Swing Flaws Are The Result & Not The Cause

jsIt’s a difficult concept to grasp if you’re not accustomed to swinging in a mechanically-correct fashion, and it’s why most people who go to an instructor (especially one who subscribes to the “modern golf” school) don’t ever get much better from a certain point.

And that concept is that most “swing flaws” that you will see, hear about or address personally are a result, and not a cause.

Meaning, let’s say you come “over the top” in your down swing – it’s not the “cause” of a slice or pull-hook action, but merely the visible result of a flawed address position and/or mechanical action.

I have talked about the low heel versus the high heel for both the back swing and down swing pivots, and again, these aren’t the “causes” of what is wrong with your swing – they are the results of what you are doing at address and then while in motion.

You’ll hear things like, “you’re lifting the leading heel, try to keep it planted,” from a modern instructor, without any explanation at all as to what is causing the heel to come up.

Or, as I talked about recently, say you have a high trailing heel at impact and you say, “I’m pulling the ball because my heel is too high at impact…”



No, you’re pulling the ball because what you are doing in your down swing is causing the heel to come up high into impact, and that same “thing” you’re doing in your swing is what causes the pull, not the fact that you have a high heel.

So, a high heel is evidence of something you’re doing to create the pulling bad shots, and just trying to swing the way you normally swing but with the intention of keeping the trailing heel lower into impact – if you’re not changing what causes it, then you’ll never do it.

I found out when I tried to flatten my swing plane that I could do it, with focus and concentration and a ton of effort, but guess what?

The minute I stopped thinking about it and swung – the steep plane would be back and outside-in I would come, all day long.

It was aggravating, and I can understand when someone says, “I’ll never fix this swing flaw…”

I would agree, to a point – you’ll never fix your flaw if you don’t figure out what is behind the flaw and change the position or action that is causing that.

Tiger Woods

tiger new swing


Telling Tiger Woods to stop snapping his left leg through impact – no chance on earth he’s going to eliminate that move until he changes what is causing him to have to make that move to save his impact and release…simple as that.

You can put all of the training aids in front of you when hitting balls (Vijay Singh used to put a water bottle behind his ball just outside of his swing arc so that if he came down outside-to-in, he’d whack the bottle) but one would be better off changing one’s swing rather than attempting to manipulate a full-speed swing that contains a mechanical or positional flaw.

I use that Vijay analogy because I destroyed the backing struts on our couch trying the same thing – but without making changes to my position and mechanical action, the swing was always the same, over the top, and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stop doing it…

I now don’t ever think of my swing plane, and I don’t worry about it, because I made changes  to both my setup and mechanical action to eliminate the steep plane, and now I’ll never have to worry about it again.

The same with the high right heel into impact – I talked about it last winter, and I tried to swing with a lower heel at impact, but since I hadn’t done anything to change what was causing the heel to lift high – I hadn’t completed my swing research yet, though I believed I had, so I didn’t get around to lowering it until I figured things out.

So, if you’re struggling with a particular swing flaw, just keep in mind that it’s not a matter of simply changing one thing in your regular swing action to eliminate that flaw – the flaw you’re worried about is the result of something else you’re doing wrong and don’t realize.

Jordan Spieth

speith swing


Asking Jordan Spieth to stop rolling his left ankle through impact – you can tell him until you’re blue in the face, and he can drill all he wants on keeping the left foot stable – but if he isn’t changing the things in his swing that cause the foot to roll to begin with, then it’s a band-aid fix, whatever that is, and will rear its ugly head at the most inopportune moment, which is under pressure.


9 thoughts on “Swing Flaws Are The Result & Not The Cause

  1. Laser

    “The flaw you’re worried about is the result of something else you’re doing wrong and don’t realize.”

    –You just keep churning-out masterpieces, and this is another one. And, it really flies in the face of modern instruction, which is geared toward getting it to LOOK right to an outside observer…planes, angles, etc.

    But, as you say, get it to BE right, and then it will LOOK right.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks Laser but I wouldnt call anything I write to be a masterpiece. Just some athletic logic gained by dint of hard work and thought.

      Now if my Swing could be one day called something as lofty, I would be content 🙂

  2. targettom

    This is why I really appreciate having DJ look at my swing, because sometimes I think I am doing it right (e.g. staying back) but because I was swinging down the line and not on the ‘swing angle’ I couldn’t stop the head lunge.

    Now I have some key ideas to work with to fix it. It takes a while to un-learn all the modern swing theory garbage! But the journey is fun too, I enjoy the practice at the range.

    1. D Watts Post author

      That’s a solid swing, targettom – and will only get better now that you’ve made the commitment to MCS

  3. bigtoilet

    “Churning out masterpieces”
    That’s DJ Watts! Seriously, is this guy good or what?! Who else teaches like this? ANSWER: nobody I know or heard of!!…..and I’ve been around.

  4. bigtoilet

    …..Actually the thing that bothers me is the DJ seems to be giving this knowledge away. I betcha there are instructors that read this blog (and never post) and use DJ’s philosophies. GUARANTEED!!!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Well, if they are, at least they won’t be killing their students the way it’s been going on the past couple of decades…

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