Reverse pivot is golf’s version of poison
The reverse pivot is golf’s version of poison.
Ernie Boshers, director of the Windermere Golf Academy at Windermere Golf Club in Cumming, Ga., labels it the “death move” and is surprised more golfers don’t pay attention to it.
“I call it the death move because you cannot swing the golf club effectively with improper weight shift,” Boshers says. “The reverse pivot results in a bad weight shift. This is the No. 1 killer of proper golf swings.”
What is a reverse pivot? It is, as the name implies, the opposite of a correct pivot.
On the backswing, a golfer’s weight should move to the right side, or right leg (for a right-handed player). If too much weight remains on the left side, this is a reverse pivot.
Conversely, the weight should move to the left side on the followthrough. If a golfer hangs back with too much weight on the right side, this can create the infamous “reverse C” that can place exorbitant stress on the back.
Boshers has a simpler way of explaining the reverse pivot.
“It relates to spine tilt,” he says. “I can get you in a perfect stationary position (at address). It is your job to maintain it. The spine tilt is everything in the game of golf. It is the first moving fundamental. It is so subtle that many golfers will not see it.
“But it is indeed the death move. Just a little bit of reverse pivot – by changing your spine tilt – and you can ruin a golf shot without knowing what caused it.”
The golf swing is often pictured as a circular motion around a golfer’s body.
“If you move your tilt, you will move your circle,” Boshers says. “You will end up rerouting the club. You will have too many moving parts. You will lose power, too.”
Most golfers have played a round where they hit almost all their shots solidly, then the next round they couldn’t seem to get the ball on the clubface. The explanation could be the spine tilt.
“You change the tilt, you change the circle,” Boshers cautions. “When you do that, it makes it very hard to hit solid shots.”
How many golfers change the tilt? How many have some degree of reverse pivot in their swings?
“It is almost 100 percent of average players,” Boshers says. “It’s the first thing I teach my teachers to look for. You have to really pay attention, but it’s there. I would say that maybe 10 to 15 percent of the better players don’t violate the proper spine tilt. Everybody else does, and they don’t realize the importance of this. Maintaining the spine tilt is absolutely crucial to hitting good golf shots.”
Boshers says that the proper spine tilt goes hand-in-hand with the proper weight shift. “By having and maintaining the correct spine tilt, your weight will automatically go to the right side,” he says. “The proper spine tilt will allow a player to consistently put his hands in the same place (at the top of the backswing) and swing the club in the same place.
“I encourage all my students to notice when bad swings occur. Often they creep up in critical situations. When there’s a little bit of pressure, that’s when the rubber meets the road. That’s why we should train our students to pay close attention to what they are doing.
“The spine tilt is a pre-swing position. If you think about it, you can do it. Maintaining this tilt, it becomes a pre-impact position as well. And then it allows you to reach a proper finish.”
Now the big question: What is the leading cause of the reverse pivot?
“People watch golf tournaments on television,” Boshers says. “They see what the golf swing looks like. They see those hands way up there (on the backswing), and they start believing that they should get their hands just as high. The American public can’t go there. Most golfers can’t get their hands in that position without breaking down or bending their bodies or changing something.
“They change their tilt, they bend their arm, they do all kinds of things in an effort to accomplish the picture they can’t physically reach.
“With modern fitness and with all the golf they play, tour players are like Gumby. They are very flexible. They can do things with their bodies that the rest of us can’t.” Pivot, p49444Boshers calls it a “double-headed demon.” First, all golfers want to hit the ball farther; second, they see all these tour players with high hands.
“So the average guy ends up rerouting the club,” he says. “I show my students that they can hit the ball farther and straighter with a swing that often feels short to them. What I do is insist on maintaining the proper spine tilt and keeping the club on the correct plane.
“You know what they say about the golf swing: It never looks like it feels, and it never feels like it looks. My job is to get them out of their comfort zone, to allow them to comprehend what’s really happening.”
Finally, when a golfer can achieve and keep the desired spine angle, Boshers turns him loose.
“Forget about slowing down the golf swing,” he says. “I want my students to hit it. Often I end up trying to get them to speed up, to get over their carefulness.
“Sure, there’s a degree of control in golf. I want them to swing with 100 percent of their controlled power. Not 97 percent, but all of it. It keeps the body loose, it allows them to have better rhythm.”
Assuming, of course, that the spine tilt is correct and the reverse pivot is history.