The Best Way to Fix Early Extension in the Golf Swing

Early Extension in the Golf Swing

Having early extension in the golf swing can be summed up in one word: Frustration

What else would you call something that makes you push and slice your tee shots until you start playing for a slice, and then have it double cross yourself and pull hook the next shot? 

Maybe Evil is a better word than Frustration.

Oh, it doesn’t end at the tee box.

Shots from the fairway are no different; in fact, they’re worst.

Not only do you have to worry about the occasional pull hook, but distance control is all messed up too. 

When you’re not sure your 8-iron is going to fly 140- or 160-yards, it’s hard to choose the right club.

That is Early Extension, you’re not sure if the ball is going right, left, long, or short.

I’d call that Frustration.

Does that sound like your golf game? Well, that was my game.

Yes, I used the past tense in that sentence. 

My frustration is much less now that I corrected the mobility issues that caused my early extension swing characteristic. 

In this article, I will briefly explain what early extension is, show you examples of early extension, and I’ll share with you the best way to fix early extension in the golf swing. 

Early Extension in the Golf Swing, What is It?

Early extension occurs when your lower body moves toward the golf ball, either during the backswing or on the downswing. 

The forward movement (toward the ball, not the target) reduces the amount of space between your body and the golf ball making it hard to keep the swing on plane. 

In effect, you lose your posture. 

You’ll often feel like your hands are trapped behind your body when you swing.

Changing the swing plane during the downswing forces your hands to manipulate the clubface back to square at impact. 

Manipulating the clubface with your hands causes poor ball striking and inconsistent flight paths. When your hands square up the clubface late you’ll slice the ball. Too early and you’ll hood the clubface, hooking the shot. 

If the hands can’t compensate you could even hit a shank. 

Other Swing Characteristics

Early extension can also cause other swing characteristics to occur. 

A common swing compensation resulting from early extension is to swing over the top. Because the space between your body and the ball has decreased, the easiest path to the ball is to come around the blockage with an outside to in swing path.

If you want to learn more about early extension, I wrote about it in Early Extension in the Golf Swing.

Free Guide

TPI research has shown that 99% of golfers who have early extension in the golf swing can’t do a deep squat. 

The deep squat test is pretty straight forward. See a video here.

Stand with your toes shoulder-width apart and pointing straight forward. Yep, straight forward, not flared out like a weight lifting squat.

Make a fist and point your thumbs up, then bend your arms, so your thumbs are touching your shoulders. Your elbows should be out in front you now, not pointing toward the sides but straightforward like your toes. 

Now, squat down while keeping your chest high, not bent over like a downhill skier. You should be able to get your butt lower than your knees, and your spine and shin angle should be at the same, in other words, parallel to each other. 

If you can’t squat with your butt below your knees and your chest up it is likely you have the early extension swing characteristic.

Having trouble with the deep squat isn’t always related to significant mobility limitations. Sometimes, it is just a function of being out of practice. 

I have a free reference guide with 3 exercises that could help you squat deeper and help you get rid of early extension.

Sign-up to have the guide delivered to your inbox. I will also e-mail you a few more tips on how to fix your early extension. 

Click the button below to have this free guide delivered to you.

Click to Download the Guide

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An Example of Early Extension

To see an example of early extension you can look no further than the following article Early Extension in the Golf Swing

The example is my swing. 

The photos are shown a little further down in this article, but the discussion goes much deeper into early extension. my early extension started in my backswing and became worst during the downswing. 

My early extension started in my backswing and became worst during the downswing. 

The early extension caused me to move forward and crowd the ball in the backswing, forcing me to come over the top during the downswing because I had no room between my body and the ball for my arms to swing from inside to out. 

Effects

Early extension caused me to slice and block the shot out to the right. 

However, I never felt comfortable aiming down the left-hand side of the fairway because that usually caused me to pull the ball or worst, a hard hook, leading to a penalty shot unless the course was wide open.

The distance on my full iron shots wasn’t consistent; the ball rarely ended up pin high. When I did connect solidly with the ball, I would add 10- to 15-yards to the shot fly the green. 

Late in the round, I could also feel some low back pain. 

Below are images of my address, top of the backswing, and impact positions. The red line is a mark I put on the video to mark the edge of my butt at address.

During a good golf swing, the body shouldn’t leave that red line. As the pelvis rotates during the backswing through impact, there should be no space between the red line and the body. 

Fixing Early Extension

As you can see in the images, my body moved toward the ball quite a bit. 

I needed to fix this swing fault. Early extension caused me to hit the ball both to the right and left, and I had no full shot distance control. It was costing me strokes and even worst, low back pain by the end of the round. 

Step-by-Step Plan to Fix Early Extension in the Golf Swing

Truthfully, when I saw the video of my swing I was amazed that, one I was early extending, and two, that it was that bad!

I could feel myself block a shot off to the right once in a while. But I thought it was because I was too quick on the downswing.

Obviously, that was not the case, this early extension didn’t happen once in a while, it occurred every swing.

Below is the plan I came up with to fix my early extension. 

Step 1: Record a Couple of Swing Videos.

There are mobility screens that will identify early extension. However, the surest way is to take a video. You can use your smartphone

You’ll want to record a video before you start corrections so you can compare swings before and after. 

Have a TPI professional analyze the videos. Learn More Here.

Step 2: Have a TPI Mobility Screen Completed.

There are many possible causes of early extension. The only way to know what could be causing your swing faults is to undergo a TPI screening to identify physical limitations. 

If you’re not assessing, you’re only guessing.

The mobility screens are not as hard as you think. I recommend you have a TPI professional do the screening. But it is possible to do this yourself. More on this below.

Step 3: Come Up with a Plan.

Don’t pick random exercises off the internet and expect them to take care of the problem.

It doesn’t work that way.

You need to have a workout program designed by a fitness professional to take care of individual needs and make appropriate progressive changes. 

Step 4: Do the Work.

Obviously, you need to stick with the workout plan. The more effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it with quicker results. 

Chances are you don’t golf for a living. So, remember if you miss a workout or two, don’t panic. Hop back on the horse and ride it again for as long as you can. 

Follow the plan, do the work, and your reward will be good results. 

Step 5: Monitor the Results

While going through the program monitor the workouts. Record what seemed easy, what is hard, did the program progress too quickly or too slowly, what held you back, or what motivated you. All of this is important to improve the conditioning program.

Step 6: Reflect & Re-evaluate the Program

Once you have gone through the program, review and think about the good and bad.

Remember, some limitations and issues will go away quickly. Others will linger on. During the reflecting and re-evaluating step you address remaining issues.

This is also the time to record another video of your swing and to go through the mobility screening again to see improvements and to re-evaluate if another correction program needs to be developed based on the more recent data.

Results

To fix early extension in my golf swing, I adopted the 6-step plan outlined above. 

You saw the video screenshots of my swing, and with some help from a friend, we completed a TPI screening.

I wasn’t sure about screening myself, but with a friend, it went pretty well. 

The results of my screen showed I had plenty of issues. I couldn’t do a deep squat or separate movement between my lower body and upper body. My hip and torso rotation was limited, and I had shoulder stability issues. 

Mobility screens are straightforward, there are only two results. Either you can do it, or you can’t. No measuring angles or any of that kind of stuff.

The correction program I put together was based on a priority matrix I developed. 

If you don’t prioritize mobility issues and try instead to correct all limitations at one time, the workout session could be 3-hours long.

I prioritized my limitations and worked on those for six workouts; then I removed some exercises and added correction exercises for another of my limitations. The corrective exercises that remained in the workout were progressed (made more difficult). 

Exercises were rotated like this after every sixth workout.

After 3 months, I recorded new swing videos to see improvements.

Early Extension is Fixed!

Notice that there is no gap between the red line and my butt. Early Extension is no longer an issue. 

My game showed improvement too. Even as early as last fall I was striking the ball much more consistently. My iron distances were more precise, and I was playing about 3 or 4 strokes lower per round. No more chipping back to the fairway, fewer missed greens and more birdie attempts per round. 

In December (we had a late winter) and this spring I can now aim down the left side of the fairway and play a fade. I don’t have to worry about the big hook ball. Now more of my drives hit the fairway giving me better opportunities to put the ball on the green. 

Also, I gained more distance off the tee. 

I want to show you a couple of other benefits that the early extension correction program did for me as well.  

First, look how much room I have for my arms to come through in the second photo compared to the first. 

Also, in the second image, notice that I can keep my trail foot down, and I am driving my knees forward, this generates more power.

Can I use more hip rotation at impact? You bet I can, but notice that my shoulders aren’t as scrunched up in the second photo and my head is more behind the ball as the club comes through the impact zone. With more work, the rotation will come. 

Increasing mobility, specifically in my pelvis and hips, has allowed me to stay back in my stance, give my arms more room to swing, and allow my legs to generate more power in my swing.  

The good news is the early extension correction program I developed for me can be customized to your specific limitations as well.

The Best Way to Fix Early Extension in the Golf Swing

Two-thirds of amateur golfers have early extension.

That is a lot of golfers.

When I developed the Early extension correction program a lot of thought went into making it useful for all of the golfers that have early extension.

Chances are you are one of those golfers. 

So what is the best way to fix your early extension in the golf swing? 

Well, that depends on which of the mobility limitations you have. 

I have developed a matrix that prioritizes which areas of your body you should work on first, second, and so forth to fix early extension. 

If you were evaluated by a mobility screen and failed all of the screens, the parts of the body that I recommend you work on, in order, are:

  • Pelvic tilt
  • Glute activation and strength
  • Exercises and drills to help you complete a deep squat
  • Ankle mobility
  • T-spine mobility
  • Internal & external hip rotation
  • Lower body & upper body stability
  • Pelvic rotation & torso rotation (moving each independently of the other)

Remember that you are working on more than one area at the same time, and if you don’t have ankle mobility issues you can skip those exercises. 

The first four are the easiest to correct, and you will gain the most benefit sooner. The next two, T-spine and hip rotation, are common mobility issues, especially as people age. They are important but will take more time to correct.

I put pelvic and torso stability ahead of rotation because you aren’t going to rotate if you don’t have the stability to support the moving joints. 

Even though it is very important to separate movement between the lower and upper body in the golf swing, it is hard to do so without first addressing the previous issues.

Summary

The best way to fix early extension in the golf swing is to follow a regimented 6-step plan. 

  • Video
  • Screen
  • Plan
  • Do the work
  • Monitor
  • Reflect & re-evaluate

Have a TPI fitness professional assess and review the video and mobility screening results. Also, have a TPI fitness professional develop an early extension workout program based on your specific limitations.

Never do random exercises from the internet without a plan in place. You will be wasting your time and could harm your golf conditioning as much as help it.

The more work you put into your workout, the more you will get out of it. Track your results and use the data you collected to improve the next workout phase. 

Depending on your mobility limitations, you should do exercises related to the following issues in order.

  • Pelvic tilt
  • Glute activation and strength
  • Exercises and drills to help you complete a deep squat
  • Ankle mobility
  • T-spine mobility
  • Internal & external hip rotation
  • Lower body & upper body stability
  • Pelvic rotation & torso rotation (moving each independently of the other)

It is important to know that doing a mobility correction even if you don’t have that mobility limitation can only improve your conditioning, not harm it like other strength and power exercises can. 

The best way to fix early extension in the golf swing is to identify the issues and come up with a plan to correct the limitations that are holding you back. 

I recommend you download the free guide I’ve created that will help you with your deep squat. Remember, that 99% of people that can’t do a deep squat also have the early extension swing characteristic.

Sign-up to have the guide delivered to your inbox and I will also e-mail you some more tips on how to fix your early extension.

Free Guide

Click the button below to have this free guide delivered to your inbox.

Click to Download the Guide

 

Early Extension Course – Identifying Physical Limitations with Correction Exercises

Early extension is such a problem I want to help as many people as I can with it.

I realize that not everyone can see a TPI Fitness Professional.

There is no reason you should be left out.

This is the same program I used to eliminate early extension. The course includes:

  • An explanation of early extension and why you should fix it
  • I teach you how to do the mobility screens for early extension, includes links to videos so should you exactly how to do the screens.
  • I provide you with a matrix that you use to develop your early extension workout program. Follow the directions like a recipe. 
  • Ten lessons that contain dozens of corrective exercises for early extension that you choose to add to your program based on the matrix.

It’s as simple as pie. 

You won’t believe how much information is in this inexpensive self-study course or how easy it is to use. 

Click the button below to learn more.

Are You Looking to Start a Golf Conditioning Program?

If you're looking for golf fitness exercises and workouts or maybe you need help designing a golf conditioning program you need to check out the Golf Conditioning Center.

tmf golf conditioning centerThe Center is a membership site that puts all the information you need in one place. The Golf Conditioning Center has:

  • A document library.
  • Videos showing you how to do the mobility screens.
  • Videos of exercises indexed by
  • Swing characteristics
  • Mobility screens
  • By parts of the body.
  • And a community forum where you can ask questions and get answers quickly.
  • Access to me via chat.

The Center also has golf conditioning workouts delivered directly to your inbox that will help you improve your golf game!

For more information click the button below.

Learn More

Better yet, to learn more about the Golf Conditioning Center and receive a discount code enter your information below and it will be delivered to your inbox.

Enter your name and e-mail address to receive a discount code

for membership to the Golf Conditioning Center.

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Todd Marsh Fitness

Focused on Golfers who want to improve their golf performance. TMF offers individual & group training on-line and in-person as well as DIY programs & courses.

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