Early Extension Causes Heel Hits Video
One of the more detailed reasons why a golfer might strike the ball from the heel and struggle to stop hitting the ball from the heel might actually come down to the physical makeup of the golfer and the fact that physically they’re in a limited position to be able to make a correct golf swing. And as a golf instructor, we would term this an early extension. And an early extension is all about how the body reacts in a downswing. From an address position, we’d like to see the body as nicely balanced but quite tilted forwards at the hips. And the early extension is going to form this shape, the fact that effectively the golfer will stand up. So if in this position where the backswing’s fine, the golfer stands up. Now, if a golfer stands up, they’re generally going to top the ball. And if a golfer then tries not to top the ball, there may be a case that they actually lean forwards but the whole body leans forward and they end up shanking the golf ball because effectively they’ve moved too near to it.
So we’re in this good address position here. The early extended position puts them here because they stood up but then leaning forwards. And now, my body weight is going this way and eventually I have to fall forwards. So the early extension is quite a crucial part of avoiding a shank.
The key for a golfer would be to try and keep their angle of spine and hips all the way through their swing. So they start off in a good position, swing to the top, swing down and feel like their hips are going to stay back and rotate it and they’re going to stay over it with the spine so they’ve got plenty of space to hit the ball and were not this way with the hips coming in. So a good test, a good checkpoint to make sure that you have the physical capabilities to make this correct golf swing without the early extension is whether you can make a full deep squat.
So what I’d like you to do here, take an average golf of 6-iron, 7-iron, something like that straight above your head with arms straight, feet shoulder width apart like you’re playing a golf shot and then a full deep squat all the way down and then back up again. Now, as you go down, try and keep your heels on the floor. If I do that from this side, you can see that I’m able to keep my heels on the floor and then come back up. You’ll also notice the club doesn’t get thrown forwards like this. I’m able to keep it above the back of my neck, above my head as much as possible, comes forward a bit. I’m tied in the shoulders but I can get down and I can get back up fairly balanced, fairly consistently without too much strain.
If you’re struggling to do that, it might be a case of tight hamstrings, tight glutes, tight lower back and that’s going to cause you to struggle with a deep squat. It would also cause you the issues of the early extension here. So some simple lower back stretches, glute stretches, hamstring stretches or actually I would prefer you to go and see a physio or a qualified medical professional to get some advice on how you can loosen up that area to help with this position to stop this sort of early extension which could be the reason why you’re shanking the golf ball so much.