A Lesson by Email
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
Many times my players are away from home, so we communicate via email when there are problems. In this case, the player is hitting the ball well, but every once in a while, a hook sneaks into his game. He sent a video by phone, and I responded via email.
“I think your swing looks good in general — the one thing I don’t like is the space I can see between your thighs when your right arm is straight in the pre-finish (see enclosed photo). This shows me that you have not allowed your right femur to keep releasing through impact at a constant speed/rate – and when your right thigh is late, it causes the pelvis to be slow, and a flip can result. The knee doesn’t rotate to the target enough or at the correct rate, and therefore, the clubface flips shut — not all the time, but it’s a tendency that is at its worst under pressure. Mickelson has it, and that’s why on occasion, he is a popcorn machine, always fighting the flip – remember, the good player hits the opposite shot they fear.
This is correct, with little or no space between the thighs. The ‘dog’ is repinned between the knees.
In the pre-finish position, I like to see very little space between the upper thighs, proving that the trail knee/thigh unit has been released correctly. I don’t like swings where the player is hitting across the trail thigh/knee unit rather than ‘with’ the trail thigh unit.
But don’t force your trail knee to move faster – it’s not faster, but just a bit sooner. That is, the thought is to keep the trail thigh unit moving. You aren’t far off, so it’s not much of a change. It’s one of those minor adjustments with a huge effect.
At the top of the swing, you have a small dog pinned between your knees with a very long tail. As you start your downswing, your knees widen the gap between them as your weight shifts to the forward side. The dog is released from the pin and hits the ground running. It is your job to catch the dog by its tail before it escapes by once again pinning him between your thigh/knee unit. To do this, you would have to rotate the back knee to the front knee. Closing the gap is both progressive and inexorable. Note: if the back knee is working out and over the trail foot, the dog runs free.
Play well and have some fun.
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