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Taking Your Golf Swing Drills to the Course
How to take what you're doing with your golf swing drills in front of the mirror to the golf course.
Hello, everyone. Chuck Quinton here. I want to walk you through something today that's going to be really, really critical and helpful for you learning how to change and conclude your swing, and take something that you've done as a drill inside, in front of a mirror, wherever it may be, and translating that onto the golf course at full speed in a full swing.
That's one of the most common questions we get all the time is: "I do my drills, I do them perfectly, but when I go out on the course to hit balls, it's not the same. Why is that?" In this video today, I'm going to walk you through exactly why that is and how to make the changes in your swing that are going to take you from the in-front-of-the-mirror pro to being a pro actually hitting a ball.
I've got a student up here on the left that I just had and I want to walk you through his swing and show you what we did to make these big changes, and help you understand how you may be doing the same mistakes that he was and learn how to flip those around so that you can make those changes happen much, much more quickly in your swing.
In this example here, this is his swing that he started out with during the lesson, and it's pretty obvious to see that the shaft is extremely steep; it's way off plane at this point. He went and got a lesson, and the instructor told him, you know, "Your shaft is really steep, pretty hard to hit the ball from here. What you need to do is try to get your hands deeper behind you, pull this right elbow deeper behind you."
Now if you're cringing hearing me say that, that's good. That means you are also learning a lot about the golf swing; you know that that's horrible, horrible advice. Obviously that's just going to over activate the arms even more, which is the problem that we already have. How do we know that?
Well, I'm going to give you a little secret, and some little cues that I use when I look at my student swings on video to help me quickly diagnosis and analyze what's going on in the swing that's going to help you see the same thing in your own golf swing. When I say that the arms are out overactive, what I'm saying is that the arms are moving more or faster than the body. That's really easy to see with my little trick here.
I want you to look at the logo on his shirt. We've got a little Jets logo here and as you watch, we can see that Jets logo's moving, right? And the club is moving, and the hands are moving. Now I always like to tell my students that I want them to imagine that their sternum or the logo or on their shirt, it's moving at about the same rate as the hand, the club. In other words, if that golf club's moving, because your logo's turning, or your chest is turning, however you want to phrase it, it's all saying the same thing.
I want them to imagine that they're moving at a 1:1 ratio, so in other words, if your chest moves an inch, your hands move an inch. Now of course, that's not accurate. It's different from that, but if you imagine that in your head, that the only way my hands are going to move is because my chest is moving them, then we're on the right track.
But what happens for so many golfers is they start to turn. Now keep an eye on his logo, keep focusing on his left chest. Now what do you notice happening already? You see how the logos look like it's basically frozen on the screen, but the arms and hands have still moved another foot and half, two feet, keep going, keep going; notice his chest is completely frozen now. There's zero rotation happening.
When the rotation stops, it's about right here, give or take a little bit. From there, how far do you think you're going to hit the ball? Not very far, obviously. Your brain senses that you have no power, no leverage, no loaded up potential energy in your swing, so what do you do? Well, you keep swinging. The club's got to go further back; you know that you need some more power here, and you're not going to get it from a chip shot backswing, right? So your body keeps moving the club in the only way that it can, and that is with your arms, hands, and shoulders.
As he folds his right arm very early in this swing and starts to load up this right tricep, instead of the big muscles in his body, the right arm is going to get really loaded up here and guess what you're going to fire first coming down? Well, it's not going to be rocket science. Right shoulder, right pec, right tricep; you can actually watch as this trap starts to engage and the right shoulder roll forward as the pec engages.
This is a purely right-sided dominant movement, this is how you come over the top. He actually does a great job of trying to shallow it out because he has really great lower body movement, but it's all for naught because the arms are completely smashed and buried against his chest, and behind his chest.
Now the reason this is such a great example is because so many golfers do this exact same thing. They start turning, then they slam on the brakes with their body rotation because they're not prioritizing rotation, and then they keep swinging the club back with their arms; that loads up their arms and their shoulders, and then the only thing they have to fight with coming down to produce any power is this right tricep.
Now when he came to me, he actually said, "Man, my right elbow's been killing me ever since I took that lesson and started trying to get my arm further back." Well yeah, no kidding, because you're trying to rely on all of your golf power coming from that right tricep. As he begins to fire that right tricep and starts to snap it like he's throwing a ball to try to produce some speed, that elbow's getting a lot of strain on it, and of course, the right side, hopefully you know this one from the other videos, it's that as the right side starts to become more active, it steepens the angle of attack.
The right side of the body and the downswing can only steepen the golf swing for the most part, especially with the arms. The legs can help shallow it out a little bit, but in general when you think about taking deep divots, it's almost always way too much right arm, right hand.
So, not only are you hurting your elbow because you're to generate a lot of force from it, but also starting to take a lot deeper divots, you're hitting the ground a lot more often, and this is how people start developing Golfer's Elbow and it's completely changeable as long as you start learning how to swing correctly, the way we advocate.
Obviously here, deeper divot, short dropped off follow through because there's no swinging motion, it's all a golf hit; it's a right side, right arm hit in this swing, and that's what's causing the shaft to get deep and come down steep. Now, how do we fix this? The secret is quite simple. First of all, look at the position on the right; obviously the same lesson here, a few minutes later. Had him in front of a mirror, his best friend, hopefully he bought one of our little training aid mirrors.
If you don't have one at your club, because you can stick these in your bag, you can buy them on the store. If not, you've got to have something, to have some sort of visual feedback. Video's awesome, but it's not instant; you've got to video it, then go back and looking at it. Mirror's instant and it never, ever lies to you. What I did was I walk him through the RST five step stuff.
Now he's watched all these videos, he knows this stuff already, but like so many other golfers out there, watching the videos and putting it into practice the right way takes a little bit more discipline than what some people have put into practice, and that's what I want to show you today. The first thing in the RST five step is what? What's the first video all about?
Weight shift, right? The first thing we've got to do is shift our weight correctly. Without weight shift working correctly, nothing will sequence in the swing correctly. The first cue that I gave him, I said, "I want you to think about two things. You think about smashing your right ankle into the ground and loading that right glute." Now when you look at this, you can draw a straight line right through the center of his ankle and right through the back of his knee. We know that force is being driven vertically through that ankle, he's being loaded up.
Notice how you can barely see any of his shoe here, because he's smashed that heel into the ground, compared to over here. Where does this weight look now? Well, right on the ball of his foot of course, right? You can see his whole bottom of his shoe here, and you can see that if I came up and tapped him from behind, he'd fall right over on his face, right, because he's off balance, because he's steepening everything and lifting up the right arm into a position of leverage and not using his legs.
You can see his right leg is much more straight here; if we a draw line up vertically from the center of his ankle, it's nowhere near the back of his knee, so he's not able to activate that glute properly. This is more calf and quad. Here he looks like he's very obviously sitting back into that glute, which is what we need to do. The golf swing is all about recruiting muscle fiber. We need to generate enough power, enough horsepower to move that golf club at least a hundred miles an hour, and ideally my goal is to get you over 110.
To do that, we need a certain amount of muscle fiber, at least 32 pounds, to start moving that club fast. You need your chunkiest muscle in your body, which is your glutes, to be activated in the swing to be able to use them for power. When you're out here on your toes, you can't do that. So, number one rule: weight shift first, right glute, right ankle. Right glute, right ankle.
If you think about those two things, that's what he kept saying to himself in his head. Right glute, right ankle. Then all of a sudden, as he watched himself in the mirror, he began to load up like a tour pro instead of looking like an amateur golfer who's about to fall over. This looks night and day different; much more powerful position.
Now, the other interesting thing is that this, because it's done first, affects other things down the chain. What does it affect? Rotation. If you don't shift your weight over that right ankle, and you don't get over the right side period, it's almost impossible for most people to have enough flexibility to make a full shoulder turn. Weight shift, there's a reason that I put it first above and all else, because if you want to stop turning only halfway, 30-40 degrees here, and start making a huge shoulder turn like we have here, you've got to get your weight over that right ankle, and you'll simply add 30 degrees of rotation.
It's very, very important that you get over to that right side to allow you to make a full turn. How do we know he made a full turn without looking at it from face on? Well, it's pretty obvious. We can see his logo facing us no problem, and in fact, he made about a 110 degree rotation.
Now on the swing on the left where he started, he's making 30 or 40 degrees rotation. He's not even halfway there. How did I get him all the way over here, because before, like most golfers they're thinking, "You know what? I'm in my 60s, mid-60s, I just don't have the flexibility to turn anymore," and he was thinking the same thing. "I'm fit, I'm healthy, but I just can't make a full shoulder turn."
You're not making a full shoulder turn because you're not turning your shoulder. You're swinging the club. Don't swing the club with your arms and hands; turn your shoulders. If you prioritize turning your body and go through it in the sequence the RST five set walks you through, loading up on the right side first, you can make at any age, this big huge shoulder turn.
The shoulder turn is partially helping change the swing plane. I didn't discuss swing plane with him at all. Notice that the club is in a completely different position, much closer to being on plane, which it would be once we added the right hand back on there, the left hand's going to tend to over shallow it out a little bit when you're doing these drills, perfectly okay, but compared to this one, we're night and day different. We can actually get the club back down to the ball here.
What did we do? Weight shift, rotation. Video number two, RST five Step. He's now thinking about, instead of swinging that golf club, he's thinking about turning his rib cage. I told him to turn his chest like he was going to turn and talk to me, once his weight was over that right foot. Now, no problem, no flexibility issues, more than double the shoulder turn he had over here. Huge for power and creating a proper swing plane.
Now, the next thing we do, what's the next step? RST five step; add the left arm. Clearly we've already gone though that step, fourth step. Add the golf club, clearly we've done that. Now everything's starting to fall into the right place, and we have a completely different look at the top of our swing versus over here.
As we come down, obviously the next thing we're going to do is shift our weight, watch what happens to that club; instead of coming over the top and getting steeper, look at that. Drops right under the plane, the old proverbial dropping the club down into the slot, right? You've heard that a million times.
I didn't say anything to him about dropping the club down, period, or trying to put it on plane, or drop it into the slot, or any of that nonsense. You don't manipulate the golf club; you move your body correctly and the club will go where you want. This is further proof of that. Didn't tell him to anything to the club; it's on plane, on plane, on plane, beautiful position, all the way down into impact, and release.
But now, the bigger question. How do we take these drills done in front of a mirror and translate them into full speed, hitting balls, etc.? I'm going to tell you a quick little story. First of all, how many of you learned how to drive a car of the manual transmission? Most of us have, right? I always talk about this at my clinics. When you learned how to drive a manual transmission, where did you do it? Was it on a busy city street, or the 405 in rush hour traffic in LA?
No, of course not. That sounds stupid, right? Where did you learn how to do it? Probably in a parking lot somewhere with nobody around, a quiet country road, maybe a field; somewhere where there are as few distractions as humanly possible. Now why is that? Well, pretty obvious, right? You were having a hard time feeling how to slip the clutch just enough, and give it just enough gas to get the car rolling without stalling, or lurching, or any of those things.
Your brain could only process so much information, right? Now if you went back maybe 20, 30, 40 years later and gotten a manual transmission, it'd be like riding a bicycle for you, right? You've got that motor movement down, that skill set down, because you've done it thousands and thousands of times.
However, think about the next day when you went out to drive. You spent an hour in the parking lot, you got the basic idea; you can slip the clutch, you can get the car rolling, you haven't stalled it in 15 minutes. You're ready to go, let's go to the Indy 500 tomorrow.
"That doesn't make any sense either. That sounds really stupid, Chuck. Why are you saying such stupid things?" Because people do the exact same stupid things with their golf swing. They learn something new, having to do it very slowly and very consciously thinking through every step of the swing like he is here; right glute, right ankle, turn my rib cage. That's a lot of mental processing to get all these things right.
But then people want to do this drill for five minutes, and then go out and play golf, and expect everything to fall into place. Well, that's just as dumb as learning how to drive a manual transmission and then going and racing the Indy 500 tomorrow, because you simply don't have enough repetition for your brain to have mastered this movement pattern. You're not going to be able to do it as you add more distractions; you've got to do it slowly, just like you did when learning how to drive a manual transmission.
The next day, maybe you went on to a public city street. Slowly but surely, you got more comfortable, more confident, more skilled as you repeated the movement over and over again, and then maybe you went on to a highway somewhere, and then eventually you started going faster and so on and so forth.
Learning is learning. Any movement pattern, any motor movement, goes through the exact same process. I cover all of this stuff in-depth in my intro videos on how the brain learns new movement patterns. To take what you've learned in front of a mirror, to take it to the golf course, it's a process. It's not a quick fix, a quick tip lesson; it's a process. You're going from learning this one thing and starting to stack more pieces onto it as you go.
As we've added one piece on here, or added four pieces on, we've got weight shift, we've got rotation, we've got left arm, we've got the golf club; we don't have the golf club flipped right side up yet, we're not ready for that. But eventually, we've got to add that right arm. As we add the right arm, we're going to start adding pace to it and make sure you can do all of these movements together in sequence, and then we'll add a golf ball.
And we're only going to be hitting little half shots at first, still making sure that his brain can process these distractions, and then we're going to start hitting it further, and then we're going to start going to full speed, and then we're ready to take this out to the golf course. Learning is learning; it doesn't matter who you are, or what it is you're learning. When it comes to motor movements, you must understand the mechanics of learning.
If you want to stop beating your head against a wall and trying to put all these bandaid fixes and still making the same mistakes over and over again; you want to go from being this guy on the left to this guy on the right, you must work through the process. That's why the RST five step videos are laid out the way that they are: in a sequence.
Take your time. Take pride in the process, knowing that if you walk through this, you're going to make huge improvements in your swing. I guarantee it, if you go through it the way that it's laid out, you're going to see these huge changes in your swing; going from this to this, this only took 10 minutes.
Now no, he's not ready to hit full shots with it yet, of course not. Nobody is. These are huge, radical changes, but it's all getting him down the pathway of permanent improvement, and that's what we're looking for. We want to see progress happening from this day forward, every day for the rest of your life, and if you work through things in the sequence and give yourself enough time with the repetitions, you will get there. But don't be that guy going from the parking lot to the Indy 500.