Tiger's Bad Back and Slowed Clubhead Speed

Tiger Woods has gone through several swing changes in the recent years. In this video, i'll show you a critical change that could be contributing to his loss of clubhead speed as well as put him into a possible position of injury. I'll also show you an effective drill on how to use the shoulders in the downswing and put speed in the most important spot...impact.

  • You want the shoulders to rotate around the spine during the entire swing
  • Increasing the tilt in the shoulders after impact can put lots of compression on the lower spine
  • Keep the shoulders passive and allow the torso to pull the shoulders back to square at impact. 
  • Release the golf club and allow the club to pull you up into your finish position

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Daniel
I wanted to know if you can uses this drill with you irons? Thanks, Danny
February 29, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Daniel. This is geared towards maximizing speed with the driver, but certainly some of the same points relate to an iron swing as well.
February 29, 2016
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Robert
Awesome lesson. That is a great tip for when to release. After doing these drills, my release is perfect hitting the bag every time. The only problem now is at impact my right hand comes off the club, but that is a good thing at this point, because I know I am using my left side now. I'll keep working on leaving the right hand on. Thank you... Bob
January 18, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bob. The trail hand leaving the club is a good thing. Think about Barry Bonds. He let go of that trail hand often when bombing it 500 Feet.
January 18, 2016
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Loran
As a hip and shoulder spinner...I should focus on the elbows tucked and sliding through my chest, before opening my shoulders to the target? In other words, my body is still in position after impact?
June 19, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. Yes, you want the arms working in front of the chest before the shoulders spin open. Ideal impact will be shoulders square and hips 30-40 degrees open to the target line.
June 20, 2015
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charles
Hey Chris. I heard the brief disclaimer that this video is designed for "shoulder spinners." Does that mean that if a person is NOT a shoulder spinner, he/she should disregard this video entirely? More to the point, I've been trying very hard to follow all the instruction about the kinematic sequence which, combined with the RST essentials, gets the clubhead at the ball at the proper time and with maximum force. There is fine line here it seems between speeding up the clubhead by "whipping it" down at the ball, and still trying to incorporate all the other advice I've been studying on the site for over a year. If I take this advice it seems as though all the other information about building "lag" in the swing by "allowing" the clubhead to gather speed in the kinematic sequence would be at odds with this "early release" of the clubhead which could (it seems to me) only be achieved by actively throwing the clubhead at the ball, which we've been instructed NOT to do. So a little confused about who should watch and listen to this video. Just a suggestion, but it would have helped here if Chris had said "this video is STRICTLY for "should spinners" and NO ONE ELSE. Thanks and look forward to your help. C. Sharkey
December 8, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Charles -- The second part of this video with the drill was designed to help those players that have a problem with starting the downswing sequence with the top half of the body. That is a very common mistake that we see for students on the site. I wanted to make sure that students knew that if they were not starting the downswing with the upper half, to not work on this particular drill. We obviously have a lot of content on the site and as we add more, not all videos will be geared towards each and every person and the corrective process. Also, we have a lot of lag videos on the site at this point and students are really fixated on lag and how important it is to have in the golf swing. Yes, it is important as the release can be responsible for 2/3 of clubhead speed. However, lag is an area of the swing that can build itself into the move providing that the body movements are sound and the wrists remain supple along with proper downswing sequencing. I am sorry for any confusion here and I didn't want to shift people away from the entire video as I tried to put some really compelling information in the first half that all people could use as insight.
December 8, 2014
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Scott
I have a question about the drill in Part 2 of this vid. What is the purpose of progressively moving the position of the impact bag?
September 9, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Scott. A couple different reasons. One for auditory feedback that you are releasing the energy at the strike and not too late. Also, to exaggerate the principle of keeping the shoulders from not opening too much and releasing the club.
September 9, 2014
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Scott
I tried this drill today on the range and then took it to the course and hit the ball VERY badly. Almost every shot sliced and was just pushed right. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Any advice?
August 14, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Scott. Have you worked through the release videos yet? Knowing how to release properly is very important for this drill. More than likely you are steeping the shaft, leaving the face open, and not squaring the club.
August 14, 2014
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Wade
09:43 can you explain what you mean at this point?
August 10, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Wade. You don't want your shoulders open 90 degrees from the target right after the release. When the hands are roughly belt high.
August 10, 2014
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James
hey Chris can u may it clear about where u want the chest pointing on this video. Starts around 9.20 to 9.55 on the timer. It appears that u r speaking one thing but showing chest open is that what u want chest open?
August 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey James. At 9:20 he is saying you don't want your chest open more than that. 9:55 he is showing what more open than that would look like.
August 8, 2014
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Robert
At what point do the wrist begin to uncork? I have always had a problem with an early release. My interpretation from this video is once the weight shifts, the hips and shoulders begin turning and the release begins.
August 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Robert. The face will always be rotating. However, the drill in this video is designed for people that already know how to release the club properly. Typically, around the trail thigh area 3 feet from the ball is when the un-cocking of the release happens. Take a look at this video for more info: http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos-for-you/latest-videos?latest=111931
August 8, 2014
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Lonny
WHat do you out in the impact bag to keep it stable without making it to hard to move?
August 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Lonny. Will usually fill them with towels or old shirts. Give it some weight, but also softens the blow.
August 8, 2014
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nathan
Do you think tiger needed to change his swing from the 2007 one shown in the video? From an RST perspective, did he do anything majorly wrong in that swing? Cheers guys, love your work!
August 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Tiger didn't need to change his swing. He had only a few minor adjustments that would be necessary to get him in the fairway. Just sync up the arms and body a little better. Learn a little more about the kinetic sequence. He would've been rocking and rolling.
August 8, 2014
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matt
Chris, will this help with sequencing the downswing move and lag? I feel like I'm still not getting the proper downswing sequencing (7 iron carries 162, but I'm not seeing the kind of lag I see on the site and when I see slow motion of tour players)
August 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Matt. If you want to become a lag monster. Start working on the Downcock drill and Transition drill in the Advanced Downswing Section. Using both together will help increase the lag and get the arms more in sync with your turn.
August 8, 2014
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matt
Thanks Craig. I do both of those drills really well into an impact bag, but when I put the little white devil down, tension creeps in, and I try to "hit" at the ball. Any advice for how I can get away from this mentality? I'm a "hitter", and it's causing me to lose power. Thank you.
August 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Use the Wide Narrow Wide Video in the Advanced Intro Section. Practice the exaggerated moves with the shape of the swing. Start out slowly hitting short shots. Then build up. Also, the Re-Shaping Your Swing for Lag Video in the Introduction Section will help you focus on pace and taking the hit out. Letting the ball get in the way. It is hard to overcome. Trying to force the ball to do something versus allowing it to happen. Give up control to gain control.
August 8, 2014
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matt
subscribing
August 8, 2014
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arch
Congratulations on your ability to communicate the essentials of the golf swing. The technology that allows you to split the screen, stop action, etc. are great tools; however, the spoken word continues as the essential part of instruction and the only way to reveal the “secrets” of the golf swing which are not visible to the naked eye. Often, competent instructors use different terms to explain the same thing which creates confusion for many students. In your analysis of Tiger’s 2007 vs 2014 swing, you do a segment on “release”. The drills you propose suggest “timing” release with the transfer of weight to the lead foot. As demonstrated, the release at the impact bag occurs sooner when the bag is positioned at the rear foot vs. when the bag is moved forward of the lead foot. My concept of “release” is based on holding the club face square to the swing plane through impact then “releasing” the club face after striking the ball. The transfer of weight to the lead foot prior to impact is essential; however, it is related to the transition in the direction of the club head vs. “release” which is pronation of the wrists. Releasing after impact produces consistent ball striking and achieves maximum club head speed at impact. Release after impact decelerates club head momentum which promotes the balance and posture needed to finish the shot. Please comment.
August 8, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Arch -- This video was not really geared towards correction of the release. I wanted to state that at the beginning of part 2 of the video for good reason. I want the release to be fine tuned long before we work on the shoulders in the downswing. The release is much harder to learn for sure. The club face is always rotating through the hitting area. That is what it is designed to do. The toe of the club is traveling nearly 7mph faster than the center of the face at impact. If you are trying to hold off the release, then you are slowing the club face down and not getting max speed. We have a video that talks about d plane and axis spin that may help you further understand. Take a look at 5 minutes to a perfect release and then you will get a clear picture of how we are looking for the club to gain max speed on its own at the bottom of the arc.
August 8, 2014
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Erwin
As a lefty I'm very pleased to hear your trying to use words as *lead* hip and *trailing* shoulder. Left and right slip in less and less. Keep up the good work!
August 7, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Erwin. That is a recent topic we have discussed. Trying to use more user friendly terms for our guys on the other side of the ball.
August 7, 2014
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Alejandro
The soullders movement of Tiger ouldn't be the result of the "Stack and Tilt" swing that puts more weight on the front foot and forcing the left shouder to move up?
August 7, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Alejandro. It could be. Tiger does have the tendency to get that stack and tilt look.
August 7, 2014
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dan
im definitely a shoulder spinner. can i practice this drill with irons as well, and will this be what i should feel in all my full swings? im a little confused about releasing from this point also. are we talking about releasing with the right hand? in the 5 minutes to the perfect release video we are told to feel like the release happens by our left thigh. this is why im confused. should it be get to the left heel and through the ball? thanks for the help, and i hope i didnt confuse you with my question.
August 7, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Dan. Typically, shoulder spinners don't allow for the proper arm swing down. You want to shift the weight and feel as though the shoulders stay back as you allow the arms to swing and release. That is why Chris says don't do it without mastering the release. It will be more left side squaring up the face and firing of the right arm. Yes, you can do this with irons.
August 7, 2014
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don
GREAT VIDEO CHRIS HOW CAN I GET MY IPHONE VIDEO TO YOU ? HAVING BIG ISSUES WITH PULL HOOKING DIVES AND PULLING MY IRONS AND VIDEO SUGEESTIONS
August 7, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Don. Are you wondering about submitting your swing for review with an Iphone? Please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page and let Customer Service know. They can guide you if you are having difficulty.
August 7, 2014

There's a fact out there that says 80% of tour players will sustain an injury while playing golf that'll keep them out of golf for eight weeks or more, 80. I'm gonna be focusing in on Tiger Woods' golf swing from 2014 to 2007. I'm gonna show you some of the distinct differences, in part one, that could be attributing to some of his injuries. In part two, I'm gonna be showing you how to put speed back in the right area and keep the golf ball on the golf course. Let's go ahead and get started.

                Okay. So over the last several years, we've seen Tiger Woods' golf swing really change and evolve with different instructors that he's worked with. I wanna spend some time with you guys showing you the differences between 2007, where he was averaging 121 miles an hour, to where he's at at 2014, averaging 115 miles an hour, and also been a lot more susceptible to injuries. There is one very critical move that he's been working on now that could be the root of all the problems. I wanna go ahead and point that out and then in the second part of the video, I'm gonna show you guys a great drill that's gonna help you learn how to use your shoulders effectively in your downswing, and your downswing sequence, and get you to release the golf club at the proper time and that's at impact.

                Let's go ahead and get started. I'm gonna go ahead and get both players back down to the address position. You're gonna see here, the only difference at the address position is that now in 2014, he's got just a fraction more spine angle. You can see that he's tilted a little bit more from the hips, where in 2007, he's just a fraction more vertical. All right, so there's not really a bunch of drastic changes about the way he rotates his body. He actually loads up and rotates really beautifully. He gets the club much longer and then the hands much higher in 2007. Where now, you can see here in 2014, the right elbow is much lower than the relationship to the chest and the club has traveled not nearly as far as it did in 2007. Now, this is not the main factor in the reason why he's losing speed because you can still have a low elevation point, much like a Jason Day, and still make a ton of club head speed.

                It's this next move that could be the real big issue that he's gonna be running into. Tiger has been always known for his ability to be able to squat and leverage the ground through the hitting area. As I start to work the hands back down into the hitting area, you're gonna see that he is still squatting down. What I want you to do is pay very close attention to this move right here. Watch the left shoulder. You can see how it works vertically. So see that left shoulder working vertically? Now he's got thrust coming from out of the ground, and now he's having to try to increase his spine angle. And then in turn, he's also increasing the tilt to his shoulder plane. The reason why he's doing this is because Tiger Woods has openly said over the last few years that he wants to eliminate the left side of the golf course.

                We're perfectly okay with that mentality. That's a great mentality, just to have a one-directional miss. However, we don't what to make a change in a golf swing that's gonna be possibly detrimental to the body. We wanna be able to protect and preserve. We wanna be able to move as efficiently as possible throughout the golf swing. That way, we can play golf for many years to come. There are great players right now, like Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, they're not making any sort of drastic move like this to have a one-directional miss. They both are actually swinging the golf club beautifully, effectively, and efficiently throughout the move, and really kinda putting themselves in position where they're gonna be around for a long period of time.

                Now, what I want you to notice here ... Okay. I'm gonna go ahead and show you real quickly again so you can see that, as he's steepening the shoulder plane here, he's gonna have to hang onto his release quite a bit in order to keep the golf ball on the golf course. Now, if he were to release the golf club with this particular move, he would probably lose the golf ball left of the world. All right? You can see, like I said, he's having to hang. He's steepening the shoulder plane, hangs onto the release, which, when you hang onto the release, you're actually slowing the club head down and it's designed to be rotating. When you slow the club head down, guess what? Your speed drops. Again, I'll show you again. Through the hitting area, that left shoulder works up. I'm gonna show you now, in 2007, as he gets down to the hitting area ... Now watch this left shoulder work more laterally and around the spine. He's not having to increase that overall amount of tilt. You can see there's not nearly as much side-bend as he has over here. Okay?

                When you start to put upward force, or, I'm sorry. You're trying to leverage the ground and you're putting all that thrust from the lower body, that upward thrust, and then you're having to kind of counteract that move with bending from the spine and then tilting your shoulders, you're gonna put a lot of compression on the lower part of the spine. In turn, because you're putting compression on the spine there and hanging onto the club head, you're slowing things down. This is probably the primary reason why Tiger has been more susceptible to injury at this point, especially in the back area, is because of the fact that he's got so much of that upward thrust and he's trying to counteract things by holding or increasing spine through the hitting area and then increasing the tilt to his shoulders and then, in turn, having to hang onto the club face to keep it on the golf course.

                All right. In part two of this video, I'm gonna show you a great drill for those of you guys that have always been known as shoulder spinners. I'm gonna show you a good drill to help you get speed in the correct spot, and that's at impact. Let's go ahead and take a look at video two.

                Okay, so now that we've dived into part one of this video, talking a little bit about the concerns with Tiger's new golf swing and his delayed release and his steepening of his shoulder plane, I wanna go ahead and give you guys a drill that's gonna help you understand what the shoulders are supposed to be doing and the hitting area in post-impact, so not only you can put speed in the right spot but you can also protect and preserve your body throughout the golf swing. That's really the name of the game at this point is making sure that, biomechanically, we move correctly throughout the entire move so you can play for a long time and you can also play as efficient as possible. Now, one thing I want you guys to understand about the shoulders is that the shoulders are really supposed to be rotating perpendicular to your axis.

                From an address position, if we were to just focus on rotating around the axis and not trying to do anything drastic but really protecting the critical parts of the lower back, we're not over-rotating the spine. We're just rotating the shoulders, the same kind of thing happens in the downward move. But one thing that is kind of often overlooked is that, what are the shoulders supposed to be doing? Well, the shoulders are really just reacting to the left side of the body, or your lead side of the body, the torso rotation that you're creating. From a down-the-line perspective, and I'll show you guys face-on here in a second, when I get seated to the left side and I'm starting to use my left obliques to pull that hip away from the target, you can notice that that's signaling, or that's creating some torso rotation, which is in turn, rotating my shoulders. I'm not having to spin the shoulders wide open. This is a great video for you shoulder spinners. I'm gonna show you a drill here in just a minute on what you can do to kind of slow things down in your downswing sequence and make sure you're releasing the club at the proper time.

                All right, so if you haven't really fine-tuned your release, this is one of those videos that you need to get out of right away. I want you to go work on your release before we start to work on this stuff. The idea is, is that we want the shoulders to stay very passive, very relaxed. I told you I'd show you from a face-on perspective, so when we get over to our trail side here and we shift left and I get into that left side, I feel my weight hit that left heel, I'm pulling that left oblique to move that hip away from the target. That's also creating torso rotation. As a chain reaction, now the shoulders have moved into that square position where we just go ahead and release the snot out of it and we're at max speed. That's what we want. We want max speed in the hitting area. We want it at impact. We don't want it out here, we don't want it up here. We want it at impact, all right?

                A good drill for you guys to try out around the house is put an impact bag but put it back in your stance. Put it more towards the trail foot here. What you're gonna do is you're gonna go ahead and load to the top. You're gonna shit left. As soon as you feel that weight hit the left heel, you can go ahead and release it. All right? I want you to think left heel, pull the left hip away, release. So left hip or lead hip, lead heel, pull that lead hip away, and release. Don't try to drag things through. What you're gonna be looking for as a checkpoint, is that your shoulders are gonna feel like they're a fraction closed. With that ball position a little bit further back, they're gonna be just a fraction closed at this point.

                Once you drill that enough and you start to get things a little bit slowed down with the shoulder line, then go ahead and move the position of the bag more towards the middle of the stance here. You're still doing the same thing. As soon as you shift to that lead side, then go ahead and release. All right? So now you're releasing at the proper time. You notice that the shoulder line is nice and square in the hitting area, which is absolutely pivotal. Next step would be to have the ball position in the normal. With the driver, we tend to have the ball position a little bit more forward. We have a little bit wider of a base, so I'm gonna have this bag a little bit more forward here. Same kind of thing. As soon as I feel that weight hit that left heel and I feel that left oblique starting to pull that hip away from the target, I'm releasing the golf club because that torso rotation's moving the hands and arms back out front. We're not having to create a lot of massive or violent move from the right shoulder.

                Then the final piece to this is I want you to set the bag up about six to eight inches out in front of you here, out in front of your lead foot. Okay? What we're gonna be looking for at this point, we're gonna keep everything the same, but now when we impact the bag, I want you to notice that the auditory feedback has kind of toned-down because the speed was here at impact. You should be able to notice a big difference in the sound from where it is at impact to where it is out here in front of me. What you're looking for is, after you impact the bag with it six to eight inches out in front of you, you don't want your shoulder line to be open more than 45 degrees, or your chest to be open more than 45 degrees. You want things to be rotating naturally after the release and not being steepened up to where you're hung back on your right side but you wanna make sure that things are rotating post-impact, after you've extended the club through the hitting area.

                You never wanna be with that club six to eight inches out in front, or that bag six to eight inches in front of you, wanna be wide open to where your chest is facing down the target line. All right. This drill's gonna teach you how to slow the shoulders down. It's gonna teach you how to use the lead side of your body to create a chain reaction of events, and it's gonna teach you how to release the golf club at the proper time and that's at impact. Get out there, protect your body, put speed in the right spot, and play some great golf.

 

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