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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

That Nasty Forearm Rotation!

If you've been following Dexter's attempts to improve his golf swing over at his Golf Tips & Quips blog, you probably saw this post about his first attempt in some time to hit driver. It includes some old video footage of his swing before I started trying to help him as well as some new video taken just recently. If you haven't seen them, you're going to be surprised by how well he's swinging now!

But as you will see in his post, Dex still believes he's coming over the top. (As if I haven't mentioned this a hundred times, you can find the links to my "Dexter's Coming Over the Top" series here on the Some Useful Post Series page.) In my comments I tried to show him that he isn't coming OOT anymore, and tried to explain exactly what he is seeing and how to deal with it. I suspect many of you have a similar problem, so I thought I'd cover that info in a post here as well.

As I told Dex, an OTT move happens primarily at your right shoulder. (For you lefties, it's your left shoulder.) A look at Dex's video reveals that his shoulder is now staying level throughout the change of direction at the top of his backswing. He's really made a tremendous amount of progress in a short time!

The slight lift that Dexter thinks he sees -- and that he believes is an OTT move -- is actually where he's rolling his forearms during his backswing. It causes him to lay the club off a little at the top, so he has to twist his hands the other way when he starts his downswing to get the club back on line. He isn't rolling them nearly as much as he used to -- you can compare the two videos and see the difference very clearly -- but it's still enough to cause a problem.

I've made a big deal in many of my posts about forearm rotation. I believe it's the one fault that causes the most problems among golfers... and that includes pros as much as amateurs. If you eliminate it, you tend to gain both accuracy and power simply because you hit the ball more solidly.

Since I had the exact same problem years ago and my teacher Carl gave me a drill that fixed the problem, I passed it on to Dex and now I'm going to do the same for the rest of you. I know for a fact that it works, and you can use it indoors if necessary because you don't always have to make a full swing. In addition, it's easy to incorporate it into the drill I gave you for learning the one-piece takeaway... which, as it happens, also helped Dexter to minimize his wrist-twisting!

I've just copied the following from my comment on Dexter's post. I think it's pretty clear.
Often what we "feel" we're doing isn't what we're actually doing. That's why you hear teachers like Hank Haney or Michael Breed tell their students to exaggerate their movements. In your case, you feel like your wrists and the club shaft are on line when they're actually turned too much. Therefore, we're going to exaggerate so much in the other direction that you feel like you're out of position.

Take a wedge. When you reach waist-high on your backswing -- and you don't have to swing back down, just swing your one-piece takeaway to waist-high THEN STOP -- I want the club shaft to point straight up in the air. When you reach that point, take a good look at it, then set up again and repeat as many times as desired. And then use this as part of your pre-swing routine before you hit shots... at least for a while.

Now pay attention, because this is very important: Don't look at the shaft when you actually make shots! Look at the ball like normal, make your normal one-piece takeaway and swing to the top, but try to feel as if the shaft points straight up at waist-high. Yes, this is an early cock instead of the later cock you're using now, but this change is a necessary evil. In time, you'll be able to make this move with a late cock if you want to. Right now, we're far more concerned with correcting your wrist over-rotation.

I can hear your thoughts now -- "But that's going to make me too steep! I'll start going over the top again!"

No you won't. When you make your regular shot, the momentum of the club head and shaft will force your swing to travel on plane... which means your wrists will be on plane as well. But you'll stop the extra turning your wrists make, which is why you're laying the club off now!

Try this for a while, then tape your swing again. I bet you'll see the change clearly then... but I'm betting you'll see some improved consistency in your shots even sooner.
That's an understandable explanation, isn't it? Although you'll have to practice a little to ingrain this move, it's amazing how quickly it "takes" as part of your swing. You should start seeing more accurate shots -- and probably a little extra length -- before long.

And I don't think Dex will mind if I include this video of his improved swing...

I bet a lot of you wish your swing looked that good!


  1. DANG Dex ! Looking good ! (and not just the shorts...or pseudo-plus4's) All that work is really paying off.

  2. Thanks Court. I have been working hard. Still have a ways to go but the mechanics of the swing is starting to make more sense now.

    BTW. If it were socially acceptable, I would walk around in knickers and cardigan sweaters everyday:-)

  3. LOL - I'm sure that's a tempting idea...but trust me...friends are good things to have.