By T.J. TOMASI
Hunching your shoulders during your downswing ruins impact. When you hunch, you in effect slam on the shoulder brakes, and this “stopping to hit” causes the club to flip and the ball to squirt off line. It’s a swing fault I call the hunch–flip syndrome.
Biomechanically, for every 1 degree of hunch, you lose 2 degrees of thoracic rotation. According to the conservation of momentum, when you short-circuit your rotary capability, the club will flip past you because your trail arm is only so long, and it effectively shortens when you stop your back shoulder. Held back by the retarded shoulder, your back arm will reach its full extension too early, transferring so much force to the front wrist that it must collapse, resulting in a weak flip at the ball.
In the correct swing, the trail shoulder keeps moving, allowing your arm to “stay long,” thereby keeping the pressure off the shaft.
The tour pro in the left-hand photo below has used his shoulders beautifully. Note how the shaft of the club is pointing directly at the midline of his body with no flip and no lagging back shoulder.
Even though his right foot is still on the ground, there is little weight on his right side — there is no crease in his shoe.
The young player in the right-hand photo shows what happens when you stop the rotation of the shoulders through impact. Notice how hunched her back is and how her core has failed to keep pace. This causes the right hand and arm to overpressure the left and flip the clubface shut. The shaft of her club is not pointing to the midline of the body because she has put so much pressure on it.
She looks like she’s trying hard to stay behind the golf ball, and unfortunately, she is succeeding. There is so much weight on her back foot that you can see a crease in her shoe. She needs to get up on her left side and allow her shoulders and core to fire through the ball.