The Pivot and a Flat Left Wrist
What is the pivot? The pivot is a blend of weight shift and a circular turning of the body. Or said another way, the pivot is both a lateral and a rotational movement of the hips, and the rotational movement of the torso and shoulders.
Why is the pivot important? Well, as stated in The Impact Zone: Mastering Golf’s Moment of Truth, “The pivot is the transportation vehicle that carries the goods through the impact zone.” The goods being the arms, hands and the lagging clubhead, the pivot transports them. “That is why we call the pivot the golf swing’s workhorse.”
We have seen all sorts of different swing styles from some of the greatest golfers that have ever played the game. We all know that one of the main keys to solid ball striking is having the left wrist in a flat condition at impact, and that’s what all these good players did even though their swing styles were different. But, having a flat left wrist is easier said than done. So what helped these great ball strikers arrive at impact with the flat left wrist? THE PIVOT! Look at the players on the PGA Tour today and the vast majority of them have a wonderful pivot action. While the player’s hands do need to be educated to achieve the proper impact dynamics, a faulty pivot can destroy them.
There are certainly different styles of pivots out there. Whether the player makes a big move to the right on the backswing and then a big move to the left on the downswing; or the player feels more of a centered rotation keeping the weight more in between the feet on the backswing; even a Stack & Tilt type of pivot by keeping the weight on the left side throughout the entire swing. While the style of the pivot can vary, it is up to the player to understand the pivot’s role in maintaining a flat left wrist through impact.
What makes a good pivot? A good pivot promotes, supports, and sustains the lag of the clubhead through the impact zone. Not just to impact but THROUGH impact, led by the hips, with the torso and shoulders rotating. This results in the arms being pulled like a pulley and club trailing throughout the motion. A good pivot acts like a train. With the feet, knees, hips, shoulders and torso, being the boxcars of the “pivot train”. Whether a player “feels” as if they start the downswing with the hands, left knee, right knee, left hip, regardless, the pivot should start from the ground up. Meaning feet, knees, hips, shoulders, arms, hands, and finally the club, in that order pulling the “pivot train” all the way THROUGH AND PAST impact. If the “pivot train” stops or slows down before or at impact the boxcars will crash. Crash meaning that the last part of the train, the clubhead, will go racing by the other parts of the train, the arms, shoulders, hips and so on. When the crash happens it is almost impossible to maintain a flat left wrist at impact. The result is that epidemic that has plagued golfers since the beginning, “clubhead throw-away.”
Something that golfers can do to help them with their pivot motion is to think about their belt buckle. Try to keep the belt buckle in front of the hands all the way past impact. Having that visual will help players get the hips to start the downswing, and not “crash” at impact.
Notice with Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan how their belt buckle is leading, or pointing in front of, the hands until well past impact. Remember, let the pivot/hips transport or “drag” the shoulders, arms and club through impact.