Today’s post comes from a phenomenal swing coach out of NYC’s Golf and Body, Joe Ostrowski. As movement providers, Frank and I work on improving stability in the hinge position via improving mobility and strength. When your body has the movement potential to do what you ask of it, your golf swing can get better. But gym success doesn’t instantly equate to golf success. This is because you need to take your new found strength and mobility and learn to utilize it in your golf swing. This is where your swing coach comes into play helping you to break old habits, and create new ones that are specific to your golf swing.
Early extension, or coming out of ideal posture on the downswing, is defined by TPI as any forward movement (thrust) toward the golf ball on the while closing in on impact.
This concept of early extension can create the feeling of being stuck in the downswing causing a block or hook if your hands become too active at impact. While teaching lessons, I come across many golfers that extend too early as a way to create power, but this leads to inconsistency, especially with contact which trumps everything in the golf swing.
Inconsistent contact is a result of early extension because our hips thrust towards the golf ball and pressure moves from the midfoot to the toes during the downswing. This movement makes it more difficult to rotate the lower body and create separation from the upper half at impact.
Golf ball contact is typically skewed towards the heel of the club when you extend early because there is no space for the hand path to work around the body. Another consequence of early extension is thrusting of the lower body, which pushes the hand path too far to the right of the intended target line if you are a right-handed golfer. The opposite applies to lefties.
Next time you’re watching YouTube videos of professional golfers swing, pay attention to their forward bend or posture in transition. After the golfer moves laterally to the target, you’ll see a slight increase in their torso bend, a squatting motion that likely is a result of good left hip internal rotation for a right-handed golfer. This movement also helps the golfer use the ground to create power and helps ground reaction forces peak at the optimal time in their swing.
The “wall drill” is a great way to feel some of the movements needed in the golf swing to eliminate some of that early extension in your movement. If you decide to use a club for this drill I’d suggest gripping down on a wedge to the shaft and swinging at 25%. You could do some damage to your walls if you have an inside and quick takeaway.
Set up with your hips slightly off a wall, no more than a couple inches.
Turn into your backswing feeling your trail hip make contact with the wall.
At the top of your swing, you will start to slide the trail hip along the wall until your front hip is over your front foot.
From here squat and turn your lower body until your front hip makes contact with the wall. This movement helps you maintain posture in a key point of your golf swing.
After impact, fully extend your upper body into a finish position, all weight should be on the front foot and your foot should be firmly planted on the ground.
Repeat this drill multiple times daily to help ingrain the movement into your full swing.
I hope this drill helps you hit the ball further while creating more consistent contact with the face. If you have any questions, follow me on Instagram @jfogolf and send me a message. I’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot any technical breakdowns you might be dealing with!
Joe Ostrowski is the Director of Golf at Golf & Body NYC and a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher in America.