A Word on the Pivot

When was the last time you’ve heard the word “turn” in reference to the ideal motion of the body in the golf swing? How about the words pivot or rotation? Our golfing grandfathers seemed to use the word turn, yet in contemporary circles we seem enamored with the words pivot and rotation. Here’s the interesting note: look these words up in the dictionary and you’ll come away concluding that they all mean about the same thing, especially with the golf swing in mind. And what is that definition? Essentially it is “to move around an axis or about a center.”

Golf instructors of yesteryear referred to the ideal movement on the downswing, as a blend of leg and hip slide and turn, in other words, a mix of lateral and rotary motion. In the 1970’s and 1980’s this blend actually skewed more toward slide than turn. This is how the “knees dominated, reverse C” finish position was born. Today, instruction emphasizes rotary motion on the downswing over lateral or side to side motion. Why is this?

There is a distinct bias today for maintaining a steady head position throughout the swing, a consistent spine angle, and very little lateral motion on the backswing making lateral motion on the downswing less mandatory. What is the promised result? It is that we’ll manage our weight distribution at and through impact so as to achieve, brace yourself, a forward swing bottom.

As you know by now the unifying theme of IZG is achieving dynamic impact, that is, a ball first contact with a divot falling ideally 4 inches in front of the ball. How this is achieved is secondary to actually doing it. This is a case of function trumping form. The style of your swing motion is far less important than its ability to produce a dynamic strike with the ball. So, what is the relevance of the pivot in the golf swing? Is this a matter of style only? Does it have any implications for achieving dynamic impact?

Here’s the truth: your downswing can be dominated by lateral motion, rotary motion or a combination of the two. Certainly the more the downswing can be triggered with these big muscles, the greater the potential for power while complimenting the sustaining of clubhead lag through impact. But you can have a little, or a lot of weight on your front leg at impact. You can be more lateral or more rotational with your hips on the downswing. Is there an ideal pivot blend? Maybe, but your search for it may well prove to be an unnecessary detour along your path to finding a swing that performs. We all have different physical characteristics and capacities that influence what we can and can’t do in our golf swings. Start chasing ideals and you may never find your way back to the safety of a “dynamics over style” principle based approach to golf swing proficiency. IMPACT ZONE GOLF® delivers results that golfers have long awaited for through its revolutionary IMPACT-BASEDTM Teaching.

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