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Help! -- How to move swing bottom forward?


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So I'm studying my Bobby Clampett impact zone. Makes sense and I do think there is something to this idea. (The basic point being, the lowest part of the swing -- deepest part of the divot -- is supposed to be 4 inches ahead of the ball.)

I'm working on this with chipping and 50 yard pitches with a lob wedge, and getting it down pretty well -- at least I'm hitting the ball before the ground, and my swing is bottoming out past the ball. It does give a nice solid contact and make the ball jump off the clubface. So far, so good.

But I move onto full swings and really struggle. My swing just totally wants to bottom out a couple of inches in front of the ball. Which means I hit the ball with a slightly ascending blow, resulting in lots of thin shots, etc. Not good. Now I am starting to understand that it has been ever thus -- this has been a problem in my swing for a long time. So I think I'm onto something here.

But having identified the objective (move swing bottom forward a few inches from where it is now), I'm struggling to achieve it on full swings. According to Clampett this should all happen pretty automatically if you lag the club properly. I'm trying to do that (I have also long sufferred from the evil of casting) but it's not helping, at least not consistently. Getting a full swing to bottom 4 inches ahead of the ball seems almost physically impossible for me. A good crisp contact with a 7 iron, trying to lag it as much as I can and with a good tempo swing, will bottom out maybe 2 inches ahead of the ball. And when I do feel like I've achieved a good lag on a swing, I'm very often going through the ball with a wide-open clubface, leading to a huge push-slice.

Can anyone provide me with some preliminary diagnosis here? Clampett seems to think this stuff fixes itself automatically, which I am not finding. Thanks!
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This might work for Bobby Clampett, because he has a professional swing. For a recreational golfer, 4 inches is a long way.Besides, when I see the super slo-mo swings of the Tour players, I never see 4 inches of bare ground between the ball and the divot.

I'm not going to contradict Clampett, because he knows more about the swing than I will learn in three lifetimes, but I would like to put a tee down marking the leading edge of the ball and measure from there to where his divot starts. Can you imagine how shallow the swing arc has to be to hit the ball on the sweet spot and not hit the ground until 4 inches later?
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makes sure that you are not swaying on your backswing, a simple drill you can try is to swing with your feet together. once you have determine that your are not swaying just before you take the club back do a ever so slightly forward press.
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  • 5 years later...

I have the same problem and it's becoming very frustrating. On easy lob wedge swings from 90-yds and in -- with the ball back in my stance a bit -- I can pinch the ball and take a divot, no problem. Contact is crisp and my direction is pretty consistent.  However, when I take a full swing I cannot seem to compress the ball and take a divot in front of the ball. (I often pull it and I always hit it very high.)

Yesterday I was at the range for an hour with a tee/line on the ball and only once in 40+ swings did the divot start in line or in front of the tee. Most others were behind the ball--even when I was trying specifically to take a divot in front of the ball.  (My 4 handicapper buddy gets as frustrated as I do when he works with me on this.)

Note: if I move the ball back in my stance I will eventually shank it or hit the ball with a very open face or both. If I move the ball forward to avoid a skank, the divots again occur behind the ball. It's truly maddening.  (FYI: I often hit the ball on the heel side of the face too--another swing flaw I cannot figure out.)

I can only assume that although I think I'm moving forward (I do end up on my front foot after the swing) my weight is hanging back through impact. Perhaps my arms outrace my turn and weight shift? Or is there more to it?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

K in Michigan

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kblehman View Post

I have the same problem and it's becoming very frustrating. On easy lob wedge swings from 90-yds and in -- with the ball back in my stance a bit -- I can pinch the ball and take a divot, no problem. Contact is crisp and my direction is pretty consistent.  However, when I take a full swing I cannot seem to compress the ball and take a divot in front of the ball. (I often pull it and I always hit it very high.)

Yesterday I was at the range for an hour with a tee/line on the ball and only once in 40+ swings did the divot start in line or in front of the tee. Most others were behind the ball--even when I was trying specifically to take a divot in front of the ball.  (My 4 handicapper buddy gets as frustrated as I do when he works with me on this.)

Note: if I move the ball back in my stance I will eventually shank it or hit the ball with a very open face or both. If I move the ball forward to avoid a skank, the divots again occur behind the ball. It's truly maddening.  (FYI: I often hit the ball on the heel side of the face too--another swing flaw I cannot figure out.)

I can only assume that although I think I'm moving forward (I do end up on my front foot after the swing) my weight is hanging back through impact. Perhaps my arms outrace my turn and weight shift? Or is there more to it?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

K in Michigan

The advice from @jamo 's post above is probably a good place to start.  And a good way to do that is through the video in the OP of this thread here: http://thesandtrap.com/t/35686/eriks-hips-forward-pre-set-drill-video/0_30

And some possibly relevant notes from further down the thread (from the author of the video):

Quote:
The drill is more about pushing the hips forward than anything else. You can combine it into a good "straight arms" and "hit fast, stop fast" (the latter of which I didn't really emphasize in this video) drill too, but it's more about where the hips should be at impact.

A LOT of golfers hit the ball fat or thin because of the same flaws - their hips and thus their weight are too far back at impact. So they flip and hit it thin and fat all day because their hips haven't pushed forward into the proper position at impact.

Good luck.

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I actually don't recommend this at all for most amateur golfers or slower swing speed players. Imagine the golf swing as a longer extended ''U'' The middle of your stance is the bottom point of the swing and being that the club is still going downward to achieve ''4 inches'' Your 7 iron needs to be back of center a bit what a new concept trap the ball wow!! Anyway Jack Nicklaus himself said all shots should be placed off the left heel with a vary in stance width because that's when the club achieves it's natural square point. He had an open set up a bit so it was more true for him and worked Great! Consider Bobby's technique a new shot not your new swing anytime your more centered with your ball placement or back a bit you will start to develop new misses such as leaks to the right or terrible push slices as you stated all of which are terrible weak shots. I recommend leading with your hands and placing the ball ahead of center take that 4 inches into 0..5 inches and hit down on the turf like a brisk brush taking nothing or marginal grass depending on the club say a 5 iron tee it up and take no divot. You will hit it pure and hit it high your new misses will be straight, baby pushes or pulls all long playable shots on the green. As you get better make that impact zone one inch maybe 2 with the wedges don't risk leaking to the right it's a terrible miss.

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Here is something to think about if your going back an forth between what your learning and your old ways.. This is what Bobby Clampett is referring to a nice shallow divot that extends 4 inches past the ball. This is Sergio Garcia were talking about he has the extreme talent and master class hands to play the ball centered and time it flawlessly it really does take fast twitch muscles and great hands. Conversely if his ball was and inch forward he would have more time to the ball and would be able to do well with average hands so are you Sergio Garcia?
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Here is something to think about if you're going back an forth between what you're learning and your old ways. This is what Bobby Clampett is referring to a nice shallow divot that extends 4 inches past the ball. This is Sergio Garcia -- he has extreme talent and master class hands to play the ball centered and time it flawlessly it really does take fast twitch muscles and great hands. Conversely if his ball was and inch forward he would have more time to the ball and would be able to do well with average hands so are you Sergio Garcia?

LOL, I've been athletic all my life but I'm no Sergio. I do have hands that are active enough that I had to go from a strong grip to a neutral grip, but it's always been a challenge for me to get my weight completely forward on impact.

Went to the range last night with a buddy who can really compress his irons and he worked with me for quite a while. It was a struggle trying to hit a tee that was 3" in front of the natural bottom point of my swing (and later a ball). I had a tendency to slide forward, and that can get ugly, but I did get better after an hour or so.

What finally clicked was when I watched him pinch some irons and I noticed that his front foot wasn't rolling forward so much as it was pressing down into the ground during his transfer. That image really helped (similar to the video shared by saevel25) and I finally felt it 4 holes into a quick 9 after our range session. At that point my mental image was to push my weight through my front foot with my swing, if that makes sense. That mental thought helped me get to my left side and also stay down through impact (another weakness of mine) and suddenly I was hitting down into the ball with my irons. I wasn't taking 8" divots (I've always been more of a picker) but I was definitely going through the ball first and catching turf when my thought was to swing "down into my left foot.".

Progress!!!  :)   I have a golf outing to play in on Friday and will report back after some live swings.  Thanks everyone!

Kerry in MI

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LOL, I've been athletic all my life but I'm no Sergio. I do have hands that are active enough that I had to go from a strong grip to a neutral grip, but it's always been a challenge for me to get my weight completely forward on impact.

Went to the range last night with a buddy who can really compress his irons and he worked with me for quite a while. It was a struggle trying to hit a tee that was 3" in front of the natural bottom point of my swing (and later a ball). I had a tendency to slide forward, and that can get ugly, but I did get better after an hour or so.

What finally clicked was when I watched him pinch some irons and I noticed that his front foot wasn't rolling forward so much as it was pressing down into the ground during his transfer. That image really helped (similar to the video shared by saevel25) and I finally felt it 4 holes into a quick 9 after our range session. At that point my mental image was to push my weight through my front foot with my swing, if that makes sense. That mental thought helped me get to my left side and also stay down through impact (another weakness of mine) and suddenly I was hitting down into the ball with my irons. I wasn't taking 8" divots (I've always been more of a picker) but I was definitely going through the ball first and catching turf when my thought was to swing "down into my left foot.".

Progress!!!  :)   I have a golf outing to play in on Friday and will report back after some live swings.  Thanks everyone!

Kerry in MI

Great glad to hear it just remember though it's the grooves that cause spin not necessarily a divot. If you got it timed then go after it remember though your misses will be to the right and we all have misses I like mine to be pin high to the left vs 12 yards short and to the right/ from experience I will say a divot with a 7 iron is no better than a picked 7 iron good luck go get em.

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