|A reverse pivot occurs when the head and upper body tilt toward the target in the backswing, and your weight shifts to the left side (front foot) rather than the right (back foot). This is the exact opposite of what should happen during the correct golf swing. A reverse pivot action positions the bottom of the swing arc too far behind the golf ball. This causes you to either hit the ground behind the ball or hit the top half of the ball as the club makes its way upward on the forward swing arc. If the upper body is forward of the ball at impact, the club will return on a very steep angle of approach. A golfer will hit a majority of his shots to the right especially with the longer irons and woods.|
|This problem becomes more pronounced when a golfer moves his weight to the back foot during the forward swing. This creates an outside-to-in swing path that results in a bad slice. It is almost impossible to square the clubface when you are falling away from the target.
In golf, there seems to be a misconception that there is a single axis, the spine or the head, around which the swing evolves. By trying keep your head down and remain centered, you are prone to the reverse pivot, where you allow too much weight to remain on the left side during the backswing. In truth, there are two fixed points that behave as axes during the swing. On the backswing, your right hip or leg is the axis. Your upper torso coils around your right hip.
Your leg doesn't change much from where it was at address. On the downswing, the left leg becomes the axis around which your body turns. Your upper body coils around your left hip through impact and into the follow-through.
The forward tilt of the spine and the degree that we bend forward from the hip joints will influence how much torso rotation we can promote in the backswing. As important as the forward tilt of the spine might be, a second spine tilt in which the upper body leans away from the target is equally important, though not often discussed. You will see this side tilt throughout any professional swing, but it is generally missing from the swings of most amateur golfers.
This second tilt is both a function of your grip and ball position. Because the right hand is lower on the club than the left, the right shoulder drops slightly below the left. This sets the lower spine closer to the target than the upper spine.
|The proper side tilt also helps you to turn behind the ball, which allows you to load up the weight your right leg in the backswing and the left leg in the forward swing. If your head is centered and your posture is poor, you are more likely to rotate around only your front axis point or front hip, which makes it nearly impossible to deliver the club from behind the ball.|
|As mentioned earlier, all good players have a side tilt (spine angle tilt), and this is between five and ten degrees to the right of the target. (above, left) They setup with their head behind the ball and keep it behind the ball through impact. For the proper side tilt, nudge your left hip forward toward the target so that your left hip pocket is slightly higher than the right and directly below your left shoulder. From here, it will be easier for you to coil your upper torso over your right hip and load up your weight on your right side as you complete the backswing. (above right)
The correct grip sets your body behind the ball at address with the proper amount of side tilt. The degree to which the spine is angled away from the target will vary with from club to club. The tilt will be greater with a driver, but as the clubs get shorter, the angle will get progressively straighter. For approach shots when pitching and chipping, you will want your spine to tilt the other way with more weight favoring your left side. The tip of the spine will be closer to the target than the base for a steeper angle of approach.
|SUMMARY OF THE REVERSE PIVOT
A common swing flaw among most golfers is to start with their head, hands and club centered with the ball. Instead of allowing the head to float, most golfers try to keep their head still in the takeaway. As a result, golfers lean their upper spine toward the target as they make their backswing. This causes the clubhead to move outside the target line during the backswing and results in a severe reverse weight shift in which the upper body is tilted toward the target at the top of the swing and the majority of the weight is on the left side.
Using our swing computers, we are able to reference a golfers weight distribution at address, at the top of the swing and at impact. The majority of most players, about 80 percent, favor their left side at the top and during the swing. In essence, it appears as though they are coiling around their left hip and not their right. This combination robs them of power and influences a very steep outside-to-in swing path that results in a slice.
|PROPER ADDRESS & SIDE-TILT
Establishing the proper side-tilt at address and maintaining it during the swing will provide the following:
With the upper body leaning away from the target at address, the weight can transfer to your back foot as your upper body coils around your right hip in the backswing.
The proper side tilt will encourage the correct inside down-the-line path through impact. A word of caution: golfers trying to keep their heads down, as they have been told countless times, can only limit their weight shift. In the backswing, the head moves laterally as the upper body pivots. During the takeaway, the head must move laterally and rotate for the proper weight shift and pivot to occur. How much the head moves on the way back depends on its position at address.
The loading up on the right side influences maximum clubhead speed at impact.
If the upper body starts and stays behind the ball, a golfer will return the club on the same plane in the forward swing and influence a more optimal flight trajectory and shot-disbursement pattern.
The following drills can help to correct the reverse pivot.
Place a club on the ground inside your right heel so that it is perpendicular to your target line. With both hands hold another club across your chest with the grip handle to the left side.
Coil your upper torso over your right leg until you feel your weight shift to the right heel.
Make backswing turns until the club handle across your chest is perpendicular to or passes the club handle on the ground.
|In the golf swing, your head moves laterally with your shoulders as your weight is transferred to your right side. If this movement initially proves difficult, you may consider turning your right foot out, about a quarter of a turn, or bring your right foot back a couple of inches from the line. It could be that your right hip is making a lateral move to the right instead of turning.
I often stand behind my student and demonstrate how the hips swivel by pulling the right pocket rearward. When a lateral move is made off the ball, the right hip gets higher, the right knee generally straightens, the left shoulder dips, the right elbow wings out and the forward swing goes over the top.
I tell my students that straightening or locking the right knee in the backswing is like putting on your parking brake. This is similar to having no ability to initiate a swing forward because you are unable to push off your right instep.
The pivot drill is a good way to encourage your shoulder turn and make sure your upper torso is turning correctly. Practice making a pivot in which your shoulders turn perpendicular to the spine angle established at address.
|BELT LOOP HIP TURN
For your shoulders to coil 90 degrees, the hips must turn at least 45 degrees. You should have the feeling that your right hip turns rearward rather than sliding away from the target.
|Take an iron and loop the head through your belt so that it sits parallel to the target line, affixed to your waist.
Now hold the club and practice your backswing and try to get the feeling that the right hip turns behind you while the shaft pulls your left hip away from the target while your weight transfers to the inside of your right heel.
Again, I often stand behind the student and demonstrate how the hips swivel by pulling the right pocket rearward. This drill will give students a sense of the necessary motion. The student's belt buckle should turn nearly over the inside of his right knee. If he is fairly flexible, he may be able to make the turn with the left foot planted. If necessary, allow the left heel to come off the ground.
The key point to remember during the backswing is to allow the upper torso to coil over the right leg without allowing the weight to move to the outside.
|<< Week Five||Week Seven >>|