Over the Top
This swing characteristic is very common in higher handicap golfers. This commonly occurs with overuse of the upper body on the downswing portion of the swing. The player brings their club from outside to in and does not keep in in the slot. The slot is the intended swing path of the club that is ideal to put the club face squarley on the ball.
If you have this swing characteristic it is common for you to pull the shot if your clubface is square and for you to slice the shot if your club face is open at impact. This fault makes it very difficult for you to consistently strike the center of the club face when you make contact with the ball.
This swing characteristic can be seen if you have a hard time with disassociation. Disassociation is huge in the golf swing; this is the ability for you to keep one area of your body stable while moving another part of your body. Their is an ideal sequence to moving the parts of your body during the downswing. If for instance you have stiffness in your hips or pelvis and they are not moving effectively, it is not uncommon to see a golfer using more of their upper body to swing the club, this often leads to the over the top swing fault.
A proper weight shift is also critical to prevent this swing fault. A right handed golfer shifts their weight from the trail leg the lead leg very early in the downswing. If you have poor balance, or decreased core and glute strength it will force you to not shift as effectively and you end up coming over the top.
There are drills you can perform to help with disassociation, and mobility of the upper and lower body.
The stretch above is a great way to work on your mobility and the stretching of key areas in your body that need mobility to make a powerful golf swing.
If you need any advice, please feel free to reach out to me at Brian@Pinnacledpt.com, by phone or text at 501-529-2010. I offer a FREE phone consultation to see if I can help you with your impairments so that you can return pain free to this things you enjoy.
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The reverse spine angle swing flaw is evident when the player demonstrates a lean of their upper body toward the target. For a right handed golfer this would be to their left at the top of their backswing.
This position makes it very difficult to properly sequence your downswing. The proper kinematic sequence is for the hips and pelvis to begin the movement of the downswing followed by the upper body, arms, and finally the hands and club. This allows for the energy stored in the muscles of the trunk to be released in such a way that maximizes power into the ball. If this sequence is abnormal then power is bled from the swing and increased forces can be put into the body. This position also makes it difficult to find the proper path of the golf club as it travels toward the ball, which leads to inconsistency in the path of your ball toward your selected target.
In order to maintain your spine angle during the backswing your body has to be able to do certain things. First, you have to be able to separate your upper body from your lower body. If you are unable to do this it could be because of a mobility issue ( joint stiffness, or muscular tightness). Another reason why you may not be able to separate your upper body from your lower is because of what is called a motor control/stability issue. This is when your body must be trained in how to properly move.
Mobility in the thoracic spine (upper part of your back) as well as your hips are critical during your backswing. If mobility in these areas is limited your body will lean and sway to compensate. This compensation is the reverse spine angle swing flaw. This position puts a lot of stress on the right side of your low back.
Stability in the core and around the hips is critical to efficiently move and properly sequence your swing. We know stability is an issue when we test you using the TPI screen and other exam techniques. Working on strengthening the core and looking at your rolling patterns is a way that we help to train your stability.
Try this exercise to ensure you are keeping your pelvis in neutral. This is another body issue that can cause you to extend or arch your back which then puts you in a reverse spine angle position.
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This swing flaw has to do with the alignment of the plane of the shoulders compared to a line drawn straight up through your spine.
As you come into your backswing you should not see the lead shoulder raise up, thus widening this angle.
- This can lead to poor power into the ball
- Club is out of position and a compensation movement has to happen in order to get the club face on the ball. This leads to inconsistent ball striking.
Shortened latissimus dorsi musculature or stiffness in the spine can lead to an inability to turn the upper body independently of the lower body.
Try this exercise to stretch your lats!
Both the hips and shoulders have to demonstrate great flexibility and movement. In order for you not to compensate elsewhere it is critical that the shoulders and hips both have the movement ability to help you get into an aggressive position at the top of your backswing without demonstrating the flat shoulder plane.
Try this exercise to make sure your hips are rotating effectively.
Remember that none of these exercises are meant to cause pain. You should also seek the advice of your primary care physician before starting any new exercise program. If you are having pain, you can reach out to your local TPI professional for a golf specific assessment. I can be reached at pinnacleDPT.com, over the phone at 501 529-2010, or at email@example.com.