Swing Clock Defined | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Swing Clock Defined

Wed, 01/13/2010 - 16:00 -- Don Trahan

A few times in blogs, I'€™ve seen comments about DJ'€™s and my hand and shaft positions in the swing. That got me to thinking that there are some serious misunderstandings about the time references to a clock I use. I was giving a lesson to Jim from Ontario, Canada the last two days and the clock-time references I use came to light. So here goes. Let'€™s see if I can accurately and simply define and explain the time references so we are all looking at the same clock in the same way.

Let'€™s start with the real biggie of standing the club up to the 12:00 o'€™clock light position at the top of the backswing. So 6:00 o'€™clock is below my feet. The way to visualize this is to be standing behind the golfer on the toe line looking out to where they would be hitting their ball. Now imagine seeing a big clock suspended over or in front of the player as if they would be hitting through it or above my head, as seen in the picture below. 12:00 o'€™clock should be above the player'€™s head, as seen in this picture of me from the Foundation Swing Manual on page 10,1 with the accompanying explanation of the shaft and body positions below the picture.

Picture #1

1. Club at 12 o'€™clock, above hands and still '€œlight.
2. Clubhead is above hands-sometimes called
'€œcrossing the line'€. Most of
you who are at 10:00, swinging to 12:00 will feel
that way. You'€™ll hit it better
'€œcrossing the line'€ '€”between 12 and 1 o'€™clock'€”
than '€œlaying off'€ or being
'€œflat'€ between 10 and 11 o'€™clock.
3. Hands above head.
4. Elbows and hands form an equilateral triangle, elbows
level (parallel to ground).
5. A line drawn from the butt of the club to the ground, is within acceptable
parameters if it passes through anywhere from the top of the right shoulder to
the base of the neck, as seen above, and down to the top of your shoelaces.
The line can go as far back as your ankle, but if it goes behind your heels,
you are too flat and inside, in the sacred burial ground. If it goes anywhere
beyond your toes, you are too upright and outside.

Picture #2

I am certain some of you have thought the above picture is the top of backswing 12:00 o'€™clock position. It is not as figure 1 is the top of backswing 12:00 o'€™clock light position and is determined through a down the line view not a face on view as this is. This view is around a little past half way up in the backswing. It is to show how fast or soon the club should be stood up vertical to 12:00 o'€™clock in the backswing. That is, by the time the forward arm (left for me a right handed player) is parallel to the ground the club shaft should be perpendicular 12:00 o'€™clock and in the light position in harmony with gravity.

Now, this face on view and the clock is how I see that the club is stood up as fast as possible in the backswing. As far as checking the length of the backswing, I also use the face on view. Looking at the next Picture # 3, you will see my face on top or finish of the backswing for the 7 iron. A driver will be a little farther but not much.

Picture 3 does not have a clock above me. If you imagine the same clock that is above me in picture #2, you will see that my shaft is pointing somewhere around 1:00 o'€™clock. The driver will go a little farther but not reach 2:00 o'€™clock. A shaft for any club reaching 3:00 o'€™clock would be a parallel backswing. A shaft going past 3 to 4 o'€™clock or later is a beyond parallel swing and is called an over swing in conventional instruction. Whereas for PPG, with our backswing ‚¾ length parameters, anything past 2:00 o'€™clock and certainly parallel is considered an over swing.

Picture #3

Top of Backswing

This is as much as you want to take it back – 3/4, thumbs up. Beyond,
you lose dynamic balance and control.

Face On
1. Shoulder turn (70 degrees) in line with left knee.
Back angled away from target, rather than straight
up and down or tilted toward the target.
2. Top of the upper arm under chin (not the
3. Hands even with or above head.
4. Lot of space between shaft and head.
5. Palms still perpendicular, left wrist flat.
6. Right arm is a right angle.
7. Head still in the same place, looking at the ball.
8. Right leg '€œloaded.'€ That is, your hip socket, knee and ankle are in straight
line. Knee flexed.
9. Left foot remains on the ground. Left knee is still resisting and is wide and
in line.

I hope these pictures and the explanations of the positions of the body and club help clear up the concept of using the time on the face of a clock to check club shaft and body positions in the swing. The key is the view looking at the clock. The length of backswing view of the clock is face on, as in picture 3. Standing the club up at the top of the backswing is looking down the line, as seen in picture #1.

Now hopefully we are all on the same page seeing and relating to the same image.

The Surge!

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