Let’s talk about your knees
Moe Norman had the perfect golf swing – what he called the “feeling of greatness.” When I asked him about his feelings, he would often describe certain aspects of his body’s movement. For example, he described his lower body movement as “Buckle, Sit, Slide, Bump” (I shortened it to BSSB).
BSSB describes how Moe transitioned from the backswing to the downswing where he “Buckled” the lead knee, which caused him to “Sit” as he started in the downswing. Then he “Slid” the hips slightly forward as the trail hip “Bumps” into impact. All of this is happening in a split second. The key to Moe’s acronym is the order in which it occurs.
- Lead Knee toward lead toe (Buckle),
- Body moves down and then forward (Sit, Slide),
- Then the trial hip turns (Bump).
If you try this movement, you can feel how you can quickly produce a ton of power into impact because while the lower body is moving through the BSSB, it allows the upper body to turn and release through impact. These are a critically important and powerful action of the lower body.
However, often when I teach BSSB many of my students struggle because of the backswing, NOT the downswing. What I have found is that you must have the proper backswing movement of the hips so that you can BSSB adequately into the downswing.
During the Backswing, you must turn against a stable trail leg what I call “Braced.”
Moe said this about the backswing, “Stabilize and Energize.” What he meant is that you must stabilize the lower body so you can “Energize” the upper body. So how exactly do you stabilize the lower body? You do it with the trail leg.
(Our latest product the “Load-n-Fire” is an excellent product for learning how to stabilize the trail leg in the backswing. You can find out more about the Load-n-Fire here.)
Less rotation in backswing, more in downswing
Much of my research studying amateur golfers shows that they often over-rotate in the backswing and underrotate in the downswing. This usually causes hitting the ball – big shots and slices. What is worse is that over-rotation in the backswing causes a significant speed loss because it makes it impossible to transition into the downswing properly. The key is to rotate less into the backswing and more into the downswing to speed up the swing.
The trail leg securely braces as the hip turn. This does quite a few essential things. First, it limits hip rotation so that you don’t overturn in the backswing. By restricting hip turn rotation, the lower back (which was connected to the pelvis at the sacrum), gets moved adequately into a slightly forward position at the top of the swing. (as opposed to pelvis shift).
When the spine is rotated forward in the backswing, it makes it very easy to BSSB into the downswing. But Moe had a secret to the downswing. He kept his trail foot down as he moved into the lead knee. This created a lateral motion as his body moved down. In many ways, no matter how hard Moe tried to turn, by keeping the lead knee flexed (Buckled) and the trail foot on the ground, it was impossible to turn too much. Moe said his legs became broader in the downswing.
“I’m lateraling so much; I can’t spin” – Moe Norman.
In many respects, because the hips control the lower back, the more depressed body controls the upper body. If your lower body is out of position, the upper body can’t function properly to produce speed. I suggest taking a close look at your trail leg stabilization in your backswing and how you are moving into a flexed lead knee in the downswing to ensure proper lower body movement. This will help you produce the right upper body rotation and tons of speed.