In 39 years I've taught a coil behind the ball into the set of the right leg, which I think is the most crucial part of the golf swing. Get loaded into your right leg so you can deliver the load back to the ball. For years people branded me as teaching a sway, and now those same people are teaching to move behind the ball and are teaching a sway.
What's the Difference Between a Sway, Coil and Reverse Pivot?
What I want to do is clarify the difference in a sway, a coil and a reverse pivot and I think it's very important to understand that the plane of the shoulders determine that role. I also want you to understand the role the head plays. The head is a 17-pound weight on the end of your spine. There's no way you can ever hold your head still over the ball and hit a ball. The more a person holds his or her head down and still, the more the body and the spine will pull it up and make them come up out of the shot.
It's crucial in creating the proper motion to understand that if the shoulders are in a level position, and the ball is off the left heal, if the left elbow stays down and the left shoulder moves sideways, notice that the right shoulder can move up. That's coiling, and look where my spine is, in the very first move my shoulders are 90 degrees and look where my weight and my spine are - into my right leg.
Incorrect Set Up
That's a position to hit down and through the ball from. If you setup incorrectly, if you setup with a tilt in your shoulders with your right arm tucked in and you try to move behind the ball you'll sway every time. Look at the plane my shoulders are on [level], see how I'm outside my leg. The key to move behind the ball is to setup correctly.
Some people teach this [right shoulder down] and say make your left shoulder go under. If you make your left shoulder go under then where does your spine and where does your weight shift to? Right into the left leg. From here all you're going to do is pull up, look up and come right out of the shot when you return.
Coil Like a Baseball or Tennis Player
The key is to coil properly, you look at a good hitter in baseball, what's the first thing he does, either shift into his right leg, even pick the left leg to load the right leg, because that's the only way he can deliver square back to the ball. Same thing in tennis, a tennis player goes into their right leg to hit the forehand down the line, they would never stand there and turn into their left leg to hit a ball in that direction.
It's an athletic motion, it has to be done, you have to coil, but the key is the shoulder plane again, if my left shoulder works sideways, my right shoulder works up, look at the spine automatically go. If I try to hold my head still over the ball, where will I go every time? Reverse pivot.
It's important now, you must coil properly. You must understand you can pre-set your head to the right, as Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, and Hal Sutton do. Or you can do as Snead and Curtis Strange did and let your head float, but you have to get into your right leg properly, and you can't do it with your shoulders on the wrong plane.