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How do I fix my laid off/flat backswing?


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I am taking lessons & improving, but seeing this from this morning is really frustrating. Trying everything... Any thoughts as to why I'm so laid off as well as flat?

 

I have actually been making good contact lately, but sometimes struggle with hosel rockets or lack of distance.

 

Thanks!

IMG_4964.mov

Edited by ashley barrett 310
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Not to sound like captain obvious, but you're laid off and flat because you're taking the club back miles inside which will put you in a laid off and flat position. From there you are actually doing a good job of not coming over the top (which many people would do from this position), but as a result you are now coming into the ball from an equally excessively inside path which requires tons of extra timing to keep the ball on the planet. As is usually the case with issues like this you are also forced to stall your rotation to give yourself a window to time up hitting the ball somewhere other than where your path wants it to go (which is straight right). 

Everything that you are doing now could fall into place and work much more consistently if you were in a more serviceable position at the top. Laid off and flat isn't a bad thing on its own, but it is when it's this excessive. Let's look at Jon Rahm to see what managing a flatter, laid off position looks like with a short swing:

RahmGif.gif.349465b9aff8c3868f141c4322141c62.gifEE.gif.6cf8009e2ea7d5a8a4be60b5b697e399.gif

Lots of things to unpack here. First starting with the takeaway we see Rahm's clubhead right over the top of his hands whereas your clubhead immediately gets way inside and behind you. This would be the first thing to address to help get you more neutral and on plane, like the little 1/4 swing pre shot routine you may have seen Justin Thomas or Rickie Fowler do at times. Taking the club back to P2 (parallel to the ground) and looking back to see the position of the clubhead. Whatever you choose to try, the feeling will be that the club is moving straight backwards away from the ball, which will probably feel pretty alien if you've been swinging like this for any meaningful period of time. 

On to the top of the swing, we see the advantage of a laid off position with Rahm as the shaft is nearly on plane at the top of the swing. This allows him to just drop his hands and rotate since he doesn't need to worry about any big compensations to get the club on plane, it's already pretty much there. On your end we see the very exaggerated laid off position where the club is significantly flatter than the plane you established at address and your hands are way too deep (behind you). Rahm is laid off at the top, but his hands are basically right over the balls of his feet, whereas yours are well behind your heels. In order to get back on plane from here you would actually need to execute a sort of over the top compensation move in transition, kinda similar to what Rickie Fowler did in his earlier 2012-2013 days. The interesting thing though is that instead of doing that, you do exactly what Rahm does in that you let your hands drop down. This by itself is actually a good feeling to hang on to as many people struggle with this, the only problem is that instead of dropping down from a neutral hand position to stay on plane with your arms connected to your rotation, your dropping down from an extremely disconnected and shallow position  that puts you SEVERELY under plane and way inside. If you were to rotate "correctly" from this position you would be closer to hitting a little league tee ball than a golf ball on the ground. 

As a result of being so far under plane, you stall your rotation and early extend, pulling away from the red line behind you and towards the ball. This is all necessary to keep from hitting the ball directly into the nets to your right. The solution is to neutralize these exaggerated and problematic positions, starting with your takeaway that immediately sucks inside. From a more neutral position at the top you can do literally the same things you are doing now and the result will by dropping down on plane which will free to you up to rotate properly (watch Rahm's hips, their relation to the red line behind him, and where they are at impact). How you go about doing this will depend on your willingness to practice and the quality of the teacher you are working with. Best of luck, and feel free to post progress videos here!

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6 hours ago, Valtiel said:

Not to sound like captain obvious, but you're laid off and flat because you're taking the club back miles inside which will put you in a laid off and flat position. From there you are actually doing a good job of not coming over the top (which many people would do from this position), but as a result you are now coming into the ball from an equally excessively inside path which requires tons of extra timing to keep the ball on the planet. As is usually the case with issues like this you are also forced to stall your rotation to give yourself a window to time up hitting the ball somewhere other than where your path wants it to go (which is straight right). 

Everything that you are doing now could fall into place and work much more consistently if you were in a more serviceable position at the top. Laid off and flat isn't a bad thing on its own, but it is when it's this excessive. Let's look at Jon Rahm to see what managing a flatter, laid off position looks like with a short swing:

RahmGif.gif.349465b9aff8c3868f141c4322141c62.gifEE.gif.6cf8009e2ea7d5a8a4be60b5b697e399.gif

Lots of things to unpack here. First starting with the takeaway we see Rahm's clubhead right over the top of his hands whereas your clubhead immediately gets way inside and behind you. This would be the first thing to address to help get you more neutral and on plane, like the little 1/4 swing pre shot routine you may have seen Justin Thomas or Rickie Fowler do at times. Taking the club back to P2 (parallel to the ground) and looking back to see the position of the clubhead. Whatever you choose to try, the feeling will be that the club is moving straight backwards away from the ball, which will probably feel pretty alien if you've been swinging like this for any meaningful period of time. 

On to the top of the swing, we see the advantage of a laid off position with Rahm as the shaft is nearly on plane at the top of the swing. This allows him to just drop his hands and rotate since he doesn't need to worry about any big compensations to get the club on plane, it's already pretty much there. On your end we see the very exaggerated laid off position where the club is significantly flatter than the plane you established at address and your hands are way too deep (behind you). Rahm is laid off at the top, but his hands are basically right over the balls of his feet, whereas yours are well behind your heels. In order to get back on plane from here you would actually need to execute a sort of over the top compensation move in transition, kinda similar to what Rickie Fowler did in his earlier 2012-2013 days. The interesting thing though is that instead of doing that, you do exactly what Rahm does in that you let your hands drop down. This by itself is actually a good feeling to hang on to as many people struggle with this, the only problem is that instead of dropping down from a neutral hand position to stay on plane with your arms connected to your rotation, your dropping down from an extremely disconnected and shallow position  that puts you SEVERELY under plane and way inside. If you were to rotate "correctly" from this position you would be closer to hitting a little league tee ball than a golf ball on the ground. 

As a result of being so far under plane, you stall your rotation and early extend, pulling away from the red line behind you and towards the ball. This is all necessary to keep from hitting the ball directly into the nets to your right. The solution is to neutralize these exaggerated and problematic positions, starting with your takeaway that immediately sucks inside. From a more neutral position at the top you can do literally the same things you are doing now and the result will by dropping down on plane which will free to you up to rotate properly (watch Rahm's hips, their relation to the red line behind him, and where they are at impact). How you go about doing this will depend on your willingness to practice and the quality of the teacher you are working with. Best of luck, and feel free to post progress videos here!

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this! It's funny, that initial take away move to P2 is something I worked on a bunch in the beginning, but I guess old habits die hard. And now I'm focused on so many different things that I can't see the forest through the trees.

 

I will now just dedicate getting to P2 correctly. Are you able to tell from that clip why I suck it inside? Forearm rotation, disconnected from body or something else?

 

Thank you again!

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Wow, it’s super hard to give definitive advice, because the camera angle isn’t great. That said, I’d work on:

 

Not being so upright with your posture. Look at these not bad dudes:

 

C4C2AF08-5A87-4C31-B616-EC81DE3D3DE4.jpeg.f9258f319d89329f6f88511c3d081551.jpeg

 

See how their posture is a little shlumpy? That helps get your shoulder turn a touch steeper. Yours is kinda flat, because your back is so straight and in an “S” posture. That promotes your arms getting flung behind you. 

 

I’d also work on feeling like the your arms lift up immediately with no forearm rotation. It will make your arm and hand path feel like a Ferris wheel, or like you’re hitting a bunker shot. You’ll feel like you’re not turning at all, but if you look at it on video, your lead arm will be just at or above your shoulder line, and not so far behind you. Think Justin Thomas:

 

7FAAE6FF-67D5-415E-A9C5-CBACA81345F5.jpeg.ac29ec142b35e36984195c113e5c8636.jpeg

 

Your arms will not even get close to that high. Also, look at his back turn (I prefer that to shoulder turn). See how his left shoulder is under him a little more? You’ll feel more centered, and you’ll feel like you have more room for your arms to come down— not so “stuck”. It’ll feel super weird, but practice with video doing really slow full swings. Soon, you’ll start taking divots and all that good stuff.

 

Hope that adds to the great advice above!

 

 

 

 

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How to film your golf swing:

 

Down The Line

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12 hours ago, ashley barrett 310 said:

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this! It's funny, that initial take away move to P2 is something I worked on a bunch in the beginning, but I guess old habits die hard. And now I'm focused on so many different things that I can't see the forest through the trees.

 

I will now just dedicate getting to P2 correctly. Are you able to tell from that clip why I suck it inside? Forearm rotation, disconnected from body or something else?

 

Thank you again!


You're welcome! To continue with what @Scottbox said above, you'll need to focus on what you're doing with your hands and your shoulders and how they are connected. The approach/intention should be the the rotation of the shoulders/upper body creates the movement to get the club moving, and the hands merely lift the club up, so it is a shoulder-centric movement with the hands acting in a supporting capacity. What you're doing is immediately guiding the club inside and behind you with your hands and your shoulders are following by losing what little tilt you did have at address (ScottBox is correct in that your address position and lack of tilt is also an issue). This is basically a baseball swing at this point that is being led by hands that are moving in the wrong direction, and your question about forearm rotation etc is the common path that people go down when trying to address the issue. Yes it is a bit of a hands/arms problem, but the solution is not to focus on your hands/arms to fix it, but rather to practice completely pacifying them to get used to the feeling of leading with the bigger muscles. 

Most of us do way too much with our hands and arms, especially in initiating the backswing and in transition, and underutilize the rest of our body, either due to an incorrect approach to the swing in general or out of necessity due to bad positions that we have gotten ourselves in. I don't want to go off on too much of a tangent about swing theory or anything too heady or conceptual, but it is important to have a baseline intuitive understanding of what is generally right and wrong. There are tons of ways to swing the golf club, but those that perform at the highest level will never be far from the handful of key fundamental positions that are pretty universal. 

As for your current swing, you are so far to one extreme that it will take time and effort to get you away from that. I am a believer in understanding what the extremes feel like so we know where the middle truly is, so with the ease of videoing at your disposal I would recommend trying lots of different things, specifically attempting the extreme opposite of what you're doing now. Try to get into a backswing position like Justin Thomas above, or near as you can, just to see what it feels like, because the problem with getting stuck in one extreme is that it takes a big effort to get away from it, effort that I think instructors are hesitant to make make you try because it can be frustrating and demoralizing, which isn't good for return business. So try some extreme stuff and post videos if you can. You'll likely find at first that despite considerable effort, your swing doesn't look much different. This will normally be because we are terrified of not hitting the ball well, so that will be the first hurdle. Get comfortable with the idea of playing some bad golf for a bit, it will be necessary!

 

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Thank you @Valtiel and @Scottbox both! @Scottbox I have already tried the posture thing and it has helped dramatically in terms of getting the shoulders less flat. I watched a couple youtube vids on how to find the correct posture at address and I was definitely standing way too tall/straight. It now feels like my chest is pointing down towards the ball more. Already feeling better. And @Valtiel my next thing I'll be working on this week is initiating the backswing w/ the shoulders/torso instead of arms/hands, ala more of the one piece feeling.

 

I'll post updated vid soon.

 

Really appreciate it!

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Okay, friends... had a moment to practice this morning. Does posture look better here @Scottbox ?

And @Valtiel is takeaway more on plane? There's 2 different swings here. Was just really trying to focus on lead shoulder going down to the ball and arms/hands more passive.

 

Obviously, the original swing was on the course with driver and this is a 9 iron so, there will be some natural differences in being less laid off, but I think a bit improved?

 

Would love to hear your thoughts...

 

Thanks!

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15 hours ago, ashley barrett 310 said:

Okay, friends... had a moment to practice this morning. Does posture look better here @Scottbox ?

And @Valtiel is takeaway more on plane? There's 2 different swings here. Was just really trying to focus on lead shoulder going down to the ball and arms/hands more passive.

 

Obviously, the original swing was on the course with driver and this is a 9 iron so, there will be some natural differences in being less laid off, but I think a bit improved?

 

Would love to hear your thoughts...

 

Thanks!

IMG_0903.mov IMG_0904.mov


Those lines and positions in terms of your hands and the club are definitely more manageable for sure. It seems like you're going to gravitate towards a more laid off position and I think what you have above is perfectly fine in that regard and regards to your spine tilt. However there are still two major foundational issues you'll need to address before you can start seeing some improvement. 

The first is how you're moving your weight, or more accurately how you aren't:

1438463027_ScreenShot2021-05-27at9_13_43PM.png.50a77285e2535a57007885e2a0e2fa46.png

441965428_ScreenShot2021-05-27at9_37_29PM.png.3ca9b9b3c5293bd27339ab1582fa4e90.png

Looking at your panels, you're setting up a bit forward/in front of the ball (not a bad thing on its own) but then you're getting stuck there and not getting off your front side. To use the throwing analogy, this is like a pitcher in baseball staying on their front leg while trying to throw the ball....obviously this doesn't work and no one would approach pitching this way. Same thing in golf, weight has to move back before it can move forward, otherwise you have no foundation or momentum to initiate your transition with and no power loaded in your legs to do so. Looking at Rory, you can see how even with a short iron he is getting loaded into that trail leg/thigh and getting his center of gravity behind the ball. This is a powerful position that is both stable and ready to move. Your position at the top is unstable and will only really allow you to swing your upper body/hands, which is exactly what happens next:

276363197_ScreenShot2021-05-27at9_44_21PM.png.0f402008e3fdcfea5964de547bdbce7d.png

Since Rory moved back, he can now shift his weight forward and rotate, leading with the lower body, clearing his hips, and allowing the arms to trail and get into this classic hands forward position. Since you didn't move back and stayed on your front side, you don't have a stable platform to shift your weight, so just like the pitcher that stayed on his front leg, all you can do is throw your arms, which leads to this equally classic cast/flip position where your hands/arms have outraced your lower body as seen above.  

The second issue is connected to the first but helps to view from the DTL angle. 

FollowupGolfTec.gif.1f68dd40a415c56ea770108af7ebc532.gif

First off, while I don't have any issue really with the plane or how the club is coming back, that head dip and turn is unnecessary and destructive. I imagine you're trying to exaggerate the feeling of spine tilt here, but your head needs to stay pretty still, both vertically and rotationally. The club however is perfectly matching your spine angle which is great. 

FollowupGolfTec2.gif.d150b65cbf8180c9fb2b78ac6bb108e4.gif

Next we see you approaching the top of the swing, shallowing, and starting to drop. This is all great stuff in isolation here, I like it. What comes next though is a product of ths issues I covered above with the weight shift and rotation issues and throws a wrench in the works:

FollowupGolfTec3.gif.83819c0d699ce968768e98a7a8ff37c1.gifRahmDownswing.gif.9f532298f0e26c8e8524776ad0ff19ff.gif

After you start dropping your hands, the lack of proper sequencing and loading with the lower body starts getting in the way. In this entire four frame sequence, your hips basically don't rotate at all while your hands are traveling a massive distance. This is you casting/flipping the club and early extending, and it is the downstream effect of all the weight transfer issues I highlighted up at the top. Compare to Rahm and his hips which are rotating in every single frame, staying ahead of his arms. This is why this stuff is so hard, because without proper weight transfer and rotation to kick things off, you can't lead with that stored power in transition, and without that you end up leading with your arms which then leads to your lovely laid off position at the top steepening and your angles being thrown away. This all culminates in the very unathletic and unsexy goat hump at impact:

FollowupGolfTec4.gif.2fd0e86ea464e808f492171afb4094e1.gifRahmImpact.gif.f9a2ddeab6b4cc338412b1266400a557.gif

So in summary, you're off to a good start but you need to calm your head movements and get a proper, strong weight transfer happening to set yourself up properly. The entire advantage of a more laid off position at the top of the swing is that you have very little work to shallow the club and get it on plane, you really just need to rotate and drop the hands (like Rahm above). But without the proper setup to rotate correctly, you can't capitalize on this.

I hope that all makes sense! 

Edited by Valtiel

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@Valtiel you are amazing. I feel like I should Venmo you some money. Going to focus on the initial takeaway and getting that weight shift going. Just doing in the living room already feels way more natural and smooth.

 

I'll post a follow up video soon. And thanks again for the thought/effort put into your reply.

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Your tilting isn't a bad thing...it is actually a good thing and it is okay for your head to make a small "swing" also so long as your head remains steady, which it is.  

 

Your early extension will likely be solved by understanding how to torque against the ground.  This is causing a chain reaction in which you early extend then have to compensate with the hands or you would miss the ball. 

 

This should also help you get into a better position to not give up your lag tension prior to impact which is a no go. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, ashley barrett 310 said:

@Valtiel you are amazing. I feel like I should Venmo you some money. Going to focus on the initial takeaway and getting that weight shift going. Just doing in the living room already feels way more natural and smooth.

 

I'll post a follow up video soon. And thanks again for the thought/effort put into your reply.


Hah no problem! Just kick 10% of your tournament winnings my way and we'll call it even. 😅

One last small thing that I thought of this morning regarding weight transfer:

RahmImpact.gif.73f16720e0c07e7b29f0641ebf99135c.gifFollowupGolfTec4.gif.8a0e901b734b0593ff160a561d8fb870.gif

I wanted to highlight the direction your weight is moving just to make sure we drive home the intention behind the proper weight transfer. With your pro, the clearing and rotating into impact has a majority of their weight moving towards the target, which you can clearly see in his feet. With a stalled/early extension move, your weight is mostly moving towards the ball. Just something to keep in mind as you start working on this, i'm glad it's already feeling natural at home! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wanted to send a swing video update!

 

The main thing I've been focusing on is really turning my hips and body away from the target in the backswing... almost feeling like I'm turning my back to it. Feels like I'm swinging with more than just my arms now.  @Valtiel I think that's allowing me to get my hips pivoting more in the direction you had suggested (video of Rahm).

 

Here's the good news... Swinging this way feels WAY more natural, free flowing and I am hitting the ball better than I have have. No more hosel rockets and my missed shots are pretty minor. It feels AMAZING! But here's the bad news: It looks like I'm still laid off?

 

Here's 2 videos from this morning. The 2nd one (for some reason it didn't record first move away from the ball) I just slowed down my backswing a lot more so I could intentionally feel where the club was the whole time... and the funny thing is that one I actually hit 8 yards farther. 

 

I would love to hear your thoughts. Are things looking better, mechanics wise?

 

Thanks!

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You still have some issues here that're really going to bite you with your longer irons. Here you are at impact in your new video:


image.png.b1a84fc0015ea185ba2152160f57e9dd.png

 

Look how your clubface has out-paced your hands to the ball. Look at your hips completely closed. Look at your head position over your back leg, where all your weight is collapsing towards.

This is going to rob you of compression and power. Your backswing is still too "low and outside" and it's ruining your center of gravity and stopping you from getting through the ball:

image.png.cb1623b4f84942c070d1de4b71d28c43.png

 

While you're getting more "depth" to your swing, it's coming at the cost of a stable base. Your weight is never transferring into the back of your trail foot, you're still up on your toes, despite your club head almost immediately leaving your sphere of gravity during your take-away.

Here you are at the absolute top of your swing:

 

image.png.a2d3b07fa00f44096c4bcc1d89f03606.png

 

That back elbow is so far away from your body you could tuck a couple of phone books in there. Look at all your weight still in your back toes and look at where your back/sternum are stacking over your back leg instead of staying "centered." Too much!! You can't get through the ball with your core from here. So you flip your wrists and your hands/handle get behind your clubface. Going to cause all sorts of fats, thins, skulls, and distance issues with less lofted clubs.

Worry less about getting "all the way back" and worry more about getting "all the way through" your swing.

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Thanks for this @BraxtonFullerton ! When you say my backswing is still too "low and outside" are you referring to the clubhead being too far out from my shoulder?

It's funny you mention the space under my elbow... My coach actually has been wanting me to do that because I think my elbow was too tucked/never seperated from my body, which lead to the club being more laid off.

 

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4 hours ago, ashley barrett 310 said:

Thanks for this @BraxtonFullerton ! When you say my backswing is still too "low and outside" are you referring to the clubhead being too far out from my shoulder?

It's funny you mention the space under my elbow... My coach actually has been wanting me to do that because I think my elbow was too tucked/never seperated from my body, which lead to the club being more laid off.

 

 

If your'e going to have your elbow out like that, then you need to get your hands high. Not Bubba high, but high:

 

image.png.f8bc09f23f4079e1bbd57b2e43beae9c.png

 

But look at Jordan Spieth:

 

image.png.d70fb4b4aa1ad0553fd257cf051fb89e.png

 

If you want to go that far outside, your balance and core training/conditioning has to be perfect, like Rory:

 

image.png.05390d1f6f26f78ef5cd24d18e753c9c.png

 

In all 3 cases, look at their back foot, their weight is loaded into their heels, which allows them to properly transition and get "through" the ball. Here's yours:


image.png.6b4b0abf5d15cd84082d68238c6397fe.png
 

If you properly loaded your weight onto your heel in this position you'd probably be falling back, away from the ball. Work on heel loading and getting your hands higher, but staying within your body. Look at their poses, not one has their hands lined up outside their rear.

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Titleist TSR2 9* - Ventus TR Red 6X

Titleist TS3 4W 16.5* - T1100 Evenflow White 6.5

W/S UT 20* - HZRDUS Black RDX 6.0

Callaway Apex '19 4-PW - PX Rifle 6.0

Vokey SM9 49* - PX Rifle 6.0

Vokey SM8 54/58 - PX Rifle 6.0

SINK 1992 Custom

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Again, thank you @BraxtonFullerton for all this. Apparently one big thing that's happening is I'm losing my inclination to the ground/spine tilt, which if I rotated with my correct spine tllt, my hands would probably be in the middle of my elbows (like all those in the photos) and my weight would be in a better place in my feet.

 

I love this forum so much!

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