Early extension in a golfer’s swing occurs when the lower body moves towards the golf ball during the downswing, causing the hips to move closer to the golf ball. This premature movement prevents the golfer from making a full rotation with their hips and can lead to a number of issues in the swing. The most significant impact of early extension is the loss of power and accuracy in the shot. When a player early extends their swing, it can cause the club to be lifted away from the intended swing plane and bring the club face closer to the golf ball, resulting in poor contact and an errant shot. Additionally, early extension can cause the player to lose control of the club, resulting in less power behind the swing.
The arms will tend to straighten too early during the downswing, causing a loss of power and accuracy in the movement toward the golf ball. In order to prevent early extension in your golf swing, it is crucial to focus on maintaining proper posture and ensuring that the hips rotate properly during the downswing, limiting the extension in the swing and making contact with the golf ball at the proper point for the best results in their shot.
- What Does Early Extension Mean?
- What Causes Early Extension?
- What are the Effects of Early Extension?
- Drills and Fixes for Early Extension
What Does Early Extension Mean?
Early extension refers to a common swing flaw in golf where the golfer’s lower body moves toward the ball during the downswing, limiting their ability to rotate and causing them to stand up in the swing. This results in the golfer being unable to maintain the proper angle between the upper body and hips, leading to a loss of balance, power, and accuracy. When a golfer experiences early extension, they are more likely to miss the ball and struggle with consistent shot-making. Early extension can cause the club to strike the ground too early, resulting in fat shots. To address early extension, golfers must focus on improving their lower body mobility and stability, as well as their ability to squat and rotate.
By strengthening these physical aspects of the swing, golfers can generate more force and maintain proper body positions throughout the swing. It is important to note that early extension is often caused by weaknesses or limitations in the lower body and should be addressed through targeted exercises and practice. By addressing this flaw, golfers can improve their performance and bring their swings closer to the ideal form.
What Causes Early Extension?
Early extension in the golf swing is typically caused by a lack of core stability and strength, leading to a breakdown in posture and balance. It can also be a result of poor lower body mechanics, where the hips and pelvis fail to properly rotate throughout the swing. Other factors such as muscle imbalances and poor flexibility can also contribute to early extension.
There are a few typical causes of early extension:
Overactive Lower Body
If a golfer uses too much lower body in the downswing and drives their hips excessively towards the target rather than turning into their front leg, this can cause them to stand up too early. Excess lower body drive will pull the upper body vertically rather than keeping it coiled over the ball.
Swaying off the ball during the backswing typically leads to early extension coming down as the golfer will have too much weight on their back foot. From this position, it’s much harder to resist the urge to stand up as you have further to turn and no braced front side to rotate against.
Casting refers to when a player releases their wrists too early at the start of their downswing. This leads to an early release of angles and the club getting flung out ahead of the body, making it much more likely the player will stand up as they have no lag in the swing.
Poor Weight Shift
Failing to properly shift weight onto the front foot during the downswing will leave the player in a poor position with their weight back. Like swaying, this makes it harder to resist standing up too early.
What are the Effects of Early Extension?
The effects of early extension in the golf swing can have significant impact on one’s overall performance on the course. Early extension refers to the premature straightening of the body during the downswing, causing the golfer to lose control over the clubhead and the ball. When the body extends too early, the ball on the downswing might result in poor contact with the ball, leading to slices, hooks, and overall inconsistency in the golfer’s game.
An early extension has several negative effects on ball striking, distance control, and consistency:
Inconsistent Strike and Quality of Contact
When the body extends upwards early, it changes the path and angle that the club approaches the ball from. This leads to much more variation in strike patterns with thin and fat shots. Gear effect may also result due to the changing angles.
Standing up early bleeds speed and power from the swing as it cuts short the sequence where the body coils and unwinds into the ball. It reduces the momentum built through the swing and prevents using the big muscles properly.
Difficulty Compressing Golf Ball Properly
Losing your angles too early makes it difficult to compress and trap the ball with the clubface. Quality of contact will be poor, leading to loss of distance. Spin rates may go up or become more variable also.
With an inconsistent impact position and quality of strike, early extenders tend to spray the ball around and miss greens more often. They struggle for consistency in getting the clubface aimed correctly at impact when their body is moving more vertically.
Drills and Fixes for Early Extension
Early extension refers to the common swing flaw in which a golfer’s lower body slides toward the ball on the downswing, causing the body to get stuck behind the hips. This can result in a loss of power and control. To fix this issue, golfers might benefit from incorporating drills focused on maintaining posture and hip rotation, as well as working on flexibility and stability in the lower body.
There are several good drills and swing thoughts you can try to eliminate early extension:
Impact Bag Drills
Hitting balls off an impact bag, and keeping the bag pressed firmly into the lower abdomen can train the feeling of staying over the shot without extending. Let the bag hold you in your posture as you turn into it.
Hold Finishing Pose
When taking practice swings or hitting balls on the range, pause and hold your finish position for a few seconds. Feel the resistance in your front foot and hip as you do this rather than releasing up vertically to a tall finish position.
Swing Blocker Between Legs
Place a foam block, golf glove or alignment stick under your thighs so it falls out if you extend upwards too early. This trains the legs to resist straightening and hold their flexed position longer through impact.
Feel Heavier Club
As you start the downswing, think of your club feeling extremely heavy, making it impossible for you to lift yourself vertically and needing your body to drive under the weight. Keep turning into your front leg to support the mass.
Take practice swings or hit balls with your backside a few inches from a wall. If you extend early, your rear will bump into the wall. Keep working on ‘missing’ the wall and not letting your back lift away too early.
Early extension is a fault many average golfers need to combat in their swing. By losing angles too early, it causes a variety of issues from inconsistent ball striking to power leaks and accuracy problems. Understanding what causes early extension and training new feels to hold angles for longer is critical to maximizing striking and consistency for golfers prone to this problem. Focusing on older body resistance, turning into the front leg and keeping back angles will help eradicate early extension over time.