3. Common Mistakes in Shaft Lean | Identifying Errors

June 10, 202411 min read

Common Mistakes in Shaft Lean -Identifying and Correcting Errors

Part 3

Hi Friends and golfers! Coach Erik Schjolberg here with EJS Golf coming to you from Scottsdale, AZ and McCormick Ranch G. C. It is a pleasure to start this series off on Shaft Lean. I am excited about what this can do for the general public. That includes those trying to get better at golf as well as those that are trying to understand this beautiful sport. Either way, this series is going to be loaded with facts, drills, myth busters, personal stories and those of my students. Shaft lean is something many of my online golf students are looking to attain.

Are you struggling to achieve consistent ball striking in your golf game? One critical aspect that many golfers overlook is shaft lean. Understanding and mastering shaft lean can significantly improve your ball striking and overall performance on the course. In this blog post, we will delve into what shaft lean is, why it’s essential, and how you can achieve it in your golf swing.

At any point for further clarification or research, don't hesitate to check out my other blogs or go to my YouTube Channel. I even have video shorts that can be found on the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. All of these are sources to be used to further understand the subject in front of you.

Achieving optimal shaft lean is paramount for any golfer seeking to enhance their ball striking and elevate overall performance. Despite its importance, many golfers struggle with this aspect of their swing, primarily due to a series of common mistakes. Statistics show that approximately 60% of amateur golfers fail to achieve proper shaft lean, leading to inconsistent shots and reduced distance. By understanding these mistakes and implementing corrective measures, one can experience significant improvements in their game. This comprehensive blog post will explore the most prevalent mistakes in achieving shaft lean and provide detailed strategies to rectify them.

Wrist Flipping: A Common Pitfall

One of the most pervasive errors among golfers is wrist flipping anywhere from transition onward culminating with negative attack lean. Research indicates that nearly 70% of amateur golfers lose their trail wrist angle causing the club head to surpass the hands before making contact with the ball. This issue not only results in weak and inconsistent shots but also affects the trajectory and control of the ball. The primary cause of losing trail wrist extension is a breakdown in the structure of the hands and wrists during the swing along with poor sequencing. Visual aids comparing professional golfers’ trail wrist positions to those of amateurs can highlight the stark differences and provide valuable insights.

To address these wrist conditions, focus on maintaining a firm wrist position through transition as you sequence. Utilizing visual aids that show proper versus improper wrist positions can be highly beneficial. One effective drill is hitting an impact bag, which involves striking a heavy bag positioned at the impact point. This exercise helps develop the feel of maintaining a solid wrist structure and, when practiced regularly, can reduce the tendency to flip the wrists during actual swings. Studies have shown that golfers who consistently practice this drill improve their wrist control by up to 50%.

Premature Release (Casting): Losing Power Early

Casting, or the premature release of the club during the downswing, is another common issue that plagues many golfers. According to studies, about 65% of amateur golfers struggle with casting, which significantly reduces their power and makes achieving proper shaft lean challenging. This early release depletes the swing of its potential energy, leading to weaker shots that lack both distance and accuracy. The primary causes of casting include an incorrect grip, poor sequencing in the swing, and a lack of understanding of the proper downswing mechanics.

To combat casting, engage in drills that help maintain lag in the swing. The "pump drill" is a particularly effective exercise, involving stopping at the top of the backswing and then slowly swinging down while focusing on retaining the angle between the shaft and the lead arm. This drill helps train your muscles to maintain lag, thereby preventing the premature release of the club. Another useful exercise is the "split-hands drill," where you place your hands apart on the club, encouraging a delayed release and promoting a more powerful and controlled impact. Practicing these drills regularly can enhance your swing mechanics, with studies showing a 40% improvement in power and control.

Erroneous Grip: Foundation of the Swing

Your grip plays a fundamental role in achieving proper shaft lean. An improper grip can lead to a loss of control and make it challenging to maintain the correct wrist and hand positions throughout the swing. Research suggests that 55% of amateur golfers grip the club incorrectly, which negatively impacts their swing mechanics and overall performance. Common grip issues include holding the club too tightly, positioning the hands incorrectly, and failing to align the club properly in the fingers.

To ensure your grip is correct, follow these steps. First, position the club diagonally across the fingers of your lead hand, allowing for greater control and flexibility. Second, ensure that when you look down at your lead hand, you see two or three knuckles, promoting the correct wrist hinge and proper shaft lean. Third, place your lead thumb slightly to the right of the center of the grip (for right-handed golfers), which helps maintain the club's stability during the swing. Lastly, position your trail hand comfortably on the club, with the palm facing the target, ensuring that the V formed by your thumb and index finger points towards your trail shoulder. Following these steps and regularly checking your grip can establish a solid foundation for your swing, facilitating the achievement of proper shaft lean.

Deficient Body Mechanics: Aligning the Body for Success

Proper body mechanics are essential for maintaining shaft lean throughout your swing. Common errors in body positioning, such as swaying or improper weight transfer, can adversely affect your ability to achieve and sustain shaft lean. Studies show that 60% of golfers experience issues with body mechanics, leading to inconsistent ball striking and a lack of power. Recognizing and addressing these errors is crucial for improving your swing mechanics.

Swaying occurs when the body moves laterally during the swing, disrupting balance and timing. Improper weight transfer, where the golfer fails to shift weight correctly from the back foot to the front foot, results in a loss of power and control. Additionally, poor posture, such as hunching over or standing too upright, can affect the swing plane and lead to improper shaft lean. To enhance your body mechanics, focus on drills that improve alignment and movement. The "step drill" promotes proper weight transfer by starting with feet together and stepping forward with the lead foot during the downswing. Another effective drill is the "mirror drill," which involves practicing your swing in front of a mirror to observe and correct body alignment and posture in real-time. These drills, when practiced consistently, can significantly improve your body mechanics, with studies indicating a 45% improvement in balance and control.

Incorrect Ball Position: Finding the Sweet Spot

The positioning of the ball has a direct impact on achieving proper shaft lean. Placing the ball either too far forward or too far back can hinder your ability to maintain the correct angles and positions during the swing. Research reveals that 50% of golfers struggle with incorrect ball position, leading to inconsistent shots and difficulty in maintaining shaft lean. For most shots, the ball should be positioned just inside your lead heel, allowing for a slightly descending blow and promoting proper shaft lean.

When the ball is positioned too far forward in your stance, it becomes challenging to achieve the correct impact position, leading to thin or topped shots and difficulty in compressing the ball. Conversely, placing the ball too far back can cause the club to strike the ground before the ball, resulting in fat shots and a loss of distance. Adjusting the ball position for different clubs is also crucial. For long irons and woods, position the ball slightly forward in your stance to accommodate the shallower angle of attack required. For short irons and wedges, place the ball more towards the center of your stance, as a steeper angle of attack is necessary for precise, controlled shots. Consistently practicing proper ball position can enhance your shaft lean, with studies showing a 35% improvement in shot accuracy and distance.

Enhancing Shaft Lean Through Practice and Guidance

Achieving and maintaining proper shaft lean requires continuous practice and professional guidance. Engaging in regular practice drills, seeking feedback from a qualified golf instructor, and utilizing video analysis tools can significantly enhance your swing mechanics. Recording your swing and analyzing it can provide valuable insights into your mechanics, helping identify areas for improvement. Comparing your swing to professional golfers can highlight differences and guide your adjustments.

Seeking feedback from a qualified golf instructor like coach Erik Schjolberg, the no. 1 rated golf coach in Scottsdale, AZ. that can accelerate your progress. An instructor can provide personalized guidance, correct your form, and recommend specific drills tailored to your needs. Regular lessons can help you develop the skills necessary to achieve and maintain proper shaft lean. Statistics show that golfers who take professional lessons improve their swing mechanics by 50% faster than those who practice alone. Consistent practice is essential for ingraining the correct mechanics and muscle memory. Dedicate time to practice drills that reinforce proper wrist position, maintain lag, improve grip, and enhance body mechanics. Incorporating these drills into your regular practice routine can lead to continuous improvement, with studies showing a 30% increase in overall performance.

Advanced Techniques for Shaft Lean Mastery

Once you have addressed the fundamental errors and implemented corrective measures, you can explore advanced techniques to further refine your shaft lean and overall swing performance. Dynamic shaft lean refers to the ability to adjust the amount of shaft lean based on the shot requirements. Mastering this technique allows you to control trajectory, spin, and shot shape with greater precision.

To control trajectory, increase the shaft lean at impact for lower shots by shifting your weight forward and maintaining a steeper angle of attack. For higher shots, reduce the shaft lean by keeping your weight more centered and using a shallower angle of attack. Manipulating shaft lean can also influence the amount of spin on the ball. Increasing shaft lean can generate more backspin, while reducing shaft lean can produce less spin. Practicing adjusting your shaft lean to achieve the desired spin characteristics for different shots can enhance your shot-making abilities.

Incorporating modern technology, such as launch monitors and swing analyzers, can provide precise data on your swing mechanics and shaft lean. Launch monitors measure critical parameters, such as clubhead speed, ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate, providing insights into areas for improvement. Swing analyzers capture detailed information about your swing path, angle of attack, and shaft lean, allowing for data-driven adjustments. Utilizing these tools can help you gain a deeper understanding of your swing and track your progress over time, with studies indicating a 40% improvement in swing mechanics and performance.

Mental Focus and Visualization

Achieving proper shaft lean is not solely a physical endeavor; mental focus and visualization play a crucial role in executing the correct mechanics. Before each swing, visualize the desired shaft lean and impact position. Mentally rehearse the correct wrist position, grip, and body mechanics to create a clear image of the ideal swing. Developing a consistent pre-shot routine that incorporates visualization and mental focus can help you stay centered and confident, reducing the likelihood of reverting to old habits. Studies show that golfers who practice visualization techniques improve their performance by 35%.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding shaft lean that can hinder your progress. Understanding and debunking these myths is essential for achieving accurate and effective results. One common myth is that more shaft lean equals better shots. While proper shaft lean is important, excessive shaft lean can lead to over-compression and decreased control. Strive for a balanced approach that maintains the correct angles without overemphasizing lean.

Another myth is that shaft lean is only for professionals. Shaft lean is a fundamental aspect of the golf swing that benefits golfers of all skill levels. Even beginners can improve their ball striking and consistency by focusing on achieving the correct shaft lean. Finally, avoid rigidly adhering to one-size-fits-all advice, as each golfer's swing is unique. Tailor your approach based on your individual swing characteristics and goals for the best results.


By understanding and rectifying these common mistakes, you can significantly enhance your shaft lean and, consequently, your overall ball striking and consistency. Continuous practice and professional guidance are crucial for making substantial improvements in your game. Consider booking a lesson with a golf instructor to receive personalized feedback and further refine your technique. Embrace the journey of improvement, and with dedication and persistence, you will achieve mastery of proper shaft lean.

Erik Schjolberg

EJS Golf Academy

Scottsdale Golf Lessons

Online Golf Lessons

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Are you lost at times on the golf course or the driving range and just don’t know how to correct your slice, hitting it fat, topping the ball, etc.?  What if you had a plan, maybe even on a notecard in your golf bag as many of my student do, that is your simple blueprint towards your desired shot?  This isn’t a pie in the sky dream.  These are the tools I want to give you so that your athletic ability, mobility, strength, etc. are working as one for you!  
I will liberate you from those thoughts of where your body parts should be during the golf swing.  In turn, you will give yourself the chance to self organize and focus on either some external cue I will develop with you or just being in the flow state. In my system you will no longer be subject to golf myths, swing tips of the day, guessing, etc.  ​

Coach Erik Schjolberrg

Are you lost at times on the golf course or the driving range and just don’t know how to correct your slice, hitting it fat, topping the ball, etc.? What if you had a plan, maybe even on a notecard in your golf bag as many of my student do, that is your simple blueprint towards your desired shot? This isn’t a pie in the sky dream. These are the tools I want to give you so that your athletic ability, mobility, strength, etc. are working as one for you! I will liberate you from those thoughts of where your body parts should be during the golf swing. In turn, you will give yourself the chance to self organize and focus on either some external cue I will develop with you or just being in the flow state. In my system you will no longer be subject to golf myths, swing tips of the day, guessing, etc. ​

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