How I reverse engineer my golf swing (and you can too!)
Editor’s Note: Baden Schaff has been a PGA teaching professional for 17 years and is the co-founder of Skillest, a digital platform that connects golf students with golf coaches across the world for online lessons. To learn more about Skillest and to book a lesson of your own with Baden, head over to Skillest.com or download the app in the app store.
As you may know by now I’m the founder of Skillest. It’s an app that allows students to connect with and learn from the best coaches in the world. Last year, the journey of building this app led me to the holy grail of innovation, Silicon Valley.
It was there that I would hear a term on a daily basis. Reverse engineering. Product developers use the philosophy to have a clear understanding of what they what they app to be at the end and then they work backwards from there. It’s what the best do.
When I was watching this trend I couldn’t help but realize that it is what I have been doing with my coaching for almost 20 years. When looking at the golf swing I have always looked to impact to understand how the rest of the motion should then work.
The one thing that most coaches can agree on is the shape of the body at impact, Hips pressing forward, angle in the right side of the body and shaft lean. It’s pretty much universally agreed upon. That’s because it is a universal hitting and throwing position. It’s how Tom Brady sets his body to pass the ball, the shape a javelin thrower has before release and even how you would chop down a tree. It is the bias of the body required to hit anything.
So why don’t we just start there? Why don’t we set students into that shape and then that will set up the rest of the motion. Well, that’s exactly what I do. I start at impact and then the rest is easy.
I hate compensations in the golf swing. What is a compensation? It’s any move required to reorder your body on the way down to fit into the hitting shape I previously mentioned. So if you start at impact and then maintain that order of the body it doesn’t take much to be consistent, and certainly no compensations.
This can be a confronting feel for many golfers. It can feel as though you have too much pressure in your front side at address, It won’t feel like you are shifting a lot of weight on the backswing and it can feel like you don’t have a “massive turn”. But you will have coiled around the position you need to be at impact and you will be amazed at the power you can generate from a motion that doesn’t feel like you are doing enough. But this is reverse engineering your golf swing.
So what is a great way to try and implement this into your golf swing. Start by hitting some simple punch shots. When you do this you are less inclined to shift your weight around. And more likely to lean your pressure into your front side during the swing. But I want you to be hyper aware of what impact feels like. Then when you build it out to a bigger motion I want you to hold that shape during the motion, just extend your arm swing out… and that’s your full swing. It just won’t feel like it.
Just remember the more you pull yourself away from where you need to be at impact the harder it is to repeat, especially for the weekend warrior who has minimal time to practice. So reverse engineer your action, start at impact and find that consistency you are desperate for.
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