The T-Lock Stance (Transitional Lockdown Stance)
With Symple Swing you begin learning the correct swing motions by learning Symple Chipping with your feet together. Most students find it relatively easy to learn the Symple Chipping motion because keeping the feet close together reduces the lower body motion so all they have to do is concentrate on their upper body.
A bad swing can be caused by incorrect motion either in the upper body or in the lower body. Actually many more swing faults than you'd expect are caused by the problems with the lower body motion.
The T-Lock Stance As A Diagnostic Tool
When we have a Symple Swinger that has a problem the first thing we do is have them hit some shots with their feet close together. Let's take someone that's hooking. We set them up to hits shots with their feet together. If they can hit good 1/2, 3/4 and maybe even full shots with their feet together with no hooks then we know immediately to focus on their lower body. Once we know the lower body is causing the hooks it much easier to correct. Many students are absolutely amazed to see their hooks go away when they hit the ball with their feet together. Only then can they start to appreciate the problems the lower body can cause.
To help students who have problems cause by the lower body we have developed what we call the T-Lock Stance. The full name is the "Transitional Lockdown Stance." It is a deliberate restrictive (extra movement limiting) stance. We use it as a learning stance in between chipping (hitting balls with feet together) and before we teach the full power stance.
Although the T-Lock Stance is meant to be a transitional stance we do have folks going out and playing full rounds with it. In fact, some folks have shot their all time best scores with it and some folks have hit the longest shots ever with it. The T-Lock Stance is designed to force your to make the correct upper body motion while at the same time severely restricting lower body motion.
If the stance is so restrictive why do some folks hit the ball so well and so long using it. That's because the T-Lock Stance lets you make the "good swing motions" while at the same time restricting you from making the "bad swing motions." The net effect is that it almost forces you to make a good swing. Can you screw it up, yeah but you have to work at it to really screw it up.
What's the down side. First, it feels restrictive to some people. Some folks don't like this even if it makes them play the best golf of their lives. Second, it doesn't look like Ernie Els or Freddy Couples stance. It does look slightly different but nothing out of the ordinary that you wouldn't see on first tees anywhere.
Okay so now lets get to the stance. With the T-Lock Stance you need to remember three words "Feet" Knees" Hips". Remembering this will help you set up in the right sequence.
First you set up about shoulder width. A little wide is okay. The key is to make sure you at a comfortable width for you. Flare both feet out about 45 degrees. (This helps prevent lower body movement.)
One warning about width: If you go too wide there can be a tendency to hit off the back leg which opens the front hip too fast and tends to cause pulls. If this happens just narrowing the stance a bit cures that.
There shouldn't be much hip rotation so your weight should be balanced between your feet. That makes it easiest to make your turn around your spine. Again, the one thing you want to guard against it getting too much weight on your back leg because that can cause your to rotate around your back hip (instead of your spine) resulting in a pull.
Next, you bend your knees. After you bend your knees you next bow your knees outward. (You move your knees away from each other) At this point you wind up in a position looking a bit like you are riding a horse. The bowing creates some outward pressure on your knees and your feet. This opposing pressure (one side pushing against the other side) is what makes this stance so stable.
The final movement is to rock the hips forward (toward the target) so your front hip (the one toward the target) is higher than your back hip. This movement has the effect of tilting your spine away from the target and getting your head in the correct position behind the ball.
When you set up correctly you should feel very strong (although somewhat restricted) in this stance. It's this feeling of stability that gives many golfers the confidence to make a good swing at the ball and get such great results.
Additional Note: You do also have to bend forward at your hips to address the ball. As you bend forward you in effect stick your butt out (away from the ball). Extending your butt away from the ball counterbalances your leaning forward and helps keep you more in balance with your weight biased toward the balls of your feet.
When you should use the T-Lock Stance?
You can use it anytime you want when you think it will help. I use it with beginners going out on the golf course for the first time. It does wonders for them I also use it for any with extra movement in their lower body during their swing. This helps them really feel what a good upper body move should feel like. It proves to them that the upper body powers the golf swing. Some occasional players player can use the T-Lock stance as there regular playing stance.
That said, I also use it in my game. I use it with something I call a "Punch Drive." I use my Punch Drive on tight driving holes where instead of 250-260 I'm very happy with 230 right down the middle. I use my big headed driver with the T-Lock Stance and I can consistently hit the ball 230 down the middle on narrow fairways even in pressure situations. I also use the Punch Drive (with T-Lock stance) when I'm hitting into a big head wind and I want to keep the ball low. I hit my regular Punch Drive but I play the ball slightly back in my stance which gives me a lower trajectory. (Note: I also follow through keeping my hands low.)
The bottom line is that the T-Lock stance is great any time your having trouble with your swing. It's also absolutely great in pressure situations. Now remember you do have to practice using the T-Lock stance on the range before you bring it out on the course.
Note: This stance can also be called the "Punch Stance", for pretty obvious reasons.