The Sneaky and deadly reverse pivot
Sounds serious doesn't it? And that's because it is. A reverse pivot can sneak right into your swing and wreak havoc on your golf game.
It is often overlooked, but can actually be the root cause of so many other swing flaws that people waste their time trying to fix.
85% of golfers slice the ball. Guess what can lead to a slice – a reverse pivot. Millions of golfers from beginners to high handicappers top and chunk the ball.
What's one of the most common causes? You guessed it – a reverse pivot. Some more skilled players push and pull the ball. Gee, I wonder what could cause this?
Yep. A reverse pivot. You get my point. It's everywhere.
What the reverse pivot causes
Let's take a look first at probably one of the most common and annoying misses in golf – the slice.
As I stated 85% of golfers slice so I'm assuming a lot of you reading are in that category and would like some help correcting it.
A slice isn't always a terrible thing if you can play it and control it and if you are a long hitter.
For most golfers though, a slice robs them of distance they are easily capable of attaining and makes it really hard for them to keep their ball in play.
There are many shots that can go to the right from blocks to pushes to slices. Some are path oriented where a player is simply swinging to the right (too inside/out), most are due to an open clubface and some are due to a combination of path and face.
Common causes are a weak grip, lack of forearm rotation, poor alignment (left or right) and swing plane issues.
A true slice however is a ball that starts left of your target (for right handed players) and then curves dramatically back to the right.
This is caused by an outside/in swing path coupled with an open face. So it would be easy to jump right in and start correcting your path and face issues and this is where most instruction goes wrong.
The dog wags the tail
Good instruction will always get to the root of the problem. What is happening first? In the golf swing the inside moves the outside.
This means that whatever your core is doing, is causing your arms and club to do whatever they are doing. This is why understanding the reverse pivot is so important.
There are 3 reverse pivots in the golf swing:
1. A player's lower body slides towards the target upon takeaway (lower body reverse)
2. A players hips slide to the right upon takeaway and this causes the upper body to tilt back towards the target(upper body reverse)
3. A player falls back onto their rear side as they swing down (lower body reverse)
Number 2 is very common and often the cause of your slice. Here's how. As your lower body slides away from the target in the takeaway, your upper spine then tilts back towards the target.
This sets your rear side up high. Your rear shoulder and hip are then higher than your target side hip and shoulder.
As you start down, your rear shoulder will then move out and over the top of the swing plane, rather than dropping down plane.
The swing becomes upper body dominated at the start while the hips lie dormant. The inside is now controlling the outside so the result is an oustide/in pass at the ball with your arms.
If your clubface is open you will impart a good amount of cut or slice spin on the ball. If your clubface gets closed at impact then you will pull the ball.
This video reveals more:
3 Ways to correct your reverse pivot
The important takeaway here is to learn that you must properly load your spine a bit away from the target at the top of the swing so your rear shoulder can drop down on plane. Your arms and club will follow.
1. Practice hitting off your back foot only. Place your front foot on the toe for a little balance, but so it won't bear weight and drop it back a bit so you are basically standing only on your rear leg.
Should you try to lean back towards the target with your upper spine at the top of the swing you will fall and be forced to place your front foot down on the ground for balance.
Once you get to the point where you are able to balance on your rear foot and stay stable as you swing, you most likely aren't reverse pivoting any more.
2. Elevate your front foot. This has the same affect as standing on one foot, but helps those with poor balance and also helps get the correct hip alignment at address (front hip higher than rear hip).
Simply put a range basket or milk crate (more stable) under your front foot and tee up the ball. Practice hitting balls keeping your non target side lower than your hip and shoulder that are nearest the target.
3. Use a physio or stability ball. Placing a large ball between your legs will help stabilize your lower body during the backswing and prevent the hip slide away from the target which starts the reverse pivot process.
Focus on keeping your legs completely stable while loading your upper body back away from the target. Feel that your target side shoulder passes your target side knee.
Whether your reverse pivot is causing you the common slice or a slew of other swing errors, understanding that your core controls your arms and club is an important step in making a correction.
If you have a traditional lower body slide/upper body tilt backwards reverse pivot hopefully the 3 drills listed above will put you well on your way to a better swing!
Maria Palozola is a Top 50 Instructor with the LPGA and is also ranked by Golf Digest as a Top 5 instructor in the state of Missouri. She gives local lessons in St. Louis, MO at http://www.stlouisgolflessons.com and is the Co Founder and instructor for http://www.mygolfinstructor.com.
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