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Early Extension Overview

Early extension in a golf swing can be categorized in the following ways:

  • Excessive drive from the lower body
  • Pushing trail leg in toward the golf ball
  • Standing up to avoid hitting the ground
  • Common way of generating force in other sports
  • Weight moving into the toes during the downswing
  • A way to avoid hitting the ground with a scoop release

The frustrations of early extension

Early extension is one of the more frustrating of the swing patterns because of the inherent inconsistency built into it. Golfers who struggle with inconsistency almost always complain about having trouble making solid contact with irons off of the fairway, and in particular frequently struggle with wedges. The pattern is characterized by a standing up of the body or a movement of the hips in toward the golf ball during the downswing. This movement is accompanied by an early release of the arms and hands. Golfers who early extend will frequently describe themselves as a “picker” style of golfer. There are a number of issues with this problem that make it difficult to solve and we will attack them here one by one.

Power- for many golfers who early extend, doing so makes them feel powerful and makes them feel like they are able to hit the ball hard. This is because a forward thrust of your hips/pelvis is a movement associated with jumping and deadlifting (picking up a heavy object off the ground). These two movements are very explosive and powerful for the average person. If this is the reason that you early extend, then the toughest battle will be learning to feel rotational speed as a dominant force producer.

Not hit it fat- for many golfers, the first few swings are a scary thing. With lack of using the body, it’s hard to create a flat enough swing plane. So if they are tentative, and just used their arms, then the ground can be quite a shocking thing to hit.

Standing up will prevent you from hitting the ground and spare your body the shock and jolt especially if the timing of your arm straightening is off.

Pushing through the ground- This can be a third barrier that is similar to the power production thing. When you early extend, you push through your feel like you are sprinting, or jumping. That means you push the ground away from the ball and you end up with more of your weight up toward your toes. If you watch the feet of most tour pros, you will see that they tend to work their way more toward the heel. In order to do this, you are going to feel like you push the ground toward the golf ball. I have had a number of players do this movements and say, “how do you create power like that?” This is usually more of a mental barrier to a feeling of power because if you do this, the club speed will rarely go down significantly, and often times, it will go up even though it doesn’t “feel” like it.

Path- Early extension is one of the best ways to move the path of the club out to the right.  Almost every golfer that I've ever seen who struggles with hooking the ball has the early extension tendency.  Frequently, early extension is a support move for an overly steep arm motion during transition.

Face- Early extension is one of the fastest ways to get the clubface to rotate through impact. If your clubface is open at shaft parallel to the ground, then you will almost always use some form of early extension to get the face to close quickly down at the bottom of the arc.

For information on how to fix your early extension, check out the pro vs am analysis video and see which pattern best matches your swing.

Playlists: Fix Your Early Extension, STS - Faults and Fixes

Tags: Early Extension, Concept, Beginner

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In this concept video, we're going to discuss the early extension swing pattern.

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Now early extension is one of the most common and kind of pervasive swing patterns, both

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with professionals as well as amateurs.

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We typically use video to define it or how we define it on video is basically losing

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this spine angle on the downswing.

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So the loss of posture was losing it on the backswing.

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Early extension is losing it on the downswing.

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It's typically characterized by a thrust of the pelvis in towards the golf ball or a backing

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up of the upper body away from the golf ball in excess.

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So it's a little bit of a vague term because most golfers go into extension of the spine.

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But early extension is typically going to happen either early or very, very quickly,

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during transition, we talk about kind of that left shoulder down regaining your flex before you

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go into this right side bend with extension.

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Early extenders will typically just either from the top of this wing or early in the downswing

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start going into this extension move.

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The problem with early extension is that movement by itself does three really good things

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for a lot of players.

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Helps create speed, it helps create a shallowness to their path and it helps to square the

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club face.

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So let's talk about those so that you understand this pattern a little bit better.

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A lot of other sports and a lot of other activities like if I'm pushing, if I'm running,

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I'm going to go from my heels to my toes and I'm going to go this way.

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I'm going to go heels to toes like if I was jumping, if I was lots of other sports would

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allow me or encourage me to have my force going that way.

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Well, if I stayed in my posture and I went heel to toe, I would fall over.

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So a writing mechanism is going to be as I go into words of my toes, I'm going to stand up.

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So a lot of golfers who have their weight moving in towards their toes, the stand-up move

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helps balance that back out.

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Also, some of the most powerful movements that we do, one would be kind of the vertical jump.

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Another would be a deadlift, like if I was lifting a really heavy suitcase,

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I'm going to get a lot of speed or a lot of power to lift it just from extending my hips and my

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lower back.

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So this movement helps create speed, mostly in the legs, allows for speed in the shoulders,

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but weakens the ability to create speed in my trunk.

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Because it's very hard to create kind of some of this oblique rotation while I'm going backward.

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It would really make it hard to make solid contact.

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So from power perspective, it's an overuse of the lower body, possibly an overuse of the arms,

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but an underuse or an underuse of your core and your rotational muscles.

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So that would be power.

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Now let's look at path.

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This early extension move, the more that I stand up and get vertical,

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the more that the path of the club is going to swing out in front of me.

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Kind of like if I was playing baseball,

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wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to set up to the ball like so.

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So because of the golf balls on the ground, I'm going to be bent forward from my hips and from my

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spine slightly.

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If I stand up, that will help me bring the club from the inside.

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Or if I have the tendency to cast and get outside or have an upper body dominated swing where I

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tend to come over the top, this early extension will help shallow it out

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so that it's not as severe outside in.

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So it can be a good way of helping your brain organize this path.

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And when you do it too much, it tends to get it too much in now.

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So the path, if I'm not doing the right shallowist with my arms,

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if I'm not doing the right stuff with my body, I can fake it and I can do this stand up move to quickly

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create a shallow path from the inside.

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And thirdly is early extension helps to close the club face.

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So the more that I get everything to kind of line up like so, you can see that that's going to

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cause this club face to get very, very vertical. So even if I have the club face in a very open position

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kind of like so, when I stand up, that's going to cause the club face to close very, very quickly.

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Some of the highest rates of club rotation that I've seen in impact are with golfers who do this

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late early extension. So the problem with early extension helps create a shallow path

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and it helps close the club face. If you are going to try to get out of early extension and learn

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how to do it a little bit more effectively, there's a couple of things you're going to have to come

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first because of all this force going in because kind of thrusting jumping force,

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to not early stand for most golfers feels very weak at first. Doesn't feel like you're going to

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create nearly as much speed, but your impact alignments will be better until you'll transfer

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more of that speed to the golf ball. Secondly, you're going to have to get used to being closer to the golf

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ball. What I mean by that is if I'm set up to the golf ball,

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kind of like so. If I'm set up to the golf ball and you were just measuring the distance between

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my shirt buttons and the golf ball. If I were to early extend, that increases the distance between

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my shirt buttons and the golf ball. Well, as this increases, you can see that if I take my normal

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grip, now what's imagined that's kind of my early extension position, there's absolutely no way

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I can get my hands ahead because I've taken up all the slack because my arms are straight in my

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body of straight. If I was to bring myself closer to the ground, so I'll exaggerate and get real close

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to the ground, now I can bring my hands way ahead. Unfortunately, if I did nothing else, this club

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is just going to stick in the ground and so that's not going to work either. What's going to happen

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and what I teach in the early extension section and in transition is how to create some of these new

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shelves because the two things that you're going to have to do is you're going to have to learn

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how to create more of the shallow from kind of access to or from hip slide and you're going to

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have to learn how to square the club face sooner. Now the early extension pattern by itself

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is characteristic of picking the golf ball, trouble with wedges, typically battles hooks and

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snap hooks and big blocks. So because an early center typically already has the fear pattern of

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hitting a hook and usually if you've struggled with hitting massive hooks, almost 100% of time,

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early extension is at least a big part of the reason why you're hitting hooks. To tell an early

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center that you need to square the club face sooner is really really scary because they feel like

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they're just going to hit more hooks but here's why you have to do that. The more that I get my

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handle ahead, the more that opens up the club face or another way saying it, the more that I get

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the handle ahead of my body, the more it delays how close the club face is at impact. So while

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during this transition I'm trying to close the club face because I'm closer to golf ball and

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can get my hands ahead more it's going to cancel it out and it's going to effectively prevent

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you from hitting hooks. But if you were to close the club face and then sand up and now the shaft

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is vertical that club face is going to be really really close and you're hitting massive massive

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pull hooks. So there's a little bit of this dance of trying to figure out how to square the club face,

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how to create speed and how to remanage that shallowness if you're going to take out this early

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extension which I think is in the long run having too much early extension to rapid early extension

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is just one of the biggest recipes for inconsistency and so I recommend if you have the time to work

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on it to improve your ability to early extend because it'll help you a lot with your consistency

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and overall enjoyment of the game.

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