What's Covered: Showing motions of the stable fluid spine and determining limitations
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Instructors Featured: Clay Ballard
Video Duration: 17:41
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Clay Ballard: All right guys, so in most of my videos I’m talking about drills that you can take out to the golf course, drills that you can do to improve your golf swing.
Now some of you may be struggling to do those correctly, and in this video, it’s going to be a lot different. It’s going to be a longer video.
We’re going to talk about ideas, and we’re going to talk about just how the body moves in general. I’m going to break it down by the joints. Doesn’t mean you have to be thinking about this stuff when you go out in play.
It doesn’t mean you have to be working on all these drills, but just learning how the body moves, it’s going to help to speed up that progress for those of you who are struggling with one specific thing.
So let’s go through this. Try these motions out. Don’t get obsessed with them, it’s just kind of helping you to learn how the body moves. I think it’s going to speedup your progress.
Let’s go ahead and get started.
All right guys, so this is going to be a great video talking about how our body moves throughout the swing. We’re going to talk about the Stable Fluid Spine.
This isn’t a video where you have to do a certain amount of drills and work on a lot of these reps, but it is good, for those of you that are struggling getting the Stable Fluid Spine.
I think it’s really important to understand how the body moves, and how we can adjust this. It’s not going to be complicated.
We don’t need to memorize a bunch of fancy terms and all that stuff out there that some people try to get you to do.
I may talk a little bit about the anatomical positions, but I’m just going to make it in basic laymen’s terms. It’s going to be easy to follow.
I’m also going to go over some of the most common mistakes I see, like a reverse pivot following back on the right side.
If I’m seeing those, and my head’s moving around a lot, I know a lot of times when I demonstrate a reverse pivot when I’m doing a golf swing and I kind of slide and go this way and then fall back.
I just cannot hit the ball solid. It’s impossible. I sit there and I try to hit it solid but I chunk behind it, I thin it, very difficult.
So understanding these three ways that the body works that I’m going to go over, it’s going to make this a lot easier. First let’s talk about hip flexion. Let’s imagine I’m going this way.
This gets confusing because we add these three things together, but if you practice these drills, don’t just watch the video, actually go through the drills as I’m doing this, it’s going to get a lot easier.
Flexion from my hips means that I’m getting – this is my femur, my upper legs, and then my spine, my pelvis is in the middle.
If I go into flexion of my pelvis, then I’m tilting forward and I’m getting in these two angles closer together. That’s flexion.
Extension would be coming up out of that angle. So flexion it’s just hinging from your hips, hinging forward from your hips.
Extending would be kind of activating my glutes, activating my rear end, pushing into the ground and my hips are going forward like that.
So Tiger, we all kind of laugh, he said he wasn’t activating his glutes, but that’s what he meant. He wasn’t getting good extension this way. You do both of them in the golf swing, which we’ll go over in a second.
It gets a little confusing when I’m forward flexed here, and then I start to rotate and then I start to shoulder tilt and do these other things.
But we’re going to break them down piece by piece here in a second, and its going to be very easy. To start out, just do a couple flexion from here. Your chest is feeling like it’s closer to the ground.
This would be very similar to what you do halfway in the downswing, and then from there, I want you to squeeze your glutes, stand up like this, that’s going to be very similar to what you do in your follow-through or when I’m coming this way. Now you can see my hips are extended.
The second piece of this, is rotation. So in the backswing, we’re going to rotate our shoulder, well, let’s start out with the hips.
I’m going to rotate my hips, so I’m just going to stand straight up and down. I’m not going to get any other kind of motion in here.
My hips are going to go about 45°, from there my shoulders are going to go to 90°. If I’m super flexible, I’m a PGA Tour athlete, I’m going to get my shoulders to go even past that.
That’s going to be great. 90-plus is what we recommend in the Top Speed Golf System. If you’re a little bit limited on that, go ahead and let that left heel barely start to come up off the ground.
So there’s 90°, I get a little bit extra if I let that right heel come up. Doesn’t have to be a ton, but a little bit is fine.
Now that’s the rotation piece, and then in the follow through, I’m going to simply go the other way. So there’s the backswing, top of the backswing.
As I come on through, I’m going to let my right foot rotate all the way around so just my toe’s on the ground. My hips are going to face the target, and my shoulders are going to rotate all the way around as far to the left as I can get them.
So my chest should be pointing, that’s the fairway, my chest should be pointing over in the left rough as I’m coming there.
Or if you’re the target, here’s my backswing – sorry I’m not going to do any of the other motions – there’s my backswing, here’s my follow through, my hips are towards you.
My shoulders are all the way around like this. I’m getting my right shoulder as far as I can. If you’re not very flexible, completely fine. You don’t have to strain that, just go to your full range of motion.
The front foot is big in this. If I keep my front foot square on the ground, I’m only going to be able to rotate through a certain amount.
What you’ll see pretty much all Tour players do, is some variation of opening up this foot. So when we push into the ground, what’s going to happen is the foot gets a little bit unweighted for a minute and it’s going to rotate out.
So we watch a PGA Tour player, it’s going to look something like this. Their foot’s going to rotate open. You’ve seen Patrick Reed, you’ve seen Jordan Spieth, he does it by rolling the ankle.
That’s a little more dangerous, I probably wouldn’t recommend that one. But that foot’s going to open up. If you’re not quite that dynamic, you’re getting a little bit up in age, you’re not going to actually get your feet slightly unweighted.
You’re not going to push into the ground as hard. That’s completely fine, just go ahead and set up with that foot a little bit open at address.
Now as I come back, I can still lift that heel slightly to get the good turn, to get that good rotation this way. As I come through, now that my foot’s a little bit open, I can rotate on through to my full range of motion going that direction.
So don’t let your physical limitation hold you back if you get a little bit tighter, because everybody gets tighter as they get older. So nothing wrong with that at all.
That’s rotation. That’s the second piece. The third piece is going to be shoulder tilt. So again, do these with me. Rotate back, rotate through, don’t just stand there and watch the video, or you won’t get a whole lot out of this.
I’m going to tilt to my right side, and that’s just me taking my right shoulder, going down as far as I can this way, and then I’m going to tilt to my left side.
This will be left, it’s called lateral flexion to the left, lateral flexion to the right. It’s just right shoulder down towards your pocket.
Another way to think of this is put my hands by my side, right side flexion, or tilting to the right. My right hand is going to slide down my pants seam and then my hands across my shoulders.
Doesn’t look much like a golf swing, but this is what we’re doing in the golf swing.
The left hand, I’m going to go ahead and slide that down as far as I can go that way. That would be my left side bend.
Let’s put these three together in the correct way, and then let’s break them apart and talk about what’s happening with some of the most common swing faults out there when it comes to the body.
When I’m rotating, or actually let’s start out with my flex. I’m going to go ahead and take my club, put it right against my belt, and I’m going to pull it back this way to feel like I hip hinge.
That’s going to get me into flexion. As I rotate to the top of the swing now, I’m going to stay in this flexion and I’m going to rotate to the top.
So just watch my body flexing. There, I’ve rotated the top. If I look at that, I’m flexed still. I’m still keeping that angle.
Now as I start to come on through, let’s actually go this angle. I’m pretending like I’m hitting this way now. As I go to the top of the swing again, here’s my flexion.
As I rotate to the top, I’m staying in that flexion. As I come down, I’m in flexion, and as I start to come through the shot as I’m hitting the golf ball, I’m extending. I’m pushing into the ground.
My left foot is pushing into the ground, my glutes, my rear end is firing, and that’s extending my body. So as I rotate to my straight line release which would be here, now I’m in full extension.
So I started out the golf swing in flexion, I rotate at the top, I stayed in flexion. As I came to the Straight Line Release, I have to go into extension, I have to come up to get that butt end of the club to turn up.
That’s when I’m firing my hips and my glutes, and I’m rotating on through there. So it looks like this if I just to flexion/extension.
Here’s my set up, here’s my backswing, my downswing starts, and then I go to the Straight Line Release. Then from there, I’m just going to relax, straight line release, I’m full extension, I’m going to stay in that all the way around.
Again, that’s really critical because I have to take this club, get some lag, and I have to get this club working up this way. To turn that corner to get that club to whip on through there.
If I’m not pushing into the ground, that’s not happening. So that happens from three different places, and again, I’m getting in a lot of detail just because I’m trying to answer some questions. You don’t have to think about it this much in detail when you’re doing your swing.
Four places I can get extension. Let’s go this way, actually. Number one, I can push into the ground with my feet.
You watch really long hitters, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, as they’re getting into that extension, their hips are coming up. They are pushing into the ground and they’re actually coming off the ground with their left heel, getting airborne.
Number two, I’m extending the knee. So as I come down, my knee is flexed, I’m going to extend that knee, that’s happening as I get in my Straight Line Release.
You heard Tiger talk about snapping his knee straight, that’s just another way to get more vertical force. You don’t have to snap your knee, but your knee will straighten.
I like to say it stays a little bit flexed even as you come all the way on through. That way you don’t get any kind of knee injury, or something like that.
The third piece is the hips. Were going to use the glutes, extend those like we talked about, that’s your third piece.
Then your fourth piece is your left shoulder. As I start to get that left shoulder going up, then that’s going to allow me to turn that club up and to get a lot more vertical force.
All those together are turning this club as fast as I can. You’re probably asking yourself, why does that matter? Why would I care? Well, the harder I can turn this club up, the faster I can release lag.
If I’ve got a ton of power releasing lag, well what that means is I can now get a ton of lag. I can have a lot of lag like Sergio Garcia, if I can get rid of that lag and I can release it really quickly.
Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Sergio, all those guys are using a lot of vertical to be able to release that club. So that’s the flexion/extension from the hips.
I’m going to go ahead and go over two more things that should be the rotation and the shoulder turn in a lot more detail.
All right, sorry about that, we actually ran out of battery, I’m kind of talking on about all this, but again, this isn’t a video you have to get all these drills right, this is just getting you thinking about how your body’s moving so that you can help to improve your swing faster.
So let’s pick right up where we left off, let’s go into rotation and talk about this in the swing.
So again, as I go into the top of my backswing, my hips are going to rotate 45°, so let’s stay level with the ground here. My shoulders are going to rotate 90°.
If you’re really flexible like some of the PGA Tour guys, you’re going to go past 90°. If you’re not that flexible, maybe you can lift up your left heel just a little bit as I’m rotating, to get a little bit more rotation.
That’s completely fine. As long as we’re staying in our Stable Fluid Spine, as long as we’re staying in our posture with our tilt of our shoulders we’re going to go over in a second, we’re going to be fine, we can lift that left heel.
Bubba Watson won tons of cash lifting up his left heel. Jack Nicklaus won tons of cash, so it’s not a big deal, its going to help you to hit a little bit farther for those of you who aren’t as flexible.
If you’re Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson, you’ve got tons of flexibility, you may not need to lift up the left heel at all. So that’s rotation on the backswing.
As I come on through, then I’ve got to keep on moving and rotating all the way around into the follow through. Be sure here that I lift that left heel.
One of the common mistakes that I see with lack of rotation, also ties in with flexing, flexing your hips. Remember we talked about how when I flex my hips, they stay flexed in the backswing.
As I come through to the Straight Line Release, my hips are going upwards this way. I’m really driving into the ground, extending those. That helps me to turn the grip end of the club up.
If I’m a short hitter, if I’m struggling with distance, those of you out there who are really, really struggling with distance, Id be willing to bet some good money that you’re doing the exact thing I’m going to talk about.
you’re coming through, you’re flexed as you start at address. I’m flexed. As I go to the top I’m flexed. As I come through, I’m staying flexed, right?
This really hurts because now I don’t have that upward force to get the club to whip on through. I can’t get lag, and end up hitting it all arms and looks something kind of like this.
There’s my follow through. I didn’t get my flexion, and it also hurts my rotation. If I don’t make a full follow through, and I kind of fold up over my left arm like this, that’s because I need to get that extension to let everything rotate on around.
So if that’s your swing fault, if you find that you’re kind of doing this, you’re not getting your good power turn coming the way all around, look at the extension in your hips.
Those hips have to extend as I come on around to get the power. So keep an eye on that. We’ll also talk here about the tilt of the shoulders.
One of the things that people struggle with a lot of times, is taking their head up off the ball, taking their eye off the ball. Hear it all the time.
If my shoulders are flat and I rotate, and I do this, I’m going to keep my shoulders flat, well look at what happened to my head. My head’s going to come up off the ball.
I have to get into left side bend, I have to tilt this way in my backswing. So I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to tilt to the left first.
I’m going to go ahead and do that now. Here’s my tilt to the left. Now I’m going to flex forward, and I’m going to rotate to the top. Now look at my head, it’s down toward the ball.
If I let these shoulders level out, I can’t even see the ball right now, my shoulder’s in the way. That’s very, very common for a lot of players.
As my eyes start to move around, up and down, now I’m going to lose sight of where the ball is. My hand-eye coordination, because my eyes are moving, my hand-eye coordination goes out the window and I’m starting to hit heavy shots, and thin shots, and all kinds of things.
So if we do that a lot, that can really effect our golf game. We nice to stay nice and stable by getting that shoulder tilt. In the follow through, I want to make sure that I’m not moving my shoulder angles all around.
So if you watch my club here, this may be another common problem. If you watch my club proper swing, kind of imagine my spine is like the base of a helicopter blade and this is the helicopter propeller at the top.
Let’s tilt it forward and this is going to kind of rotate around like this. So my shoulders are that propeller blade, and as I go back, general idea, these angles aren’t going to be perfect, but this is the overall, overarching idea.
Here’s my backswing. As I come through into the downswing, into my follow through, you’ll see how that’s keeping the same angle, that propeller blade’s staying in that same tilted-forward action.
As I come all the way around, it can come on up, that’s fine. But when someone is not getting enough right-side bend, often times we talk about them not getting enough left side bend, now the propeller levels out.
Then as they come through, they’re moving like this. So my propeller blade, instead of being consistent, my shoulders turning around my torso, my arms turning around my shoulders, my club turning around my arms, this is the easy way to play golf.
I can be very consistent from here. If I start to move this around a lot, then there’s no way I can be consistent. So if I don’t get enough right side bend, if I don’t tilt enough this way when I’m coming through, my shoulders will lift up.
So here is my right side bend, flex, and rotate. Now I’m down in my propeller blade. If I lose that right side bend, I’m up here. So that’s when you see that shoulder blade coming there.
I’m not getting enough right side bend. A very common mistake with that one, also. So I’m going to end up, hopefully you’re following along with these.
I’m not saying that we have to master this today. This is just kind of get awareness of what your hips to your shoulders are doing.
Last one I’m going to go over is slide. This is also to do with extension, so if I’m sliding to the right and I have a reverse pivot, my hips have gone this way, my upper body’s going back that way.
If I’m doing that, if I have that sway as I go back, and now I’m going to fall back this way as I’m coming through to kind of counterbalance that, I’m going to hit way behind the ball.
I might even chunk a lot of shots, and then I get tired of hitting the ground. So as I start to fall back this way, I miss the ground and then I come up and top the golf ball. So frustrating.
Again, consistency goes out the window when you do this. Well, the slide is when I lose my flexion, so I should be flexed and as I turn at the top I should be flexed.
That keeps me in my posture, that keeps me in my Stable Fluid Spine. If I turn to the top, keep my shoulder tilt, but now I extend my hips, look at that. Now I’ve got the reverse pivot.
So extending my hips this way or extending my hips that way, that’s going to get you in that reverse pivot action.
So that’s your issue if you’re having a reverse pivot. I have to stay flexed and then to rotate. So hopefully that’s tackled some of the big problems I see out there, that’s a lot of the people I see that are struggling with their consistency and with their ball striking, they have one of those issues.
So work on just kind of going through these motions. Getting an awareness for where my hips and my shoulders are in the swing. Just put a club across your shoulders.
We’re not trying to fix anything in the golf swing, we’re not trying to perfect anything with this video, I just want some more awareness.
If I can know how my hips and my shoulders move, I can fix any problem in the golf swing. So best of luck to you guys. Hope this helped out. I’ll see you guys soon.