November 1, 2017

Heading to Mexico Alongside the PGA Tour

Addressing a common swing flaw that can impact players at all levels

By: Alessandra Miller

Earlier this month I visited the beautiful Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Cancun, Mexico the week of the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Iberostar was hosting a Monday qualifier where many local playing professionals and PGA Tour Latinoamerica standouts were attempting to qualify for that week’s big showdown at El Camaleon Golf Club.

At that time, I caught up with PGA Professional and Iberostar PGA Director of Golf, Greg Bond, to talk about some of the common flaws that can afflict everyone from the amateurs we work with to the game’s best players. Bond, who was extremely busy that week planning and hosting the qualifier, agreed to help us explore some swing sequences and tendencies.

At every level, we agreed that the “over the top” swing sequence is probably the most common reoccurrence. My perspective as a TPI certified fitness instructor is to teach golfers which muscles are involved with that sequence and how to fix it through exercise and golf drills.

Lifting vs. Rotation

The “over the top” sequence occurs when the upper body is overused in the golf swing. As a result, the club will be thrown outside of the intended swing plane with the club head approaching the ball from outside to in. As we all know, it creates a pull if the clubface is square or slice if the clubhead is open.

It starts with poor sequencing of the body. Players who suffer from this often lift their arms to the top of the backswing, rather than using the big muscles and shoulders to rotate the upper body, swinging the arms and club into a good position to initiated the downswing. Essentially, it’s allowing the arms to lift to the top independent of the torso’s actions, which makes it hard to return the club to impact from the inside. I recommend that my students practice from an uphill or side-hill lie so they’re forced to rotate their bodies along the plane of the ground in order to make solid contact.

Reverse Weight Shift

Another common cause of the “over the top” move is a reverse weight shift. In this motion, the player’s spine tends to be too centered and not tilted enough behind the ball at address. This causes their weight to move toward their front foot on the backswing (pictured left)and then rapidly reverse directions to their rear foot on the way down, violently lashing their right shoulder out and over the swing plane. To combat this, I ask students to address the ball and then dramatically tilt their spine away from the target at address and try to maintain that position throughout the swing.