Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.
Many amateurs often struggle with early extension in their golf swing, meaning their pelvis moves towards the ball during their downswing.
So why is this bad, you ask? When your pelvis gets too out in front, this often causes body angles to decrease the amount of space your arms swing — which can lead to inconsistent impact.
Remember, the goal is to fully rotate all the way in both the backswing and follow through, which maximizes the opportunity for better contact and consistent results.
A player might early extend due to a physical limitation — such as being inflexible in the back, or having tight hips. It’s very common in players with weaker core muscles, which is why it’s important to strengthen those areas of the body.
All this goes without saying that, yes, early extension should be avoided if possible.
Thanks to the video above from GOLF Teacher to Watch Jake Thurm, you can use alignment sticks (available here) to work on increasing your flexibility, using the rods as a stopping point in order to fix early extension issues.
How to use alignment sticks to fix your early extension
Thurm starts the video by explaining where to place the alignment rods, two near his rear, and the other beneath his feet.
“I’ve got two alignment rods; one off my right pocket on my rear, and one off my left pocket on my rear,” Thurm says. “Those are right behind me.
“I also have an alignment rod [on the ground and pointing toward my target], and I’m actually going to stand on it. I’m going to put it right in the middle of my foot, in my arches, and what we’re going to do is [get] the feel of heel-to-toe pressure.”
As Thurm explains in the video, one of the most-searched golf issues that players seek answers to is early extension. This is where using his drill can help.
Pointing to the alignment sticks on his rear, Thurm says that they should serve as a reminder of how deep his hips get.
“I have a reminder back here where I’m going to keep the depth of my hips, and I’m going to feel the pressures in the ground; which will help me accomplish it.”
Next, Thurm sets up to his ball, saying the weight should feel evenly distributed at address.
“I’m probably pretty evenly distributed; kind of 50/50 on the heel and toe on both my lead and trail foot,” he adds.
“I’m actually going to push down on my trail heel in my backswing, and my lead toe in my backswing. That’s going to create some rotation, allowing my trail hip to hit the back alignment stick.
As he mentions, adding pressure in his heel will allow him to rotate his pelvis behind him.
Next, he focuses on what to do on the downswing, saying, “We’re going to reverse it.”
“Push down on the lead heel, which will help my lead hip go around the corner in the opposite direction; allowing me to hit that alignment rod,” he instructs. “Again, lead toe, trail heel, and then we’re going to switch them [by transferring our weight], and go all the way through.”
By practicing this drill with some alignment sticks, you’ll get the feeling of a proper rotation while maintaining depth — which helps improve your golf posture. This prevents you from leaning forward, ultimately leading to better contact. So give it a try next time you’re at the range!
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