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Eddy Butt Analysis

Apr. 18, 2009     By     Comments (12)

Lots of flaws, but one simple (potential) fix.

Swing CheckEddy Butt has been playing for three years but already has made great strides to become a great player. After working on his short game and putting as well as increasing his driving average to around 280 yards, he has now turned his attention to becoming a more consistent player. Ultimately, he is hoping that all his hard work will be rewarded by winning his club championship.

While I do believe that Eddy's problems are fixable, I have identified three major swing plane problems that may all be attributable to one root cause.

Read on to see Eddy's swing and the fixes I've outlined for him.

The Swing

Eddy's swing can be seen here as a QuickTime movie. This shows the down-the-line angle with his driver. I would highly recommend that you watch the video, identify what you have found as Eddy's root problem, and then read on to see if you're right.

Analysis

The down the line camera angle can be used to identify faults in two areas: 1) posture and 2) swing plane. Even though I separate the two, they clearly can have huge effects on one another. Thus, before pressing play, my first thought is to look to see whether or not the player's posture is within an acceptable margin of error.

Acceptable Posture at Set Up

For a player with long-term goals of shooting par or below, I would highly recommend taking the time to get your posture to a point that you will not have to make any adjustments in the future. However, for a player in need of an immediate fix, if your posture is within that acceptable margin of error you can move on to swing plane.

Swing Plane
I need to draw a few lines on Eddy's swing before I really analyze his swing plane. I will be using these quite a bit in the future so I suppose I should go through them right now.

Line 3

Line 3: Line 3 runs from the hosel of the club through the butt of the grip and continues up approximately two to three feet past your body. This line represents the absolute lowest that your club should ever go.

Line 4

Line 4: Line 4 runs from the toe of your clubhead through your trailing shoulder. This represents the highest your hands, shaft and clubhead should go. If your leading hand is lower than this line at the top of the swing, redraw the line so that it is touching the top of your hand. Remember, your hands, shaft, and clubhead should never cross this line during any point in your back swing or down swing.

Line P

Line P: Line P is slightly more difficult to draw. This line is not drawn at the initial set up but should only be drawn at impact. To draw this line you will need to freeze the frame at impact and then draw a line running from the hosel of the golf club, through the butt of the grip, and continue approximately two to three feet outside of your body. With the proper swing plane you will come down this line and start your follow through on this line.

Let's take a few frames of Eddy's swing and look at them with lines drawn.

Eddy Take Away
Eddy Top of Swing
Eddy Down Swing

After drawing lines and watching Eddy's swing you can easily tell that he is having some major swing plane problems. In fact, he is:

  • Crossing Line 3 during his take away
  • Crossing Line 4 at the top of his swing with the shaft and clubhead
  • Coming down inside Line P on his downswing

So which one of these problems would you choose to work on first? I would be willing to bet that most golfers would say focus on swing plane. It makes perfect sense to do that too; if you are on plane, just like Moe Norman, Raymond Floyd, and Lee Trevino, then what difference does your back swing make?

Unfortunately, your back swing makes a huge difference. Norman, Floyd, and Trevino probably hit millions of golf balls to groove their swing. I would rather take an approach that takes a lot less golf balls and makes it a lot easier to consistently be on plane. For that reason, I would suggest to Eddy that he work on the top of his swing.

Crossing the Line at the Top

There are a few different options that we have to fix the top of his swing. Our goal is to ensure that Eddy's left hand, shaft, and clubhead do not cross Line 4 at the top. Although Hogan's hands were quite low at the top, I am recommending that Eddy raise his hands at the top of his swing. Here's why.

First, Eddy's clubhead and shaft are crossing Line 4 at the top. This does not mean that it is impossible to get back on plane. It just means that within about 4/10 of a second Eddy needs shift his clubhead about two to three feet behind his body, then allow his hands to drop naturally, then begin to accelerate all while sustaining his posture and power. Just writing about that motion was confusing - trying to do that at 100 mph is way too complicated for me. By raising Eddy's hands, it should make it easier for him to keep his shaft and clubhead below Line 4.

Top of Swing with DLIII

Second, Eddy unfortunately is not making that incredibly complicated movement I described above correctly. If you watch his swing in slow motion you can see that as he is moving the clubhead behind his body his hands are starting to drop. This means that he is already below plane with no possible way to get back on once he starts to accelerate. If Eddy were to raise his hands to a point where his clubhead is not crossing Line 4, he could still make that drop and be on plane.

Third, Eddy is taking the club back quite a bit inside. While there are no guarantees that this will be effective, many players who raise their hands at the top of their swing naturally become steeper during their backswing.

So for all those reasons, I am suggesting that Eddy raise the top of his swing.

Potential Fixes

Raising your hands can be extremely tricky to fix. In fact, this is one of swing changes that you absolutely need to have some way to monitor your swing - be it another person or video camera.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when changing the top of your swing.

High/Low Tops

Personalized Line 4: The highest that Line 4 should ever be drawn is through your trailing shoulder at set up. The lowest that your hands should ever go is shoulder height at the top of your swing. Players that utilize a drop before they begin to accelerate - like Eddy - need to have their hands higher at the top of their swing. Players that immediately turn through the ball from the top of their swing can have their hands lower.

Window at the Top

See the Clubhead in the Window: Regardless of where you decided to draw Line 4, you should be able to see the clubhead through a window your left and right arms make at the top of your swing. This is a rough estimation but is incredibly easy to monitor even without lines.

Slow it Down: Odds are you are not going to be able to change this part of your swing instantly. In fact, this is an incredibly difficult change to make. My advice would be to slow down your swing to a point until you can consistently make this move. Once you get it at one speed you can start to speed up little bit little until you are able to consistently make this move at full speed.

Time Line: This is one of the parts of your swing that can be difficult to feel. If a player truly wants to speed up their progress I would take two to three swings on camera and then review your progress. If you plan on just going out and beating balls this swing change could take a very long time.

Be sure to monitor… posture. Some players make this change using their shoulders allowing their arms to follow and some make it using their arms allowing their shoulders to follow. Regardless of the one that you choose you do not want to see your head bobbing up and down during your swing.

Conclusion

Eddy had several noticeable flaws but it is my opinion that many of them are attributable to the top of his swing. If Eddy can raise his hands just slightly and position the clubhead so that it is viewable within the window that his left and right arms create, his swing plane should dramatically improve. More importantly, I wouldn't be surprised if Eddy experiences a noticeable gain in driver accuracy. We'll see but I look forward to seeing his results.


Your Turn!
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Discussion

  1. Marjan says:

    A very good points! Why not recommend a bit more bend over?

  2. Tom says:

    Who said golf was easy.

    You have to be really dedicated to work on this to get this right. I can't see any amateur working on this without a golf teaching pro. I could video my swing, freeze frame it and draw all the lines but who has got the time these days.

    To your point, the tour pros have hit millions of balls and they do have their swing coaches.

    Very educational.

    I found the setup analysis you did of George much more realistic for me. Worked on it in front of a mirror and hit some on the range. I saw a definite improvement in distance and ball flight. Wonderful article.

  3. Alan says:

    Very good analysis.

    However simple the solution may sound, swing plane is probably the most difficult thing to fix in a swing and I would hold off on it until October or the end of the season to fix it unless you don't plan on playing decently all season.

  4. T.M. O'Connell says:

    A very good points! Why not recommend a bit more bend over?

    I mentioned this to Eddie but the camera angle is slightly off. I told him to send a new video to me with a little better angle before making any changes. Regardless, he is within a range that he can still play very good golf.

  5. Cizzle says:

    I completely disagree with this analysis. I think you're spot on that the first thing he needs to work on his his backswing plane, but I don't believe raising hands will lead to much sucess. His arms are in a perfect spot, but he is just turning too flat.

    http://img529.imageshack.us/my.php?image=analysis.jpg

    From that picture you can see his arms are perfect position across his chest. But his shoulder plane is extremely flat. I used to be in a similar position as Eddy, and the cure for it is to feel like your rocking your shoulders vertical. With a mirror or video camera try to get your shoulders pointing at the ball or a few feet past it and it will improve your ballstriking greatly.

    http://img529.imageshack.us/my.php?image=analysis2.jpg

    I know we all wish we were Tiger, but look at his shoulders. Much better plane than Eddy's. By just raising your hands the shoulders will still be much too flat.

    I'd love to hear what you think T.M. I can tell you put a lot of effort into your analysis.

  6. Kevin says:

    It also looked like he raised his spine angle significantly during his back swing.

  7. T.M. O'Connell says:

    I completely disagree with this analysis. I think you're spot on that the first thing he needs to work on his his backswing plane, but I don't believe raising hands will lead to much sucess. His arms are in a perfect spot, but he is just turning too flat.

    Please look at the "be sure to monitor" part of the Potential Fixes section. I addressed your point but it is just one of many different ways to address your back swing. Tiger's shoulders are more vertical but look at Hogan and McIlroy whose shoulders are significantly flatter.

    Also keep in mind that he makes a pretty dramatic drop from the top of his swing. That drop is not a flaw unless his hands are too low.

    Thanks for the comment.

  8. Marjan says:

    Hi,

    After reading everything once more time and watching swing ... i have to admit : you're right. I was mislead with backswing picture/positions (more or less oneplane - and that require more bend over at least in transition/downswing) But you want him to get arms/hands more up - to the 2 plane direction - and that's his all other positions/movements and most important impact position.

    regards,
    marjan

  9. JP says:

    While the world is quite fortunate that I am not giving golf lessons, if I were, I would be very leery of making diagnoses on video still shots drawing lines.

    It must be something that takes quite a bit of practice to learn to do well. And to have any confidence that you were good at video diagnostics, I'd think you'd need quite a bit of feedback from your students, both their subjective feedback and feedback you get from taking additional videos after you've taught the player to make changes.

    Looking at video and video still shots seems so simple and logical. But look at the pictures of Eddy, v. Hogan, and notice the difference in the camera angle. Hogans feet appear relatively square to the camera's aim, while Eddy's feet appear either closed, or the camera is slightly more toward the ball with him than with Hogan.

    Even tiny differences in where the camera is placed creates different optical effects, and the validity and reliability of any lines you draw comes into question.

    I'm not saying T.M.'s analysis is wrong, or even that his lines are wrong...I'm just saying that from my point of view I wouldn't be confident comparing swing plane lines between two people without knowing that the camera was in the exact same place relative to both players, and/or that a series of reference lines were available somewhere in the picture in order to validate any lines you draw.

    A question I'd have for T.M....the actual video, without any reference lines, does look like an "over the top" move; is there anything you see after drawing the lines that you don't see looking at his swing in motion?

  10. Edward Butt says:

    Hi guys, thanks for the analysis here is my latest swing would love to hear your thoughts

  1. [... Eddy Butt has been playing for three years but already has made great strides to become a great player. After working on his short game and putting as well as ...]

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