Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shawn Clement's Braced Tilt

I'm a huge fan of Shawn's teachings; plus, he's very generous in that he gives away tons of free instruction via YouTube. Due to his generosity, I send him a PayPal tip each month. You can find his web site here; he also offers very reasonable online video analysis and a DVD instructional series.

Shawn has a lot of great ideas and methods that are highly effective. His drills should be mandatory for every golfer, regardless of whether you agree with his instruction or even try his swing method. The drills include his classic perpetual motion drill, feet-together drill, and one-leg drill. You can use these to ingrain the fundamentals of the Clement swing, which in my opinion is focused on helping the novice golfer learn to stay centered, the opposite of which (swaying) may very well be the biggest error a beginning golfer makes. I've written about the pivot in several other posts, but Shawn's method may be the one to develop a consistent pivot and swing, resulting in fantastic compression and contact with relative ease. In a sense, most of the effort is spent in the setup fundamentals and the rest left to physics.

Shawn teaches "bracing against a firm left side" with the body tilting away from the target starting at address and all the way through the swing. This involves presetting some secondary axis tilt, such that more weight is on the left leg at address, the head is behind the ball (until well after impact), and the weight in the right leg is concentrated on the right instep (he describes the address weight distribution as 60% left - 40% right). The backswing pivot is more a turning of the posterior than anything else, and the slight backwards weight shift is concentrated on the inside of the right leg and inside of the right foot; there should be a feeling of pressure ONLY on the inside of the right leg and right instep, and the right knee and right hip should feel "locked" in place briefly at the top, before the transition of weight back to the left leg. Another description is that it feels like sitting back on the right leg, so you should really feel it in the right hip.

Before you start thinking this is Stack-&-Tilt, it isn't, because Shawn teaches a backward and forward weight shift during the backswing and downswing, respectively. It's just that the weight shift he describes is very minute; he states that it is "about an inch long." I would describe it as: address, 60-40; backswing, 50-50 (or maybe 45-55) onto the inside of the right leg due to the weight of the arms and club; downswing, 60-40; and finish, 95-5 (again due to the weight of the arms and club). By contrast, S&T has the golfer starting 55-45 and leaning left at address, with no weight shift on the backswing (the upper body continues leaning left throughout); the weight favors the left side at address and progresses more and more left until the finish.

Shawn's swinging motion is passive and he describes it as "assisting momentum towards a target." In other words, one tosses the "arm-club unit" to the right on the backswing (the club feels somewhat weightless at the top) and then one allows it to fall on the downswing, with one's posterior providing a counterweight to the swing. In a sense, the golfer is setting up as a crane or catapult, and the butt acts as the means to propel the club. Shawn even says that the downswing weight shift "happens behind you," such that the butt moves left ("about an inch long") to shift the weight back into the left leg before the club comes through. The right butt cheek moves backwards on the backswing, and then the left butt check turns back to join it in a line on the downswing.

The result of this swing method is a tighter, circular motion that doesn't waste as much energy, and a stable low point. This results in increased consistency, compression, power, and divots in front of the ball.

Characteristics of Shawn's swing method include hips that turn nearly as much as the shoulders (don't go looking for McClean's X-Factor here), head staying behind the ball, arms and hands staying in front of the body, left foot prevented from spinning out, right foot staying planted longer, left knee ticking in towards the right leg on the backswing (even at address), allowable head movement, left heel unconsciously coming up on the backswing, passive arms (i.e., tossing the arms to the top and letting them fall), wrists that hinge naturally up-and-down due to the club's weight (i.e., float loading), and a takeaway that begins with a slight leftward move, as if one is already in motion at address (hence the perpetual motion drill). Shawn feels that a slight move that mimicks a throughswing as a starting motion (catching the next backswing) is best for keeping the swing relaxed and effortless.

My personal experience with this method is that it really adds distance and makes the golf swing "easy." However, I start coming off the rails with this swing by producing fat and thin shots, and the reason is two-fold: 1) there MUST be a move into the right leg on the backswing (even if it is very slight), and the correct feeling is one of pressure on the inside of the right leg with the right knee and right hip locked in place (i.e., I can occasionlly get too frozen over that left leg in the backswing); 2) the head--it must start behind the ball at address and remain there until post-impact (this one goes along with the first error--keeping the weight too left on the backswing can have the tendency to cause the head to be too far left).

Passive arms: It's important to simply get to the top and leave the hands and arms there, especially with the driver. Toss the arms to the top and then let them fall and/or move in response to the lower body's movement. Don't do anything else--pull or push. Allow the arms to simply drop and whip through in response to the lower body motion. Any attempt to consciously or unconsciously steer, pull, push, or guide the club will contribute to errors. Picking up on this in oneself is difficult because the difference between steering and just letting it happen is very subtle.

I have so many videos that explain what you are asking here; they all start with "Braced Tilt", "Braced Tilt Part 2", "Tilted Spiral" part 1, 2 and 3 and my latest, "Feel the Braced Tilt" which will explain so much for you; it all comes down to 60% on the lead leg; Use the trail leg as a support post to keep you against the led leg which is your leaning post.

One Leg Drill Amazing Power Compression; #1 Most Popular Golf Teacher on You Tube Shawn Clement - YouTube


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