This Is Where Modern Swingers Get Stuck

If you’ve seen the jumping and twisting leading feet and legs of the modern golf swing players, you’ll know what I’m talking about here.

There is a tendency for swing analysts on TV, from what I’ve seen, to explain away mechanical flaws in the swing by declaring that the compensations or manipulations in the swing are responsible for power or speed.

That is simply incorrect – if your leading foot jumps or twists in the impact/follow-through phase of the swing, it is nothing more than a compensation for faulty mechanics.

The main culprit is usually the restricted hip back swing, and another culprit is the failure to transfer the body’s weight from the trailing to the leading foot coming down from the top, as you’ll also see classic swingers who have a free hip turn but fail to transfer the weight, as you see below with Jamie Sadlowski:


If you’ve never tried to throw a ball side-arm without transferring the weight to the leading leg, then I wouldn’t advise it, but if you did, you’d see that there is a big problem with trying to swing or throw without transferring that weight and you heard Frank Nobilo’s shout-out to me when looking at that same move last January:


That above move is not a power-producer, but a swing and body-saving move, and you only have to look at Justin Thomas’ right foot firmly anchored through the entire down swing.

It’s like trying to walk or run without letting the weight shift from the trailing to the leading foot – you aren’t going anywhere.

As to the first culprit I mentioned – if the hips are restricted going back, then on the down swing, they reach the impact position before the upper body, arms and club, as they didn’t turn much or at all to begin with.

The swinger then has to violently clear those hips and the left side so that the swing can continue, and you’ll see the compensation of the leading foot twisting or leaving the ground at about here:


But if you’ve performed a proper back swing pivot with a free hip turn, then you have no problem launching that ball by simply transferring that weight as you would when walking, running or throwing:


You shouldn’t see any snapping of the left knee (which would indicate a lack of body weight on the foot to begin with), nor a jumping or twisting left foot through impact or the follow-through.

Pretty basic mechanics there, and it is not amusing at all, but rather depressing to watch faulty mechanics being portrayed on television as something to be desired and emulated.

The jumping foot through impact is not a body-wrecker, but rather a body-saver, but the “snapping” knee through impact is poison.

Combine that harmful move with the lower back crunching of the restricted-hip back swing, and you’re asking for real trouble.

A generation of swingers, still young enough not to care about the damage they are wreaking upon their bodies, will pay the price in the leading knee and lower back, sooner or later, and the past few years have shown that it’s sooner than later for many unfortunate Tour pros.

All preventable…

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15 thoughts on “This Is Where Modern Swingers Get Stuck

  1. targettom

    Thanks for this post. My 8 iron distance instantly jumped from 140 to 170 when I started to use my hips correctly. So I’m a believer.

  2. Lance

    Yes! I played yesterday only one swing thought- the new backswing thought from Drop the hammer- belt buckle. I found this helped me really get into a good backswing position. Before I had lots of thoughts about my left knee, right hip and legs and feet. I think this thought simplifies the backswing pivot.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Keeping it simple is the key, Lance. The swing occurs far too quickly to have more than one swing thought, so the simpler one keeps it, the likelier one is to find success using swing thoughts. Good stuff! 🙂

  3. Chief Cowpie

    Very nice explanation! Actually quite amazing. My life would have great accomplishment to be divot at your feet. Oh wait, you don’t take divots. The turf and earthworms must love you.

    I’ve had a painful case of bursitis for the last week but today started to loosen up and had a good score. Key was accepting my limitations and keeping within the boundaries of mechanical correctness. Bursitis is generally considered diet related so cut out the culprits and doing better. Shot a 78 with a quadruple bogey.

    Cheers everyone, only here folks will you find the knowledge to heal your swing ailments.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Good to know you’re getting out there, Chief. Should be really nice weather the next few days for that. Cheers 😀

    1. D Watts Post author

      Some good stuff there, MD – and something that jumped out at me:

      … the Bernstein Principle states, “the body will organize itself in accordance with the overall goal of the activity.” It doesn’t say it will always find the “best” or the “safest” way to accomplish the goal. This is where the coach comes in.

      The coach’s most important role is to ensure the athlete’s movements are within the boundaries of safety. After that, coaches/instructors who recognize efficient movement can use motor learning precepts to guide the athlete toward discovery of more appropriate patterns.

      If only golf instruction had that same commitment! Good find, MD.

  4. Laser

    “failure to transfer the body’s weight from the trailing to the leading foot coming down”

    –Offhand, I can’t recall any modern swingers who don’t do this with an iron swing. The two examples presented here are both drivers, and especially with Sadlowski the ball would probably be teed very high…therefore allowing a different type of swing to accentuate an ascending hit (although increasing the possibility of injury).

      1. Laser

        Yeah…set-up left, and you’ll be jumping.

        But, those driver guys above don’t look like they’re setting-up left. (I think driver jumping looks safer than stack & tilt jumping…if you have to choose.)

          1. Laser

            Well, that explains why Justin Thomas didn’t do anything for me in fastasy golf this year.

            1. D Watts Post author

              Yup! This is not a body-breaking move, as I’ve said, rather a body-saving move, but it really can affect consistency.

              When you’re “on,” and able to time it, it’s like there’s no flaw to speak of, but if the timing goes just a little bit off, you see swingers with this move unable to do anything.

              Thomas has another issue to throw in there with his bias – watch that head drop down and to the right, where it should have been at address, and there’s one more thing to have to time properly.

              The end result: Hot and cold…

  5. buddhabob

    they take something so natural and easy and destroy it with something so unnatural. The biggest problem golf has nowadays are the control freaks who have set the tone, the sheer volume of deluded swing coaches and high tech nonsense. For all of it, Jordan Speith still can’t keep it in the fairway. When you have a crappy swing that tends to happen.

    I hope DJ does a whole spot on the flat swing, its characteristics and anomalies. Fowler and Sergio have very flat,tricky,high lag swings. I think its a small man’s effort to generate more power but in the end that swing tends to break down going into the last day of a major.

    the big sponsors have helped to really disappoint. They thru so much money at Rory back in 2011 or so that now he seems like a one year wonder. Now with Speith the same thing. That kid is walking around the course talking about how he should be dominating. Really? With that swing? If I were him I’d just concentrate on trying to stay in the fairway. But when you throw 200 million at a kid who had a great year because his putter was hot the Media ends up following him around everywhere and expecting him to win

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