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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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