In the golf swing we are looking for maximum force application into the golf ball. What we tend to see is that the concept of force application is understood from throwing a ball or a maybe hitting a punching bag.
However, since golf doesn’t just work in one plane of motion, we have to figure out how to transfer energy in both a Frontal and Transverse plane. This is where we see the greatest struggle with players who block the ball right, release the hands early, and/or chicken wing.
Most players who are in the mid to high handicap range tend to move their lower and upper body towards the target at identical times from the top of the swing into impact with the ball. This means that the hips and the body are working on the frontal plane and/or the transverse plane towards the target. If the hips and the body are both working towards the target at identical times in the downswing, then there's never a chance of separation between the upper and lower body. With such, the hips never get a chance to re-center prior to the mid-line of the body.
The player that makes this move tends to block shots out to the right or get stuck because they can’t get the handle of the club to move left because their hips can’t clear. If the hips are in a laterally extended position, it’s quite difficult to move the hips on a transverse plane of movement. Due to this, the player will struggle to use the ground to rotate the hips up and left and allow for the club to follow.
How to fix this?
One of the best drills to overcome this movement pattern is called the Pelvic Punch.
To perform this drill, a right-handed player will take the club to right parallel. Once there, the player will stop the club and before beginning the downswing, they will pressure shift into the lead side and then rotate the hips as hard as they can up and to the left to hit the ball as far as they can. This will not allow the player to leak the upper body to create force.
Another drill I like to use with players to feel this movement is to have them create a “C” Clamp with their right hand and place that “C” clamp on the underside of their left wrist. While only holding the club in the left hand rotate the club to the top of the backswing, and hold. Once holding and fully rotated in the backswing, pressure shift to the left side by applying force into the lead foot and holding your chest, torso, and lead arm back. Then rotate the hips, torso, lead arm, and hands up and left.
This will allow for the body to maintain posture, the body to produce both vertical and horizontal forces, and will allow for the arms and hands to create a lot more speed.