Slight Lay Off in the Backswing of the Golf Swing | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Slight Lay Off in the Backswing of the Golf Swing

Fri, 12/23/2016 - 20:44 -- Don Trahan

There is a minimal amount of layoff in the PPGS backswing. But one golden rule, never must we swing into the sacred burial ground! We had a comment on the blog about the lay off of the club in the backswing, I want to clarify what is happening in the backswing. 

This is an excellent question and it goes into one of the fine details of the PPGS swing. Pulling down the club from the backswing the club lays off slightly but we never enter the sacred burial ground.

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Comments

scott.zirbel@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by scott.zirbel@gm... on

Good video, does this slight club layoff help to hit the ball from the " inside " In other words is this what I am doing wrong if I am coming over the top? Merry Christmas and God Bless

Walburghian's picture

Submitted by Walburghian on

Amazing, I was going to contact you about the very same thing. I am known as theJim Furyk of Royal Birkdale because of my vertical swing, but someone mentioned last week that I drop it on the inside on the way down. This could explain why I have a tendency to fire the ball right of where I am aiming

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Surge, thanks for reflecting back on my analysis & commenting on this aspect. This was and still is a major issue for me as originally I tried to maintain my Palms Perpendicular to the ground as indicated in you Video Drill No.3 and it was several years after when we met in Australia, you gave me a full video of your swing, which I was able to dissect more thoroughly and see that the act of Laying Off is in conflict with this video and at one stage your wrist watch is pointing to the sky. You say you fight it, but others may have to implement it, according to their physical abilities.

Golf this year has been a total wipeout, in that I have exiled myself from the game for 12 months and sought other professional advice for assistance to overcome a major flaw of "pulling Left". My game has change from pleasure to totally displeasure and am still of the opinion that my wrists are cupped at the top of the BUS and this must lead to casting and or flipping during the downswing. I believe this cupping is a physical impediment in my body, as any attempt to keep them flat, requires a total distortion of my wrists and swing.

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

Neil,
Great to hear you're still with the program.
Cupping of the wrists can be deceptive. I have discovered a simple means of handling it that may help you.
First, let your lead (left?) arm hang relaxed at your side. Then, without moving any other part, especially the wrist, move, bend your lower arm up to parallel to the ground. Look at the position of your wrist. There should be a slight curvature of the back of the wrist that might be construed as cupping, but it is not. In this position, the thumb should be in a straight line with the radius bone of the forearm. Surge talks about this in the Foundations Manual.
Keeping your left wrist in this position, bring your right hand to your left with palms facing and your right wrist will be cupped. This is the position your wrists should be up to the top of the BUS and back down to the release point, which I have found to be about even with the right knee.
From that point to the left knee, the positions of the wrists should switch as fast as possible; the right wrist un-cups to the natural position and the left wrist cups. This fast switching of wrist positions between the knees adds significant club head speed at impact.
To see this effect, chip some balls using your normal motion, whatever it is. Then, chip some by putting your hands in the starting position I described, take the club back until your hands are just outside your right knee, and swing to just past your left knee, releasing the club with your wrists as fast as possible, as I described.
I think you will find, as I did, that this motion works very well. Attempting to keep the back of the lead wrist flat relative to the outside of the lead forearm is counterproductive. I struggle with this for several years when I first started using PPGS because I misunderstood the concept of a straight lead wrist.
I hope this all helps you.
Kevin

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Season's greetings Neil. Since adopting the Surge swing about 8 years ago, I know that my game has got progressively better but there have been many tweaks along the way. I'm still very careful to use the Surge swing setup as a constant, because it has always worked for me.

I've tinkered a lot with parts of the swing, while trying to find something that works consistently. Everything that you said about your swing problems rings a bell for me. Thinking about hand and wrist positions while swinging, kills my swing every time I do it. I'm definitely one of the guys you describe that doesn't have to worry about getting too much layoff.

I think that the basic Surge setup and right sided takeaway automatically get the club sufficiently close to vertical, without any extra hand manipulation to get the thumbs up at the top. I've got the whole swing down to two simple thoughts that make sense for me and are very easy to time.

I've always started at address, with the left wrist in a natural for me, slightly cupped position instead of the flatter one with forward shaft lean, that Surge advocates. The pulling action of the right sided backswing automatically gives me a sufficiently flat left wrist at the top.

I also had your problem of hitting too many pull shots before trying the last couple of tweaks. If my backswing gets to short and or I get too active with my lower body starting the downswing a pull or a slice is more likely.

It's easy to get too short a backswing with the Surge setup because the upper body has to do most of the work against a stable lower base. My key for the backswing is making a "deep half circle" with the right shoulder blade.

My downswing trigger, is an anti over the top idea that is a lot easier for me to time than the bump and keeps my head behind the ball and parallel to the target line until after impact. My focus is to move the left shoulder away from the lag behind right ear, in a smooth and controlled way. This single thought has been magic for me.

Good luck in the new year with your game.

Dave

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Kevin, thanks for you comments, but sorry to say i have been where you are coming from and it doesn't help/work for me in any way.

My First Point:-
The only way i can get a flat wrist at the top of my backswing is by having the club head leaning well forward in front of my head. When I think back to my youth, I could bend my thumb backwards and touch my inside forearm, which to me signals that that I had some joints that were quite unique.

My fringe chipping around the greens is excellent, this is because you only half swing and wrists are locked with no hinging of the wrist necessary, I think I could match a PGA player with my chipping.

My Second Point:-
Even with the club vertical and or slightly forward, it's necessary to lay the club back as it's physically impossible to get inside the line from a shear vertical position, this is why Furyk's swing looks weird as he does this with a slight loop at the top, so he can lay the club back. I have tracked his and Surges club head with software and they are both similar. Surge's mantra of having palms vertical to the ground ( which I did for several years ) through out the swing had me tied up in knots.

My Final Point:-
As a young person, I had no opportunity in any sport to understand the physics of power hitting in a bat/ball game and relied solely instruction and interpretation from professionals whom I thought would be able to help me, but in many ways, they have totally confused me. Am sticking with golf for 2017, but after that, think I'll write a book and call it "Nightmare in Tee Street", lol.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Dave, good to hear from you again and read your comments and speaking of the "deep half circle" it was only last week that I stumbled across this aspect while in the process of re-setting my posture to overcome "coming up" on the back swing.

I was concentrating on a left arm takeaway which took my should more down than across, assisted with a slight forward LH knee flex at the same time.
I started hitting the ball with greater power and accuracy and immediately thought I had stumbled across something wonderful, but alas, I got down to the bottom of the ball bucket and suddenly started to feel a twinge in my right hip joint and from there it progressed to a jabbing pain every time I repeated it, so it all ended there. Has taken me a week to recover after never having to deal with an issue like this in my 20 years of playing golf, so it's back to the drawing board again.

Am currently working with a teaching pro to whom I have given a copy of the PPGS system so he understands what the basic tenets are, in the mean time I still enjoy putting and chipping on the practice greens after work, most days.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

I played for many years, when flexibility was no problem, with a left sided push takeaway but later converted to a pulling right sided takeaway. While doing a left sided takeaway, I always had a tendency to be too steep without enough turn and close the clubface instead of keeping it square to the turn. I now setup with the upper left arm feeling lightly connected to and riding on top, of the side of the left pec, during the setup and backswing. I've found that using a pulling motion, for both the backswing and downswing works best for me. I also think that this makes it easier to maintain a steady head and minimize sway during the backswing and downswing.

I feel your pain when it comes to back and hip problems. For the last 20 years I've done a lot of core strengthening and stretching exercises and haven't had to miss a single day of golf, during our already too short season.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Dave, l changed over to being a right handed player when I discovered Surge and improved my hitting power substantially, the left arm takeaway was a "one of" trial which I stumbled on while trying to retain my posture from coming up during the upswing last week, but as I said previously this activated something in my hip, which caused a severe pain. Similar to you, I do intense stretching every morning and have generally been pain free for the last couple of years and to any one reading this blog, I can't tell you how important it is to undertake stretching on a regular routine with a specific plan from a physiotherapist.

So back to my original problem of "coming-up" in the upswing and having a fairly upright stance, its difficult for me feel/know this is actually happening.
Posture change with the left hand takeaway did produce the desired result, so there must be something there I can use, without getting the pain factor,
I'll just tinker with this aspect and see where it gets me, maybe Surge could do video on this, if he reads the blog.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Neil, If I keep my left wrist soft enough I have no problem flattening it at the top of the backswing with the pulling motion of the right side.

About a year ago I stopped trying to achieve the thumbs up vertical club position and became a lot more consistent. I think that the problem was the way that I was getting to Surge's very upright position. I was probably not lifting straight up enough and getting the thumbs up too much with hand manipulation. I think that focusing so much on getting the club upright, while lifting with the shoulders, often resulted in a cupped left wrist at the top and less than a 70 degree turn.

My backswing is a lot simpler now that all I have to think about is, turning the right shoulder blade back as far as it will go, while keeping a stable lower body. The Surge setup ensures that I can do a 3/4 swing while the club gets into a sufficiently upright position at the top without extra manipulation. Perhaps more important for me is that there is a lot less to go wrong during the transition. There was a lot more going on and athleticism required, during the Jim Furyk like swing that I used to have.

Being a bit of a contrarian, the recipe that works for me seems to be "a 3/4 turn with less lift". I'm very confident in this swing because I no longer have to use offset clubs, or draw settings, to hit straight solid shots and can now hit a full length, rather than cut down driver, very well.

jakalahar's picture

Submitted by jakalahar on

I've been working on keeping my elbows close together at address and throughout the swing. I don't recall Don mentioning this, but I have not seen all of his videos. Any thoughts on incorporating this into his swing keys?

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

The reason you don't recall Don mentioning it is that it is not something he recommends. If you try to keep the elbows close together, you introduce tension in the shoulders and arms, restricting the swing. If you let your arms hang naturally and relaxed at your sides, and then bring your palms together in a relaxed position, you will know where your elbows should be in relation to each other.

rwwdir@aol.com's picture

Submitted by rwwdir@aol.com on

I recently had my swing analyzed and found out that as I change from the backswing to the forward up swing my club head moves to an outside to in path. Any ideas how to correct this?

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

Without actually seeing your swing, it is difficult to say. There are a number of possible causes. If you are working on the PPGS (I assume you are), the two most likely causes are (1) ALIGNMENT and (2) the Bump.

If you are misaligned and aiming right, your mind knows where you are aiming and corrects your swing to pull back onto the target line, causing an over-the-top, outside-to-in swing.

If you are aligned correctly, but don't have the Bump correct, you are most likely rotating your body from the top, which also causes the same move.

I had to work a lot on both of these issues when I started PPGS over 8 years ago. Try using the Search Box in the upper right corner to search for "outside-in swing" or some variation of that.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

I've spent quite a few years trying to find a downswing trigger that would consistently put the club in the correct plane during transition. Until this year that trigger was lower body focused and involved some variation of lateral lower body motion led by the lead knee or belt line toward the target. If my timing was good I could play great golf but if it was off, the ball could go anywhere. I have to give credit to Michael Breed on the Golf channel for a tip last year. He said that the downswing could be triggered by either the lower body or the upper body and he personally used the upper body. His downswing key was to move the left shoulder away from the chin.

I personally get a very consistent draw by keying on moving the left shoulder or pec, away from the right ear, to trigger the downswing. I think that with my old lower body activated downswing, it was a lot harder to have a steady head thru impact and hit consistently solid and straight shots without coming over the top.

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

Dave,
Like you, I have been trying to find a downswing (Forward-Up Swing - FUS) trigger. I have spent a lot of time trying to ingrain Surge's "Ring the Bell" thought, to no avail. After reading your comment above, I decided to see if Michael Breed's tip or a variation of it might help (I didn't see the show). I haven't been outside (temp below 40) to try it, but it feels very natural. I can't wait to get outside later this week to swing a club with it. Maybe last chance to swing for several months due to possible rotator cuff issue.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Hi Kevin, I hope you find this useful. These are a couple of links that describe fairly well the move of the left shoulder from the chin. I actually started using this separation move, described in the 2 video links, several months before seeing Michael Breed do it. I used this idea for most of last year but found my own tweak near the end of the season that helped even more. Instead of visualizing the left shoulder separating from the chin I started thinking about it separating from the right ear. I think that this thought helps with alignment during setup and keeps my head steady during the transition. This gives a very good feeling of the arms swinging around a steady head and the club head going from inside to square to inside.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecTqi52lQ5o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p0JbDgJc6s

There are a lot of good comments after the second video from people who have been using this idea.

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

Thanks, Dave. Hopefully, I will get to try this all out sooner rather than later.