Hey, this is Ryan from Age Defying Golf, thanks for reading!
Are you tired of punk kids, with their sagging pants and hats on backwards, hitting better and longer golf shots than you? If so, this article can change your experience. Redefine yourself as the long ball driver with this and upcoming articles with body fixes, pro fixes, and training aids proven to work!
Just because you are over 50, does not mean you have to settle for weak drives. Get the “POP!” back in your swing with Age Defying Golf.
In your backswing, your weight should stay on the INSIDE of your right foot. All too often, we see golfers shift their weight onto the outside of their right foot, what we call supination of the foot.
This is a major flaw that leads to loss of power and poor contact.
To test your self, take a full backswing and hold that position.
Feel if your weight is on the inside of your back foot or if it has rolled to the outside (called swaying).
In addition, your right knee should stay almost completely still during your backswing. It should NOT straighten or go into extension.
Ideally, we don’t want your knee to rotate too much in your backswing but this is not as crucial as making sure it does not lose its natural bend.
If you knee loses its bend, you have just lost the power of your hips. This is troublesome because the hips should be the most powerful muscles contributing to your swing.
This swing fault has several possible origins: 1)habit, 2)reverse pivot shift, 3) poor hip flexibility.
To narrow down the culprit, have a friend or spouse assist you. Get into your normal address position and have your partner kneel down behind your right leg.
In this position, they should hold your knee tightly, not allowing it to straighten (but you can allow it to rotate). Now take your backswing, stop at the top of the backswing, and feel the difference. If you feel a lot more restriction in your backswing than your R hip and (possibly) spinal rotation is limiting your swing.
If not, it is likely one of the other two causes. There are a lot of gadgets on the market that can help train your knee to maintain the proper position. In our practice, we have found the easiest way to train this position is to knock in your knee slightly and concentrate on holding that position throughout your backswing.
The importance of the right leg being stable has its roots in the “X-Factor” which is the difference between how much your shoulders rotate and how much your hips rotate.
For maximum power, you want there to be a large difference between the two with shoulder rotation maximized and hip rotation slightly minimized.
If your weight shifts to the outside of your right foot and your knee cap rotates to the right, this means your hips will be allowed to rotate too much, limiting the X-Factor and losing the advantage of great shoulder rotation.
It is like a coil; to tighten the coil you want to rotate the ends opposite directions, not the same direction.
However, if you have a lot of flexibility restrictions or have a history of more than one spinal stabilization surgery (ei fusion, laminectomy) you may have to rotate your hips more to compensate for a loss of torso rotation. Check back for solutions when I write the post on the orthopedic swing coming this spring.
This stretch improves hip/spine flexibility so you can make a turn without your knee or ankle turning out.
Here is a similar stretch you can do in standing.
If you are unable to keep your right knee bent in your backswing, your hamstrings are the culprit. Try this stretch:
The ball under back foot drill has been around a long time and is still very effective. This drill pronates your foot so that your weight is on the inside of your foot making it more difficult to sway too far to the right.
As far as keeping the bend in your right knee at the top of the backswing, there are not a lot of good drills. I really like the Tic-Tac knee trainer to help fix this fault (link below).
If you are going to teach yourself to keep the right knee bend, all you need to do is take your backswing focusing on keeping it bent. Have your golf buddy watch to make sure it stays put.
If you are unable to keep your right knee bent, your hamstrings are too tight and you can refer to the stretch pictured above.
Check out this video Increase Golf Swing Speed with this Backswing Fix
Training Aid Fixes
I love training aids! If you get a good training aid, it will accelerate your progress because an aid uses several feedback mechanisms (feel, sound, resistance) to improve learning. I do not receive any compensation from these companies so you can trust that these recommendations are authentic.
1. The Pivot Pro is a training aide that solves the same problem in 2 different ways. Again, the swing fault we are trying to correct here is a lateral sway and a loss of your R knee bend. The pivot pro is attached to your R foot and is angled to resist lateral movement. In addition, the pole attachment lets you know when your right leg is moving laterally…double input=effective learning.
2. For a less expensive alternative, I really like the Tic-Tac products because they also give you audible feedback. They click when you move incorrectly.
A lot of my students initially found the Tic-Tac to be annoying because it was “clicking” all the time. Even though they felt they were keeping the knee stable, the Tic-Tac signaled otherwise.
In other words, they never would have believed me when I told them they were moving the knee until they got the confirmation from the training aid.
With most students, they were able to correct the swing fault in only a few sessions (keep in mind it was the swing fault they did not believe they had….this could be you!!)
The Ankle Tic-Tac retails for around $19.95 and the Knee Tic-Tac for $59.95
QUESTION: DID YOU TEST YOURSELF? DOES YOUR KNEE MOVE MORE THAN YOU EXPECTED? WERE YOU ABLE TO GET A FULL, SMOOTH BACKSWING WHEN SOMEONE HELD YOUR KNEE IN PLACE?
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Ryan York, DPT CGS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist