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SHIFT WORK Learn to transfer weight if you want success with the straighter-faced clubs WORDS BY PETER MASTERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOWARD BOYLAN

The problem I see with a great many amateurs is that they don’t get on their left side on the downswing – at least not until it’s too late. It’s easy enough to hit wedges with the weight on your left foot, but that’s because you have plenty of loft. The rules change when you start to hit the straighterfaced clubs. This is what the stack and tilters are getting at. They advocate loading the left on the backswing, to get around the downswing problem, but that, I think, is going too far the other way. What you really need to do is learn to transfer weight at the right time. Let me show you here a simple drill that explains what I mean.

SWING THEORY The whole stack and tilt thing is really just an interpretation of something that was out there already. I’ve had a number of lessons with Mac O’Grady and he was the first one to develop this theory of teaching. The stack and tilt boys have taken that and appear to have claimed much of it as their own. Mac looked at the great swingers, the Ben Hogans and Sam Sneads of this world and adapted a move that is based around theirs. In layman’s terms, it’s all about rotating around a central point. The stack and tilters put their weight heavily on the left side and leave it there, while back in David Leadbetter’s day he spoke about two axis points in the swing, one for going back and then another for coming through. I work on a single, central axis point which, I believe, makes much more sense.

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Address Place a cane vertically in the ground just to the side of your left foot as I have done here.

Shift onto the left Now this is the key position because my weight has clearly shifted to the left side BEFORE impact. Look how the left shoulder, hips and left knee are all in a line with the cane, while the clubhead is still almost a foot behind the ball. The move is a lateral move along the line of my feet with everything working in the direction that I’m hitting the ball. With a hybrid in my hands, my head is virtually over the ball at impact, but not ahead of it. The result is better balance and greater consistency.

Head position It looks here like I’ve moved away from the cane as I go to the top of the backswing. But if you look more closely, my head position is still just behind the ball. I haven’t changed the point of rotation which is my spine. It looks like I’ve moved onto my right side because my hips have rotated and my knee has allowed the rotation by flexing slightly in the direction of the ball. // FEBRUARY 2011



TRANSFER AND ROTATE Learn to delay your turn into the ball. Now I know what some people will say, shifting laterally from the top of the backswing can lead you to getting ahead of the ball, resulting in a chop down on top of it. Well if that happens, then you’ve failed to drop the club down as you transfer weight to the left. The whole process features a shift to the left as you drop the club down, inside the line. Then, once you’ve got into that great hitting position, you can rotate as hard as you like through impact and to the finish.

Try to get here You can see here how the club has dropped nicely into position ready for the release.

Leg drive You can see how the weight has worked its way onto the left side.

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Weight transfer If you don’t shift laterally and allow the rotation to dominate then you are likely to throw the club outside the line and hit a big slice.


HIT A FADE FROM ROUGH A point about making the best use of your hybrid. I use a TaylorMade Rescue TP and it’s great out of those tricky lies in the rough. The secret is to aim left, stand a touch closer to the ball so that you can swing more steeply and then keep the club square through impact. Let the heel find the ground and allow the ball to fade back to the target.

Many players stay on their right side for too long and are then unable to move back through the ball in time.

A full turn

Knee to knee

A good balanced finish position is the final piece of the jigsaw.

Let the right knee kiss the left at the finish.

IN THE BAG Driver: TaylorMade SuperFast, 9.5°, Fubuki 73X shaft. Fairway wood: TaylorMade SuperFast, 15°, Fubuki 70X shaft. Utility: TaylorMade Rescue TP, Aldila NV 105-S shaft. Irons: TaylorMade TP forged 08, DG S400 shaft. Wedges: TaylorMade xFT 52°, 50°. Putter: TaylorMade Daytona. Ball: TaylorMade Penta TP. Shoes: adidas Tour 360 4.0. // FEBRUARY 2011


TIPS SPECIAL: Shift work with Simon Khan  
TIPS SPECIAL: Shift work with Simon Khan  

TIPS SPECIAL: Shift work with Simon Khan