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Friday, November 22, 2013

Getting Your Spine Tilt at Impact Correct

I found this video by Brian Manzella over at the GOLF Magazine site and was absolutely fascinated by the concept it teaches. (Manzella is one of their Top100 teachers.) Here, take a look at it and then I'll discuss it. (And if the video didn't embed properly, just click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph. That will take you to the original video at

One of my pet peeves on this blog and in my books is the way weekend golfers tilt their spines away from the ball too much during their downswing. As a result, they tend to hit push-slices. Manzella talks about that, and then suggests the drill in this video to help prevent it.

The whole idea of using the position of your lead hand and lead knee to prevent this problem is a creative one. It forces you to push your lead hip back, away from the ball, as you make your downswing rather than sliding it toward the target and leaning away from the target. Instead, as your lead knee moves toward the target, you're forced to keep your head and shoulders more over the ball.

But it does more. If you keep your lead hand on or close to your lead knee, you won't stand up during your downswing. That means you keep your knee flex and therefore keep your distance from the ball more consistent throughout your swing. No more thin shots!

Try doing the drill a few times without hitting balls; you're just trying to get a feel for your body position as you near impact. Next, take your normal grip and make some easy practice swings while feeling you're swinging with the same posture. Finally, try to hit a few balls this way. Again, please start off swinging easy; you may have some balance problems at first if you've been standing up during your downswing.

This may feel really awkward at first, but it should help you learn to keep your spine angle more consistent throughout your swing... and that should translate into more solid shots.


  1. This is brilliant, Mike, and goes hand-in-hand with other "cures" for some of my woes, as at various times and invarious interations of my various "swings," HA, one of my best swing thoughts has been to hug the left side (left ankle, left hip, and left shoulder with left hand and left arm) at impact, and/or simply try to most of my "pivoting" on/from the left foot, and "Swing Left" and such.

    Two nights ago, I was pounding 9-irons. Last night, I was starting to get jammed again and feeling like I was "tilting" a lot (which is murder for me, as I've got the old fashioned getting too deep on the backswing problems). Today, hitting 9-irons at the park during lunch break, I centered/ANCHORED myself/focus/body LEFT straight over the ball at address and determined to make swings that would not push right hip toward target. And I had this concept in mind, also. I was pounding it again, HOORAY!

    LONG RANGE: (1)Weed out "tilting" moves, particularly with left and right hip; (2)Have upper torso PULL AROUND and TOWARD LEFT on downswing.

    Super Long Range: Get entirely away from very old, deep down habit of moving left hip vigorously and laterally left on downswing such that the club drops inside too deep or I otherwise create reverse pivot and that horrific spine tilting that works fantastically one moment and disasterously a couple of swings later. It's part of the old "inside-out," get the bod, particularly hips and legs, powering the downswing. GREAT if one is hitting a million balls a day, between 18-38 years old, and not bothering the back with reverse C downswing. I can still swing that way and pound some shots, but most of the others are hit fat (or thin) and agonizingly bad, from that anciently ingrained swinging habit/style.

  2. Thanks, Steve... and good catch. I'm always amazed how few people think that "lateral left hip slide" thing through. Most of the swing books before Hogan don't teach it. Hogan added it because he was fighting a duck hook -- famously known as "the terror of the fieldmice" -- and he needed a move to help create a fade. When Martin Hall talked about Hogan on a recent School of Golf he said bluntly that "everything Hogan does is to prevent a hook."

    The lateral hip slide is a move popularized by Hogan to help create a fade. If you're already fighting a slice, you don't need it.