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Early Extension Analysis - Pros Vs Ams

In this analysis video, we discuss the key features of the full swing early extension pattern. If you struggle with consistency, hooks and blocks when swinging hard or mishitting wedges, this video will help you understand what may be happening.

Tags: Early Extension, Analysis, Concept, Intermediate, Beginner

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In this analysis video, we're going to go over the swing pattern early extension.

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Early extension is when the pelvis moves in towards the golf ball and typically the thorax raises.

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It is easier to see on 3D, but on video, there are a couple different ways that we can look at it.

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First, we can look at if we go to the top of the swing, if we were to draw a line along

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the tailbone, or along the backside, because you can't really see the tailbone at this point.

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So somewhere close to that, you can also look at it by drawing a line on the forehead.

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During the downswing, those two points should stay relatively the same in the ideal situation.

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But there are a variety of reasons why players are late extend, which we'll go through in this video.

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But here, you'll see one where the upper body is doing the majority of early extending.

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And then on the left, you'll see one where the lower body is doing the majority of the early extending.

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Of the swing patterns that we're discussing, early extension is by far the most prevalent among high level golfers and is even common on tour.

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So here we have Bill Hoss on the left, and you'll see during the majority of the downswing,

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that upper body is working away from the golf ball.

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Here we have Jason Duffner, and you'll see a similar movement where that upper body or head is working away from the golf ball.

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And now here on the left, we have Paul Casey demonstrating more of a lower body driven early extension,

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where his head still stays relatively up against the golf ball, but his pelvis clearly moves in towards the golf ball.

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Now one of the things that you'll see with the upper body is the tour level early extension,

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tends to have a more subtle lift of the upper body, where the amateur version tends to have a more exaggerated lift of the upper body.

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Here's an example of that single digit golf handicap golfer, doing more of a lift as his thorax moves backward as his pelvis moves forward.

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There are a variety of reasons why players will early extend, and that's where we'll spend the bulk of our time today.

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From a power face and path point of view, there are a variety of reasons why golfers will early extend,

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and a lot of benefits that it can cause for the golf swing.

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Let's first look at power.

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This early extension movement is very similar to a vertical jump or a deadlift, which are both very powerful movements for the hips and back to create speed.

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So a golfer that is not going to create a lot of speed from their trunk rotation may overuse their lower body in order to create or in order to create as much speed as they possibly can.

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Here's another example of a golfer doing it more from the back bend point of view, where the golfer on the right is doing it more from the hip extension point of view.

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From a path perspective, early extension is one of the easiest ways to shallow out the club.

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The more that the posture gets vertical, the more that the chest is going to be pointing out away from the golf ball.

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The more that you were to bend forward, the more that the chest would be pointing at the golf ball.

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Either way, the more that you stand up, the more that you early extend, the more that it is going to shallow out the club, which helps account for a lot of overly steep movements, such as a steep arm plane.

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Or a forward lunge with the upper body drifting on top of the golf ball.

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There are a variety of reasons why you would want to shallow out the path from the body's point of view instead of doing it from the arms point of view.

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But this overall pattern of doing it more from the body tends to produce the common ball flight pattern of the early extension.

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Our leg extension tends to have an overly into out swing path, which tends to produce thin shots, fat shots, difficulty with wedges, but typically a very good driver of the golf ball.

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One of the other major reasons why a lot of golfers early extend is early extending will cause your arms to line up more with the golf ball impact,

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which tends to create a fast closing or a fast amount of face rotation.

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This face rotation can be very helpful for a golfer who tends to leave the club face more open.

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So, we'll bring up an example of what I think is one of the more clear examples of why early extension will help you close the face.

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So here we have a golfer demonstrating some more late early extension.

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So if you notice what those first two examples it was straight from the top of the swing that we saw a pronounced movement of the body.

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Here he could look like he's going to stay pretty much in his posture and then as he gets down close to the release you will see that stand up move.

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The reason why or the reason why I would believe based on the 3D and video data is if we were to take a look at the club face.

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During this early part of the downswing you'll see that it is closing very very slowly.

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So the point where he gets down to about waist height and it's still pointing relatively straight up and down but it's been pointing straight up and down for the majority of that early downswing.

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So his hand motion is doing more of a release almost underplane and this early extension or standing up as you see will start to cause that club face to close very very quickly.

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So the club face is still in a fairly open position down here with only a few feet before the golf ball.

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The only way he's going to get it to close is if he gets his arms to line up which the easiest way he's going to do that is if his body stands up.

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And we can compare that club face rotation to a golfer who does it more from more gradually and more from the hands.

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So if we were to look at Adam Scott here and we'll take him to where club faces are relatively clear to see.

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You'll see that the club is kind of following a little bit more of a gradual closing.

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So when we get him down to this point here. Adam Scott has the golf club pointing more or less at the golf ball, right?

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You can see that the club face is pointing in the general direction of the golf ball where this amateur has the club face pointing much further out to the right.

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If I were to guess I would say that it's probably a difference in say 20 30 degrees in terms of closure.

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So he's going to have to close the club face very quickly where Adam can continue to gradually close it until he reaches point or contact with the golf ball.

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Now let's look at the face on view now that we know what the club face kind of looks like.

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So we know that in Adam's case it's gradually closing and we can see pretty hard with the blur of the club, but we know that this was about the point where the club was pointing more or less at the golf ball.

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We know that with this amateur you can clearly see the club face is still pointing out at us.

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If you were to get his hands ahead with more body rotation that would actually open the club face even more and he would have a high likelihood of shaking it were very least hitting it very far to the right hitting the club face.

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Because Adam has gradually closed this club face.

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He can have forward shaft lean and he can have his hands ahead but still have the club face pointing in the direction of the target.

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This golfer is going the golfer on the left is going to stand up during this last phase and if you look at his head compared to the top of the screen you'll see there's the early extension in order to get it to quickly close during this last little interval here.

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The way he's getting it to close is by having his hands dead in line with the club as it emerges impact which is what will get the club face to rotate and close the fastest.

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One of the combination movements with a relief extension is going to be the cast movement.

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So if a player does not necessarily for a lunge or sometimes even if they do they're going to need to create a shallow movement to take away or to increase the space between their chest and the golf ball.

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Because this right arm is going to be extending in the cast pattern if a golfer was to stay all the way to maintain their posture and stay down and cover the golf ball they would tend to hit behind it.

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Especially if they were to include the normal shallow move of side bend or access to.

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So what frequently happens is a golfer will cast and now their hands get a fair distance away from their body.

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As a result they're going to have to stand up to prevent the club from hitting the ground and to quickly shallow out the swing at the bottom.

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So if you decide that this is a pattern that you want to work on here's a little bit of guidance.

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If you tend to see the early extension happen quickly from the top of the swing it is most likely going to be either a power or a path issue.

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If you tend to see the early extension happen later such as the golfer is doing it right there it's tending to be more of a face closure and maybe a path.

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If it tends to happen gradually through the entire downswing similar to the Jason Duffner then it is most likely going to be a way of helping to control the path.

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Now there's Jason Duffner demonstrating that gradual early extension help bring the path in the direction that he wants.

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Now the typical pattern for early extension is going to have an overly into out path which is going to cause golfers to struggle with the pull hook chances are if any golfer struggles with big hooks or big pull hooks it's usually a path that's to into out with a club face that's closed.

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Now the struggle is if you're going to try to get out of the early extension pattern as we've seen you're going to have to learn to close the club face a little bit earlier and which will help allow you to have forward chef lean inside been that forward chef lean will delay the closing of the club face that you are now doing earlier.

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That combination which you'll see in the drills is what helps get you to maintain your posture a little bit better which helps control your consistency a contact and the consistency of your path through the ball.

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So the more that you can get that handle ahead by staying down the more that it will help eliminate that fear of the snap hook.

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As you will see with this golfer on the left if we measure the distance between the chest and the golf club you can see that the furthest that's going to be is when his arms are straight.

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Now as I've talked about in the follow-through position most tour golfers are going to reach their furthest point somewhere out around here.

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But those who early extend will frequently hit this furthest point pretty much as they're making contact or slightly slightly after.

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If he was going to get his hands a little bit more ahead.

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Basically he needs to create some slack and the only way he would create some slack is if his upper body was closer to the golf ball that would allow his hands to work ahead and still make contact with the golf ball.

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So hopefully that helps clears up this complicated issue of early extension.

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There's a variety of reasons why golfers do it most of them are good but the overall pattern can cause some limitations when you get to an elite level.

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There are lots of single digit golfers who struggle with this early extension and to the degree that they do it it's the major reason why they have trouble or reach certain platos and have trouble with iron consistency.

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Wedge shots and fearing the hook.

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