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9 to 3 Golf Swing Drill

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The 9 to 3 Drill is the key to working on the Rotary Swing Tour while on the range actually hitting balls. While it is much quicker to create new movement patterns without the distraction of hitting a ball and swinging a club, at some point you must begin transitioning to the real world and this is THE drill to guide you through the transition.

Video Practice Points
  • The 9 to 3 Drill is 90% of the golf swing
  • Pull the right shoulder back to rotate upper body - hips stay anchored
  • Push right heel into ground to activate right glute
  • Make sure arms remain in front of the body
  • Next step is weight shift, using the left hip & glute
  • The left oblique pulls hands down into impact
  • You need to practice this a lot - if it gets boring, you can add a little bit of wrist hinge to gain some speed

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9 to 3 Golf Swing Drill

If I had to pick one drill that was more important than any other, it's the 9 to 3 drill. What is the 9 to 3 drill? It is basically understanding how to make a perfect golf swing from here to here, parallel to the ground on your backswing or bound swing as it's going to be, and parallel to the ground on your release. If you can do that right, the rest of the golf swing is just details. It doesn't matter nearly as much as getting this right.

So let's understand, first of all, when we're saying 9 to 3, what are we talking about? Imagine a clock face, 12 o'clock would be straight up and down, 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock. So when you're making a 9 to 3 swing, you're really just taking the club back, 9 o'clock, or basically the completion of the takeaway. And then we're going to start our downswing from there, get to 6 o'clock, impact, and release. If you can do that right, everything else is going to fall into place for your other golf swing.

However, if you can't do that right, nothing else matters. This is going to get you in the right position halfway down, having lag, getting into a proper impact position and getting into a proper release. That's the most important things of golf. So to practice this, what I want you to do at first, what we do with all rotary swing tour drills is you can start by taking pieces off, because we focus on isolating the drill to its simplest common, lowest common denominator.

In this case, we can do this 9 to 3 drill with just our body first and that's how you need to start, 'cause you need to be able to get the inside stuff working correctly before you ever worry about what's happening in the periphery. If I was to say a place where people make more mistakes than any other is when they're doing the drills, they skip this stuff, just doing it with their body with no arms. You have to do these correctly, because if you don't and you just start grabbing the club, you never learn how to move your body correctly. So that's what we're going to start with.

For 9 to 3, proper setup, we're going to go halfway back, which is about a 45 degree turn with my shoulders. If you're not sure, you can hold a club across your chest, it's going to point just about 45 degrees, or a little bit out in front of the ball. My weight is going to shift to my right side. My arms are in front of my chest. I've maintained my tilt. Perfect, I've got 9 o'clock just right. I don't have to worry about my arms yet.

And then from here all I want to do is shift back from the left and post up, rotating my hips slightly open and not turning my shoulders at all will get my shoulders perfectly square to the target line. If I can do that, that's actually a 9 to 6, why don't I keep going to 3 o'clock? There's no momentum, I don't have my arms or club out here. So as far as I'm concerned, the golf swing is done. If I could stop at impact every time, why wouldn't I?

The follow through serves no purpose other than to safely decelerate the golf club. So when you're doing these drills, don't try and get to a follow through, that's absolutely, not only is it futile, but you're teaching yourself bad habits of trying to turn with your upper body. Your hips do all of the work in the downswing to get you posted up and get your shoulders back to square. You don't turn your shoulders.

So once I have that down, now I can do it with just my lead arm. Halfway back, like you've seen in other videos, I'm going to shake hands on this side. Now look where my hand is, a perfect impact position. I didn't move my hand or my shoulders. I just moved my hips. Now there's not any momentum here 'cause I don't have a golf club. So I'm just going to stop right after impact. Perfect.

Now, we're going to go back again, halfway back. I can shake hands now with both hands. Turn back to impact. Look where my hands are. I didn't try and move my hands. Where you're going to make mistakes here is trying to move your hands before you shift your weight and turn your hips. As you've seen in the RST 5 step, the movement is all from here down, to get you down into impact. So that's what's getting my hands to here.

Now, I can take a golf club, now that I'm moving my body correctly, and for some of you, this may take days, weeks, hopefully not longer than that. But to be able to get this centered movement correctly, the movement from your core, don't rush and grab this club. I'm doing it in two minutes. This might take you two weeks to be able to get to the point where you can grab a club and still do the drills correctly. Don't be in a hurry, because this is the meat of the golf swing. Get this right, the rest of it's going to be easy.

So now I'm going to take my club halfway back. My drill, if I drop the club is exactly the same as what I just started. So the club having to be out here is inconsequential. But now that it's here, I can check some checkpoints. Can I shake hands? Is the club face vertical or slightly toed in? I don't want it way back in here. It needs to be in line with my toes. We'll cover this one down the line in just a second.

Now, from here, all I'm going to do is shift my weight and post up and that's going to get me back to impact. Now if I do this with a little bit of pace, a little bit of rhythm, the club starts to turn and release naturally.

Now from down the line, let's take another look at it, my good takeaway puts the club right down my toe line, just over the balls of my feet or so, not way back in here. Turn to my body, club face is toed up. Shift to the left, impact, release. Note, as I get into the release, I'm not turning my body anymore. Remember the swing's done at this point. All I gotta do is let my forearms turn over. So we're going back, shift, release.

As you do this with a ball, the fact that the ball's there doesn't matter. We're just going back, release. Keep your head down, don't need to look out and see it. I know if I do everything correctly, ball's going to go where I want it to. So I'm not going to worry about it too much. I'm just going to worry about doing my movement and making sure they feel and look just like I did them without a club. If you can do that correctly, then we've got some great things that are going to happen in your swing.

So I want to give you now some checkpoints that you can check in your follow through on each phase of the swing here in your follow through. The biggest thing we're going to check for is that we first, are keeping our head down. Our head didn't move forward, it didn't stay way back. It's right back where it was at address. As my head's there, we're going to work our way down the list now.

My buttons on my shirt are still pointing at the ground. I don't want them open to the target, if I do that in the real swing, I'm going to hold the club face open. It's a great way to hit a slice. So instead, my chest is square and my forearms have rotated over so that the club face is rotated closed on the follow through. To do that I just let my forearm bones turn over, just like that. So my head is back, shoulders are square.

Now my hips are slightly open to the target. You can see that my hips are about 30 to 45 degrees open. My weight is stacked on my left side in neutral joint alignment. You can grab a club from roughly your first belt loop, drop it down through the center of your knee, center of your ankle, we're in a perfect impact position, safest position for your hip to be in. If that's correct, then my right heel is still on the ground and rolled slightly to the inside, to the point that the outside of my shoe picks up just a hair. If it's still really flat footed, I haven't shifted laterally enough to get my left hip in neutral. That's a great checkpoint in order to make sure that you've got a really nice, stable base and you haven't slid too far and you haven't hung back on the right side.

The last thing, and this is the big one for most golfers, is what this right knee does. You really need to key in on moving from the left side of your body, so that the spacing between your knees remains relatively constant. If you look like this, like you're clanging cymbals together, all you're really doing is really destabilizing your pelvis, changing your spine angle, hurting your back and giving yourself a really weak position to hit the ball from. Most tour pros you're going to notice these days are keeping their feet very, very planted to the ground so that they have more leverage from the ground, because it's more efficient to produce power that way.

So as you're coming through, don't drive hard off this right knee, relax the right leg. Use the left side to get into this nice impact position, and the right leg just gets pulled along. You'll see ... Imagine that you had a ball between your legs and that spacing remains constant because the ball doesn't leave your legs. If you do this, you pop the ball or balloon. So keep your knees stable, quiet and constant for a much better and more consistent contact.

So, last thing we're going to talk about is making sure that as you're doing this, you're not trying to crush the ball. At first, your whole goal is just little baby shots. This is it, if the ball goes 20, 30 yards, that's plenty. As you start getting more comfortable with this, the trick to adding more distance is not swinging harder. All you're going to do is add wrist set. So now I go from here, to there. That's a little baby shot going 25 yards.

As I go back and I add a little bit of wrist cock, the same movement, but now you can see that ball is going to go 100 yards. Just by adding wrist cock, my hands are going to go back a little further, I'm going to make a bigger turn and what you're going to find is most people start finding that doing the 9 to 3 drill correctly with wrist set hits the ball further than their normal swings. So I want you to experiment with this. Start really small. Don't be in a hurry to add wrist cock. Get the club just parallel to the ground on both sides and let's watch your golf swing improve dramatically.

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