So many golfers struggle with early extension and it's one of the easiest things to fix, but yet seems like nobody understands what causes it and how to fix it. It's simple. I'm going to show you exactly how to fix it right now so that you never have to struggle with this again. Let's first understand what early extension is. Nearly every golfer on the planet struggles with this and all it is is as the golfer starts to come down, they lose their tush line and hence their spine angle as their pelvis moves into the ball. So they look like they're standing straight up at impact like this.
Why is that bad? Well one, it causes some stress on your spine and two, it changes the swing plane and shifts it so the club wants to work more into out. Now, if you're someone coming over the top, you can still have early extension and still be coming over the top so you may not struggle with coming into out. It doesn't matter, it's still causing a ton of issues with the swing plane in your swing. You just happen to be throwing the club too hard from the top versus a better golfer who gets early extension and drops the club from the inside, hits a big old hook.
So, how do we fix this? Well, let's first understand what causes it. Everything in the golf swing has a cause and effect relationship. What I want to do is I want to look in the mirror and see what it looks like when I stand up like that. I turn down the line and show you what I'm seeing down the mirror is that my pelvis is moving in. Now what would it take for me to move my body, what parts of my body? What muscles would I use to do this move?
Just forget golf for a second. What would cause me to do this? Well, I can feel that I'm pushing off my right ball of my foot, that I'm using my glute and my hamstring to kind of push everything forward. My left side isn't really doing much of anything, so I know that in causing this motion the only way that I can create this is to push off my right leg. Well guess what? You shouldn't be pushing off your right leg. If you want to get rid of early extension and fix your swing plane, maintain your spine angle, maintain your tush line, all these things that you know you must do to be a good ball striker, then you must pull from the left side.
So I can look at myself in the mirror and see that I'm actually moving my hip back out of the way and now watch what happens to my spine angle. Note that I've maintained my spine angle and my hip hasn't moved in towards the ball. If anything it stayed where it was and even moved slightly back because I'm moving from the left side. As soon as I do this, early extension completely goes away. You can't stand up out of your posture unless you push from the right leg.
So how do you fix this? The number one key as I try to keep emphasizing is to see what you're doing in front of a mirror and a video camera. If you watch this video and you go out to the range, start trying to pound balls at full speed and say, "Oh yeah, just don't push off your right leg," I guarantee you you're not going to change it. You're still going to be pushing off your right leg. You can't feel it yet, you've been doing this tens of thousands of times, doing it in correctly so to do it correctly, to learn to use your nondominant side of your body for most of us, you have to slow it down so that you can feel what's happening.
If you just go full speed you're going to keep doing the same stuff so stop it. Don't go out and pound balls. If this is all you're concerned with is hitting this stupid little white devil out there you're never going to make any change in your swing. You're going to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. So slow down, throw the club down and start practicing the way the RSD shows you and everything. You take everything and you dumb it down to it's simplest movements.
I'm going to go back really slow and now I'm only going to focus on keeping this relaxed and using my left leg. Oh, I felt myself want to push. Oh, I want to use my left side to get me out of the way and then I watch myself do this is front of a mirror. As I get more competent at doing it I'm going to start adding more challenges. I may start to extend my arms out. I may eventually grab a golf club. I start to add speed to it and I keep going faster and faster until I screw up.
Once I find a pace or a stack that I can do it correctly, I keep practicing at that level and I don't go and challenge myself by adding more things if it keeps breaking down. So if you go out and you start practicing this and you can do it great with your arms across your body, but as soon as you stick your arms out there in front of you and it falls, all falls apart, you start pushing off your right leg again, which you'll know by looking at yourself in front of the mirror, then you've got to stop.
You can't keep stacking things, which is what everybody makes the mistake of watching the video and going out and pounding balls. It does not work like that. Nothing in life you've learned like that. No motor movements. Everything's got to be progressive. You slowly stack one piece on top of the other. If you try to go from zero miles an hour to 1,000 miles an hour you're just going to crash into a wall, so slow down and start feeling what you're doing. It's all about developing that kinesthetic awareness so that you can feel when the correct muscles are working. Otherwise you should never expect to get any better.
So, slow dow, dumb the drills down so you do it in your least common denominator, the basic minimum movements. Do it in front of a mirror. Do it with a video camera if you're outside and you don't have a mirror and keep practicing. Keep practicing, slowly but surely you'll continue to make these improvements, but if you just go out and go full speed, don't expect to get any better.
-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee
-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com
-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK