If you've taken a lesson with a Rotary Swing certified golf instructor, you've probably heard one thing over and over again if you're not getting it right. That is, you don't have enough axis tilt. I could probably put that on record and just hit play every single golf lesson I give or every student review I give, because so many golfers set up out there without axis tilt.
Now, what is axis tilt? Why do you need it? Why does it really matter? First, let's talk about what it is. Then I'm going to explain to you why you need it. If you tend to come over the top or your swing plane's a little bit off, this is the first thing that we always check. That's how important it is. Having the spine angle set correctly from viewed face on is one of the most important setup fundamentals that you're ever going to work on in your golf swing. The good thing is, it's super easy to get right. You're not moving when you do it. We just got to learn what it is and how to get there.
Once you determine your proper golf stance width, if you're not sure what that is, it's two inches outside of axis tilt, so go back and look at the setup video if you're not sure. But once you have that proper tilt, you can take any club. I got a 7-iron here. Hold it against the buttons on your shirt and your belt buckle. Then just slide your hips to the left until this club hits you in the leg. You'll see here as I do that, it hits me in the knee, and all I did there was slide my hips.
Where people make a mistake is instead of trying to move their hips, they move their upper body. Now you can see my head is moved way back, and I've shifted a lot of weight over here to the right. I don't really want to shift any weight. As I move my pelvis to the left, my upper body tilts back in response to that. That's counterbalance, and that's keeping your weight distribution about the same, at about 50-50.
As I do this, I don't try to do anything with my head. That's another common mistake people try to get tilt by just moving their head like this. All you need to do is keep your spine in neutral, your head in neutral, your nose right in line with this shaft, and just lean to the left. This is all it takes to get set up properly. Now when you go to set up to the ball, you just reach under with your right hand. Don't reach across, because now you're going to lose all your tilt again, and you're going to be standing straight up.
Most amateurs golfers set up with a weak right hand grip and a high right shoulder with no tilt, because their right-hand dominant. They want to get into this position. You can see now this V formed by my thumb and forefingers, either at my nose or even to my left here, and it has to be going more up the right forearm or towards this right ear. To do that, you'll notice as I reach under, part of my setup routine is to let my hips slide to the left. Now you can see that thumb and forefinger line's going right up the forearm. Now I don't have to do anything special at the bottom to try and square up the club face.
Getting axis tilt is really, really simple. The problem is most golfers just don't even bother. They're so fixated on getting their right hand into a dominant position that they want to set up really upright. This is where a lot of problems come from.
One of the biggest problems is the reverse pivot. When you set up with no axis tilt, and you start to turn your body, as you start to stretch these muscles and tighten others, your body, just like if you started to stretch a towel, you start to run out of room. It starts to pull you back this way.
If you wanted to reverse pivot, I would set up with no axis tilt. Now, of course, there's no reason that I can think of, at least not any good one, why you'd want to set up with no axis tilt in reverse pivot. But if you do, and you tend to swing like this at the top, everybody's leaning toward the target, the first thing that you check is your setup. If your setup's right, and you have axis tilt, it'd be really hard for you to all of a sudden slide your hips this way enough for your upper body to lean toward the target. That's where that reverse pivot comes from.
All you got to do to get rid of that is just a little hip slide to the left. People always ask, "Well, when should I do this?" Doesn't really matter. If you want to start standing straight up so you can check it every time ... Hopefully you're not doing this on the course a lot. It's going to take you forever. But when you're practicing by yourself, certainly you can go through this. Then get into your hip hinge. Then get your hand on the club. It's just a good way to get yourself to go through the whole routine.
But eventually, you do this enough, you get your repetitions in, and it's just going to be all one motion. You're not even going to think about it, but you do need to practice it at first. That's why I love having this club here and just sliding my hips to the left until the club hits.
Now, you don't want to turn while you're doing this. This is another mistake we see. Golfers will tend to do this when they set up. You don't need to turn your hips. You just need to slide them lateral. You'll notice I don't close them. I don't open them. They just move perfectly parallel. It's just a small amount. It's just until that club hits. You only need about seven to 10 degrees of tilt. Any more than that, you're going to start affecting the swing plane in a negative way.
To recap here, a little bit of hip slide. The big thing that you want to do from here is make sure that you maintain the axis tilt that you created. You don't want to all of a sudden go to the top and let your head go this way. You don't want to try and increase it. You just keep it constant. We're trying to remove variability in the swing.
With axis tilt, that's one of the key things. Once we have that tilt, we're just going to rotate around that spine and maintain the tilt that we started with at address. Then everything's very simple.
If you've got swing plane problems, you're swinging steep, the first thing you need to check, make sure you have axis tilt. Go through your routine to get set up right every single time. It's going to feel strange at first. You're going to feel like your right eye's way back behind the ball, or your right shoulder's really low. It's okay. You have to get used to this feeling in order to make a proper swing plane.
-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