Butt Of Club Vertical Reference Point | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Butt Of Club Vertical Reference Point

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 12:00 -- Don Trahan

When swinging vertically, the golf club should become light and easy to wield. When you start turning too much, the club becomes heavy and much more difficult to swing. George Snyder has seen vast improvements in his game over the course of his time using the Peak Performance Golf Swing, but he's looking for a reference point to help in his understanding of the swing. 

Using the vertical swing and your putting videos, I have improved my score by 10 strokes in 14 months. My goal is to reduce my score by another 6 strokes in the next 10 months or sooner. I have taken a personal lesson from you, purchased several of your video lessons and watched many of your daily lessons; but, I never have read, heard or seen any direction on where the butt of the club should be at the top of the "forward swing." I ask this question because I cannot see or feel where the club head is at the top of the backswing; but, I can easily feel and see the butt of the club. I have been experimenting on the range, and found that when I start the butt of the club down away from my toes on the "upswing," I am able to hit a draw which I have never been able to do before. Is there any tips that you can give me and others on using the position of the butt of the club as a reference point to make the 3/4 vertical swing correctly?


Yes George, there are some tips I can provide. It's actually something I look for a lot when I'm doing video analyses of students. For those who may not be aware, the butt of the club is the bottom of your club on the grip end. When we take the club into the catcher's mitt and the shaft and forward arm are over the toe line, there's no more turn. Instead, it's all lift from that point. Because we are bent over when playing golf and not standing straight up and down, we are swinging the club vertical on a diagonal, incline plane.

Once I'm at the top of the backswing, the diagonal plane will bring my elbow, hand, and the shaft of the clubhead inside the toe line. But, the key that determines whether you're too deep in the sacred burial ground is the position of your elbow to your shoulder (of your forward arm). One of the things I check when looking from a "down the line" view is where the butt of the club is in relation to the ground. I will draw a line from the butt of the club on down to the ground. I want to see the line just about at the ankle. Remember, anytime I talk about the toe line, I'm talking about the toes, knees, hips, shoulders, and eyes all being parallel left of your aiming line. If the line we draw is too close to the toe line, you're actually too vertical and slightly outside. If it gets anywhere deeper than the ankle, you are too deep. 

During the transition, your job is to make sure the club doesn't get laid off too much. It will lay off a little bit, but you've got to fight it to make sure it doesn't get too flat. When you swing up to the top of your backswing, stop and look at where the butt of the club is. If you can draw a line down to your ankle, then you're in a good position.

A light club is easier to swing than a heavy club. Some people say it's hard to swing vertical because they can't feel the club. Well, if you can't feel the weight of the club, it means you're swinging within the vertical parameters of the PPGS, so keep it up. Remember, we don't want a heavy club. We want a light club!

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.


barrowcloughr@aol.com's picture

Submitted by barrowcloughr@a... on

i;m sure this represents a slight change in Surges teachings. i;m sure before he stated that nothing must go inside the toeline ie the SBG , now it seems its ok if the hands and clubhead are slightly inside. i have been trying to keep everything on the toeline and have probably been in the position Don briefly illustrates is the wrong position. its difficult to get any power from that position. when he says when the toeline is reached then everything is straight up that is slightly confusing well it is to me anyway. this video has hopefully helped to put me right.
cheers. richard in the UK

jerryg3265@att.net's picture

Submitted by jerryg3265@att.net on

Reply to George Snyder and the draw he is getting now. I found that the more I use the right hand to pull down the club the more I have a chance to draw the ball. I have been really ringing the bell, pull rope and it has given me a lot more distance but I sometimes pull the ball to the left. Just a little excited I guess. Thanks for your great help, Jerry

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

When I saw this video come in, I thought yippee, this is what Iv'e been waiting for as I thought it would lean more towards the path of the butt on the way down, which is something I'm experimenting with at the moment.
Still trying to come to grips with arms, ie do they drop, does the right hand
pull, does the left arm pull etc etc. Went trolling through the manual this morning and read this on page 72, " Start the downswing by pulling the left arm. This swing thought is a carryover from the two-piece swing discussed earlier. This theory advises you to swing to the top of the backswing and after pausing, bring the club down by pulling with the left arm".

I'll give it a go.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Surges' video gives me some confirmation that I'm on the right track with my swing thought for the BUS part of the swing. I may have been overdoing keeping the butt of the club aiming along the toe line during the transition to the start of the downswing, however. This could account for some misses to the right with my mid irons because of a slower release. If a miss right is a lot worse than a miss left on a particular shot it might be an idea to flatten the downward plane of the clubshaft a little by aiming the butt of the club just a little outside the rear foot toeline when transitioning to the FUS.

Surges' video today which talked about not feeling the weight of the clubhead reminded me of Eddie Merrins' famous golf instruction book called....." Swing the Handle not the Clubhead ."

barrowcloughr@aol.com's picture

Submitted by barrowcloughr@a... on

@cowboy . thanks for that detailed reply and the link to the video, i remember seeing that but it seems to have slipped my mind, i think it confirms that Don felt he needed to clarify what he meant by 'straight up' its perfectly clear to me now, its all to do with the inclined plane.without wishing to come across as a nit picker i have another slight concern.Don says if u draw a line from the butt of the club straight down it should dissect approximately the ankle area but if you look at the picture of Don that appears at the top when we log on a line straight down from the butt appears to be actually outside his toes but i;m assuming this is an optical illusion caused by camera angle? is that right? cheeers richard in the UK

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I think all of us can find success within the parameters of the PPGS. We also are never going to swing just exactly like Surge with any success.

To do so we would have to have the flexibilty to make that high a vertical lift without it pulling our head and spine out of position or collapsing the left elbow. Then we would have to have very active arm rotation from the start and yet have enough of a back stop out of the right hand to force the shaft back to vertical (or beyond) at the top. All while doing this out toward the toes as much as Surge does it....Good luck because it's not going to happen.

I do think we can all find our own dots to connect within those parameters. It just won't be identical.

I also think Surge completely underestimates the importance of the club laying off in the FUS (ESPECIALLY with long clubs). Short clubs make little or no difference if they lay off, which is why most of us can hit the short clubs so well (and so far) with the PPGS. Like him I don't think we need to lay the club off on purpose but I also think too many people think they are supposed to take the club head back to the ball from the top in a straight and almost vertical line. There is simply no way to do that without hitting the ball fat or pulling up and out. If we go a little deeper than Surge does (about the ankles) most of us can handle that a little better.

If you insist on looking just like Surge at the top you also better be prepared to look just like Surge here (and be able to handle the club from there).

cwilson4par@yahoo.com's picture

Submitted by cwilson4par@yah... on

The viedo shows the left arm starts folding before getting to forward toe line. What can I do to stay in the ON, ON, and ON position just seconds longer.
I am a left hander.

Terry Medley's picture

Submitted by Terry Medley on

I realize it's been an hour or more since your post, but it seems to be playing properly for me Robert. DJ is still at even through 14.

Correction: Was -1 through 14 and still so through 15.

msherer260's picture

Submitted by msherer260 on

I, as many I'm sure, got an email today selling a new golf swing from Doug Twelle Limited Turn three quater back swing....from what he is advertising it is very close to the Surges PEEK PERFORMANCE SWING, even goes on about how it is body friendly and will work for everyone including the turing pro. Gee I wonder if Doug discoverd this swing on line or has the PPGS DVDs at home.

tsveinson@mcsnet.ca's picture

Submitted by tsveinson@mcsnet.ca on

Is Doug's swing method identical to the PPGS? Is it worth buying or investigating his swing system DVD's ?

It looks refreshingly identical to the PPGS.


Pls reply to my new email: tsveinson2@gmail.com

Cowboy in a kilt's picture

Submitted by Cowboy in a kilt on

I have watched the introduction videos too. The swing is close to PPGS in some things, and different in others.

The biggest difference I found is in the way the program is set up. They offer nothing to compare to Surge's first 10 daily videos we got for free when we first signed up, or the daily videos Surge does for free. Yes, Surge has videos for sale. But, you could learn this whole swing without spending a penny, if you are gifted, I guess. The other site is all about you buying their videos before you get a detailed look at how the swing is set up and performed.

Just so you don't think the money is my biggest issue with the other site, let me say I have every video Surge has for sale, and the PPGS manual. I have also bought some of the training aids, and the Enlow grips Surge has covered. I consider every penny I have spent with Surge to be the best money I ever spent on golf instruction and training.

I look at everything that pops up, but I will always be worried about spending my money on something I can't see till I write the check. Kind of reminds me of one of our national politicians who said a few years ago, "We have to pass the bill, before we will know exactly what is in the bill." Just like in that case, once you find out what is in the box, you wish you had picked door # 2.

As for me and my house, we will follow the Surge,

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

Amen, Dick. I too checked out what Doug Tewell has to offer. With everything I have seen, he seems to be trying to find a "happy" medium between rotational and PPGS. It won't work - been there, tried that - and I will never switch away from Surge's model.

Swinging vertical as long as I am vertical - love that new Surgism!!

tsveinson@mcsnet.ca's picture

Submitted by tsveinson@mcsnet.ca on

Thanks so much guys for your insights ref the tewell swing. I have been using the the ppgs for a few years now and it has truly helped me. I won't change gears to another similar system either. I watch the ppgs videos over and over. The surge has it right.

tsveinson@mcsnet.ca's picture

Submitted by tsveinson@mcsnet.ca on

Thanks so much guys for your insights ref the tewell swing. I have been using the the ppgs for a few years now and it has truly helped me. I won't change gears to another similar system either. I watch the ppgs videos over and over. The surge has it right.