder will NOT touch the jamb.)

Your position once bumped

If you find the bump to be a useful image for you, by all means use it. Just make sure you do it right.

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