Why Some Golfers Have to Stand Up Before Impact

Wed, 06/13/2012

Early Release

It is not uncommon for club golfers to feel as if they are lifting up as they approach impact. Even with well meaning friends giving constant feedback, try as they might, staying down through impact remains a struggle and of course leads to constant topped shots and generally inconsistent striking. If this sounds familiar then don’t despair, there may be other factors that cause the ungainly lurch away form the ball. In the common scenario outlined below the raising up motion is a merely a symptom of another aspect of the swing.

 

In a previous post I highlighted the concept of the club arc pulling in towards in the downswing.

 

This is the what happens when a golfer tries to re-trace their back swing arc by throwing the club out from the top of the swing and unhinging the wrists too early. It’s a classic ‘hit from the top’ move. This is typically caused by a player being anxious to hit the ball and throwing their arms down before getting the legs to move sideways towards the target. The result is a shocking out-in swing path across the ball and a steeper approach into the ball.

 

Stand Up Quick!

The golfer has inadvertently increased their swing arc by unwinding the arms and wrists too early. As a result, they will hit the ground early unless avoiding action is taken by standing up away from the ball to make way for the increased arc. This leads to an impact position like the one pictured left and very inconsistent striking.

Effects on Strike Quality

Increased Arc

From this angle we can see that the premature straightening of the right arm and wrist has led to the club arc being increased and unless avoiding action is taken the club will slam into the ground about a 12’ behind the ball.

The unconscious mind is at work here leading to an impact position like the on above. Sensing that the club is coming in toward the ball too low, the body has to raise up to avoid a huge divot before the ball. Quite how much to raise is clearly a difficult thing to gauge hence the myriad of topped and fat shots resulting from this movement.

 

Unless the early release is addressed there will always be a need to raise up through impact. Trying to stay down in this instance will only result in a lot of ground contact before the ball.

 

 

Effects on Swing Path and Direction

Club thrown out in downswing p3

Halfway Down

The right arm and wrist have unwound too early causing the club to be approaching the ball steeply from the outside. Notice how the body hasn’t cleared at all. The result would be pulled shots and slices. With the driver I would expect to see a lot of skied shots as the club chops under the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Club thrown out in downswing

Prior to Impact

By now the right arm is fully unwound causing the club to chop down and across the ball. Ideally, the right arm would stay slightly bent until just after impact. Also note the high right shoulder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correct Protocol

Posture

Good posture at set up is always a prerequisite to stability during the swing. A clean tilt from the hips allows the spine to be angled forward but not to curve over. The goal is to maintain this angle and the knee flex until after impact.

Correct Downswing Dynamics

When the downswing starts in the correct sequence, the hips will slide to towards the target and the wrists will remain hinged with a feeling that the club arc is getting narrower. If we try to replicate the width of the upswing then this encourages the undesirable ‘casting’ effect.

Correct Transition

As the hips start the downswing we are still very much in the same posture angles that we created at set up.

The knees are flexed and there should be a slight ‘squatting down’ feeling. You can see that the wrists are still fully hinged and the club head is trailing well behind the hands.

 

 

 

 

 

Impact Alignment

At impact the weight is heavily favoring the lead leg but most notably the hands are still slightly ahead of the club head. This encourages a strike that is still on the downward part of the arc.