JJ Butcher

Kiawah Island Club - River Course

James Butcher

PGA Director of Golf Fitness
Kiawah Island Club - River Course
Kiawah Island, SC

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Insight from James Butcher on Backswing.com:

The chicken wing

The Chicken Wing is very common in golf, and primarily a sequencing issue coupled with a downswing that is too steep. Doing drills and exercises that improve golf sequencing and learning how to properly allow the golf club to shallow gradually during the downswing. The easiest drill to learn how to get rid of the […]

In my opinion!

I believe the largest issues with alignment come from #1 not practicing with alignment sticks to engrain what it feels like to be square ( if you are trying to hit it relatively straight), and #2 I think players should build their stance placing the club face square first then the feet, while constantly looking […]

At least until waist high !

I try to train myself and my students to have some awareness of an imaginary plane that is approximately 60 deg for irons and wedges, and 45 degrees for the woods! From the takeaway training to have the shaft move away from the ball backward upwards and inwards 60deg while maintaining the radius of the […]

It depends

I do recommend a shorter swing to a lot of students while practicing! Due to a lack of Rotation and lat shortness, when a player lifts their arms the spine can reverse, they can lose posture, shoulder plane can flatten , etc, etc . So learning how to stay connected and how to get power […]

Stand tall and close

A good drill for EARLY EXTENSION or Loss of posture , is practice making smooth easy swings 50-75% perceived effort standing a smidge closer and a smidge taller than normal. Then on the downswing feel your pelvis getting farther away from the ball while rotating your chest into the ball keeping your chest down ! […]


Yes ! You should take a small divot with your irons ! It helps put backspin on the ball, and improves trajectory !

NOT A good habit

I believe that Swaying During the backswing is a very bad habit! Though lateral pressure to the right side during the backswing and then forward during transition can be a great source of power and is very important for sequencing, a lot of people overdo this into a fault. A very slight lateral motion; then […]


I think a persons golf ball choice goes hand in hand with What is their individual goal! Meaning ! Do they just want to hit the ball farther, or do they want to score better or do they just want the ball to feel softer, etc. I think that most players probably do not play […]

Always from behind the hole

I always try and read the second half of putts from behind the hole ! When a putt has reached the halfway point to the hole it is going to start to slow down and will take more break ! Then I read the first half of the putt from behind the ball, and put […]


Having the club head too far underplane during the downswing! Many golfers for whatever reason poor set up, loss of posture, flat shoulder plane, etc. Cast the club head during the downswing to try and get speed, but unless the various joint extensions are timed well the club head can bottom out early! I think […]

Alignment Sticks

I will typically set up a practice station with 5 alignment sticks. Three on the ground- 2 train tracks, one between legs for ball position, and two angled approximately 60 degrees in the ground on the target line as a guide for backswing and trough swing planes.

Proper Practice

I think that most people need to be much more deliberate when they set up to the ball . Paying more attention to all of the details, joint alignment , pressure from the ground, etc:. Practicing with alignment sticks and practicing a routine can help significantly with learning a consistent set up !!

It’s All in your Mind

Fear is not real, stop practicing fear ! Danger is real , and you are not in danger hitting your 3 wood! . Put the ball a smidge more forward in your stance, angle your spine a smidge to your trail side , and swing !


“OMG, It’s windy and I am a high ball hitter, I don’t have a chance today !” I think a lot of people think this way, and destroy the opportunity the embrace one of the many challenges of this special sport. Here are a few things that I recommend playing in the wind! 1. Grip […]

When to get fit ?!?

I think anyone that is using clubs that are an obvious misfit. I.e. too long , too short , too heavy, too light, lie angles are extreme, etc. and have developed some decent fundamentals and reasonable consistency to there motion, and shot pattern !!

More distance

There are many ways the get more distance with the driver, but I think the best way is to be a better you! Get more mobile, more stabile, stronger and faster! Learn how to use the ground to create speed. Have better Tempo and spatial awareness ! Learn how to disassociate your joints for segmental […]

Visualization and Emotions

I believe one of the most under practiced skills is visualization ! Every shot , every curve , etc. should be pictured clearly in your minds eye! Just like any other skill it must be practiced and believed ! Players must develop there own techniques for emotional control!! If a players emotions are running wild […]

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