What causes early extension in the golf swing?

An early extension in the golf swing can reak havoc on your game. It’s the number one way to kill your power and it’s common among amateur golfers.

If you have ever felt stuck or trapped with your arms in the downswing – early extension could be the cause.  

What is an early extension, and how does it affect your golf swing?

Early extension occurs when a golfer’s hips and spine thrust forward or straighten up too early in their downswing. Controlling the pelvis is critical for optimally transferring power from your lower body to your upper body.

When the hips extend early, they run out of room to rotate, which forces the hands and arms to deliver the club to the ball, often resulting in a hook. 

A golfer who early extends but doesn’t attempt to correct club path with their hands can shank the ball because they’ve shifted themselves closer to the ball than they were at address. 

What is the cause of early extension?

For most, the cause of early extension is an inability to control their pelvic tilt due to a lack of mobility in the lumbar spine (lower back), weak core/glute muscles, and/or poor coordination. 

How do you fix early extension in the golf swing?

Strategies for correcting early extension will vary from person to person.

Golfer’s who can’t move their hips independent from their upper and lower bodies will need to focus on mobility and increase their range of motion.

If a golfer can tilt their hips forward but not backward, it’s most likely a stability issue that can be corrected with specific strength training. 

Finally, golfer’s who have an adequate range of motion in their hips but have a low quality of movement (shaking or choppy transitions) will need to improve their motor control. 

If an early extension is something you’ve been struggling with and want to discover what’s holding you back, send me an email at [email protected]. We’ll schedule a time to run you through Titleist Performance Institute’s full movement screening and create the ideal plan for you.