The tour pros may look very different at the top of their backswing, but at impact, when it matters most, they have far more similarities than differences. In this lesson, I'm going to teach you how to achieve the exact same mechanics, the exact same positions, and even the exact same feel as the best players in the world. The body's primary job at impact is to provide stability for us to release the club with authority. If your body's moving all over the place, you might as well be on the deck of a ship in the middle of rough seas in the ocean, trying to hit the ball. It's not going to work out really well. What we want to do is use the ground to start to stabilize the body and also provide leverage to give us extra speed, to release the club, using the big muscles in our legs, rather than trying to use the small finicky muscles in our arms and hands for power to take advantage of this win-win situation, where we're providing stability and power from the same move.
There are three main checkpoints that we want to look at when you're looking at your swing at impact from face on the first one. And most important is making sure your lead hip is in what we call neutral joint alignment. Neutral joint alignment is just the point, the positions of your joints, where they would be if there was no stress on your body whatsoever for, he took all the muscles off your body and hung up by your skeleton. And he still had ligaments holding your bones together. Your body would fall into neutral joint alignment, neutral joint alignment for your lead hip is imagined about where your first belt loop is. You can kind of be a little bit more specific coming in an inch and a half or so from your hip, but everybody's a little bit different, but a simple checkpoint is if you hold a club shaft up from the first belt loop, give or take, it should form a straight line through the center of your ankle and center of your knee.
This is roughly where we want to be at impact, but of course, we're going to be rotated a little bit, which I'll describe more in a moment. The main thing that you've got to watch out for is being past neutral joint alignment. That's the killer. And that's what led to all those hip replacements back in the day, and the guys who played in the sixties and seventies who had that big lateral dry with lots of low back stress and lead hip past neutral joint alignment, lead led to all those hip replacements, labor, tears, et cetera. You don't want to label them tear. It's totally preventable. And it's a six to nine month recovery, which means your golf. Season's done. If you keep driving laterally like this pushing incorrectly hard off your trail foot, you're going to eventually run into problems. So what you want to do is make sure that you get your hip in a neutral.
So as I drop a shaft on now, of course my hip is rotated. So the angle is a little bit different, but you can see, it looks like I form a nice straight line. I just want to make sure I'm not way past neutral. The second checkpoint is my trail foot. I want to make sure that my pressure is very light on that foot at impact. There'll still be pressure there, but you'll look at the tour pros on average, there are about 85 to 90 plus percent on that lead foot. By the time they strike the ball and amateurs that I've had on the force plates tend to be on the opposite side. There'll be 40, 50% hanging back here on that trail foot. If your stance is too wide, this leads to a lot of mistakes of trying to drive really hard and cause you to move past neutral, but it also makes it hard for you to get off your trail foot.
That's why having a proper stance with is so important to make sure you check out that video. If you haven't already, most people tend to stand way too wide because it feels really stable, but you need to do this because you're swinging too much from your upper body. When you start using the Axiom to move your lower body correctly, you can stand much narrower and to just a couple inches outside of neutral and easily, get your pressure over to the lead side. And what you'll see will happen is the outside of my foot will start to pick up a little bit, not trying to pick it straight up. That's what Moe Norman said. That tiger woods was his biggest problem. As he used to come into the impact area or start the downswing and pick his heel straight up and most said, well, that heel needs to move in towards the left heel.
He was right. In fact Hogan. And we're talking about just a moment. He actually had shoes custom made to put a spike in a certain spot that made this easier to do so. What am I talking about here? When you come into impact this movement of my heel, you can see this little counter torque, this little counter twist of my foot. What that's doing is moving my heel, my right heel toward my left. Now, why does this matter in the golf swing? What it's showing you is that Axiom movement. If my pressure is moving clockwise around this right foot, what's going to happen. Once I move up and I get off the merry-go-round, I get onto the ball of my foot. Well, that pressure is still twisting. I'm still making that clockwise movement. So as my pressure, I don't have all the traction on my right foot. As I move up onto my toe and my ball of my foot, that doesn't stop. That movement continues. And that's why you see my trail foot rotate. So my heel looks like it moves closer to my left. So Moe was right. That was a big thing for tiger to fix. In fact, he did take a look at this clip to see how, how much he's changed and how his heel now moves towards the left heel.
Let's take a look at tiger. Hitting an iron here. Now, when we don't zoom in, it may be tough to pick up that right foot action. But as we zoom in, it becomes very easy to see. So we'll go all the way back to address note that the toe of his shoe is pretty much on the ground, but as he goes back, note that it starts to lift right there. You can start to see more of the darkness under his shoe, and now watch what happens. What do you see if you look at just as Nike logo on a shoe, you can see that it's clearly twisting more of it's becoming visible. And so what's happening as he's going up from the six o'clock seven o'clock eight o'clock is he gets up onto the ball of the foot, that rotation, that clockwise rotation is still happening.
So that's creating torque and he's on the ball of his foot. And his toe is off the ground. And his heel is off. The ground are very light. It's very easy for him to twist that foot into the ground. And that's what you see happening. So now, if you look at his right heel, it's clearly moving. Now, it's not a huge amount and nor do we want it to be, but I put a little line up here just as a kind of a point you'll see, but it's going to move closer to it. In fact, it's actually moved past that line, that small amount, that's the Axiom movement. You can see that clockwise motion happening very, very clearly. And his heel moving closer to his left heel.
As I mentioned, Hogan actually had shoes made where he would put us extra spike right here in the middle, under the ball of his foot. So he could really dig in to drive the Axiom movement into the ground to really get that pressure. So we could put a lot of force into the ground and really use his legs. The thing you need to feel is as you keep that pressure shift, you definitely don't want to see your heel doing this. That's just hanging back on the back foot as you're using that pressure shift and moving your pelvis as your pressure shift is moving your knee, your hips, everything back to the lead side. As you move 6, 7, 8, o'clock that motion keeps happening. And as you come into impact, you'll see your trail heel move slightly closer to your lead hill. The third and final checkpoint you need to look at impact is your head.
This is a big one, and this is one where a lot of amateurs really struggle because they tend to move from their upper body instead of the lower body. And that causes their head to move in front of the ball, which causes all sorts of bad shots. So as you come into impact, you want to see that your head is right about where it started at address or even slightly back. Definitely not in front. So now, if we put all this together, we've got my lead hip in neutral. The trail foot is rolled to the inside. It's light. Most of my pressure's on my left ankle and my trail Hills may maybe rolled in slightly toward the left. And my head is right where it started at address. Those are the three main checkpoints for your body. If you get those right, your back, your impact position is going to be very, very good and lead to really consistent shots.
Now let's take a look at it from down the line from down the line. The first thing you want to check is your hip rotation. This is the number one thing that amateurs do incorrectly that the pros all do, right? You'll rarely see a tour pro there's occasional ones that who have their hips pretty squared impact for the vast majority. And especially all the powerful players that are hips are wide open, where you can see both butt cheeks had impact. Most amateurs tend to look very squared impact almost looked like they were right back where they were at address. And that's because they're just using their arms and hands to swing the club instead of using their hips to provide that initial power source. So the first thing you're going to check is make sure that you see both butt cheeks. You don't have to see them super open, obviously, as you, the faster you swing and you get into the longer clubs, the more you're going to see both butt cheeks, but on a typical iron shot, you definitely need to see both hips open at impact.
If you've got both hips open at impact. Well, now we need to check where they actually are in space. The simplest way to do this, especially if you're looking at your swing on video is draw a line on your hips at setup. And then during the backswing, you know, it should go a little bit deeper. And then as you start into your transition, your both should be even deeper than where they started. So you should be starting to break through that line where you were at set up. So now the lead hip is deeper. And then as I begin shifting back over my lead hip is deeper than where it started. It definitely should never move into the ball. It can stay on the line, but ideally, it's going to move just a little bit deeper to make extra room for your arms, to increase the radius of the circle, to give you free speed.
If you're all jammed up like this at impact, there's no speed there. You've got to give room for your hips. You're actually going to be pushing the ground away from you with your legs in order to get your arms to release even faster. We'll talk more about that later, but the concept is, and the downswing, you always want your body moving in the opposite direction. You want the club to go. So if the club is going down toward the ball and out away from you, then your lead leg, isn't going to be going up and back. You're going to be pushing away from the ball. We'll talk about that in the mastery section for now, just understand that your lead hip needs to be deeper, at least where it started or deeper than where it was at setup. If you've got your hips open and your hips deeper than where you started, you're starting to look really, really good.
The last thing that we're going to talk about is your spine angle. And of course, these are all directly related. So you'll start to see how these all holistically fit together. But if anything, your spine angle at set up should increase slightly during the downswing. If you see that it's standing up, what's typically happening is you're pushing incorrectly, moving your pelvis into the ball. And this causes you to throw the club, stand up and lose your posture, which causes all sorts of problems. So as you're doing this drill, you know, if your right hip is going, your TRO hips going deeper during the backswing, that's going to increase your spine angle slightly. And then as I keep that motion and then get into the hitting area. Now my chest is really covering the ball, helping me feel really stacked on top of it. Instead of coming out of it and having to flip my hands.
If you're not seeing that in your swing, you're seeing yourself lose your posture, check out some of the drills and the faults and fixed section that address the specifically and give you a really simple drill that you can practice inside your house with a chair or a countertop. That'll help you feel this every single time. So now that you've got the basic ideas of the critical checkpoints for impact, let's take a look at some of the tour pros who do these moves so well. So you can see it in your mind and start to feel what it's going to feel like when you're in a tour pro impact. All
Right, I want you to challenge yourself and see how many of the impact positions that you just learned. How many of these checkpoints you can identify on your own in these golfers? So let's start with Luke Donald on the left. What do you notice? Well, the first thing is, of course, he's got the secondary axis tilt, which means his hips have moved a laterally toward the target, which now of course puts him in neutral joint alignment. You can draw a line up straight from the center of his ankle. It goes right through his knee, right through his hip, his head, his back he's got extra tilt. You can see as trail hip has moved closer to the target. Everything here is perfect. You can see it. Now. Of course, he's hitting a driver. So again, as I, with the driver to see the heel come up in the air is pretty normal because it's, you're going to tend to take a little bit wider stance, which is going to make you need to move off of that trail foot.
Even more in order to get back over to the lead leg. We look at Rory on the right, almost identical. You can see the lead leg straightened up. Rory hits a much higher ball flight than most, any tour pro. So he tends to move laterally a little bit more, be back behind the ball, swing and stay back a little bit more in order to increase his angle of attack, which is why he can hit his drivers so far and so much higher than most other pros. But you can see his head is back. He's got secondary axis tilt posted up on that left side. The right heel has moved closer to the left. He's up on his toe. Everything is perfect there. And we look at him from down the line. You're going to see the same things that we've talked about in the down the line positions.
You're going to see both butt cheeks. He's up on the toe shoulders. Rory gets a little bit more open than most, but you can see his shoulders are relatively square. Wow. His body's open, but undoubtedly, his hips are open. His left hip is deep and he's in a great position here. Now let's take a look at tiger woods and Dustin Johnson. As you look at tiger here on the left, you can clearly see both butt cheeks. The lead leg is straight. The shoulders are square. Hips are open. I mean, look at Dustin. You can see from, if we look at down the line, you're going to see almost identical positions. Even though they might've looked radically really different at the top of their swings, you can identify way more similarities. Dustin's hips are open as lead leg is straight as hips have moved deeper than where they started, which is increased his spine angle.
His right arm is lower than his left, which we'll talk about more. As we get into the mastery section, start talking about the arms. When we look at the face on view, you're going to see that Austin has a little bit wider stance than he needs to, which means he doesn't quite get all the way to neutral, which is fine. He's going to create a very shallow angle of attack like this. It's going to help him hit the ball very high it's way better to hang back a tiny bit. But of course this leads to inconsistency in it. He actually whacked this way off the toe. So it wasn't exactly as best strike in the world. Probably not the most clean strike in the world either, but as you narrow your stance, it's much easier to get into neutral joint alignment every time, but it's way better than going way past like the old school golfers that we saw.
But you can see as his hips move laterally toward the target, he increases his spine angle. He's now got secondary access tilt. His hips have moved toward the target. His right hip has made room for his arms. His head has stayed back, which is what creates that secondary tilt. He's up on the toe pressure. All on the left side, everything is a okay. And if we even put up yours truly here, you're going to see the exact same things in my swing that you see in all these guys. As I get into impact, my hips are open. My shoulders are square. My right heel is down pretty low. Cause I'm not hitting this. This is a seven irons. I'm not trying to nuke it. So my heel is very low to the ground. In fact, it's still touching here, right arm below the left, everything like you've just learned you get into these impact positions and you're going to start hitting the ball better than you ever thought possible.