If you know what the Pump drill is then you've probably been around golf instruction for sometime. Those of you have had success using the pump drill will find that it's hard to replicate when starting from you regular address position. In this article we will examine how you can use the pump drill to inform your entire swing from the address position.
I remember first hearing about it when I was first starting to learn this game in the 90's. It has since been my go to drill when working on the transition Call it what you want but the "Pump Drill" or the "Waist High" or any variation of it is when you set you hands at waist high and start the swing from there. Some people just like to swing from there as Viktor Hovland does below or someone like Justin Rose who does it in slow reps on his pre-shot routine. I also like to teach my students to pump it 3 times from waist high to the top to get a sense of the plane as well.
If you have some experience with this drill you will notice that you can hit some of your best shots with it. Most people will assume that the secret behind this drill is because it helps get your shaft on plane. But, in this article we are going to take a look another important reason this drill works; the transition!
What is it in the transition that make this drill work so well? You'll find that it really helps you drop the club down on a shallower plane and more often than not your club will find the middle of the clubface. When you are doing this drill correctly, what you're going to notice is that when your club is set at waist high, your pressure has been set to your trail side. This is also a natural occurrence because the weight of your club is also on the trail side making your trail side that much more pressurized. Then, as you are turning your shoulders and getting your arms up in the air to strike the ball, pay attention to the transition from backswing to downswing. It is during this period where you're inspired to shift pressure to your lead side from the waist-high position and there's a short period of weightlessness before your ground pressure ramps up to our lead side. It is also in this period where there's a lot more space created between your hips and your arms allowing for the club to shallow in the transition.
Now why is it that the drill works but when you set up to the ball normally you can't do it as well? Simply put, you're not getting in to the same waist high position when you start at address. From what I've seen in my experience, most of my students are not pitching the club up the plane properly and loading into their trail side early enough in the takeaway. Instead, the most common mistakes I see are: rolling your wrists back, too much one piece takeaway, spinning out with hips and a late weight shift to the trail side.
The takeaway and transition is huge deal in getting the sequencing right. In fact this is probably the most overlooked part of the golf swing, but most important. Get this right to make a GIANT leap toward improvement!
I've been getting a lot of questions lately on what technical studies have influenced me in my teaching. The following below is a list of some of the more popular research papers that I have read to understand the golf swing at a much deeper level. It is not necessary for the average golfer to comprehend this knowledge at the kinetic level, however it does not hurt to understand the findings reported in these papers.
I also believe it is essential for swing coaches to have a grasp of what science is putting out so that we can sift through all the BS and actually know what methods are based on myth and what methods can validate our teachings. Every swing coach is only going to get better at what he does when their teachings are based on facts.
LIST OF RESOURCES
Study focuses on club path relationship to body
A study showing the differences in body parts in angular velocities.
Body segment timing differences between pros and amateurs. This report validates my earlier blog post about the golf swing being a system of gears.
Using the 4 segments in the body. Findings show importance of wrists working in flexion to square clubface in the downswing.
For club design implications:
When people first call me to set up a lesson, the most frequent question I get is, "So how long do you think it will be before I get good?" Everyone is looking for that quick fix whether it be through a youtube video, book, magazine or private lesson. However, depending on your needs and your level, real change in your swing that is true and correct is hard. Let me say that again and read this carefully, "Real change in your swing that is true and correct is hard." To further clarify, real change that alters the way your swing looks and feels to how a correct golf swing is supposed to look and feel is a lot harder than you think, especially if you have a lot of issues starting off. If you have major issues with your swing, it will almost be impossible to figure out the correct swing on your own. Yes, little tips here and there may help, but at most they will be short lived.
With all the instructional literature, golf aids and lessons, you would think that there would be a lot more people who are good at golf. But here is the reality, most of the people you play with are probably not that good at golf. What defines not good? Well that's everyone's opinion, but the Legendary Ben Hogan believed every average golfer had the ability to break 80. I also am a believer that most golfer's who with the correct fundamentals can break 80. So if you're not consistently shooting in the single digits, you're not that good. To be honest, most of that just has to do with a correct functioning swing which enables you to be consistent tee to green as well as the short game.
According to the USGA's handicap distribution, only 13% of registered players with official handicaps are capable of breaking 80 on a good day! A couple things to note, this is of all the REGISTERED players who have an official handicap, and this does NOT include recreational golfers who do not have official handicaps!
Real Change that is True and Correct
So what do I mean by real change that is true and correct. If you're making the right changes in your golf swing, they must be true according to what current research on the kinematic sequence of the golf swing has found. the correct changes that an instructional program or tip provides must make sure that the changes you're making align with the research. Another more practical way to to see if you are making those changes is if your professional instructor shows you how your swing has progressed into the movement patterns of the best players in the world. Yes, there are slight variations, but according to 3D motion and vector plate data, almost all successful PGA swings follow the same movement patterns.
Again, are the changes you're working on really changing the way your swing looks? Are you still early extending? Are you still falling off balance? Are you still casting? Are you still over-swinging? Are you still coming in steep? Are you looking closer and closer to a model swing? The changes you're making should reflect that. If you're not, whatever it is that you're doing is just messing up your swing even more. You're going to find yourself having wasted a lot of time and still frustrated with this game.
If you've got bad habits, changing your swing into the correct motion is often very difficult. Many students who come to me never believe that changes I make them go through because they do not FEEL right. However, they are amazed when I compare their before and after swings and how it translates into straighter and farther shots. Butch Harmon states when making swing changes, "Feel is different than real." Don't waste your time trying to find a quick solution to your swing faults, they will never work in the long run. Invest some time into some quality lessons to get real change. You will definitely enjoy this game a lot more.
Take a minute to look at the gif image to the right. Notice how it takes you awhile to grasp how this gear would actually work.
One of the most important findings in the kinematic sequence of the golf swing between amateurs and professionals is that professionals have a greater degree of separation in the parts of the body mainly between their upper and lower body. However, there is so much misinformation out there and many people are trying to achieve this the wrong way ie. getting more separation by simple trying to clear your hips more LOL! It's not going to work. You're just going to get more stuck!
There is an article I wrote earlier about how the proper footwork creates a type of gliding effect in the golf swing. This article is a sort of extension to that. See, the proper rolling of the feet is also and indication that the rest of the body is working in direct proportion to each other. I tell my students to imagine themselves as a system of gears. The reason for this is that when you think gears, you don't think twisting, instead you think rolling. Also when you think of a gear, you can imagine every single body part working as a part of a whole, one section does not move unless the other does and vice versa. This is very important to understand because most amateur golfers have too much excess motion going on with a particular body part. Your hands, arms, chest, hips, legs, and literally every body part must have a direct relationship in movement with each other.
How is this movement achieved? This motion is achieved by creating the same type of motion that is in the rolling of the feet but with the rolling of the lower and upper body.