Hey guys, Chuck Quinton here, founder of RotarySwing.com. I want to talk about what I'm ... really, could honestly be considered the most important concept in learning the golf swing, period. And that is, how do you actually take your drills from a drill that you're doing slow-motion, in the house, in front of a mirror, to the golf course?
And I've talked about this a bunch, but I feel like I haven't quite gotten the point across as much as I need to, because I still have people come to the clinics and ignore this most basic premise, that everything has to be progressive. You can't just go from slow speed, in front of a mirror, to full speed, on the golf course, full distractions, et cetera, and expect everything to work out.
You've heard me use the analogy before of, when we all learned how to drive back in the day on a manual transmission, we struggled in the parking lot with no distractions just trying to get that perfect blend of gas and letting the clutch out and getting everything to work without lurching or stalling or hitting something.
And then the next day, we all went out and raced the Indy 500 right? No, of course not, that doesn't make any sense. The same logic has got to be applied to your golf swing. When you practice something slow-motion in the parking lot, and you're just doing it with no club, no ball, it's just you, laser-focused in on what you see in front of the mirror, and then you go out to the range, or go out to the course and play a round of golf, it's completely unrealistic for you to expect that everything you just did with no distractions is going to go perfectly with tons of distractions and speed.
Speed is our friend, but it can also be our foe when it comes to learning, and that's what I want to talk about today. And I'm going to show you explicitly, exactly how to take your moves from the mirror or even the range to the course to go full speed. Let's take a look.
So, the most important thing that you've got to do at first is doing the work in front of the mirror. You know that. So I'm going to assume that you've been in the house, you've been working on your drills, everything's going great. You may have even added the club inside, and now you want to go to the range and you want to hit balls. I get it. Everybody wants to hit balls. I love hitting balls. That's the whole point of what we're doing, is to go to hit the ball better.
However, if you go from in front of a mirror doing it really slow with no ball, and you put the little yellow demon in this case in front of you and go full speed, your expectations should be that you are gonna get one out of 10 decent, not even perfect. The goal is perfect reps. It doesn't do us a darn bit of good to do it incorrectly. You're just ingraining more bad habits that you're already an expert at.
We're trying to teach you new good habits, and we want to make you an expect at that, and that takes time and progression. That is the key.
So, as I'm outside, and let's say I'm working on these drills, and let's say I'm just doing my little 9 to 3 drill. I'm checking weight shift to the right, shoulder turn, nothing crazy with my wrist. Then the hard part, shift to the left, post up, let the club release.
That's one good rep. I did everything. I went through my checkpoints, I'm in neutral joint alignment, my chest didn't rotate out to the target, I didn't look out to the left, et cetera. That's great.
Now I want to apply that to hitting balls. Obviously, if I'm just doing it with ... let's say I'm up to my right hand, take away, shift, release. That's a rep. Why can't I break it up in pauses like that?
You should, because your brain probably can't do all of that together at speed in one motion when you add that ball in there. It's a huge distraction. So at first, I like to break it up. Take away, shift, release. Perfect. I'm learning. My brain is able to keep up with that pace.
Now maybe I'm already at the point where I don't need to break it up into little pauses like that. That's cool. I can go back, make it all one motion, still going through my checkpoints every single time. I couldn't care less where that ball went. I didn't even look up to see it.
That's a huge pet peeve of mine, 'cause now look what happened. I came out of my posture, I'm looking down the line, my chest is facing the target, my hips are open. I don't know if what I did at impact was correct. The only way I'm going to know is to stop shortly thereafter and look at it and go through my checklist.
Now this whole sequence, that might take me an hour, it might take me a week, it might take me two months, before I can do that sequence perfectly, hitting balls.
The timeline that it takes is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that you get that movement down, and then wherever you're at is where you're at and then you slowly start adding more speed and a bigger swing to it. So that whole movement that I just did, which was really the core nine to three, RST drill, weight shift to the right, body turn, shift to the left, post up, release, that's the golf swing. It doesn't get any more complicated than that, it's just making that bigger.
How do I do that? I'm going to make a bigger turn. So now, let's say I've been doing that for a week and I'm doing it perfect. I know I'm posted up every time, I got the feelings, I can sit here and talk about what I'm doing while I'm doing it and still not mess it up. That's when you really know that you've mastered that movement, is if you can sit here and tell me what you had for breakfast and keep doing the reps and never screw it up once. Then you're ready to add more to it.
So, now we're going from the parking lot, we're out onto a quiet city street somewhere. There's more distractions, there's cars parked, there's traffic, there's stop signs. I have to think more about slipping the clutch and feeding it the throttle. So now, as I add a little bit more to it, I'm just going to slowly work into that.
All right. Now, as I start to do this, I'm going through the same checkpoints. I'm looking, am I posted up? Is my right heel down? Did I release my forearms? Is my chest back? Is my head back? Did I make a good backswing movement, et cetera. Yeah, that was pretty good.
So I'm going to let myself keep doing those reps the exact same way to build up that myelin in on my brain. Same thing. I can keep doing this. If I make a mistake, it's perfectly okay. All I want to do is know what I did wrong. The way I'm going to do that? Stop and hold my finish and go through my checkpoints every single time, the same checkpoints I've been beating into your brain this whole time. Left hip in neutral joint alignment, hips a little bit open, shoulders square, arms and club fully released, head and chest back, right heel down. Keep doing that in your head.
And then, let's say you do that for a day, a week, a month, two months, whatever it takes, it doesn't matter. The way that you're going to know when you have it is that you can do 50 out of 50 and not make a big mistake. You're gonna hit them off a little bit here and there, that's okay, mistakes are perfectly fine, that's part of the learning process.
But if I sit here and I do one like this ... well, that's not a good rep. That's not one out of my 50, that's a bad one. I need to make certain that I can do these movements correctly and not fall back on my right foot or whatever it is that you're struggling with that you're working on.
So, I want to make sure I can do these right every time, and now let's say that that's week two, I hit that ... this is a 8 iron, I hit that about 100 yards with a little baby nine to three swing. That might be where I stop for a week, because let's say I go to full-speed, and I'm going to make a mistake here. Now I'm hanging back on my right leg. So now, as I'm going through my checkpoints, I'm like, "Oh, shoot, my weight's back here, so I look like this in my follow-through. That's no good."
My brain is telling me I can't go that fast yet. I can't hit my 8 iron 140 yards or whatever it was there. I need to back it down and go back to my 100 rep spot, or 100-yard spot.
Now that one was good, the ball went straight. I go through my checkpoints, so on and so forth. This is the only way to practice your golf swing and get better, period. You cannot go from the parking lot to the Indy 500. You have to work up slowly, add distance and speed slowly, and then you will get there. I promise you.
I always tell people in the clinics, it's 100% true in the hundreds of clinics that I've done, without fail, those who go the slowest at the beginning always arrive the furthest and the fastest at the end of the weekend, without fail.
What I mean by that is, the ones who are really going really slow and being methodical an checking all their checkpoints on every single rep, holding their follow-through, at the end of the weekend at a clinic, are twice as far or 10 times as far ahead as the guy who ignored heeding all that advice and kept just going full speed right away all the time and not holding his follow-through, and just got wrapped up in hitting balls.
I can sit here and hit balls all day. It's great exercise, I guess, but it's not making me any better. This is what makes me better. So this whole sequence of getting to the point, let's say I'll go maybe 70% here.
So that was a good rep, ball went where I want, let's say I hit it, 140, 160 yards, somewhere in there, I don't really know, I'm at altitude here, so the ball's going further. But that was a good rep. I went through my checkpoints, I could check my follow-through. I know that I did everything correctly. I'm happy with the result there.
The ball is not my measuring stick. My finish positions and what I feel, 'cause hopefully I've done enough inside to know when my feel is wrong or right, that's what I'm using to qualify whether or not that was a good rep.
So, every single drill that you're doing, and you're working up to hitting balls, work through the progression. Like I said, it might take you ... on average, it takes everybody about a month to master a new movement. And that means going slow and taking a little step up, adding 10% speed, adding 20% speed, a little bit more and a little bit more each time, until you work up to your full speed.
But do not expect to go from the living room in front of a mirror to full speed. That doesn't make any sense. Parking lot to Indy 500, that's what I'm going to tell you every time you say, "Hey, I'm working on my swing, but, man, I just can't translate the difference from doing it inside to doing it outside on the range."
It's because you've skipped everything in the middle. It doesn't work like that. That's like going and working out today and doing 5000 benchpresses and expecting tomorrow to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Our bodies just don't work like that. Our brains don't work like that either.
So now, without fail, you know exactly how to practice. You're just doing baby moves. You can break it into chunks, you can break your big swing into chunks. If you want to back a little further, stop, check my points ... oh, I didn't get shifted over far enough, that feels better, shift, release.
It's perfectly okay to break it into pauses and chunks like that. I highly recommend it, but the big thing, progression. Work through your drills. Add speed slowly, a little bit every day, every week, and I promise, if you follow this progression, that's how you're going to translate from going slow motion to full speed. You just need all the meat in the middle.
-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