The Kinematic Sequence for Your Golf Swing

The level of competition on the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, and the Champions Tour is insane. Take a look at the next tournament on TV and watch the player’s swings. Pay close attention to their backswings. They don’t all look the same do they? There’s a reason for that. We are all built differently. Some players are taller than others. Some are stronger with larger frames, and some are just smaller individuals. Your body type will say a lot about your swing. If you are tall, you will swing more steep. Shorter players usually have shorter arms, so they may swing more around their bodies. But there are plenty of short players with upright swings and plenty of tall players who swing around their bodies. So how do so many different players will different swings all get similar results? The answer is proper kinematic sequencing. 

The Titleist Performance Institute has their own “Philosophy of the Swing”:

“We don’t believe there is one way to swing a club; we believe there are an infinite number of ways to swing a club. But we do believe that there is one efficient way for everyone to swing and it is based on what they can physically do.”

So the “efficient way” that TPI is referring to is the kinematic sequence. Before I ever became certified as a TPI Golf Fitness Instructor, I read Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. He wrote about this sequence of body motion on the downswing. He didn’t call it the kinematic sequence, but it is the same thing. The kinematic sequence is all about how golfers can generate speed and transfer that speed into the golf ball with an efficient repeatable pattern. Hogan called it the "magic move" and he described it as beginning the downswing by the turning of the hips to the left (for righties). 

On the second part of the swing, the downswing, after the backswing has been completed, the kinematic sequence goes like this:

1.Lower Body (hips, weight shift toward target)

2.Thorax (chest & shoulders)

3.Arms (as an extension of the club)

4.Hands (club shaft)

Kinematic Sequence.png

Each step in the kinematic sequence builds on the previous step, creating a nice chain reaction. Ben Hogan does a great job in Five Lessons of explaining this as an automatic sequence if initiated by the hips. You shouldn’t have to do too much conscious thinking or “making” for the kinematic sequence to work properly. If you start your downswing with your hands, for instance, you have almost assured yourself of being out of sequence, robbing yourself of power and accuracy.

From TPI:

“Each segment of the chain slows down as the next segment continues to accelerate. Think of the handle of a whip. The first thing you do is accelerate the handle of a whip to generate speed. Then you rapidly decelerate the handle to transfer speed to the next part of the whip. The same thing happens in the best ball-strikers in the world. Their lower body represents the handle and the club shaft represents the end of the whip. Unorthodox styles may have no effect on your ability to generate a good kinematic sequence. In other words, Jim Furyk and Davis Love can have the same kinematic sequence.” 

So is the kinematic sequence the answer to the challenges of the golf swing? In a way yes, but there are other factors. You have to have good segmental stabilization. In other words, your body has to be balanced and flexible enough to swing properly. You can know how to swing, but you also have to be able to swing. Poor conditioning affects the body becuase limitations exist.

This is where a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor comes in handy. Not only can you learn the proper kinematic sequence, but you can learn to isolate and eliminate and physical limitations in the golf swing. To find a TPI CGFI in your area, head here:

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