To manage the Technique/Skill Formation component of the ICE GOLF ACADEMY - FOUR FOUNDATIONS, follow the drills below to attack the body-swing connections.
These drills should be performed prior to a golf round.
The purpose of a warm-up is to get the body ready to perform for the day. No player should be working on their swing pre-round.
Early Extension is defined as any forward movement (thrust) of the lower body towards the golf ball during the downswing. This swing characteristic causes the arms and club to get stuck behind your body during the downswing, and forces your torso to raise up and elevate through the hitting zone. Early Extension usually causes two typical miss hits, the block to the right and a hook to the left. And as most competitive players know, having two misses, one to the right and one to the left, can be disastrous in tournament play. Players that have this fault will also complain of getting stuck or trapped, this is due to the fact that the lower body has moved closer to the golf ball on the downswing. As a result the body is in the way of the arms on the downswing and thus the term I feel stuck or trapped.
Flat Shoulder Plane
Flat shoulder plane describes the plane of the shoulders as the student turns to the top of their backswing. At address the spine is tilted due to the setup position. In the ideal world the shoulders should move perpendicular to the tilt of the spine on the backswing. A flat shoulder plane is when the shoulders turn on a more horizontal plane than the axis of the original spine angle.
A flat shoulder turn can cause the club to be out of position on the backswing and creates a shift in swing planes on the downswing which reduces the efficiency of the motion. As a result the player will usually have to make compensations on the downswing with the body or hands to square the clubface consistently. This can also cause a loss of power in the swing as well as inconsistent ball striking.
Reverse Spine Angle
A Reverse Spine Angle is defined as any excessive upper body backward bend (trunk leaning towards the target) or excessive left lateral upper body bend (for a right-handed player) during the backswing. This swing fault makes it very difficult to start the downswing in the proper sequence, due to the lower body being placed in a position that usually limits its ability to initiate the downswing. This swing characteristic is also one of the prime causes of lower back pain in golfers. When the lower body can't start the downswing or has a limited ability to initiate the movement, the upper body tends to dominate the swing which will eventually create path problems and limited power output. Reverse spine angle puts excessive tension on the lower back due to a forced inhibition of the abdominal musculature during the backswing, and excessive compressive loads placed on the right side of the spine at impact.
Hanging Back refers to a lack of weight shift towards the target on the downswing. Usually the player is still on their back foot at impact. In a normal weight shift, the player is about four inches closer to the target at impact compared to address. Many times the player will hit heavy divots that begin behind the ball or they may have compensated with a ball position that is too far back in their stance. Hanging Back is a major cause of loss of speed since weight shift is one of the most important skills to help produce club head speed.
Casting is one of the most common causes of loss of power and excessive spin on the golf ball. It is defined as an early release of the golf club during the downswing. This can result in a weak impact position with the left wrist being cupped at impact. It adds loft to the face of the club and as a result we see a loss of power and consistency. At impact we should see the shaft leaning slightly toward the target, this helps to deloft the club and creates a more powerful impact position.
Scooping (See Chicken Winging)
Scooping occurs on the downswing and is defined as a premature release of the wrist angles. This results in a weak impact position with the left wrist being cupped at impact. It adds loft to the face of the club and as a result we see a loss of power and consistency. It is usually combined with Casting or Early Release. It is termed Scooping when the club head passes the hands through impact and the student is trying to lift the ball into the air.
Chicken Winging (see scooping)
Chicken Winging is a term used to describe the appearance of the lead arm on players who bend their lead elbow and cup their lead wrist through impact. The lead arm resembles the wing of a chicken, hence the name. Normally, the lead arm is extended through impact to create as much width as possible. Width through impact is a key factor in generating club head speed. Chicken Winging can not only create a loss in power, but it tends to add loft to the club and excessive spin to the golf ball.
Forward Lunge refers to any excessive lateral move of the upper body towards the target during transition and the downswing. Normally, there is approximately a four inch lateral weight shift of the lower body towards the target in the downswing. The upper body tends to follow the lower body with about two to three inches of movement as well. In a forward lunge, there is an increased movement of the upper body towards the target, with the upper body having more movement than the lower body. This can create a very steep downward attack angle of the club and create very high shots with a lot of spin.
A Slide is defined as any excessive lower body lateral movement towards the target during your downswing. This swing fault makes it very difficult to stabilize your lower body during the downswing, which will eventually rob power and speed from the upper body through impact. Your upper body needs a stable lower body to accelerate around during the downswing. Once the lower body starts its forward shift into the downswing its job is to transfer energy to the upper body and stabilize the extreme rotary forces that are created in the upper body, arms, and club. If there is no stable platform to rotate around, players will lose power and try to develop speed in an inefficient sequence.
A Sway is defined as any excessive lower body lateral movement away from the target during your backswing that forces your weight to the outside of your trail side foot. This swing characteristic makes it very difficult to develop a proper weight shift during transition and the downswing. Imagine a baseball batter digging in at the plate with their back foot. This simple routine allows them to coil around their back leg and drive their weight from their back leg to their front leg in a very efficient manner. If there is no stable platform to drive your weight off of during transition, you will lose power and try to develop speed in an inefficient sequence.
Over the Top
Over the Top is perhaps the most common swing fault among high handicap golfers. It occurs due to an overuse of the upper body on the downswing. As a result the club will be thrown on the outside of the intended swing plane with the club head approaching the ball from outside to in. This creates a pull if the clubface is square or a slice if the club face is open.
Loss of Posture
Loss of Posture is defined as any significant alteration from your body’s original set up angles during your golf swing. This loss of posture can affect all aspects of the golf swing including timing, balance and rhythm. Losing your spine angle or altering your posture usually causes two typical miss hits, the block to the right and a hook to the left. And as most competitive players know, having two misses, one to the right and one to the left, can be disastrous in tournament play.
This is a term used to describe the trailing elbow leaving the trailing side on the backswing. It is not necessarily a fault and many great players play golf with this motion. It can however affect the efficiency of the golf swing as it can create some sequencing issues on the backswing and downswing. The trailing elbow will fly away from the trailing side as the club reaches the top of the backswing, with the elbow pointing well behind the student. On most golfers the elbow points to the ground at the top of the backswing which would put the arm in a position to support the club at the top of the swing. However many great players have a flying elbow and still manage to get the arm in the correct position on the downswing to provide stability and power to the club.
S-Posture, is a postural characteristic that can be caused by the player creating too much arch in their lower back by sticking their tail bone out to much in the setup position. This excessive curvature in the lower back or S-posture puts abnormally high stress on the muscles in the lower back and causes the abdominal muscles to relax. This deactivation of the core muscles can cause a loss of posture or reverse spine angle during the backswing. This in turn puts the lower body out of position on the downswing and will affect the sequence of motion in the golf swing.
C-Posture is used to describe a posture that occurs when your shoulders are slumped forward at address and you have a definitive roundedness to your thoracic spine.