Why You Need This: Today you'll discover a "Golf Contact Drill - Is Shaft Lean at Impact Necessary?"
A question that I hear asked a ton is, "Do you really need forward shaft lean? Why can't you just use a lower lofted club instead?"
You see a lot of people struggle to get forward shaft lean, so it's a fair question to ask.
But when it boils down to it, it's not the same thing.
There are 2 major benefits of forward shaft lean that aren't achieved by simply taking a lower lofted club and hitting the ball without de-lofting it.
In today's video you'll discover:
- how much the professionals typically de-loft their clubs at impact,
- examples of shots with and without forward shaft lean (and the difference in results),
- side effects of not having forward shaft lean at impact, and
- the perfect drill to help you get forward shaft lean into your swing!
The first of the benefits of forward shaft lean is revealed early, but be sure to stick around as the 2nd is revealed at the 4:30 mark of the video!
Golf Pros Featured:
Instructors Featured: Clay Ballard Quentin Patterson
Video Duration: 12:23
Watch This Video Now!
Normally, this video in our step-by-step, course-based training is only available to our All Access Members...
But I'll let you watch this ONE video today only... because I can already tell I'm going to like you !
Clay Ballard: I’m joined here today with Quentin Patterson, he’s my director of online instruction for Top Speed Golf, a really brilliant golf instructor.
Today we’re going to go over a question that you get a lot. So we were talking about this earlier. What’s a question you get that I think causes a lot of trouble for people?
Quentin Patterson: One question I get all the time is people ask me, why is forward shaft lean even necessary? Why not just use a club with less loft? What would you think about that?
Clay: So if we think about…I’ll go ahead and actually hit a couple shots here. Here I have an 8 iron. With the typical 8 iron you’re probably looking somewhere around mid to high 30s dynamic loft.
So basically, my club shaft is straight up and down like this. Every set’s a little bit different, but I’d say around 37°, something like that with an 8 iron is pretty typical.
Now, when you lean this shaft forward, what pros are doing is they’re taking about 30 percent of that loft off.
So if I go from 37°, let’s make it pretty simple and say around 24°, 25° of loft when they actually come down and hit this golf ball.
If this shaft is straight up and down, the normal loft on this face is 37°, or if I can show it with this angle finder here – this is pretty neat – this will show kind of the angle of the face. That’s 37°.
Pros are delofting that down closer to say 24° when their club is coming into contact.
So a lot times players struggle with this if they’re not familiar with the right way to get forward shaft lean and as Q has mentioned there, the question is why do I even need to mess around with that?
Why not just hit my 7 iron or my 6 iron, and not even have to worry about taking that loft off, just use a club that already has less loft and make a swing?
Well, there’s several reasons for that, and the number one thing I see is speed.
So when you’re not getting that forward shaft lean, what’s happening is you’re starting to cast here.
At the top of the downswing, this club is releasing early and as I have this club kind of straight up and down like that, what I’ve done is I’ve kind of burned up the energy early in the swing.
Let me make a couple swings here. The first one I’m going to swing pretty good. I would say my normal swing, I’m going to try to really get some lag, get that forward shaft lean. Let’s see what the stats are.
Q can read them off on our FlightScope X3. There we go, that was nice and solid. Hit that one pretty well.
A little high, I don’t know if my forward shaft lean’s going to be very good. What’d I get there for my dynamic loft?
Quentin: All right, so dynamic loft was 31.2.
Clay: OK, so I could have taken a little more off, so I took it from 37 or so down to 31. Probably could have been better, even better if I was down around 20, mid 20s, high 20s, somewhere around in there.
Quentin: Club head speed was 93.2, carry distance 158, and height was about 128 feet.
Clay: OK, so what we’re looking at there, a little bit of forward shaft lean. Probably should have done a little bit more. Not warmed up yet, so I got a little bit more flip than I would have liked to have had.
The height, so how high that shot was, was 128 feet. If I take loft off it’s going to go a little bit lower.
It carried 158 yards which is pretty good for one of the first shots of the day with an 8 iron, that’s pretty typical for me. My loft, again 31°, is that right?
Quentin: Yeah, 31.2.
Clay: And 93 miles per hour club head speed. If what I’m saying is correct, when I go ahead and make this full swing again, but I flip a little bit, I don’t get as much forward shaft lean, I’m going to burn up some of that speed.
We’re probably going to see my club head speed less than 93 miles an hour. So let’s go ahead and try the flip swing now, the bad swing.
There we go, a lot higher. Felt very handsy, felt like I had no control. The ball actually went into what would be the trees over on the right.
What were some of the stats on that one?
Quentin: Club head speed went down to 90.1, carry distance went way down, 133.9. Dynamic loft went way up, 39.2.
I think it read the height wrong, because it only went 114, but maybe because of the speed, because there wasn’t enough speed there maybe it just didn’t allow it carry higher than that.
Clay: Yeah, so when I flip there, I’ve actually added 2°, my shaft was actually leaning back 2° at contact. That took the loft up to 8° more loft than my first shot.
My speed, I lost three miles an hour of club head speed, that’s going to lose some distance. Now that I have more loft, it’s more of a glancing blow.
It’s not going to go as far, I lost 20 yards and the ball kind of shot off to the right. I also lost control at the same time.
That kind of brings me up to, that’s not just it. It’s not just speed. There some other factors in there.
What do you think is the most important things, that you’re really just not going to get if you just flip the club and use a lower lofted one?
Quentin: I think a big one is consistency. Your impact’s going to be a lot less stable.
If you don’t have the force which would be what you’re putting into the handle with your hands ahead of the mass, the mass which would be the club head.
So if you just think about in terms of just kind of a visual here, if I’m dragging this club head, my force where I’m putting into the handle here is leading the mass.
That’s just going to fall right in line with my hand there, but if I go the opposite way and I try to push this, it’s going to be kind of squirrely. It’s going to want to go all over the place.
That’s what’s going on when you are flipping the club like this at impact, is that handle is not in front of the mass. It’s just not going to be as stable.
Another one is basically you’re going to hit a lot of thin and chunk shots because of the way that you’re coming into the ball.
When you flip, when you come in like this, you’re coming in very level with the turf or oftentimes you’re hitting up on the golf ball.
When the ground’s in the way, that’s going to be really, really difficult to make solid contact because you’re going to end up hitting a lot of shots thin, or tops even, or many times you’re going to hit chunks.
So do you have any really good drills that you could use for forward shaft lean for folks out there working on this?
Clay: Let’s jump right into it, so it’s good to know we have to have this forward shaft lean, but how the heck do you do it? That’s the real question.
Let me grab a couple golf balls here. I have a fantastic drill that I’ve seen work time and time again to help players get more of that lean at impact.
Actually, I’ll give you this FlightScope again when I hit a few of these shots. We’ll see if I can stink it up a little bit less and actually get some forward shaft lean, a little better than my first one.
So here’s the way I want you to do this drill. I have just a magnet that shows the angle of the face here. This would be easier to visualize.
Again, when I come in and the shaft is straight up and down, and even angled back a couple degrees, you can see how the loft on that club is very high.
What pros are doing, they’re taking about 30 percent of that loft off and they’re getting that candle leaning forward. It transfers more energy, it’s more stable, you have more swing speed, all kinds of good stuff.
Now the best way I’ve found to feel this is as you start your downswing, we’re going to go ahead and pause in the downswing.
So go ahead and let your hips open up, let your body be opening up. Your right heel’s barely going to start coming off the ground.
If we pause here at last parallel, or basically the last time this club shaft is parallel to the ground, if my club face is straight up and down here, my heel-toe is straight up and down, you’re going to see this angle finder pointing kind of out to the right or in front of me.
What I want to do is now rotate my forearms as much as I can to get that pointing down to the ground, or almost like having this club face point to the golf ball there.
That’s what the pros, you’re seeing that all the time. When pros make a swing and this left wrist starts to get a little bit bowed.
Here’s how I want you to feel that. Have the club open, cupping my left wrist, face to the sky. Then I want you to flex the inside of your forearm here.
Contract those muscles to get that wrist to bow. That’s what’s called wrist flexion, that’s this motion. If you do that a few times, you can feel it on the inside of your forearm.
Go ahead and do about four or five of those, just open, closed. Open, closed. Just like you would in the downswing.
Then with the right hand, do the exact opposite. That’s going to be knuckles back, knuckles to my elbow here.
That’s going to be on the outside of the forearms, so if you pull your knuckles back you can start to feel, grab the outside of your forearm, you can feel those muscles flex there.
Again, I’m going to do four or five where I feel like it’s open, and then I’m closing it down. The cool thing about this too is it’s going to help you promote a more square club face.
You’re going to feel like it’s going to hit that nice draw, and the harder you swing you’re not going to feel like you’re going to lose it out t the right.
So the idea here in a nutshell, I’m going to pause at last parallel. Open my hips, open my body just like a real swing.
I’m going to rotate those forearms until my club face is feeling like to me it’s pointing straight down at the ground. Even though that’s not exactly happening, that’s going to be the sensation I got.
My first shot, my record here if you want to call it that, is what was that, 31°?
Quentin: Yeah, 31.2° I believe on the first one.
Clay: All right, so I’ve got to beat that dynamic loft. I definitely want to get down in the 20s here, so I’m really going to feel that rotating a few times. Then I’m going to try to get that same sensation when I make a swing.
Oh, I don’t know. I hit it about as good as I can. It went a little high though, I’m skeptical if I got down in the 20s on that one.
Quentin: All right it did, you got just under 29.1 on that one for dynamic loft.
Clay: What about the distance?
Quentin: Distance went 161.3 and actually had a little less club head speed on that one, you’re at 92.5 on that one.
Clay: So even though I swung one mile an hour less, still faster than the flip swing. I gained five our yards on it, and that’s just because I took off a couple degree of forward shaft lean.
Now one last thing here that I’d recommend. If you’re really struggling with this, one of the things that really helps with it too, when you’re doing this drill.
So I’m rotating my hands down, I want to feel like I’m low into the ground. I want to feel like I get this handle as low as I can. Think about when I flip, my handle is really far away from the golf ball. I’m standing up and flipping.
As I get lower, or the butt end of my club gets lower to the ground, it has to get forward. One inch lower on the butt end of the club actually is like 10° or 15°, somewhere around 15° of forward shaft lean.
You can see how as that handle gets lower it gets farther in front. So again on this one, I’m going to go even more extreme.
I want to try to see if I can get down around, let’s see if I can maybe get 27° or so of dynamic loft. I’m going to get the same sensation, but I’m really going to feel low coming through there, and let’s see what we can do. There we go, that felt pretty good.
Quentin: It looked lower for sure.
Clay: Nice draw, lower ball flight. That one landed a couple yards farther than the one before.
Quentin: Yep, so it got down to 27° on the dynamic loft there.
Quentin: Distance was about 160.8, so about the same as the last one. Definitely flighted a lot lower.
Clay: That felt very controllable for me. Now that I’ve got right at where the Tour players, the PGA Tour average is around 27°, I hit 27°, that’s where you want to be for really consistent shots. I felt like I could just hit them all day long, nice and straight.
Now there’s one thing that really ties directly in with this, and that’s what I call the Straight-Line Release.
What this is, if I grip up on this club so I can see where the handle’s pointing, as I’m coming to impact if I have this forward shaft lean at impact, you can see how the club shaft is in front of my forearms.
When’s the very first time that the club shaft splits my forearms? I would like to see that out in front of the golf ball, about a 45° angle in front of the golf ball.
That’s when my hips, my shoulders, my arms, my club, everything is releasing out in front. That’s what I call the Straight-Line Release in our Top Speed Golf System.
If you can imagine, if there’s a golf ball four or five feet in front of the one you’re hitting, I’m trying to swing to that golf ball and just let the golf ball I’m trying to hit get in the way.
That makes it so much easier. Now having that concept and tying that in with what we worked on here today is kind of the ultimate one-two punch.
Those things are going to work hand in hand together to get you this really nice solid contact.
What I recommend you do, if you’re a million of the website, watch this video, do these drills, and then go to the Straight-Line Release section.
If you want to really ingrain this, there’s a difference between hitting the ball good today, and hitting the ball good for a lifetime.
If I want to ingrain this so I always have this forward shaft lean, I’m always releasing in front, make it to where it’s just second nature, I need to work through those levels.
Level one of the Straight-Line Release, after I get comfortable with that work through level two, level three.
Once you’ve done those reps, you’re going to be able to just jump out of your car on a cold day, completely not warmed up, make the first swing, and you’re going to have some forward shaft lean.
You make a few more and get loosened up, you’re hitting it like a tour player. So don’t skip on that. Go to the Straight-Line Release section, work through those videos.
I can’t wait to see you there, and I can’t wait to see how good you’re hitting it after you work through the drills.