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Myth of Maintaining Your Address Flex in the Rear Knee


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Originally Posted by TitleistWI

Exactly.  I dont know any instructors who advocated straightening the right knee on the backswing.  How are you supposed to get onto your left side if your right leg is straight and wont allow you to push off and shift your weight to the left side?

Also, using tour pros' swings as a model is never a good thing because those guys are freaks of nature and almost none of them have a mechanically perfect swing in the first place.

I actually used to straighten my right leg on the backswing and since focusing on keeping some flex in that leg Ive gotten more consistency, straighter shots and more distance.  I used to hit a big ole block shot because I wasnt able to get onto my left side.

If straightening the right leg works for the OP and for others, thats cool but it didnt work for me.


Did you watch the videos and read the thread?

"Straighten" = decrease flex, not "lock out dead straight." Virtually every golfer straightens (decreases the flex) of the rear knee in the backswing. It allows the hips to turn on an inclined plane (or to turn at all, really).

And it's easy to get to your left side even if you happen to completely straighten the right knee during the backswing.

"Keeping some flex" is not the opposite of "straightening." It's the opposite of "locking out" or "completely straightening".

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Originally Posted by johnclayton1982

Did anyone see the big article in the latest Golf Magazine about how keeping the right knee flexed through the entire swing is the "key to power" ?

Gotta be careful with those magazines, as I'm sure you know, they have instructors contradicting each other in the same month.  And they are usually operating under the assumptions of the incorrect ball flight laws

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Originally Posted by TitleistWI

Exactly.  I dont know any instructors who advocated straightening the right knee on the backswing.  How are you supposed to get onto your left side if your right leg is straight and wont allow you to push off and shift your weight to the left side?

Also, using tour pros' swings as a model is never a good thing because those guys are freaks of nature and almost none of them have a mechanically perfect swing in the first place.

I actually used to straighten my right leg on the backswing and since focusing on keeping some flex in that leg Ive gotten more consistency, straighter shots and more distance.  I used to hit a big ole block shot because I wasnt able to get onto my left side.

If straightening the right leg works for the OP and for others, thats cool but it didnt work for me.


Yes and like Erik said, in the video I definitely said at least 2 times that straightening means losing flex, not losing all the flex or locking it.  And for some players feeling like there is more flex in the right can work, some players can straighten it at too fast a rate.  We lose flexion to stay centered, turn on an inline plane and prevent injury on the backswing.  And then we regain out address flexion on the down swing to push off the ground, it's a very ballistic motion.

And I agree no tour pro has a perfect swing, but I think it's a good idea to do some cataloging of what the best players have done and currently do.  We all have some "model" in our mind, even Butch Harmon does, that's how you formulate what's right and what's wrong.

Here's a video I took at one of Grant Waite's schools

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Originally Posted by TitleistWI

Exactly.  I dont know any instructors who advocated straightening the right knee on the backswing.  How are you supposed to get onto your left side if your right leg is straight and wont allow you to push off and shift your weight to the left side?

Also, using tour pros' swings as a model is never a good thing because those guys are freaks of nature and almost none of them have a mechanically perfect swing in the first place.

I actually used to straighten my right leg on the backswing and since focusing on keeping some flex in that leg Ive gotten more consistency, straighter shots and more distance.  I used to hit a big ole block shot because I wasnt able to get onto my left side.

If straightening the right leg works for the OP and for others, thats cool but it didnt work for me.

In regards to getting into your left side from a straighter right leg I don't know why that would inhibit that from happening.  I don't mean to speak for Mike or Erik, (and please tell me if I am wrong) but I don't think they prescribe a "locked" right leg, just a straighter leg or not flexed.  I suppose if your right leg was "locked" in the back swing that could cause some problems.

I will say that the degree that each tour player straightens their leg may vary from player to player, but EVERY tour player straightens there back leg.  If someone didn't straighten their right leg at all I don't see how they could hit ball far enough to play.  Some of the longer players on tour have a very straight right leg. (Bubba Watson, JB Holmes, John Daly...etc)

If using tour pro's is not a good model to base fundamentals off of.... then what is?  Certainly not amateurs.... because they are amateurs...  I suppose we could just make up fundamentals...

With that said I totally agree with you that many of them are very athletically gifted (after all they play for a living) and their is wide range of "looking" swings on tour, but many of those swings have commonalities which is what should be fundamentals for a good golf instructor.  That way the instructor can help the "possibly less athletic" amateurs improve.

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I don't think (maybe I am wrong) that the intention was to say the right leg goes lock straight, but rather it gets less flexed.  There is still some bend, even if slight, in the right leg of almost all modern swing golfers.  The right leg straightens so the right hip rises, but the leg does not lose its bracing and reactionary position to power the downswing.  I think this is the way most would state it no matter the swing theory used.  As a more classical, flatten plane swinger, I try to maintain a little more flex than most because I can hit the ball further doing that due to deploying a restricted hip turn backswing and a fast opening hip downswing.  Others need more straightening to get a full shoulder turn.  It is a matter of flexibility, swing plane, and swing technique.  S&T; swingers can straighten their leg a lot more without losing the ability to push forward on the downswing becaue they do not shift as much to the right side on the backswing.  I think it is more important that one maintain the lean of the right leg toward the target than the degree of flex in the knee.  I do not like to see a right leg straighten if it also slides to the side so the right side is straight up and down as seen from face on -- this would be a big move away from centered,  A good S&T; swing is so centered it does not need the extra power to move weight back to centered -- which is a bad thing for any swing, i.e., moving off the ball is generally bad.

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Originally Posted by sk golf

In regards to getting into your left side from a straighter right leg I don't know why that would inhibit that from happening.  I don't mean to speak for Mike or Erik, (and please tell me if I am wrong) but I don't think they prescribe a "locked" right leg, just a straighter leg or not flexed.  I suppose if your right leg was "locked" in the back swing that could cause some problems.

Originally Posted by RC

I don't think (maybe I am wrong) that the intention was to say the right leg goes lock straight, but rather it gets less flexed.  There is still some bend, even if slight, in the right leg of almost all modern swing golfers.  The right leg straightens so the right hip rises, but the leg does not lose its bracing and reactionary position to power the downswing.

Correct, like I said I think I said just that in the video, I'd rather not watch it again since I hate the sound of my own voice It's actually pretty tough to lock that knee.


Originally Posted by sk golf

I will say that the degree that each tour player straightens their leg may vary from player to player, but EVERY tour player straightens there back leg.  If someone didn't straighten their right leg at all I don't see how they could hit ball far enough to play.  Some of the longer players on tour have a very straight right leg. (Bubba Watson, JB Holmes, John Daly...etc)


And some of the guys that hit it the highest

This is some work I was doing with my son yesterday.  Lately he has been keeping the right knee at address flexion from P1-P4 and has been hitting it low.  But he's been hitting it solid so I don't like to fool around with it too much.  Eventually this issue got worse and started effecting contact.  He asked me why and I told him the club was too shallow on the backswing, wasn't ascending enough due to the hips turning so shallow.  This was also pulling his left shoulder too far back with a lack of extension.  So he did some Elk drills, setting up with the right leg as straight as you can get it.  Check out how this changes how the shafts loads on the backswing, shallow on the before and steeper in the after.  Ball went much higher because the club had some descent and helps stabilize the face, rather than just being swung around his belt with the face rotating so fast.


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Your son has a nice swing.  I too have been working on the same issue (as you instructed in one of my last Evolr lessons), but haven't heard this drill called the Elk drill.  This was one of the drill in the back section of the S&T; book, correct?

Thanks for posting.

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I have a question. If you don't move off the ball during the backswing or don't move your head during the back swing and straighten the right leg with keeping the same amoutn of flex in the left knee aren't you already on the left side of the body? if your left hip is lower than the right then the weight has to be on your left right?

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Originally Posted by MbolicGolf

I have a question. If you don't move off the ball during the backswing or don't move your head during the back swing and straighten the right leg with keeping the same amoutn of flex in the left knee aren't you already on the left side of the body? if your left hip is lower than the right then the weight has to be on your left right?


We would be except we've rotated as well, so the "left hip" is not in the same place, nor are the shoulders, arms, chest, etc.

(The left knee gains flexion, by the way. Doesn't change your question, just a small point I wanted to clarify.)

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Originally Posted by MbolicGolf

I have a question. If you don't move off the ball during the backswing or don't move your head during the back swing and straighten the right leg with keeping the same amoutn of flex in the left knee aren't you already on the left side of the body? if your left hip is lower than the right then the weight has to be on your left right?


I get what you're thinking but you can definitely have the weight stay centered, slightly left or even slightly right, and do the knee linkage stuff.  Remember that the left shoulder is going back, to the center as well.  The lower cog, hips, aren't moving forward, the head is staying centered.  Keep the head centered and the weight issue takes care of itself

Dustin Johnson P1-4 caddy.jpg

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Originally Posted by mvmac

I get what you're thinking but you can definitely have the weight stay centered, slightly left or even slightly right, and do the knee linkage stuff.  Remember that the left shoulder is going back, to the center as well.  The lower cog, hips, aren't moving forward, the head is staying centered.  Keep the head centered and the weight issue takes care of itself


This is what I guess I was trying to convey. I was getting a bit purturbed abou the whole "if you can't straighten the knee you can't push of the right leg for power."  When I first started to learn to play I was taught to "load" the right leg and keep it flexed with poor results. Now I do a kind of shift during the back swing and load the flexed left leg from the center. Which has produced tons of power.

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mvmac,

It's not a complete myth, it needs to have a little flex so you can have some stability, but it definitely doesn't need to be in a crouching type position.  I'm sure you notice that your front leg after impact is straightened more than it was on the back swing.  If you were completely flexed you probably would throw yourself all over the map

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Originally Posted by CrossGolfPro

It's not a complete myth, it needs to have a little flex so you can have some stability, but it definitely doesn't need to be in a crouching type position.  I'm sure you notice that your front leg after impact is straightened more than it was on the back swing.  If you were completely flexed you probably would throw yourself all over the map


Mike was fairly clear in saying that you don't lose ALL of the flex or that you completely straighten the rear knee, just that "maintaining the address flex" is the myth. It is.

Speaking just of flexion and not any lateral motion:

P1-P4 - rear knee loses flex, front knee gains flex

P4-P6ish - front knee remains flexed, rear knee regains flex

P6-finish - both knees decrease flexion ("jumping")

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Mike, want to be sure I understand what this is all about.  (I just made some swings in my living room to be sure.)  Also, I'm right handed.

At address, both knees are flexed and the weight is about 50-50.

On the backswing, the hips and shoulders turn, and your back is facing the target.  The weight is still distributed between both feet, but your right leg is bracing the turn, so that you feel a lot of pressure on the inside of the right foot.  The right leg straightens a bit as the hips turn out.

The right leg basically keeps the same flex from the top of the swing to the impact zone.  Mine isn't completely straight, but it is much straighter than it was at address.  At impact, the weight is shifted about 70% over to the left side.

Following impact, the weight is completely shifted through to the left side (as you can see from my avatar).

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This is a good example of the myth, notice what the arms are doing, lifting, also a lack of depth with the arms, hips and shoulders

400267_3121257557064_1433337830_33217170_1088267544_n.jpg

This is reality

20835_402221281726_524366726_4888710_738484_n.jpg

Originally Posted by iacas

Mike was fairly clear in saying that you don't lose ALL of the flex or that you completely straighten the rear knee, just that "maintaining the address flex" is the myth. It is.

Speaking just of flexion and not any lateral motion:

P1-P4 - rear knee loses flex, front knee gains flex

P4-P6ish - front knee remains flexed, rear knee regains flex

P6-finish - both knees decrease flexion ("jumping")

Yes thank you Erik

Originally Posted by k-troop

Mike, want to be sure I understand what this is all about.  (I just made some swings in my living room to be sure.)  Also, I'm right handed.

At address, both knees are flexed and the weight is about 50-50.

On the backswing, the hips and shoulders turn, and your back is facing the target.  The weight is still distributed between both feet, but your right leg is bracing the turn, so that you feel a lot of pressure on the inside of the right foot.  The right leg straightens a bit as the hips turn out.

The right leg basically keeps the same flex from the top of the swing to the impact zone.  Mine isn't completely straight, but it is much straighter than it was at address.  At impact, the weight is shifted about 70% over to the left side.

Following impact, the weight is completely shifted through to the left side (as you can see from my avatar).



Here is a video to further clarify.

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Originally Posted by k-troop

The weight is still distributed between both feet, but your right leg is bracing the turn, so that you feel a lot of pressure on the inside of the right foot.

Not necessarily no. I don't feel much pressure there. Same as at address, roughly.


Originally Posted by k-troop

The right leg basically keeps the same flex from the top of the swing to the impact zone.

No. Not in the vast, vast majority of good players, no. See my post about what happens to the knees from setup to finish. The right knee regains flexion from the top of the backswing and then loses flexion again starting at about P6.

Originally Posted by k-troop

At impact, the weight is shifted about 70% over to the left side.

80-90% in PGA Tour pros, actually.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Not necessarily no. I don't feel much pressure there. Same as at address, roughly.

No. Not in the vast, vast majority of good players, no. See my post about what happens to the knees from setup to finish. The right knee regains flexion from the top of the backswing and then loses flexion again starting at about P6.

80-90% in PGA Tour pros, actually.



That explains it, thank you.  I'm estimating in percentages, obviously, based on what I'm feeling as I take slow-motion swings in my living room.  I can see the right knee flexed, straightening, flexing again, and straightening again throughout the swing.  I had never really noticed it before, and if you'd asked me yesterday I would have sworn that my right knee remained flexed throughout the backswing.  It clearly does not.

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Here' a pic an instructor, who has asked me a few questions and watched my/golf evolution videos, shared on twitter.  Note on the right pic, less flexion of the right knee, shoulder turn increases.

401372_225102067574235_194634593954316_505140_292290555_n.jpg

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