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Straightening the Right Knee on the Backswing

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How is the idea of straightening (not locking tight) the right knee to allow for a full turn so hard for everyone to wrap their head around? This entire thread has shown me how easy it is for people to look past simple Logic. If you try and turn with the same knee flex that you had at address, then, you are technically swinging all upper body and no power from your core. In order to release that core power, you HAVE to allow your right knee to straighten so you can load and then release that core power at the ball.

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If I were a golfer that just started the game I would take this the wrong way, I would say to myself "so it's okay to relax the knee/hami/quad and bend it almost straight with no tension in it at all". I just think it's the wrong message to get accross, I think it will increase swing faults and decrease power instead of the opposite. I know what you are saying but people can take it the wrong way and I think most PGA teachers would probably teach the opposite.

"The role of the right knee in the backswing is very simple, but incredibly important. The importance of the flex in the right knee is undeniable. The flex in the right knee helps keep the hips more level in the backswing. If the right knee straightens, it pushes the right hip up and consequently the left hip down resulting in too much left-hip tilt in the backswing. Where there is too much hip tilt to the left in the backswing, it's difficult to shift your weight properly to the right in the backswing. Therefore, the player inadvertently creates a reverse pivot, or reverse weight shift with too much weight on the left foot at the top of the swing."

"Another key reason to keep the right knee flexed is how it is used in your transition into your downswing. Your right knee is a key source of driving power of your lower body in the downswing. It's very difficult to drive off a straightened right leg in the transition. Therefore, the upper body tends to dominate the downswing resulting in poor swing plane and loss of power."

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I find it comical that a 15 hdcp is offering expert criticism of very successful tour pros. Somehow Casey and Donald manage to scruff around the golf course just fine. As far as Faldo, I don't know what he might shoot today, but I would guess he could manage a par or two, even though he is so much shorter than everyone here on the Sand Trap.

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I find it comical that a 15 hdcp is offering expert criticism of very successful tour pros. Somehow Casey and Donald manage to scruff around the golf course just fine. As far as Faldo, I don't know what he might shoot today, but I would guess he could manage a par or two, even though he is so much shorter than everyone here on the Sand Trap.

Ha, so true. You know the old saying, put your money where your mouth is. I don't claim to be able to stand up to even the most also-ran player on the Nationwide tour, nor do I ever try to criticize the knowledge of the guys who's job it is to announce this stuff for a living.

I know this because I've had bar musicians try to 'teach' me something that they think they know. It can be downright cute at best, annoying at worst. It's not common at all for this to happen, mind you, but there is that occasional idiot. When I've worked with artists who were successful, it's always been a give and take of knowledge, I'll teach them what they don't know, they'll teach me what I don't know. I actually had a folk singer who was around way back when who taught me the secret to lyrics. He said, "find someone who has, or find your own point of view. Don't worry about if they sound good or not, just worry that they convey a message, then use your own skills to tweak them from there into something sonorous. It's all about point of view, and if that's not clear, the song will never be good." That was one of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten (I've never written lyrics, but I'm trying to learn).

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The flex in the right knee helps keep the hips more level in the backswing.

That's the problem with that quote (you didn't say who it was from): your hips are inclined and to swing in a circle, they should stay on that inclined plane.

Where there is too much hip tilt to the left in the backswing, it's difficult to shift your weight properly to the right in the backswing.

That might sound good but the science is wrong. Even Stack and Tilt guys shift their weight right at the top of the backswing. Their chest and arms have rotated to the right, so the weight goes there. It's been measured.

But hey, this guy says it, so I guess Nicklaus, Palmer, Hogan, Bobby Jones, Tiger, Phil, etc. should have kept the same knee flex they had at address...
I find it comical that a 15 hdcp is offering expert criticism of very successful tour pros.

Nick Faldo wins majors and thinks that the swing path determines the starting direction of the ball. Phil Mickelson's swing isn't great but the guy has talent - Paul Casey and Luke Donald have to overcome their "maintained flex in their right knees" to play well. They play well and hit the ball far in spite of it.

It's simple geometry - your right leg must lengthen for the right hip to move back and up on its inclined plane.

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Aside from all the sturm and drang this thread has inspired, looking at some of those "group" or multi-panel photos, helped me get a better idea of the various degrees of bracing, and the associated angles in the right leg, used by different pros.

It's something I've looked at a little more closely in my own swing with positive results in contact thus far.

(That said I'm still a bit of a hooker, fighting the hook, Gnnnnrgh. Just fewer thins and fats. )

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Luke Donald has been working on losing the intial flex -

You do have to remember that Faldo follows a leadbetter pattern focused on right knee flex, level hips, early plane shifts and stepper hand path.... all pieces that will flow if the right knee flex is maintained. Creating resistance in the backswing is a fundamental to Lead's camp, so we will see different pieces than what is prescribed under a philosophy with a standard knee action where the right knee loses flex.

Faldo always preached staying in your spine angle but he had trouble actually doing it. When the knee stays flexed and the hips and shoulders are forced to turn more level, you have to stand up. Sir Nick also talks about his release alot, so when you have pivoted behind the ball and come out of your posture, a full rolling release is bound to happen.

There have been players that have won alot of tournaments with a right knee that stays flexed, they just haven't been the best ball strikers too.

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Luke Donald has been working on losing the intial flex

Good video of Luke Donald. Glad to hear he's working on that - it should only help him. And I agree with the rest too.

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I'm really surprised how many people want to argue this subject. do what is ATHLETIC. tell me something, do you ever see a baseball pitcher straighten out his back leg as he winds up? or does he leave a little flex to press off? do you ever see a boxer wind up on a stiff back leg or does he keep flex to press off?

Stiff means static which means it's gonna stay static. You wanna move through it? make sure you can move your back leg. Golf is just a sport. Be an athlete.

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tell me something, do you ever see a baseball pitcher straighten out his back leg as he winds up?

Throwing a ball has little to do with hitting a ball on the ground.

A golfer does add flex to the knee to push off on the downswing. I'm making up the numbers here to illustrate the point, but let's say there's 20 degrees of flex in the knee at setup, 5 degrees at the top, it goes back to about 20 degrees again on the downswing before straightening out again to 5 degrees (or less) as the golfer continues to push his hips forward and extend.
Stiff means static which means it's gonna stay static.

I'm fairly certain you're the only person who has said "stiff" or anything like that.

This thread is proving to be illustrative of what may be a greater problem than golfers believing you need to maintain the same knee flex throughout the backswing - reading comprehension is at an all-time low, apparently. And for those who can't read, the pictures aren't working, either. Look at my video again. Which position looks more athletic to you: the one where I'm in knee flex (admittedly exaggerated to make the point) or the one where I've allowed my hips to rotate)?

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Blimey! Still splitting hairs and banging heads against brick walls here? I admire your patience Erik. You can bring a horse to water however you can't make it drink.

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Blimey! Still splitting hairs and banging heads against brick walls here? I admire your patience Erik. You can bring a horse to water however you can't make it drink.

Heh. Y'know, at some point I stop caring that other people are harming their golf game and swing by blindly following advice someone one gave despite an overwhelming preponderance of evidence both textual, pictorial, and logical.

I think I've reached that point on this topic, and now look forward to seeing it in the rearview mirror.

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. . . an overwhelming preponderance of evidence both textual, pictorial, and logical.

There is obviously evidence the right leg straightens - anecdotal and pictoral. There's also some evidence that it doesn't

need to straighten very much - anecdotal and pictoral. Assuming we're talking about righties, there's a wide range degrees of right leg straightening, and conversely left leg bending. Different players have different swings, and the FO and DTL angles alone can often be misleading. Players also have varying amounts of lateral movement. In the Faldo v. S&T; example (post #90 - coincidentally a good year for Faldo, but I digress) my untrained eyes don't pick up as much right leg straightening as left leg bending, leading to a tilt of the pelvis - his right ankle allows this tilt. He has to maintain a certain amount of rigid flex in the right leg otherwise he'd have a huge powerleak on the downswing. My knowledge of other people's swing is limited, but I can feel resistence and torsion during my own. It's a non-issue really - whether a player tries to straighten their right leg 100% or keep it in the exact same position (in all directions) they're bound to fail, and likely be injured in the process.

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Just understand that both legs SHOULD change FLEX to allow the hips to turn on an incline plane, which allows the body to turn more to maximize rotational capacity. This also allows the hands to swing on the inclined plane and use angular momentum again for more speed.

If you would rather have less speed, then please go ahead and swing in a straight line.

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no, that mean you are lifting and not turning parallal to the ground. watch Ernie Els hit a driver and watch his rear knee

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