Left Shoulder Down
LEFT SHOULDER DOWN & SPINE EXTENDING
The master move in the golf swing is the side bending of the left shoulder and left hip creating hip slant at the start of the backswing, these moves can be seen from the simplest chip to the longest Drive.
The left shoulder going downward (side-bending left), as the left knee flexes forward and simultaneously the right hip and right shoulder stretches & moves back and up as the player straightens his rear leg. This can be seen throughout the history of the game in its greatest players. This allows the head to stay stable and the path of the hands to orbit the body in a circle (see hands-in), helping the golfer to hit the ball first.
The backswing is really a pivot vs. just a turn. This pivoting action incorporates 3 elements:left shoulder down, extending the pelvis and thorax and turning in a circle.
A golfer swings his hands inward in the backswing as opposed to straight back to 1) create power, similar to a field goal kicker moving his leg in an arc and 2) to promote a swing that is in-to-out, which produces a draw (and eliminates a slice).
Unfortunately, Golf has been taught by stressing only one element, turning. It is not a turn it is a pivot, which is comprised of the 3 moves mentioned above. Only by pivoting in this fashion can the stable axis be maintained. Look at the top players below and notice the hip slant/shoulder down pieces, evident in every player. One more point, the extension pieces of the pelvis and thorax are the biggest contributors to power and the ability to hit the ball long enough (Fundamental #2).
Luke Donald and his instructor demonstrating left shoulder down as well as Andy Plummer & Mike Bennett.
PGA Tour Player Grant Waite Demonstrating Shoulder Down (on backswing side bending to the left)
MIKE BENNETT AND ANDY PLUMMER DEMONSTRATING THE LEFT TILT, WHICH OCCURS IN EVERY TOUR PLAYER OR BETTER PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF GOLF
These pictures demonstrate the side bending (left tilt or lateral flexion)
EXTENDING THE SPINE & TURNING IN A CIRCLE
There is another aspect of the spine action that must happen on the backswing: The spine must rise-up out of its address forward tilt towards the ball. To understand this, look at it this way: If you only tilted to the left and turned your shoulders, your head would move down, changing your distance from the ball. So, as you tilt to the left, you must also fully stretch your spine, from tilted forward to vertical. Again. this might look from the face-on view like you are simply staying in your address posture, but you are straightening your spine to counteract the left tilt. This is what allows you to maintain your relationship to the ball. Yes, this sounds complicated, but I see amateurs incorporating these spine actions very quickly. Why are they necessary? They constitute the only way you can turn back while keeping your shoulder center in place, which is the number-one key to making solid contact with the ball. Once the shoulder center moves, contact becomes unpredictable.
These pictures demonstrate a very common fault with most golfers, turning and staying in flexion. This creates the biggest problem with an inability to control the low-point (fats & thins), loss of distance, and inability to control the curve.
Picture #1 shows the player in forward flexion, Picture #2 shows the correct top of the backswing position., and Picture #3 shows the drill to feel the correct top of the backswing position.
THIS OVERLAY SHOWS SERGIO GARCIA (YELLOW), SIDE BENDING AND EXTENDING THE OTHER PLAYER SHOWN, DEMONSTRATING STAYING IN FORWARD FLEXION.
This pictures demonstrate the side bending (left tilt) and extension on the backswing.
HOGAN, NICKLAUS, MCILROY, SNEAD, LYDIA KO & JASON DAY EXTENDING
FAULT (L) – FIX (R) GREAT EXAMPLE OF A STUDENT OF MINE – GAINED 40 YARDS
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