Get 20 Yards 2: Rotate To The Target

Get 20 Yards 2: Rotate To The Target

Let’s get back to work on getting you 20 more yards.

I hope you had a chance to try the Whoosh drill from Video 1, and have started to experiment with the idea of using your core rotation to carry lag through the impact zone rather than trying to Hold lag. That’s how you get effortless distance.  Keep trying to move your whoosh forward and teach yourself how to orient to the target rather than to the ball to generate more club head speed through the impact zone.

Because as I mentioned, as soon as your rotation stops, your hands release. Which brings me to the second myth I’d like to dispel –  the idea of having your body and your shoulders square to the ball at impact.

I’m sure you’ve seen pictures from down the line of various players at impact. From behind it certainly looks like the shoulders are square to the ball when I’m at impact – like this.

But that’s really only because their left arm is pulled around in front of the body. The truth is if I let go of the club and bring my left arm to my side, you see that my true orientation – my core position and chest alignment – is more in line with my hips, turned toward the target.

If you’ve been thinking that your hips and shoulders should be square to the ball at impact, you’ve literally been forcing yourself to release your lag too early. At impact your hips should be turned to the target … oh, about 30 degrees or so … depending on your body type and flexibility.

You need your hips turned out of the way so that your arms have the necessary clearance to stay on the swing path toward the target. If your hips stop when they get square to the ball, your poor right elbow only has a couple of choices when it gets to the impact zone:

  • Block: It can change course and move out and to the right. That’s called a “Block” because your hip is blocking your elbow and it causes you to hit to the right, or push the ball
  • Flip: Or your elbow hits your hip and stops. When that happens you’ve still got all this momentum in your club head, so something’s got to give. Usually it’s your left wrist, which will flip, or your left elbow, which does the dreaded chicken wing, or, in the worst case, both. Your ball can go left or right. But in either case it’s not going to go very far, because all the momentum you’ve been trying to generate with your club head gets transferred and absorbed by your wrist or elbow.

So you want to get your hips turned toward the target at impact – at least enough to allow your arms to continue on the path to the target. If your hips are turned toward the target at impact, they’re going to carry your core – your chest – with them.

OK. Let me stop here for a moment because I’m getting a bit technical. I know some of you have seen down-the-line pictures, you’ve seen yourself on video, you know what I’m referring to, and you’ll find this helpful. But I also know a lot of you haven’t, and have never even thought about what your hips and shoulders are doing at impact.

Let’s just keep the main point in mind: We’re trying to generate as much club head speed as possible through the impact zone. And we’re trying to increase Your club head speed by at least 8 miles per hour.

We know that releasing lag Through impact will help us get more distance, and that releasing lag too early will cost us distance. The point I’m making with the technical discussion is that the issue isn’t trying to get more lag in your swing.

You already have a great lag position at the top of your swing.

You shouldn’t be thinking in terms of getting more lag. You should be thinking in terms of understanding what’s causing you to Lose your lag too early. And one of the key culprits is when you stop your rotation before impact. So all you need to know is that the better you can turn toward your target before your arms swing down, the easier it will be to carry lag through impact.

Now I’d like to do something a little more fun, and I’m going to need your help. You’re going to need to stand up, so put me on pause and give yourself a little room. Ready?

If you are standing comfortably I’d like you to pay attention to your gravity line. It may help to close your eyes, but I’d like you to feel how your center of mass, which is a couple inches above your belly button and a couple inches in from your spine, is centered over the middle of your feet, and how gravity flows straight down your body line, through your center of mass and out your feet. This is our most stable, balanced position. From this position it should be easy to make a 90 degree turn toward where our target would be, and you can do it without wobbling or falling. Give it a try.

Ok. Back to standing comfortably. Now I’m going to ask you to pay attention to your toes. We’re going to lean forward, and I want you to notice how far you have to lean before your toes engage and start gripping or pushing you back. Make sure you stay straight when you lean and don’t bend. Ready?

Start to lean forward.

How far did you move before your toes engaged?

Just an inch or two.

Now let’s try it one more time, and this time we’ll put our hands out front like we are gripping a club, and we’ll lean a bit farther until our toes are actively engaged.

Once you are there and your toes are really gripping or pushing back to keep you upright, try turning like we did earlier toward the target. How far did you get?

You can’t turn very far, and if you do try to keep turning you’ll feel like you are going to fall.

So what’s my point?

If your center of mass is out over your toes and your axis of rotation is at an angle, your toes and legs will actively work to stop your rotation just as you get to the impact zone. They have to to keep you from falling over. And how far did you have to lean before your toes engaged?

Not much.

This isn’t a swing issue as much as it’s just physiology. But it is an issue that affects 90% of the students when they first see me, and it causes them to release too early because their body won’t let them rotate to the target. And that costs them distance.

The good news, though, is that there’s a very simple way to address this balance issue, and I’m going to show you how to do it in the next video. So stay tuned, and keep working on your whoosh drill. I’ll see you in the next video!