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Over the top move is a sneaky little devil.


jportz
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Why does your body want to swing this way?
I'm a good player and understand casting and swinging over the top and lunging and all the other "bad moves" that ruin a golf swing. Why is it that our body naturally wants to swing over the top? I have to consciously think to swing "down" and through the ball to keep my hands close to my body through impact but my natural tendency is for my hands to swing out away from my body which of course forces the club over the top.

How do I make the "down" move feel natural? Is it just from hours and hours of practice? I'll be swinging great for a week and then I'll start hitting these low and left hooks....after some frustration I find that my swing has somehow worked it's way to a little over-the-top move and then I have to work to 're-train' my swing to come through low and inside.

Just wondering...is this something I'm going to struggle with for ever? Will the down and inside move ever feel natural to me?
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Depends on YOUR definition of "over the top"......mine is the lower body spinning out and the upper body working too "high" and left too quickly.....almost always caused in a good player by their NOT reaching their left pivot point in the transition OR their upper body "sliding" out "ahead of it" in the transition.......in a poor player a VERY poor backswing that is waaaay too much "inside".....

 

 

HOWEVER "portz," IF "over the top" to you means the arms working OVER the plane they swung upon in the backswing then you'd be surprised how many GREAT ballstrikers swung "over the top".......Hogan, Moe Norman, Venturi, Knudson, Mac O'Grady, etc. The secret is a proper backswing "pivot" and the shaft and clubhead have to be in a postion so that they don't work over the top (on a steeper plane) as well........

 

ALL of the aforementioned players had the arms/shaft/clubhead in a position that the shaft/clubhead actually shallowed while the arms worked "over"......that's what the arm's "naturally" want to do for most players as most players don't want to work laterally, but want to work "rotationally".....

 

IMOP, for most players, dropping the arms "UNDER" the plane they went back on isn't a "natural" move as it requires quite a bit of LEG "drive" (with the head usually working away from the target) to re-route the arms "under"......You can damn sure play great that way, see Furyk/Miller Barber, etc........Most great ballstrikers arms, that I've studied, work down on the same plane they went back upon or over it.......but, it won't work if the arms or the shaft are out of position........

 

I would bet your body/core is doing some good things, but, the arms are a bit out of position/out of "synch" in the backswing.....then you have to "fight" them on the way down......attempt to "stay to the inside" when your core is ready to rotate left......been there done that......

 

Of course, you could be a "spin-out" victim....in which case I'm way off base......hell, it could be a bunch of different things......:golfer: Ya' gotta' get some footage shot my friend.......this can be diagnosed and fixed in NO time!! (cool)

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I know I know...footage footage footage....I need to get a digital camera and tri-pod and keep that thing in my golf bag. The problem is that I practice every day but usually on my own and my only "swing coach" is my ball flight and divot pattern. So by the time I notice there's a glitch in my swing it's usually too late and takes days to figure out / correct.

 

Well if this is any help to you I find that I can hit the ball VERY solid by hitting with my feet together and neutralizing my lower body....but when I put my feet out at shoulder width something definitely gets out of synch and my shots are low and left. I feel like I may be swaying a little but again, hard to tell without video. For some reason when I move my feet out it makes me feel like I need to move a little laterally to get behind the ball and then again coming through to finish over my left foot.

 

From what my buddy told me at the range, he said that my hands were out too far at impact with my wrists being totally unhinged and outstretched which changed the angle of the shaft and clubface (closing it) at impact. It's funny you mention Furyk because that's who I was thinking of when I practiced getting my hands closer and inside on the dowswing....I started hitting the ball very well like this but it definitely felt like a "forced" move and not a natural way for me to swing.

 

My spidey-sense tells me that the root of my problem is somewhere in the lower body...my footwork / weight shift is off somehow. Perhaps my feet are too wide? Being a short guy should I try to keep my feet a little closer together and stand a little taller to maximize my height? Maybe I'm too wide and that's causing problems....could it cause problems? I've been told my feet get a little wide at times....hmmm.

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Oh yeah and also....if I go back and pause at the top I can come through solid. So that makes me think that maybe I'm not complete with my backswing before my lower body starts its action. I was doing a drill where I would go back and pause for a "one" count before starting the downswing. It was VERY hard for me to stop like that at the top but I was hitting the ball solid like that also.

 

Not sure if any of this will help you diagnose me without video but you've worked magic with me in the past so I'm glad you jumped in to help me on this one.

 

I need video pointers....cheap....I guess it has to be digital so I can load it on the computer right?

 

I have a camcorder that is 8mm but don't know how to convert it to digital....so I guess I need a new camera eh?

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Oh yeah and also....if I go back and pause at the top I can come through solid. So that makes me think that maybe I'm not complete with my backswing before my lower body starts its action. I was doing a drill where I would go back and pause for a "one" count before starting the downswing. It was VERY hard for me to stop like that at the top but I was hitting the ball solid like that also.

 

Not sure if any of this will help you diagnose me without video but you've worked magic with me in the past so I'm glad you jumped in to help me on this one.

 

I need video pointers....cheap....I guess it has to be digital so I can load it on the computer right?

 

I have a camcorder that is 8mm but don't know how to convert it to digital....so I guess I need a new camera eh?

 

 

NOT necessarily.......you just have to find a way to transfer to the computer.......via firewire or "S video".....even USB......some 8mm will have it, most won't so you'll have to have a "converter" in which you plug the RCA plugs into and which converts the signal so that it can then be sent to the computer.......almost all mini DV do have some way of transferring directly to the computer........

 

 

This paragraph does "tip me off a bit"......

 

"Well if this is any help to you I find that I can hit the ball VERY solid by hitting with my feet together and neutralizing my lower body....but when I put my feet out at shoulder width something definitely gets out of synch and my shots are low and left. I feel like I may be swaying a little but again, hard to tell without video. For some reason when I move my feet out it makes me feel like I need to move a little laterally to get behind the ball and then again coming through to finish "

 

When you place your feet together you CANNOT "sway" one IOTA.....the ONLY thing you can do is either swing 100% with your arms, which isn't very effective or powerful.......OR......you MUST rotate the "core" back and through to create "armspeed".....because your trunk/core is FORCED to wind/unwind in a TIGHT axis (ALMOST a SINGLE axis as the two pivot points are so close together, but, in reality you will transfer into the right axis and then simply, from unwinding properly, TRANSFER to the LEFT pivot point...that's why, even with your feet together, you'll FEEL your right heel being PULLED off the ground in the finish and your on top of your left leg and rotated left......even with your feet together there IS a "pivot"......just a "smaller" one.....:golfer:)

 

I'd bet you've got yourself the classic good player "sway-load" going on in the backswing.....UNNECESSARY

LATERAL movement which a LOT of very good players have in their swings in an attempt to "get to their right side"/"get behind the ball".........

 

When you sway your right pivot point changes/moves and its VERY difficult to TURN INTO "it"......you "slide" OVER it......and even if you manage to "recover" and get turned in behind the ball you've now moved "off the ball" and MUST "slide" your WHOLE body laterallly in the transition to get back into a decent relationship relative to the ball.......get the ARC back in position relative to the ball so that the ball is "where it should be" at impact........

 

IF you stay where you are at the top your dead as your now too far behind the ball and IF your lower body drives enough to get to your left pivot point your upper body will be waaaaay "underneath" it with NO chance of squaring the face without "slingin'/releasin" the arms.......result: HOOKS usually.....snap hooks IF you don't time it right........

 

IF you do slide back towards the ball with your whole body the head has to "stablilize" (stop moving laterally)at just the right moment or you'll get too much "on top" of the ball........fine for an iron, but, NOT good for a driver.......result: "wipe rights", pulls, pull hooks, pull fades......."stablilize" the head/spine at just the right time and you can hit it great......(Ballard).......

 

In other words, "sliding" the body laterally in the backswing is NOT a good backswing IMOP.......too inconsistent and almost impossible to EVER ingrain a repeatable draw shot......or hit it high when you need ta' do so........will work fine when your "timing" is great.......but who wants to have to count on "perfect timing" all the time.....especially under pressure......

 

So, my answer to you is this, ELIMINATE the unnecessary lateral motion.......

 

Hit a LOT of balls with your feet together until you can get the "feeling" of basically just "winding" and "unwinding".......let the arms/club REACT....let the ball simply "get in the way".......

 

ALL of my good player/swinger students can easily hit the ball 90% or more of their "normal" distance WITH THEIR FEET TOGETHER without ANY loss of accuracy either.......they should be able to do so as they've been doing the "feet together drill" since they were lil' folk's........one of my all time favorite drills....... (cool)

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........................So, my answer to you is this, ELIMINATE the unnecessary lateral motion.......

 

Hit a LOT of balls with your feet together until you can get the "feeling" of basically just "winding" and "unwinding".......let the arms/club REACT....let the ball simply "get in the way".......

 

ALL of my good player/swinger students can easily hit the ball 90% or more of their "normal" distance WITH THEIR FEET TOGETHER without ANY loss of accuracy either.......they should be able to do so as they've been doing the "feet together drill" since they were lil' folk's........one of my all time favorite drills....... :golfer:

 

I also suffer from casting/over-the-top as well. I'm curious about your winding/unwinding statement.

 

One of my instructors enforces the idea of "turning in a barrell", or "swapping pockets", which essentially means that you lower body should drive the golf swing, by ROTATING, not sliding or swaying towards the target. (as some instructors tell you to "bump" your hips towards the target, and causes a lot of sliding/delofting) AS you mentioned - the arms are simply along for the ride - and tend to "drop in the slot" easier that way.

 

Would this be a good swing key as well? It seems to work for me sometimes, but I get VERY nervous about leaving the clubface/hands wide open, and slicing/pushing even more. Keeping my head/eyes focused at the ball through impact seems to help this.

 

This picture of Tiger demonstrates this well. His hips are VERY ROTATED, but his shoulders are perfectly square to the target line. Is this what you mean by "winding/unwinding"?? Your thoughts are welcome, as I REALLY want to get rid of my push/slice/over-the-top move.

 

img_348_10033.jpg

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Well, when you do the "feet together" drill you can't "bump" so it FEELS like your "winding and unwinding"......Sounds like your teacher is a Percy Boomer/John Redman fan....."turn in a barrel" (I use that image all the time..:golfer:) As to whether you need a "bump" FEELING to get to your left side that ALL depends on the "type" of pivot you have in YOUR swing.......some need quite a bit of lateral motion in the transition to get to their left side properly and some don't need nearly as much......so it's hard to speculate on your swing other than this......

 

IF you do a review of the tour results from the "swing analyzer" data you'll note that the tour average regarding their shoulders is that they are 5 degrees OPEN at address and 26 degrees OPEN at impact with some as much as 45 degrees open.......these are averages........some were basically right back where they started with their shoulders basically square and some were wide open.......when you analyze the players whose shoulders were square they ALL "released" the club with their arms.....arms/hands.......when you analyze the players who were wide open you can easily see that the clubhead is along for the ride and squaring itself.......In summary, "one man's over the top is another man's perfect".......what's correct for you might destroy another player and visa-versa......

 

The reasons for the VASTLY different upper body positioning at impact or that there are basically 2 ways of "releasing" a golf club.......you either MAKE it "release" with your arms.....arms/hands.......or you LET it happen as a result..........I call it "old school" vs. "modern" RELEASE......the old school RELEASE works from a more "underneath" position in the transition/downswing and the RELEASE is more "inside-out" and with their arms/hands or "down the line" with their arms/hands working across their body........ while the "modern" RELEASE is a simple "unwinding" of the torso to the left and the clubhead swings on an "inside to inside" ARC and when the ball gets in the way the face is squaring.......BOTH "types" of releases require the player to reach their left side.......you can't hit a golf ball very well if you don't.......

 

There are a number of differences between the two swing "types" and that's why you can get in serious trouble if you "mix and match" the two.......makes for some difficult to correct "issues" within the players golf swing .........IMOP

 

However, even in the "feet together drill" there is a weight TRANSITION both to the right and then to the left......but, as the 2 lower body pivot points are SO close together you won't/can't "bump".....you see, IF you pivot in a certain way your weight WILL transfer ITSELF without your having to think about "making it happen".......and IF done correctly you'll be shocked how far you can hit a golf ball.......GREAT for improving your balance too......then you can slowly widen your stance back to "normal," but, keep the same "feelings" in your swing that you develop while using the drill.......that's the "idea" behind drills anyway......."ingrain" the proper "feelings" into your swing........I call it "re-programming the golfswing software on your on-board computer"......(cool)

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I actually hit the ball so well in the feet together drill that I've considered playing that way....I do lose about 10% of distance but every single shot is solid, perfect trajectory, and online. What I've been doing lately is warming up with my feet together and then just barely spreading my feet so I can keep that same "feeling" in my full swing. The problem is that with my driver I feel like I'm too on top of the ball with my feet together instead of behind it....but today my local PGA Pro told me I was too far behind the ball and he doesn't like to see the spine angled away from the ball....he promotes a more square, stacked setup and likes to rotate his hips and shoulders on a level plane. What do you think about that? I can't see how I can hit the ball on the upswing without angleing my spine and shoulders a little.....curious what you think about that???

 

So your fix is to just continue with the feet together drill....make it a staple of my practice?

 

EDIT HERE>>>>> I went to the range today and just tried to focus on my shoulder turn...winding and unwinding and letting the hands and arms and club just go along for the ride. Man was I ever ripping that driver. I hit the ball great like this...just wind back and feel like my arms are almost lazy...just kind of slinging back and then unwind and the arms again...like limp noodles...just whipping through and the ball would just get in the way. Is this what you're talking about?

 

The only problem I had with it was that my head would come up a bit through impact...meaning I wasn't "seeing" the club hit the ball.....my shoulders felt like they were a bit open at impact with my arms lagging behind and whipping through....since my shoulders were rotating open ahead of the club, my head was turning forward also and by the time impact happened my head was looking a good 45 degrees ahead of where it was at set-up.

 

I've always been a handsy player and this felt like a great way to get my nervous fast twitch hand muscles out of the equation. Just let the ball get in the way and trust it.

 

Let me know if I'm on the right track here....it felt great today.

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Slicefixer I wish you were in Boston so I could take some lessons from you. These dialogues about the swing are some of the most sensible I have ever seen. (maybe you recommend someone around Boston who shares your swing philosophy . . . I really want to progess into the single digits this year)

 

Jportz I hear you. The feet together drill is my favorite drill/fixer of problems/get me back swinging. It is such a good drill mechanically and rhythmically I don't feel like I really ever need another full swing drill. It so emphazises a quality weight shift, smooth turn through the ball, and a fine tempo.

 

I strive to make full swings replicate that feeling - and can really feel it when things get too long, loose, and disconnected because it feels so different form the feet together "connectedness."

 

Slicefixer - what do you make of Baddeley's swing these days? Looked really compact, rotational, and solid from what I saw this past weekend. Would you consider it a good model?

 

This is all much more interesting than the brief I have been working on all week . . .

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