Forward Shaft Lean…What is it?…Why is it important?…And how do we get it?
What is it?
Forward shaft lean when hitting any golf shot, especially the irons, can be seen in all the great players. At setup and impact, the hands are ahead of the clubhead…..leaning toward the target.
At address, the clubshaft angle is on a straight line to the lead shoulder, and the club grip is slightly ahead of the ball, towards the target.
At impact, the forward shaft lean is toward the target and is more pronounced than at setup. The shaft lean at impact can be as much as 12° ahead of the ball position at setup.
Why is it important?
Forward shaft lean at impact is important to crisp, solid ball striking. It helps to ensure that the ball is hit first, then the ground, with the low point of the swing 3-4 inches on the target side of the ball. It helps provide the penetrating, straight, consistent ball flight that all golfers desire.
How do we get it?
Things we shouldn’t do…
Forward shaft lean should never be forced…It needs to happen as a natural component of a properly sequenced golf swing without overly trying to force the hands forward at impact. Forward shaft lean cannot occur when a swing has early right arm extension, as seen in over-the-top and flippy golf swings. When there is significant weight transfer to the trail side on the backswing…Forward shaft lean becomes more difficult.
Things we should do…
Forward shaft lean should occur naturally with a swing that has weight more on the lead side during the swing. The trail arm needs to be more “in” at the top (closer to the body) to help prevent early extension.
The One Plane Swing is the easiest method to encourage forward shaft lean at impact. The OPS has us at setup already with some forward shaft lean. When we swing back on one plane, the arms and clubshaft will naturally track to impact with the hands leading the clubhead! This is one of the beautiful benefits of using the One Plane Swing!
So…to swing with forward shaft lean, it’s back to the basic One Plane Swing technique…we need to start at setup with forward shaft lean and impact in mind….then swing back on plane…and return the club to impact on the same plane….for crisp, solid, straight to target, golf shots!
The picture attachment below is based on Athletic Motion Golf’s Gears Software and illustrates the forward shaft lean of a professional golfer.
Dr. Chris Nix
**For more information on the One Plane Swing the One Plane Golfer eBook is available for sale on the home page of this site. It's a beautifully illustrated description of the One Plane Swing and how to apply it to your game.