Swing With The Legs & Hips, NOT The Back (Video Clip)

hips-legsI read something Tiger Woods had said before his return to playing tournament golf.

Even now, I realized, he still didn’t get it (although he is swinging with more hip action, but it’s still not what you’d call “free”), and he and most PGA Tour players are still trying to swing using their core and back, which is the death move of modern golf swing theory.

Here, again, is what he’d said:

I was in the gym with [Rose], and he’s in there doing the same thing. He’s 36 now, and it takes him an hour, hour and a half, just to be able to go and hit balls.

“You have to activate the muscles. . . . We miss the days going to the first tee and hitting a drive 300 yards with a balata ball and a persimmon driver. You can’t do that anymore.”

Exactly who can’t do that anymore, and why is that?  It can’t be due to age, because I’m 46 years old and it doesn’t take me anywhere near that long to warm up.

In fact…

Let me remind everyone, more for the benefit of those who haven’t been around as long or who may have missed the discussions in the past year – that I have a back deformity (scoliosis) and when I get up in the morning, it’s a chore to even put on pants or tie my shoes, so stiff and sore is my lower back.

Setting: I was working with David D., it was a few minutes into our session, and not only had I not hit a ball, I hadn’t even made any warm-up swings to get loose.

Still, I got over a ball while discussing the swing action, and hit a gorgeous 6 iron down the pipe – how did I do that without throwing out my back or even feeling any discomfort, let alone pain?

The answer is in the clip, actually…

DJ Hits 6 Iron – 1st Swing Of The Day

So, how is it that pro players who don’t have this congenital defect and who get to swing every day (which is great for my back – the more I swing, the looser and stronger my back is, and it regresses when I don’t exercise it for extended periods), can’t swing a club without a whole to-do and warming up?

And how is it that I can do what you see above?

It’s because, if you swing properly, you really don’t need much of a warm-up at all, just to swing a golf club.

You’ve already been walking and standing and, unless you’re coming from having sat for hours and need to loosen up the legs, they should be ready to go.


So, if you find that you need a half-bucket to get to where you feel “warmed up” to hit decent shots – you’re doing something wrong, because there should be no extensive warm-up needed.

I have to warm up before I can bend over or do anything with my back, sure – but I’m not hitting balls with my back, I’m using my hips and legs to do that, and that’s how they did it in the classic golf swing era.



23 thoughts on “Swing With The Legs & Hips, NOT The Back (Video Clip)

  1. Laser

    As you’ve mentioned, there’s psychological component to sports. It makes me think that, as far as the brain goes in performing sports, EFFECTS are more important than causes.

    Let’s say that we have 650 skeletal muscles, and we have to use them all in 1.5 seconds to perform a golf swing. Dealing with causes can be…tough.

    So, if I’m at the free-throw line playing basketball, am I better off looking at the rim and picturing the result…or trying to manipulate my configuration during the shot?

    So, when Tom Watson says that he turns his back to the target, maybe he’s thinking of a certain part of his back getting turned. But, he’s certainly not doing it all with his back…and he’s REALLY not doing it with his back while resisting with his hips. In his mind, I’m guessing that he’s imagining that part of his back as being a result…not a cause. (Maybe it’s a way of subconsciously monitoring how he’s getting loaded and balanced.)

    A bonus would be that it takes his mind off of what the club is supposed to be doing. As Rickie Fowler was quoted as saying, “The way I see it, thinking about the position of the club during the swing is about the worst way to play golf. It makes you tight and defensive, which kills your natural speed and rhythm.”

    1. D Watts Post author

      I’ve made the basketball analogy countless times with the free-throw reference, as you know, Laser – if you’re thinking about technique, good luck!

      Thinking about technique is for the practice gym, and as you say, you should just be looking at that rim and reacting to it.

      In the swing, I would go with Rickie’s statement – if you are playing body position or club position instead of just swinging, good luck. I have only one swing thought going back, to try to hit my top position properly, and from the top, I think about the transition weight shift to the left foot.

      Everything else, I shouldn’t really be thinking about, just as a pitcher may concentrate on his wind up to the stretch, and perhaps that step off the mound.

      This is what practice is for. If you’re thinking about fundamentals and technique in competition, it’s not likely going to end well. Practice, practice, then go to the tee and react…

      1. Laser

        You probably nailed it. If T. Watson had a sensation regarding his back (or part of it) it probably had to with what he felt or imagined at the top.

        1. D Watts Post author

          If the “feel” is “real,” you’re good to go.

          Note: I might add that the “feel” doesn’t even have to be “real,” because as long as it produces the desired action or position, then it is real, for all intents and purposes.

          It is when someone goes by what another person describes as a “feel” that one can run into trouble, because it may not be accurate – it just works for the person describing it…

  2. targettom

    along with TW’s statement about warming up, there was a comment by he or maybe NB, to the effect that after a round he needs 1 – 2 hrs in an ice bath to recover. Like an NFL player, lol. That might be another clue they’re doing it wrong

    1. D Watts Post author

      After the long range session on Sunday, Woods recovered in a hot tub and got other treatment on his surgically repaired left knee and battered back.

      From swinging a 13 oz club…wow…just…wow…

  3. Brady

    Have you read the Big Miss? In that book Haney talks about how TW always wanted to be a “real athlete.”

    I think his comments on Rose and getting too old to hit it 300 without a 2 hr warmup reflects and solidifies the fact that he still yearns to be part of and wants to be accepted by guys like Jeter.

    DJ, if he put his monstrous ego aside and stopped caring about what retired baseball players think of him he could absolutely win more majors.

    Best thing for him really would be to come to the light here at Wax Golf and start learning how to drop the hammer and stop trying to harpoon a la spieth! Lol.

    On a side note have you heard of Lee Comeaux? Would love to hear your analysis of his swing action. I see a lot of similiarities to MCS in his swing. You are huge on minimizing head movement and he is known for that. I love people like you and Lee who are so generous with your knowledge!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks for the kind words, Brady!

      I’ll address your comment on TW and being a “real athlete” first – I don’t think he has a monstrous ego so much as a monstrous insecurity about his body.

      He was called “Urkel” in college, which can’t have been pleasing, and he later took a lot of ribbing from his “real athlete” friends about being a golfer, so I agree with you on the larger point of what Haney touches on.

      The irony of it all is that although TW is a natural athlete, the golf swing is based (or should be) on pure leverage, the better one’s technique gets, and has nothing to do with bulk or muscle-building gym workouts. I can drive the ball as long as Tiger ever did, longer, in fact, with the equipment at the times being equal, and I would likely have an allergic reaction were I to even walk past a gym…lol… it isn’t about bulging muscles but about the model and the leverage you can generate.

      Sure, The Rock could throw you across the room with his massive physique, but so could a judo master half your own size! One uses imposing strength, the other employs leverage.

      Because golf doesn’t involve fighting off competitors for control of the ball or to advance down the field or court, and because it’s not a reactive sport like baseball, you don’t need the physical structure required in those other sports. You’re standing in place, and the only thing you need is position and leverage.

      I have not seen Lee Comeaux swing, nor have I heard of his swing thoughts, to be honest – but I’ll check him out!

  4. targettom

    on GC this morning Robert Damron and Trevor Immelman were discussing Nicklaus’ swing as he warmed up for the Father-Son tourney. Even on half wedges he lifts his left heel.

    Damron noted that “Chamblee believes” the lifted heel takes pressure off the lower back, and asked Trevor if he thought more players would adopt that technique, and Trevor said “I do think so, I think its a great way to take some of the pressure off your lower back…”.

    So at least they are starting to recognize that. The tipping point will probably be when they start realizing it is also the way to get extra power.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Immelman would still be out there if he could have avoided injury – modern swing strikes again.

      As for the industry – they are probably already colluding on how to walk back the planted-heel modern garbage, but they have to do it incrementally to avoid admitting they were full of it the whole time. And until they completely reverse themselves, they will continue to be responsible for the needless injuries incurred swinging in this unsound manner.

      But that’s golf. True athletic principles don’t matter, only what the hottest “guru” of the day is pushing, science be damned.

  5. targettom

    p.s. did anyone notice Lexi Thompson was driving it as far as our pal Bryson DC yesterday? Which means he was driving it 250 -270 on some holes. And now he is putting side saddle with a meat tenderizer. Rumor is that he will be driving with a baseball bat and putting with a frying pan in 2017 ;- )

    1. D Watts Post author

      What happened to the way he compresses the ball?

      Hype, and more hype.

      He’s won a Web.com playoff event, so I guess DeChambeau won’t be as big a bust as Ty Tryon was…but he’s getting closer by the day.

      Those same-length clubs won’t be flying off the shelves this Christmas, I’ll wager…

  6. targettom

    it would take the patience of a saint to ignore the fact that BD can’t come anywhere near the hole on 8 footers with that new putting style. “Theoretically it is more efficient” – but practically, uh no. Lexi must be steamed, he’s like a boat anchor

    1. D Watts Post author

      It isn’t personal, but I was rolling my eyes at all the hype regarding this young man before the Masters and his pro debut. His numbers were uninspiring then and they’ve gotten worse.

      Giving him the credit as NCAA and U.S. Amateur Champion, that’s legit – he won those, and deserved the accolades as a great up-and-coming amateur player…

      As a pro, he’s been a complete and utter non-factor, except in the coverage.

      When I tuned in today, they were describing him as an artist and visionary and I had to ask aloud how artistic it is to have missed half your cuts since turning pro, and to have back-door qualified for the Tour.

      He’s among the best in the world, I will grant, to even be playing on Tour, but to be giving all of this acclaim to someone ranked 140 on the FEC standings and 120th in the world – I have to ask, what’s the “game-changer” part of this?

      No one is going to start playing same-length clubs because ONE middling player does so – to counter that, I would offer that everyone BUT one player is playing standard clubs.

  7. Brady

    Yes! I agree with you and Tom the lower body is the engine that drives the car. A fantastic analogy given to me by a good friend who has an insane pivot and can carry it 300 is “you have to park the dump truck before you can offload the Ferrari.

    Basically what he’s saying is you have to get the lower body(dump truck) pivoted back in sequence to the left before you can unleash the forces generated by the pivot
    through the hands and arms(Ferrari) Does that make sense?

    I think I’m really close to getting this move hardwired in my brain. DJ this has taken over 2 years to even come close to approaching what a MCS swing should resemble and I
    was a 2 handicap before I decided at age 47 to change how I swung the golf club.

    Used to be a spine loading left foot planted harpooning flip roller but when my ribs started popping out and it hurt to play golf I knew I either had to learn the “proper” way to swing or quit. I started the journey to MCS by watching Mike Austins swing on youtube (He was such an amazing and talented guy) then onto Dunaway (incredible)and that’s how I found you and this place.

    I really think you will appreciate Lee Comeaux, he’s a thrower a la MD with a very similar physique. I’m looking forward to hearing your perceptions/thoughts about his swing when you have time.

    Thanks again for all you do!

    1. targettom

      LOL, this progression of planted feet >> popped ribs and all sorts of body pain >>> mike austin research >>> DJ Watts >>>> success, that’s my story too

  8. Brady

    Awesome Tom, glad to hear it! I feel blessed to have found this place. The last bastion of real golf, an island of truth and integrity amidst a sea of profound confusion which is what modern golf instruction has become.

    I love this man’s mission to help others and his willingness to speak the truth, no holding back and zero hesitation to call it like it is!

    1. D Watts Post author

      You’re too kind, Brady – I have tried for years to “tone it down” regarding my views on the modern swing and the ideas of gurus in general – but as I find myself reaching the end of my blogging days, I no longer feel the need to mince my words.

      If you like that, then I’m happy to oblige! 😉

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