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Golf Tips: Use balance to avoid the reverse pivot

By: Shawn Kelly
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“Help, I’ve got a reverse pivot!” Here’s a complaint I often hear while teaching, and when I ask students what that means to them, I get some bewildering answers. 
 
What does it really mean and how do you overcome it? Well, before you can cure a problem you must understand it and by definition to me reverse pivot means “an opposite weight transfer during a golf swing.” 
 
If you have a reverse pivot it means your weight remains on your target side foot at the top of the back swing and you then have no choice but to shift your mass to the back foot on the follow through. 
 
In laymen’s terms a proper weight transfer means that when you execute a golf swing, your weight should move to your back foot on the backswing and then transfer to your target side foot on the follow through. A reverse pivot will cause an array of errant shots that become misdirected and lack power. 
 
Let’s discuss a few drills that will help prevent this insidious shot killer.
 
The very first thing to understand is that the old saying “keep your head down” is just about the worst advice offered in golf. A player’s head should never stay down or too still during a swing because your head must move a little from side to side to facilitate the weight transfer. It will feel that it stays still with a short iron but needs to move a few inches with a driver.
 
Now let’s understand what the body does for balance and how weight transfers during a swing. When you walk you transfer weight from one foot to the other to move and stay in balance. 
 
Likewise, when you swing a club you move your weight from foot to foot to create power and stay in balance, it’s just a basic, simple weight transfer as used in most sports. 
 
In the golf swing I believe there are three balance points during the swing to be concerned with;
 
Start of the swing – There must be a balanced set-up position immediately before you pull the trigger. Weight should be equal on both feet and you should have an athletic posture.
 
Top of the back swing – The sternum has turned over your back leg and your weight should transfer to the back leg and is balanced over the back foot.
 
Full finished position – You have uncoiled your torso so the sternum is now over your target leg and your weight has transferred to the front foot so that you could hold that balance for a two count. This is the most important position of the swing and I have dubbed this position the “Swing to Balance”
Once you understand the concept of an efficient weight transfer, it’s time to do some drills in order to make it become ingrained, so here are my two favorites. 
 
“Cross your heart” – Take one of your clubs and lay it across your chest and shoulders across your sternum. Spread your legs shoulder width apart and bend slightly at the hips to feel balance as if you were preparing to swing the club. Now turn your torso so that the club is over your back leg. The club should never move past 90 degrees to the target line and the weight should now be in your back foot. You should feel coiled and in balance. Now uncoil your body until the club and sternum finish over your target leg and foot with your hips chest and eyes facing your target, you should be in perfect athletic balance. Doing this drill in front of a mirror will help you accelerate the learning process.
 
“Dancing with the club” - this will help feel the proper footwork for a swing. You can use any golf club or training club to do this drill. I prefer to use the “ASSIST” by Matzie Golf, a weighted training club that helps me find the proper feel of the golf swing. Start by standing parallel to a line in a balanced starting position while holding the club head off the ground and feel the balance of the club. Swing the club back and forth in a rhythmic motion, just like a swing on a swing set, transferring weight from foot to foot. When you can feel your weight shifting back and forth in rhythm you are “dancing with the club”
We all strive for balance and harmony in our lives and our enjoyment of golf will be greatly enhanced by the same goals. With an understanding of these balance points and by employing the above drills to help you feel balance, you’ll be on your way to eradicating the reverse pivot forever. You will develop long, straight golf shots. “May the force be with you.”