Hey, Careful With that Coffee: The Myths of Weight Transfer and Hip Turn in the Golf Swing

Hey, Careful With that Coffee: The Myths of Weight Transfer and Hip Turn in the Golf Swing

This advice is based on some swing basics given by John Anselmo to Tiger, as his golf instructor from age 10 to until Tiger turned pro at 18:

I don’t know what you have been told about “weight transfer” or “hip-turn” but some of the concepts taught on these subjects have golfers confused and unnecessarily so. This is one area where I have seen a tremendous amount of contradiction among golf instructors, perhaps more than in any other area. From thinking of “crushing a beer can” to “placing your belly over your foot”, it seems every instructor has his/her own clever method of teaching these components of the golf swing and a lot of them can be effective.

However, they also give students more things to “think” about among the multitude of other stuff we are told to visualize, imagine or remember during the nearly immeasurable amount of time that elapses from take away to the finish position.

Anselmo tells his students that there is no such thing as “weight transfer” or “hip-turn” during the golf swing really. We all know that a transfer takes place and that the hips do move in some fashion, but the idea is to get you to stop thinking about it during your golf swing by getting these things to occur naturally, as is the philosophy behind the majority of John Anselmo’s instruction and the reason his golf students are constantly chalking up championships and course records (not just Tiger).

When we “think” about or consciously “try” something, we as humans open up a margin for error, as we are not nearly perfect (well most of us anyway). Some of you have probably heard of the term “stinkin’ thinkin'” at some point and it applies to our golf swing more than we “think”. The more things on our list to consider while swinging the golf club, the more chances we create to screw it up!

If you don’t believe this theory, think of a time when you filled your coffee mug up a little too close to the top, then tried to make it from the break room back to your desk without spilling it. If you’re like me and you were “thinking” about it, you probably spilled at least a little and it was most likely due to the mental pressure you created when you were “thinking” about not spilling anything. I forget who told me this but I learned somewhere that if I would just walk back to my desk or easy chair without trying to employ my exquisitely developed coffee carrying skill, I would probably make it without spilling a drop. The reason why is simply because my subconscious brain can negotiate the physics of the liquid in my cup much more effectively than I can though conscious effort. The same thing applies to most aspects of the golf swing.

Now that we have the dynamics of java-toting-Zen covered:

Instead of thinking at all about your weight transfer or hip turn during your golf swing, try simply alternating the straightening of your knees from your address position, move your right knee back and straight on the back swing, then your left knee back and straight on your down-swing. In doing this, our weight is being transferred and our hips are turning correctly, but as important, these will occur naturally and without a whole lot of thought (with a little bit of practice).

Also, look at pictures of Tiger and other great ball-strikers both at the top of their swing and at their finish, you’ll notice that in most cases, at these positions, each knee is almost completely straight back, maybe more so at the finish. Anselmo teaches this in what he calls the “Walk in Place” drill and it dramatically simplifies your lower body co-ordination.

Good Luck!

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