November 4, 2014
Are you as Athletic as a Tour Pro?
Comments are off for this post.
The following is the first of a series of posts about the X-factor, X-factor stretch and how it relates to the golf swing. The series will cover:
X-factor is a term first introduced by John Andrisani of golf digest and made popular by Jim McLean in the article, “Widen the Gap” in 1992. They later wrote a book on it in 1997, and I would recommend it any teacher or student of the game. I’ve seen them for $1 online. Basically the X-factor is the difference between the upper body (shoulder turn) and the lower body (pelvic or hip turn) turn at the top of the backswing.
For example, a 90 degree should turn and a 50 degree hip turn would equal a 40 degree X-factor.
I.e. 90 – 50 = 40 degree X-factor
Teaching professionals may recognize this as “coil” and TPI professionals may recognize this as “spinal rotation” (Cheetham 2013). Preliminary research by McTeigue in 1994 concluded that the long hitting professionals had more coil or spinal rotation than the rest of the professionals. It was thought that the bigger the X-factor, the further you could hit the ball.
What McTeigue also reported was 70% of professionals rotated their hips first on the downswing. Two things can be drawn from this:
One. This is what is referred to as X-factor stretch by Phil Cheetham. The X-factor stretch is the increase in the X-factor at the beginning of the downswing. This is produced by starting the downswing with the hips, while maintaining a still upper body.
Two. TPI refers to the X-factor stretch as “Downswing Loading.” Further analysis by TPI has shown that the key to consistency in the golf swing is having proper kinematic sequence. TPI’s philosophy is as stated,
“We do not believe there is one way to swing the 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 a club and it is based on what they can physically do.”
Here’s a great example of Jim McLean explaining the X-factor with Peter Jacobsen.
The next (2 of 3) X-factor series article will cover what makes the X-factor stretch more important than the X-factor.
The last of the series will cover is the X-factor stretch good for your body, and if you have back pain what can you do instead of the X-factor. I will give you some tips and exercise you can do to try to increase this X-factor stretch!
Jim McLean. Widen the Gap, Golf Digest. 1992
Cheetham. The difference between the X-factor and X-factor stretch. 2013
McTeigue. Spine and hip motion analysis during the golf swing. 1994