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Understanding Missed Golf Shots in the Rotary Swing
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Published: February 18, 2014
The Rotary Swing is many things - simple and low maintenance - but one of its most important features is that it helps the average golfer understand their misses.
For years, golfers have been taught to try to position the club in certain ways and manipulate their hands to achieve various effects and positions.
With so many factors influencing the swing, it's very difficult for a golfer to understand why the ball goes right one time and left another; why some shots come out on the desired trajectory and others fly way up in the air.
It's difficult because the golfer is relying on a lot of very fine motor control and hand movement to control the shot. These techniques take a lot of time to learn, maintain, and practice, and influence the shot in subtle ways.
The Rotary Swing takes the golf swing and boils it down to its most basic components. We've created a swing where any golfer can quickly learn the fundamentals and, most importantly, understand their misses.
That's the key because we want you to get out there and play golf and have fun, not have to work with an instructor every five minutes to analyze what happened every time you miss a shot. With the Rotary Swing you can practice up on some simple fundamentals, then go out and have a good time.
The key is learning what causes a certain miss, and why, so we'll take a look at the basic misses and what causes them.
The Body Drill
Believe it or not, it all comes down to one simple drill. It's probably the most under-rated drill we teach, and it's called the Body Drill.
First we'll take a look at how it's done, then talk about how it works.
As you can see in the two views above, you simply hold a shaft across your shoulders, tilt your spine and get into a good, relaxed, balanced, athletic position.
Rotate back, keeping your shoulders on plane, perpendicular to your spine. The shaft will help you visualize this. Then take the butt of the club and rotate it back down and through on that same plane, through the impact position, and release.
That's how you're going to learn to understand your misses.
What Does This Have to Do With My Misses?
The drill teaches you to do these movements correctly:
Turn back, turn through, take the right shoulder down through the ball and over the left foot, then rotate on around.
As long as that happens correctly, the golf swing is a piece of cake. Knowing what is supposed to happen means you can figure out what went wrong when things go bad.
Let's say you're missing everything to the left.
You go to the top of your golf swing and you're in a great position at the top, but when you start to rotate your shoulders back down they're not on plane. You end up rotating them flat on the way through.
This incorrect rotation is going to do two things. One, it forces your right hip to move toward the ball. Then your body subconsciously reacts because you're starting to throw yourself off balance.
As you come down and start to rotate flat, your arms have to start to release to save the shot and you rotate your shoulders too flat, causing you to pull the shot.
When you start to come out of the shot like this, your head gets out in front of the ball, and a whole series of things happen to cause that miss.
As you come down into impact, it's very important that your shoulder works down toward the ball, as if you were going to punch it.
Take your right hand, turn back to get it up to the top, then drive it down into the ball with a punching motion - imagine you're going to drive the ball into the turf - then release on around. That's what keeps this miss from happening.
If you get to the top and rotate correctly, but your hands are too steep, this can also cause you to miss your shots to the left.
The club comes down over the plane, so you come in outside the shot and end up pulling in.
Both parts of the shot have to be correct:
- You have to get into a good position at the top, like you learned in the Rotary Drill.
- Once you're there you have to rotate correctly down and through so everything comes down on plane.
Obviously the other common miss is to have shots to off to the right. This happens most often when you get into a good position at the top, then start to slide to the left.
The right shoulder works down too steeply and the shoulders start to tilt. When the shoulders are steep like that, they're tilting rather than rotating. The club head comes down into a stuck position and you come too much from the inside and block the shot.
All of this comes down to not rotating correctly through the ball. It's very important that you get your rotation down. The right shoulder goes back, then through. It's very simple, but it's vitally important that it works correctly.
Things can go wrong from the face on view as well.
Say you rotate back correctly, as in the photo on the left below. You've got your head behind the ball, but then you make a really aggressive move and get your head way out in front of the ball.
Now the club head will come in too late, too much from the inside, and you'll have no choice but to swing from in to out. In this case, it's going to come down to how well you can time that shot with your hands.
It's very important that your head stays behind the ball as you rotate back. You take your right shoulder down through the ball on the way down, and keep your head behind the ball as you come through.
That's how you hit straight shots.
If you fall back the other way and let your head lean too far back away from the target all kinds of other things can go wrong, so it's important to keep your head centered. Rotate back, rotate through, then go on around and release.
Getting this right will help you understand those misses. Look at your golf swing on video and find the Body Drill movements within it.
Are your shoulders rotating correctly in the swing? Are they rotating a little flat or steep? Are you tilting? Many of your misses come down to improper rotation.
Don't under-emphasize the Body Drill in your practice routine. If you do this correctly, your whole golf swing becomes a lot simpler.
Checkpoints for Practice
- Body Drill: Hold a shaft across your shoulders in the setup position, then rotate back and through, keeping the shoulders on plane
- Getting into a good position at the top then rotating flat brings you up out of the swing and causes a pull
- Rotating correctly but having the hands too steep also causes misses to the left
- Getting to the top then sliding to the left gets your head out in front of the ball and causes blocked shots
- Getting your head off center in the other direction - way behind the ball - causes other problems
- Watch your swing on video and check the Body Drill moves to learn more about your misses and how to fix them