Theory: Even A Rotary Swing Model Shouldn’t Cause Spinning

You’ve seen all of that spinning out when players are swinging hard, but there are two separate causes for this.

The first, I’ve discussed many times – swingers who refuse to fully shift their weight to the leading foot because they insist on anchoring their trailing foot to the spot.

This means that in order to not completely wreck themselves, they deliberately allow or force the leading foot to leave the ground to complete the hip rotation to the finish, or they’ll spin on the leading heel to accomplish the same:


This is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen, and it isn’t even new.

Arnold Palmer, as good a player and as powerful a swinger as he was, had the same thing going on, as did many players in the Classic era:


Pretty big lateral head move on that swing as well, but what causes the front foot twist-around is the anchored trailing foot.

It’s like trying to walk without releasing the trailing foot, and I for a period in 2008 was toying with a leading heel spin because I was under the impression that the trailing foot had to remain in place to the finish.

Within a couple of weeks however – and I didn’t know a blessed thing about golf swing mechanics in the summer of 2008 other than what I possessed athletically the first day I picked up a golf club – I realized that all one had to do was release the trailing foot to eliminate leading foot problems.

All I had to do, in a sense – because you’ll see that Greg Norman (known as the best driver ever with a persimmon club) had a big leading foot twist even as he released the trailing foot:


One could have concluded as I was tempted to a little while back that even with the trailing foot release, one may still have too much rotary force to avoid straining the leading knee and ankle.

Now, this is different from the “leg snap” that you used to see in Tiger Woods’ swing, which is caused by a lack of leverage in the swing model – sure, TW and others could get a full shoulder turn with the twisting of the lower back and the front foot nailed flat to the ground, but that is a weak method of generating leverage and one literally has to snap that leading leg straight to clear the way for the hips, hands and body to move the club through impact.

No, the issue with Greg Norman above is that, even though he released the trailing foot, his setup wasn’t allowing him to leverage the club through impact with a proper mechanical sequence from the top.

Notice his hands nearly in the middle of his stance between his thighs at address, and this is with a driver!

The angle makes it look even more extreme, but GN did have a setup issue where the ball was too far back from the leading foot in the stance, causing him to have to spin violently with his body at impact to get that club through, and you see it in the spinning front foot.

The solution is that you have to build your stance and then your mechanical action so that there is no impediment to a full and free swing to the finish on a firmly planted leading foot through impact.

The means of course releasing the trailing foot, either through impact or on the finish, and having the proper setup before you even begin the swing, to get through impact without having to spin the body to get through impact.

And if you’re really on the mark, the trailing foot will remain in place through impact and only release to complete the finish.

Like This


That is why, even as well as I thought I was swinging, I knew I wasn’t there when I couldn’t emulate this impact/finish sequence.

What was my issue?

Setup, of course – setting up with a left-dominant arm position which made me have to turn my body at impact to generate the leverage and speed through the bottom, the early turn causing the foot slide:


It’s not a bad swing, as I’m never going to hurt myself swinging this way unless I swing as hard as I can, then you can see the rotation of the body through impact putting stress on the leading knee at the very least.

But it’s not optimal, so I hate it.

So there are swing flaws that aren’t going to hurt you, but my swing flaw was robbing me of maximum leverage and speed through impact.

They always say “use the ground” in a golf swing, but the real way to “use the ground” is to have both feet firmly planted on it at impact.

Anything else is either not optimal at the least, all the way to dangerous and unsound at the extreme.

To conclude, there are two reasons for leading foot instability with regards to the golf swing, and you can add the third (insufficient leverage causing the knee snap) if you wish as it also is from the same issues – 1) Improper setup  and/or 2) improper mechanics.

4 thoughts on “Theory: Even A Rotary Swing Model Shouldn’t Cause Spinning

  1. peterallenby2013

    Watching an episode of Barstool golf on YouTube the other day, the team brought Rory McIlroy to the tee for some advice and observation of their driving techniques before they played a one-hole match with McIlroy using a single club versus the foursome from Barstool with their full arsenals. This is the dream team of hackdom, the cream of the crop for the pack of weekend warriors playing this great game. After watching each Stoolie hit, McIlroy’s suggestion immediately brought you to mind, DJ. His advice in every case? Change their setup! McIlroy would get set up in his address position, put tees in the ground at his toes and tell each guy to stand as he does, and tee the ball off of the front toe/instep.

    My point has nothing to do with the advice imparted except to note that everything in the swing starts with the setup. And since it is a static position, it is relatively simple to get into the correct setup! I think I’ve heard this somewhere before…

    Looking forward to your on-the-range applications of lessons learned over the winter!

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      My point has nothing to do with the advice imparted except to note that everything in the swing starts with the setup. And since it is a static position, it is relatively simple to get into the correct setup!

      That’s it right there, PA.

      Like the 3 Rules of Real Estate- with the 3 Rules Of Swing, instead of Location Location Location, you have Setup Setup & Setup.

      Without the proper location, real estate is a losing proposition. And without proper setup, the swing is doomed to inconsistency at the least and injury at the worst, if not both.

      Setup is the foundation of the swing. If a house has cracking walls because of a poor foundation, papering over the cracks won’t keep the whole thing crashing down eventually. Forget the cracks and get that foundation fixed.

      This is why I don’t do “swing tips.” A faulty swing, without fixing the setup, is not fixed by a swing tip. It’s merely papering over the cracks.

      Good to know someone’s paying attention! 😉

  2. Vanquish

    Hey DJ,

    MD looks so weightless after on the trail leg. The weight shift looks subtle when the left side comes thru after impact.

    Let me know when the pre release is for the video, as usual.

    -Vanquish

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Hi Vanquish!

      MD looks so weightless after on the trail leg.

      That’s the full shift into the leading foot, just like walking. You won’t see that in many places, will you?

      As for any video, I don’t anticipate having anything on the burner at least until May/June – I’ve got to make sure the model works exactly as it should with yours truly as the featured swinger, then I won’t be shooting anything for a video until we’re back onto grass, which is usually early May.

      If all goes well, I think the final MCS Classic Golf Swing video will be the first thing cooking, as I work on the Post-Modern model. Even if I’ve got the Post-Modern nailed, the work is far from complete with regards to formatting a tutorial in a way people can grasp and implement – otherwise, it’s just another swing video on that particular way of swinging that no one except the presenter can perform.

      So, lots of work left before any type of video, but the finish line is in sight!

      DJ

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