Natalie Gulbis Golf Swing

Golf Sage - Saturday, December 31, 2011

Natalie Gulbis has some unorthodox elements in her golf swing.  These are some of her mistakes:
  1. On the backswing, Natalie’s left knee pops out away from her body, instead of working back laterally toward the right knee.  This affects perfect balance at the top of the backswing, as your weight is likely transferred to the right heel and outside of the right foot instead of where it should be—the inside of the right foot.  Perfect balance is a key factor in the player’s ability to smoothly and quickly start the downswing back to the left side with a hard leg drive; thereby delivering maximum power at impact.  Natalie may be sacrificing some distance on her shots because of her left knee movement on the backswing.
  2. Natalie is swinging the club back on too steep a backswing plane.  On the second half of the backswing, her shoulders and arms travel upward rather than rotating around her stable lower body base.  This causes her right elbow to fly away from her right rib cage, making it difficult to achieve the perfect position at the top of the backswing.  Achieving the proper position at the top of the backswing makes it easy to drive your legs through the ball and have your upper body unwind naturally on the downswing, with a square clubface at impact.
  3. As Natalie’s backswing nears the top, her right elbow flies away from her body, making it more difficult to get on the proper downswing plane, one that is flat enough.  When your right elbow flies away from the right side of your rib cage at the top of the backswing, there is a tendency to swing on too upright of a downswing plane, from outside-to-inside, cutting across the ball and causing a slice.  It is very difficult to consistently return the right elbow to your right side on the first half of the downswing to return to the proper, flatter downswing plane and deliver a square clubface to the ball at impact.
  4. At the top of the backswing, Natalie has rotated her hips too far around to the right.  A restricted hip turn is key to generating maximum power at impact.  To deliver your most powerful strike to the ball, it is critical to combine a restricted hip turn with big shoulder turn, creating the strongest possible coil in your upper body, which your legs lead through impact.  Natalie is losing some power in her swing with too much of a hip turn on the backswing.
  5. At the top of the backswing, Natalie has swung the club shaft past parallel to the ground, making too long of a backswing.  This makes it harder to control the club on the downswing and consistently deliver  a square clubface at impact, producing straight shots.
  6. Natalie hits against a stiff left leg at impact, which means her legs quit driving at the target just before impact, and she is making an upper body swing at the ball.  A strong, fast, smooth leg drive through the ball naturally pulls the coiled upper body and produces maximum clubhead acceleration through impact.  Natalie is losing power in her golf swing by not driving the legs to smoothly and fully transfer her body weight back to her left side through impact.
  7. Natalie drops her head down as she swings through impact.  This move makes it very hard to keep in perfect balance before and at impact.  Great balance is an important source of power in the golf swing, and it ensures a still head at the moment of impact.  It is critical to keep your head still at impact so your shoulders do not rise up early—taking your swing off the proper downswing plane and making it impossible to deliver a square clubface at impact.
 Natalie Gulbis executes many fundamentals well, so she makes her unorthodox swing consistently perform.
  1. At address, Natalie stands with a good flex in her knees.  This is important because the legs are free from muscular tension, so she can drive her legs hard and smooth through impact and utilize all the power from the large muscles of the legs.
  2. At address, Natalie’s right foot is set perfectly square to the target line.  This makes it easy to keep your weight on the inside of the right foot as the backswing proceeds.  When you do this, you naturally keep your right leg in address position and your right knee pointed in throughout the backswing.  These two factors enable you to restrict the hip turn and maximize the shoulder turn, which creates maximum coil in the upper body at the top of the backswing, so you can deliver your maximum power at impact.  When your weight stays on the inside of your right foot, it is easy to stay balanced at the top of your backswing, which makes it simple to smoothly start your downswing move with the legs and quickly start transferring your body weight back to the left side to generate maximum power at impact.
  3. At address, her left arm and the club shaft form a straight line down to the ball.  This address position previews the impact position on the downswing.  When the left arm and club shaft form a straight line at impact, you deliver maximum power to the ball strike.
  4.  Natalie takes the clubhead back straight, low, and slow for 12” to 18,” which guarantees a wide, long swing arc, producing longer shots.
  5. Throughout the backswing, Natalie’s right leg retains its address position and her right knee stays pointed in.  So her upper body and shoulders turn around a stable lower body base, stretching the coil tight in her upper body.  This produces more distance when the legs lead a highly-coiled upper body through impact.
  6. Natalie keeps her left arm straight throughout the backswing.  This ensures the longest possible swing arc, which produces your longest possible shots.
  7. At the top of the backswing, Natalie’s flexibility allows her to make a very large shoulder turn away from the ball.  To deliver your most powerful strike at impact, it is critical to combine a restricted hip turn with big shoulder turn, creating the strongest possible coil in your upper body, which your legs lead through impact.
  8. On the downswing, Natalie returns her flying right elbow back to the right side of her rib cage, which puts her on the proper downswing plane.  This allows her to swing from the inside and deliver a square clubface at impact instead of executing the downswing on too steep a plane, resulting in the clubhead traveling on a left-to-right path and causing a sliced ball flight.
  9. On the downswing, Natalie preserves the angle of her cocked wrists as long as possible.  It is not until the second half of the downswing that her wrists release.  The later in the downswing the wrists release, the more leverage your swing has, and the more power you can deliver at impact.
  10. Natalie really stays down and through impact, ensuring the clubface strikes the ball squarely and solidly.
  11. On the follow-through, Natalie keeps her head down until well after impact, until her hands have reached waist-high, when her chin starts digging into her right shoulder, forcing the head to come up.  Keeping your head down this long after impact insures that your head was still at impact.  It is critical that your head is still at impact so that your clubhead stays on the proper downswing plane and your clubface contacts the ball squarely.  Keeping your head down until well after impact produces amazingly straight golf shots.

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