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Tyler Ferrell is the only person in the world named to Golf Digest's list of Best Young Teachers in America AND its list of Best Golf Fitness Professionals in America. Meet your new instructor.
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Impact Analysis - Pros Vs Ams

In this analysis video, we discuss what makes a quality impact, and what are the signs that something critical in the swing is off. We will cover the positions of the body, and the arms, and how they work together to correctly and consistently bring the golf club to the back of the ball.

Playlists: Swing Analysis Videos, Beginner Program

Tags: Impact, Analysis, Concept, Intermediate, Beginner

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In this analysis video, we're going to look at impact.

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Now, in the concept videos, I talk about how impact is really just a flash in the middle

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of the movement.

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Now, the movement will be the release, which is roughly from waist height to waist

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height, like so.

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Now, we will get into the specifics of the release in the release section.

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But here for impact, we're going to take a look at the static differences between impact

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positions set up positions for both professional golfers as well as amateurs.

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In this analysis of impact positions, we are going to break the swing into two major pieces.

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First, we're going to look at the body and how it has changed or how it's different

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from it was set up.

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And then secondly, we're going to look at the arms, everything from the shoulder to the

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hands and how those are different.

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So let's proceed with the body.

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It's important to realize that the body is really going to look very different than it

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did at setup.

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Now, a lot of amateurs and a lot of beginners start with the concept of I'm trying

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to get back to where I was at setup, but as you'll see through this video, that's not

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the case with most high level golfers.

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Now, the body has changed in a number of ways.

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There to set up posture, the spine is going to be much more flexed like so.

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It is going to have more of a right side tilt, like so.

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We're going to talk about something that we call early extension or looking at the space

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of the pelvis compared to the golf ball.

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And then we're going to look at the amount of body rotation as it compares to setup.

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So let's begin with the spine flexion or how the spine has changed.

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In elite level golfers, the spine is going to be a lot more flexed or rounded if you compare

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setup position to impact.

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So here on the left I have Dustin Johnson and it's set up, you can see the solid line goes

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from roughly his hip to roughly his ear.

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If I then take him through his swing until he gets to impact, which will be right about

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so you will see that there is now a pronounced curve to his spine.

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This is a side flex to the right, but it also affects forward as we can measure on 3D.

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This flexing forward and flexing to the right helps transfer energy through the abdominals.

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So when you use your legs, you have to transfer the energy through your body somehow.

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If you're going to use your abs, it will cause you to do almost like a crunch, which will

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get you into more of this rounded posture.

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That keeps your upper body closer to the ground, which allows you to build chaffling with

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your arms, which we'll get into in later section.

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Here's another example of an elite level golfer at setup.

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This is Roy McRoy, you can see that straight line from ear to hip and then as he approaches

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impact, you will see that his spine now has that gentle curve and slightly flex to the

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This is a great trait and it's a sign that you're using your body effectively for transferring

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energy from your legs to your shoulders.

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Now let's take a quick look at a couple of amateurs to see the difference between what

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pros are doing.

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On the right, I still have Roy McRoy.

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The straight teal line is representing his spine at the start of the swing and then the

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curve red line is representing his curve and his spine down in this impact interval.

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Now here we have an amateur, unfortunately the camera moves a bit, so this will be harder

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to see, but the blue line or the teal line is what it was at setup and then as we get

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to impact.

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You'll see that the curve is roughly the same, especially through the majority of the lower

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back and mid back.

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He's using more of his hamstrings and his back to transfer the energy, which isn't going

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to curve his spine the way that using your abdominals would.

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So this spine curve is very important for making sure that you're using the proper muscles

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to transfer energy effectively, keep your alignments as well as avoid back pain.

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Let's look at another one.

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Here's an example of another golfer who starts off relatively similar angle to say,

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Roy McRoy, although we already used him for an example of S-posert because he is a little

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more curve to it, but let's see what happens as he goes into his downswing and approaches

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You'll see that as he approaches impacts, yes, you'll have a little bit of curve and his

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upper spine, but you can see for all intent and purposes, his spine is pretty straight

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because he's used primarily his lower back as well as his hamstrings to transfer energy

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from the legs to the shoulders as opposed to Roy who is using more of his abs.

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The using the abs creates the space for the elbows to work in front of your body, for

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this gentleman is forced to have his elbows hit his rib gauge, which causes some of this

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early release issues.

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So just pay attention to how much spine flex you have at setup and then follow the drills

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that help you learn how to get the proper spine both side tilt as well as flexion as

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we go into impact.

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Now, the next piece to the body puzzle we're going to look at is something referred to

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as early extension, which is basically looking at the location of the head and the tailbone

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throughout the golf swing.

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Now, both these swings are not on tripod, so there's a little bit of movement, but you

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can see basically from the top of the swing down towards impact, roughly his tailbone

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or his left hip or some part of his pelvis is up against this line right here over here

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on the right without him's got and you can see that his head has barely moved off this

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line if at all.

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So he's kept basically the same spatial orientation between his head and the pelvis and

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the golf ball.

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The only thing that's having is he's curved his spine, so his head has dropped down

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Now, here's my student and again, the camera is not on a tripod, but you'll

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clearly be able to see that as he approaches impact, his lower body has moved towards

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the golf ball and his upper body has moved away.

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This is an indication that he's doing more of a spine extension and that takes away all

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the room for his arms to do the proper movement.

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So this gentleman struggles a little bit with his release.

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Now I want to use this example of Paul Casey to show that while we want your pelvis to

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stay roughly in the same orientation, it's not absolutely critical.

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There are golfers who from their setup position will move slightly in, such as someone

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like Paul Casey, but you can see in his case his head doesn't move.

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You will rarely see both of them happen the way that we're seeing over here on the left

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with this amateur, but the one on the left is very common for amateurs, where we see a standing

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up during the downswing.

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You'll understand much more about that as we get into transition.

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One of the big things to pay attention to though is because the golfer on the left has stood

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up in order to shallow out the club and create his speed on the downswing.

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You will see that there's very little rotation, as in you can't see any part of his left

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shoulder in very little of his left hip and left back.

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The golfers who use more of this flexion and right side bend, you'll be able to see his

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entire left side of his back is left hip is left leg because he is rotated and

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cleared his body to create to help create the leg which is a big power source.

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Now in finishing with the body as it relates to the impact, we're going to talk about weight

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left or having your left hip on top of your left foot.

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So here on the right we have Zach Johnson and this will relate a lot to that right side bend.

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What you'll see is as we approach impact, you'll see that the penonone camera angle,

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a significant portion of their body will get over their left foot. In his case you've got his

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belt buckle which is roughly where his hip is right on top of that left foot.

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Now the thing to notice with this is in order to have the lower body move that forward forward

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and the upper body not move forward with it, the head is going to have to drop down.

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I don't know if you saw that but focus on his cap. From the top of the swing you'll see his head

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drop down pretty significantly compared to the top of the swing. Now tighter woods is frequently

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chastise for his head dropping but you will rarely see a good ball striker especially with a

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driver who does not have his head drop. Now I'll show a couple examples here on the left

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of golfers who don't really drop their heads and don't get quite as much of their weight on

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the left side. So here you can see this golfer had the same head height at the top of the swing

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as he does at impact. That's limiting the amount of side bend he would have but works well with

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the release that he is trying to accomplish. And here's another example of an amateur golfer

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who does not have a lot of lateral shift or right side bend. So as we go to the top of the swing

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you can see his there's a little bit of space between his head and that line. You'll see that

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small little drop but it basically stays about the same the entire down swing until he makes contact.

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You can also see that greater someone likes that Johnson or we'll bring up another pro

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example here in a second but you can see that his there's still space between his left hip

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and his shoulders were shoulder right side bend is nowhere near in the same category as

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Zygdance and over here on the right. So those two kind of go hand in hand with the release

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or with what your arms are doing which is what we'll get into in the second half of this video.

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Again on the right we've got Ray McRoy now this camera angle is not perfectly square to him so it's

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not going to look like he shifts quite as much but it would be very difficult to have that much

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head drop from the top of the swing and not have his lower body get on top of that leg.

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So you can see that those two go hand in hand having significant amount of right side bend

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helps get the arm in front of the body helps get the lower body on top of the left leg. So these

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things kind of all play together which is why I'm going over them in each piece but we train them

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in chunks and you'll see in the drills that we combine these movements into trainable chunks so

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that you can learn how to do it without having to think about all these pieces but that's a pretty

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I'd say that's a pretty fair assessment of what the body should be doing at impact and how it

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compares to setup now let's go over the arms. When it comes to the arms and hands we've one

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simple object we want the arms and hands to be in a strong position so that they transfer energy to

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the golf ball. Now there's a few key points that we look for when we're looking at the arms and

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hands as they relate to impact. Here I've got Roy McRoy on both sides one with an iron one with a

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driver. At setup you can see that both arms are fairly straight but as we approach impact you will see

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that that right elbow is in closer to his side and is in a bent position it'll be easier to see

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when we look at it from down the line. In addition you will see that as I get him to impact you will see

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that there is an angle in his right wrist and his left wrist is relatively flat. Here you can see him in

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a similar wrist position on the right with a driver even though the shaft is in a totally different

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position. What it shows is that the arms and the hands work very similarly regardless of what club you're

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using at least in the full swing and what tends to change is more what the body is doing.

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From the down the line we get a pretty clear idea of what the trail elbow is doing.

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As you can see here with Keakin Bradley as your purchase impact you can see that that elbow is still

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more or less close to his body and you can see that there's a significant amount of armmen.

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Now I've done a video specifically on armmen in this illusion. Part of the reason why it looks like

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a lot of armmen which there is a good amount but part of the reason why it looks so drastic like

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almost 90 degrees is because the elbow is more in front of his body at this point as opposed to

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being behind it. I'll demonstrate that with a few pros and amateurs from the face on view.

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On the right we have Dustin Johnson and on the left we have a high handicap golfer. Now as you see

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Dustin Johnson approach impact you will see that there is a significant amount of space between

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his elbow and his ribs are his pelvis right here. If I go back up towards the top of the swing and

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come back down you can see that there is almost never any daylight between his elbow and his body.

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His elbow at this point is already starting to work in front of his body. That helps maintain the

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leg in the wrists and delay the release of the club. Over here on the left we have an amateur

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going through the similar phase and you can see that there is daylight between his elbow and his

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shirt. Sort of right in this area because his right arm is straightening away from his body instead

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of working past his belly button because a very different look to impact. In addition because his

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arms are not working across his body instead of working straight out in front of it this will

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limit how much side bend and how much weight shift and how much rotation he will be able to have it

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impact. So we know that the elbow is working across your body in order to get the hands more

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less out in front of the chest. Let's take a look or a close look at the hands specifically.

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So what I want you to notice is if I draw a circle around his hands you can see that the right wrist

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has a bit of a cup in it as he makes contact with the golf ball and the left wrist is fairly flat.

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Now if we compare that with where he was at setup you will see that at setup his left wrist

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had a pretty significant cup while his right wrist was pretty close to flat. So essentially they

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have changed orientation during the golf swing as they apply the force onto the shaft.

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If you look on the left I have an amateur who if you look at his wrist at impact the right wrist

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has a little bit or is relatively straight while the left wrist has a little bit of a cup in it.

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If I take him back to setup you can see that setup wise the wrist orientation is fairly similar

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between these two golfers but because of what they're trying to do on the downswing they end up

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in very different wrist alignments at impact. I teach primarily trying to get your full swing

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into the wrist alignment of having or maintaining a bit of extension or cup in the trail

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wrist and maintaining some flexion or flatness in the lead wrist and we have drills in the section

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of the release explaining exactly how you can learn how to do that.

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As you continue to study the golf swing and learn how to play it you want to try to emulate some of

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the common patterns that we see with the best golfers in the world. The issues that I highlight

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or the concepts that I highlight in this video are some of the things that I help produce the

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most solid and repeatable impact positions. But remember ultimately this is what we are trying to do

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as the club comes down into impact at least with an iron. You're going to see that the weight

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left, the side bend right and the hand position that I talk about will help get the golf club

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to hit the back of a golf ball before the ground. You will see this example he is making contact

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with the golf ball it's already leaving the club and now is when the club enters the ground.

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As long as you can do that and have the bottom of your swing far enough forward in front of the

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golf ball you have what it takes to have a consistent, powerful and repeatable golf swing.

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