I added the Jack Nicklaus Fix Early Extension Drill to the Golf Practice Planner today because I grow up hearing the words “turn your hips”, and that has turned out to be utterly erroneous. Your hips shouldn’t turn. Your hips should move in a straight line to create depth.
Jack Nicklaus Fix Early Extension Drill
Long Game Practice Drills
2 out of 10
Any golf club. Golf ball. Golf Practice Planner.
The Jack Nicklaus Fix Early Extension Drill will train you to move your hips with “depth” like Nicklaus. Your hips shouldn’t turn. Yes, I know. You’ve been told otherwise all your golfing life! Instead of turning, your hips should move in a straight line to create depth.
Most people have been taught to “turn their hips”, which gives their brains the signal to sway off the ball (a huge swing killer). The worst advice you can ever be given is to keep your right knee flexed throughout the backswing because it will force your hips to move closer to the ball in the backswing and downswing. Use this drill to use your hips like Nicklaus!
When asked about his swing, Tiger Wood said this:
“All I try to do on the backswing is get my right hip as deep as I can get it, and on the downswing I try to get my left hip as deep as I can get it.” – Tiger Woods
Jack does exactly the same thing!
When asked about his swing, Jack Nicklaus said this:
“I just try to get my right hip out of the way as much as possible on the backswing, and my left hip out of the way as much as possible on the downswing.” – Jack Nicklaus
The two greatest players of all time both focus on “hip depth” versus hip turning. Deep is a straight line force (as you’ll learn from watching the video below).
Step 1: Watch
Watch the video below.
Step 2: Move Back In A Straight Line Drill
Tee up 4 balls in a line (see image below).
Make a swing (over the ball). Then move your right foot back, then left foot back, and hit a ball. It also helps to say that out loud as you’re doing it (“Right foot back, left foot back”). Continue hitting the balls without stopping until you’ve hit all four of them.
During this drill, you’re constantly moving away from the ball in a straight line. That is how your hips need to feel when swinging a club.
This “moving away” creates lots of room at impact to be able to shallow the club (a key feature of all great players). Having lots of room is the polar opposite of early extension (hips moving closer to the ball). If your hips move closer to the ball (early extension), you’re in big trouble because you’re all jammed up, and forced to come in too steep to the ball, because you have so little room between your hips and the club on the backswing and downswing.
Below is a great image of Jack showing how “deep” to get the hips on the backswing and downswing. Lifting his right heel off the ground on the backswing helped get his hips even deeper on the backswing.
And just in case you needed even more convincing, take a look at Lee Trevino’s impact position. The depth of his left hip at impact is incredible, and he was regarded as the best ball-striker of all time.
Hmmm, just in case you need even more convincing, below is Dustin Johnson’s impact position. Notice a theme here?
Okay. One more example of lovely hip depth for you from young golf phenom, Matthew Wolff…
Step 3: Belt Buckle Drill
This drill trains the same “move back in a straight line” feel with the hips. Feel your belt buckle (centre of the pelvis) getting further away from the ball during the backswing, and further away from the ball during the downswing (see image below).
Step 4: Competitive Practice
Do 3 sets (4 balls per set) of the “Move Back In A Straight Line” drill. Try to complete a set (4 balls) without mishitting a ball. This drill is also a trick shot, which will make you look like a rock star to your playing buddies if you can pull it off.