Early Extension in Golf-Causes & Fixes
One of the most important parts of playing golf is making sure your swing is correct. There are so many things that can go wrong when it comes to the swing. One of the most common is early extension. Early extension can lead to miss-hits, resulting in a hook to the left or block to the right. Both of these have adverse effects on your game.
Many players suffer from early extension with a premature extension of the lower body towards the ball. As you can imagine, it will affect the angle at which you bring the swing from the top and can lead to bad shots.
If you are looking to be competitive in tournament play, it is best to deal with early extension and figure out how you can address it. This article aims to give you tips on how to deal with early extension and show you what could cause it. The best way to improve your game is to admit you have an issue and work to fix it.
Table of Contents
- What Is Early Extension?
- Early Extension Causes
- Fixes For Early Extension
- Top 3 Drills To Deal With Early Extension
What Is Early Extension?
In essence, early extension is the forward movement of the lower body in a thrusting motion towards the golf ball. It generally happens during the downswing part of the shot and could block the arms. The arms could get stuck behind the body, which automatically forces you to raise your torso and elevate the hitting zone.
As you can imagine, it does not bode well for accuracy and you might also lose some control when it comes to playing the game. As a player, missing the ball once or twice during a competition is detrimental. You don’t want to have to deal with miss-hits and it could force you to lose your accuracy and have a bad score.
Early Extension Causes
You might be thinking why we naturally early extend when playing golf. The main reason for early extension is that we have to extend to hit the golf ball. There is often some issue with your swing that forces early extension. We have identified a couple of reasons that people early extend:
1. Arms Get Stuck
One of the first issues is that your arms can get stuck behind your body as your turn to swing the ball. Once this happens, you have to stand up to make more room for the arms to pass through. Having such an elevated position lifts your striking angle, which can lead to potential miss-hits and issues.
2. Steep Shaft In Transition
Another reason for early extension could be that the shaft gets steep. Once the shaft is elevated, you need to stand up to make room for the club to pass through. Much like when your arms get stuck, it could throw you off position and you might find that you miss-hit the ball.
3. Shaft Gets Underneath The Correct Plane
The other issue is when the club comes down for the swing, the shaft can get underneath the correct plane. To compensate for this issue, we automatically thrust the hips forward to reach the ball. Not only does it reduce the power you have, but adversely affects your swing and swing angle when playing the game.
4. Body Limitations
While many people might argue that it is all about technique, your limitations in terms of flexibility could also lead to early extension. On theory suggest that people who have a hard time performing the deep squat could have flexibility issues in the lower body. To compensate for this, you might find yourself automatically early extending.
5. Open Face Coming Into Impact
Finally, an early extension might be caused by the clubface opening up as you swing down towards the ball. To help you square up the shot, you might automatically early extend. It can also happen when your positioning in relation to where the ball is, is too far. It is important to make sure you are in the correct position.
Fixes For Early Extension
Once you have identified you early extend on shots, you will need to determine how and if you want to fix it. For some people, it is simply impossible and forms part of their anatomy. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing and you might see many professional players do it. Once you extend through the hitting zone, you could add some power to your shots and it helps to create more speed. However, the early extension could be more damaging to your game than a simple extension:
1. Finding A More Comfortable Setup
One of the main reasons for early extension is performing a swing technique forced upon you by a coach or some expert. However, older swing techniques have slowly faded and nowadays, it is all about comfort. Having your armpits over the balls of your feet and your butt more underneath you can push the balance points back more.
While it might seem like you are standing straight, it also relates to the perfect squat position. Since you are in a better squat position, it allows your body to turn and extend as you come up when striking the ball and adding more power.
2. Improving Hip And Leg Flexibility
Since not having enough turn could lead to early extension, you should focus on working on the turn of your shoulders and your hips. Try to turn your shoulders at least 90-degrees and your hips 45-degrees. As you turn, you can extend your trail leg to enable the body to make a complete turn. This will give you proper form and allow you to drive from the back leg without having to extend your pelvis forward before you start the rotation. Performing a few basic stretches could be helpful to loosen up these muscles.
3. Improving Rotation techniques
One of the main causes of early extension is when the hips tend to slide on rotation. Once this happens, you will extend forward and the hips will stall. The main reason is to allow the arms to catch up with the shot which could cause plenty of unwanted issues.
Turning through the shot seems to be the answer and it is better to have slightly bent knees that allow you more control. Instead of premeditating the turn, you will have perfect synchronization with your arms. As the arms come down, you can limit early extension by turning in harmony with your arms passing through the diagonal plane.
4. Ball Positioning
One of the final things to keep in mind is that if you position the ball too close to your body, your arms will automatically be limited and smash into your sides. Having the ball in a neutral position means you are improving your spine angle and you should have much more comfortable when it comes to swinging through.
Top 3 Drills To Deal With Early Extension
Now that you have identified the issue and you know what is causing the issue, you might want to practice a few drills. We have identified some of the main drills that you can add to your practice routine. Here are some of these main drills:
Club Shallowing Drill
The club shallowing drill is an excellent drill to help you allow the club to trail behind your body. You will also have the opportunity to feel the golf club moving. You will need to position yourself with your back against a wall. As you swing back, you can avoid the wall, but moving forward, you can feel the club moving on the wall and eventually coming through. You must keep your posture.
Trail Arm Drill
You also want to make sure that your trail arm works inwards instead of outwards. With the trail arm drill, you force yourself to avoid overextending as you have a steep shaft. You will need an alignment stick to place in the ground. It should be around 2-inches behind the ball and at the same angle as your club shaft.
Practice your swing and focus on your trail elbow coming down as it arrives at the stick before your hands do. It will promote a shallowing of your golf club and your hips should naturally move out of the way due to the anatomy of the body.
You can practice this drill a few times to make sure that you have comfort and you understand what is happening. It might feel slightly different than your traditional movement and motions at first but, you will come to integrate it.
Early extension is one of the most frustrating things to deal with. If you don’t address it as soon as possible, you might have a hard time making these corrections and dealing with these issues. You should focus on improving your game with these drills and learning how to adjust to some of these things. We would love to read some of your comments on early extension and how you manage to deal with it.