I know many of you are eager to learn more about the biomechanical changes I've been making to my golf swing and how it relates to powerful swings of other great athletes. Specifically, how to use your core in the golf swing.
In this video, I'm giving a light introduction to some of these changes and how you can begin to focus in on some of the key aspects of moving the body correctly (the golf core), in the correct sequence for maximum power and efficiency. In this video, I'm using Tiger Woods as a model of the proper core movements to power the downswing. Tiger's swing has long been marveled for it's power and in this video you can see how he uses his body to uncoil for serious speed.
As I mention in the video, the goal is not to get a student to "swing like Tiger Woods". The point is to educate on the proper use of the body and the athletic coiling and uncoiling motion seen in every athletic endeavor like hitting and throwing in baseball.
A lot of interesting research has been done in this field, especially as it pertains to baseball and tennis and there is some information that is worth reading that has nothing to do with golf. An article that has a mixture of both can be found at https://www.aroundhawaii.com/lifestyle/health_and_fitness/2008-10-tigers-transition.html.
The most useful information in this article is actually the animated photos near the bottom of the page with a rear view of Tiger Woods and a top amateur golfer. It is abundantly clear how much Tiger uses his golf core, his hips and his left glute in particular for power and stability in his downswing.
Without knowing anything about golf, it is obvious that Tiger "looks" more powerful in his movement than the amateur, and, in fact, he is. That's not to say this amateur is not a fine player, you don't have to move biomechanically correctly to become a superb golfer.
But, if you want to move at maximum efficiency, generate maximum power with the least amount of effort, and protect your body in the process, then it's well worth your time to learn how to use your core in the golf swing.
Using a side by side face on view of Tiger Woods with a driver and a recent swing of mine with a driver, you can begin to see the similarities in movement. I'm far from being as sound as Tiger in my movements, but given the limited amount of work I have done, it is very exciting to see the progress.
More importantly, it is quantifiable progress. For instance, my clubhead speed has gone up, well, wildly at this point. As you might have seen on my blog recently, I posted a 112 mph swing..... With an 8 iron. Given that I'm 5'9" and 155 pounds, that's a lot of speed and I fully attribute it to the changes I've made biomechanically.
Now, of course, that speed is only possible because I already have good "golf swing mechanics." So, just because you move better biomechanically doesn't mean it's going to directly correlate to 220 yard 8 irons (sounds fun though, huh?).
No, the truth is that they must be melded together, good biomechanics and good golf swing mechanics equal powerful, consistent golf that is safe and pain free when you power the golf swing with your core. That makes this very exciting stuff! Imagine playing golf late into retirement completely injury free and still smoking 280 yard drives down the middle. Sound good? Then watch this video and begin to understand the proper use of the core to power the downswing!
Note how, early into the downswing, the weight has moved onto the left foot. This is not new, but what is new is HOW the weight was moved using the proper core muscles.
Video Transcription: Tiger Woods/Chuck Quinton Driver
I'm going to talk about our first Rotary Swing Tour golf instruction video. It's going to be very lightweight. I'm not going to get into a lot of the details yet, but it will at least give you guys an understanding of some of the changes that I'm making in my golf swing, why I'm making them, and what the added benefit is at the end of the day.
Tiger Woods & Chuck Quinton Comparison - Setup
I've got my swing up here that I posted recently on the blog, on the right, and one of Tiger Woods here on the left.
Again, don't get caught up in the "trying to swing like Tiger." That's not it at all. Things that we're following are the body movements; the correct biomechanical movements that you see in all powerful athletes in all sports - from baseball to whatever - anything that requires the body to generate a high amount of power with efficiency uses the same dynamic movements, uses the big muscles of the body, and golf is no different.
The "Golf Core"
Tiger is a guy who happens to do that extremely well. He's extremely efficient in how he uses his body. The movements of the club and the arms and the hands and the release and all those things, those are all preferences or variables or things that can be adjusted, based on how you want to swing the club, what you naturally do, what you find is best.
Of course I have preferences for how I want the club and arms and things to move. That doesn't necessarily mean that it moves the way that Tiger does it, but what you are going to see is that the golf swing core body movements are so critical because they are the things that generate power, do it efficiently, and do it safely for your body so that you can play golf for a long time and generate more club head speed than you're used to now. I'm going to talk about what those things are.
Chuck is too far onto the right side
As I start back here, I'll draw a couple of lines here. One thing that's important for me is that I have a tendency to get a little bit too far onto my right side with the driver.
With the Bomb Your Driver series you know that we've talked about getting behind the ball to catch the ball on the upswing, launch the ball high, have the ball up in your stance. All those things are absolutely still true and paramount to what we're doing.
The catch is that, with anything, you can start to overdo a good thing. My tendency was to get too far behind the ball and launch it too high, so my head would make a big shift off the ball. As I start back - this is improved - but by this point in the swing my head would be too far back to the right.
As I get to the top of my swing here, I've just barely moved, which is perfectly acceptable. I'm loading up into my right side for power. Getting into that right side helps me stay behind the ball and catch the ball on the upswing and use my golf core to power the swing.
Tiger coils his body - Chuck's head hasn't moved far off the ball
Now Tiger, for instance, he hits down on the ball with his driver, so you'll notice the ball is back in his stance a little bit and that he's not going to move off that ball much. What you will see that Tiger does really well is that he's very much coiling his body and using his core in the golf swing. You can start to see ripples in his sweater here.
He's coiling around his spine and as he gets to the top he's got a tremendous amount of coil here. He hasn't moved his hips a great deal, so he hasn't been sloppy or loose with the legs.
You can see the same thing in my swing here. My thought, or my feeling, is that as I'm rotating back what pulls this left leg or this left hip into the rotation is the rotation of my torso. I'm actually rotating from this area, and that's pulling this around at some point because at some point I can't turn any farther without getting my legs into it.
This is getting into a coiled position and using your golf core. What you'll see is, once I do this, it's much easier for me to get back onto my left side. If I was sloppy and loose, my legs would be moving over here just like I showed in the blog, where my first swings were terrible. I was moving off the ball and I was way too deep into my right side, and this left leg was breaking in a little bit.
Tiger Woods & Chuck Quinton Comparison
Now it's going to be much easier for me to settle onto my left foot, and this is critical. This is something that Tiger does - in my opinion it's hard to argue this - better than anybody in the game. He absolutely settles into this left side. He uses his hips and core dynamically. He unwinds with his left glute and his left oblique and his back, all of that stuff.
It's not shoving off his right foot. It's unwinding with a pulling motion on the left side. As he starts to come down, you'll see that his right leg doesn't move. If he was pushing off his right side, you would see this right leg and this right hip really driving forward. That was a tendency that I had as well.
But he's not. He's unwinding. You can see his left glute starting to stick out here. He's unwinding with that left side, and now he's really getting his weight stacked over his left foot, but his right leg's pretty much stayed in place; again, an indication that he's not shoving off his right side.
The same thing here; as I go back, you'll see that as the club's still going back down - I'll zoom in here a little bit - as the club is still going back in my backswing, my left hip is already moving back past that line. That's again showing the same thing, that I'm settling onto that left side. The club's still going down; it hasn't started to really move back to the target. That's part of the transition and using the core in the golf swing.
Chuck loads into the left
Now I'm really using this part of my body to pull (the golf core). The club's still almost parallel to the ground, so I haven't used my arms. I haven't used my hands. This is what we're talking about when we say "passive arms and hands" - at this point in the swing nothing should be happening up there. It's all coming from right here. This area here is key to building power in the golf swing, key to the downswing.
That's a big piece, focusing on turning from here, whereas before I would let my shoulders unwind a little bit early. I would still turn my hips but I would tend to spin out a little bit. I wouldn't get my weight fully set to that left side first in an effort to stay behind the ball too much. Then my shoulders would unwind really fast.
As my swing has been changing here, I don't want my shoulders to feel like they're unwinding at all. Just like in the backswing, where I wanted my torso turning to pull my hip in, now I want my hips on the downswing to pull my shoulders around, rather than the other way around.
Both golfers' backs still face the target
As I come down, you can see that my back is still facing the target, yet I'm clearly setting onto my left side. Now as I continue to rotate from my golf core, my shoulders and everything are starting to unwind.
In Tiger, you can see very much the same thing. Notice that - we'll zoom in here a little bit - we'll focus primarily on that left hip. As you watch, notice that his left hip sets in and starts to cross that line but his club is still going back a little bit.
Tiger lifts his right heel
Now as he continues to go down, his back is still facing the target. Now as we get into similar positions, we're basically in similar positions here.
He's coming up off his right heel. Again, this is getting into some of the details of the swing. It's perfectly OK. Not necessarily the best thing for accuracy, but if you want to unwind your hips really fast, that heel is going to tend to come up off the ground, especially with the driver.
That's why you see it in Tiger very often. He's unwinding his hips so incredibly fast - if we played this swing at full speed, it's just amazing how fast he unwinds this part of his body during the downswing - but from an accuracy point of view, it's not exactly a great thing.
The key here is he's unwinding all from here. This is the whole key. This is exactly what you'll see, what I'm working on in my golf swing, that I'm really trying to use this part of my body to unwind until I get into a good position where now, I if I want to, once I'm here...
Chuck adds some wrist cock
My hands and arms are still completely passive here. That's the only way I'm able to maintain this much lag coming into the downswing - I'll zoom out for a second - is that my hands and arms are very soft. My wrists, you can see I'm actually adding a little bit of wrist cock here.
Not intentionally; I'm not trying to do this. It's because my arms and hands are just very relaxed, period. I'm focusing all of my movement, all of my downswing effort, right here on my left glute, left side, left oblique - the golf core.
Then as I continue to come down, now if I want I can hit as hard as I want from this point with my hands and arms, if I want to add speed there, if I dare. I don't have to. I certainly don't. My arms and hands can stay passive all the way through, but if you want to apply extra speed and force, knock yourself out. It's just up to you in terms of how well you can control it.
In here, my hands are still staying very, very soft. I'm not hitting hard with my arms and hands or shoulders. It's all still continuing to rotate. Now my shoulders are starting to unwind and catch up here with my hips. Now everything is releasing through.
We see very much the same thing in Tiger. Again, we're not focusing on the movements of the club, we're focusing on the movements of the body and the sequencing. That's the key. The left hip, left glute, left leg have got to go first.
Tiger unwinds his shoulders - Chuck releases
Then as he comes through, then his shoulders start to unwind and his arms start to catch up, and he's in a great impact position there.
Then you'll see right afterwards - again, this is something I'll talk about a lot more in the future here, in terms of the changes I've made to my release - because I'm not unwinding my shoulders as fast as I used to, it gives me the ability to allow the club head to release. My right hand is crossing over my left now.
Before, when I would unwind my shoulders and my hips at basically the same rate - maybe it wasn't exactly the same rate, but that was the feeling - my shoulders would be much more open to the target. That would pull the club around to the left, if you're looking at a down the line view. That's what would release the club head.
The right hand crosses over the left
Now I can use centripetal force, and my hands staying soft. You can see my right hand is crossing over my left. You'll see the exact same thing in Tiger, nearly immediately after impact. You can see his left glove here already. This is what we would typically call a crossover release.
This release gives you the absolute most amount of club head speed, period. There's no other way around it.
If you're hitting with a push, it's great for making solid contact, it's great for controlling ball flight and trajectory, but it's not going to give you the most speed.
This is a full-on, letting the club fling through, flail through here, with no inhibiting motion. The club is just releasing and it naturally wants to work this way. The toe naturally wants to release over. You can see that in my swing as well. As I come through I'm letting my hands just completely release. Again, it's not a manipulated release.
Full release while the golf core stabilizes my spine
It's centripetal force releasing my hands, and then the club comes on around. You can see I've fully released my hands at this point, and you'll see the same thing in Tiger. You can see the white left glove here, you can see the white left glove here, staying behind the ball continuing to release, and then the club pulls me on around to a full finish, and the same thing with Tiger.
Again, the main focus - there's all kinds of things. Here Tiger's on the ball of his foot and jumping off. Again, these are ways for Tiger to squeak out more power.
Tiger pushes off the ground
You obviously don't see this motion when he's hitting an iron. He doesn't jump up on his toes, but the most powerful hitters that you'll see tend to do this because they're using the ground as a point for leverage, and they're springing up off the ground, moving their body in one direction so they can throw the club in the other and not lose their balance.
Some of the most powerful hitters that I've ever seen, the Finau brothers for instance, who are playing out of Utah right now, absolutely they literally leave the ground. Their feet - and Tiger basically does too, here - but these guys are an inch off the ground and they're, pound for pound, some of the longest hitters you'll ever see. It's ridiculous how far they hit the ball.
Again, you don't see that here. I'm staying pretty firmly planted. I'm on my left heel. You can actually even see my toes kind of come up off the ground here. I'm just rotating around that left post and continuing to drive through.
Chuck's follow through
Again, don't get so caught up in every single little move that Tiger Woods does. We're not trying to mimic Tiger Woods' swing.
If we looked at Hank Aaron, Hank Aaron is using his hips to power his baseball swing. Tons of power coming from that left glute, the left oblique area, this whole pulling motion that you see here. Tiger does it incredibly well, and he's not the only one. There's tons of guys on Tour that do it well. He's just the absolute best at using his golf core in his swing.
Again, the club and those types of things, those are variables; things that we can change and manipulate as we see fit. But the way that he uses his body is very, very efficient. We're talking about the core of his body, again, not his feet or his knees or anything like that. We're talking about the core, and Tiger does it extremely well.
Hopefully this helps explain a little more about some of the changes that are coming on line, and there will be a lot more to come soon, I promise.