The reverse pivot
We’ve all been there before – you’re at the range and your mate asks you for a little help with their swing. This series of tips helps you find the quick solutions to some of golf’s most common swing ailments. This month we look at the reverse pivot.
The reverse pivot is one of the most common swing faults for amateurs. As the name suggests, when you are guilty of this flaw, your swing operates in reverse of how it should and your weight moves in the opposite direction to which it is supposed to.
So, for example, where your weight should be mostly on the right side at the top of the backswing (for right-handed golfers), it is on the left side. And when you should be shifting your weight from the right side to the left side during the downswing, a reverse pivot sees your weight going in the opposite direction. You can sometimes get away with this swing, but for the most part, the results are awful. Not only is there a huge loss in power – and therefore distance – but your ball-striking consistency is affected, so you will struggle with accuracy too.
There are three main reasons for the reverse pivot and the cures for these all revolve around getting your weight to shift correctly during the golf swing. Once you get this right, you will be able to load the upper body correctly behind the ball into a powerful position.
Here’s how you can identify the three common causes of the reverse pivot – and fix them for good.
1. A poor setup (good setup vs bad setup)
For some players it is as simple as a poor setup. You see, because the right hand sits below the left hand on the club (for right-handed golfers), it is important that the rest of the body does the same. In other words, the right shoulder should be below the left shoulder and the right hip should also be lower than the left hip. This creates a natural spine tilt to the right, with the body leaning away from the target. From here you are in a good position to transfer weight correctly and store power behind the ball.
A bad setup can lead to the reverse pivot. In the incorrect picture, you can see how my high right hip encourages a spine tilt to my left with my weight mostly on my left foot. Now my body leans towards the target instead of away from it and it is very hard to shift the weight to my right leg during the backswing. Even with a good turn, my upper body will be leaning towards the target and my head will not be behind the ball. The result will be a steep downswing, which will lead to a glancing blow to back of ball – leading to poor contact, inaccuracy and loss of power.
What to look out for: at address, make sure the right side of the body is lower than the left side (for right-handers) and that the spine tilts slightly away from the target.
2. The hip slide
Another reason for the reverse pivot is that the right hip slides laterally to the right instead of turning during the backswing. The lack of hip turn makes it hard to turn my shoulders and the weight on my left side causes my upper body (spine tilt) to lean towards the target.
With very little turn, I’ve lost out on the power of rotation as I haven’t been able to store any power behind the ball. I will also struggle to sweep the ball off the ground and my swing will become very armsy.
Look out for: the hips sliding laterally during the takeaway, instead of turning.
3. The knee poke
A third cause of the reverse pivot is my left knee, which pokes out towards the ball instead of moving to the right and behind ball on the backswing. This results in my weight being stuck on my left leg at the top of the backswing. In order to complete my downswing, I then need to shift my weight back to the right, away from the target. There is a massive loss of power with the weight going in the wrong direction and, again, I can’t swing the club on the correct path through ball, resulting in loss of accuracy and consistency.
Look out for: The left knee jumping out towards the ball, making it impossible to shift the weight onto the right side.
Set up with the club behind your back, as I have shown in the picture. Your spine angle should be tilted as it would be at address, with your right shoulder and hip below the left.
Now turn your hip so that the shaft remains level to ground. Allow your left knee to turn inwards, behind the ball and make sure your head moves fractionally to the right in the drill.
This will give you a great feeling for transferring your weight correctly – and eliminating the dreaded reverse pivot!