Knee Drive Drill

Drive back knee toward the front to start downswing

Many golfers are searching for a key swing thought to help them start the downswing. For me, the thing I think about to start my downswing is moving my right knee toward my left knee (I’m right handed). This simple move starts the lower body opening up toward the target before the shoulders and arms begin to move.

You can practice this golf drill without a golf club in your home or office or anywhere really. If you simulate the top of your backswing and get in that position, your first conscious move of any body part should be driving your right knee toward your left slightly. This golf drill will start the correct chain reaction of body parts opening up to the target to help build the coil and torque in your midsection to generate a lot of the power in your golf swing.

Anything that’s worth anything must have a solid foundation, and the golf swing is no different. Beginning the downswing from the foundation is what this golf drill will help teach you and allow you to feel what it should feel like. The correct chain of events in the downswing are as follows, and they must be in this order:
  • Knee drive
  • Hips begin to open
  • Shoulders begin to rotate
  • Arms begin to swing
  • Wrists begin to uncock
  • Release into the golf ball
Practicing this knee drive golf drill will build the foundation of your golf downswing. Look at it this way, if you stand straight up and put your arms above your head, the order is simple. Build your downswing from the ground up. Standing with your arms above your head, the closest body part to the ground that we’re focusing on are the knees, followed by the hips, which create the coil in your torso, then you begin rotating the shoulders, which start the arms into movement, and then finally the wrists uncock to release the golf club into the ball.

If you’re ever confused as to which order of body movement comes next in your golf swing, just remember to start your downswing from the ground up.

Over and over again, pretend that you’re at the top of your backswing and just practice that golf drill to subtly push the right knee toward the left knee. It will feel awkward at first, but try not to move your upper body when doing this. Harvey Penick was a big proponent of practicing your golf swing in slow motion to consciously think of what each body part should be doing at each stage of the swing. This slow motion golf drill will help you feel how the coil should begin to build up in your torso.

Push the right knee toward your left, and slightly start to open your hips to your target. This golf drill will build the coil in your midsection, because up until this point of the golf drill, you shouldn’t have moved your upper body yet. I know, it’s kind of uncomfortable to do this at first in slow motion, but it’s that thought process that will help you take this swing thought and practice this golf drill to help build your downswing from the ground up.

Only after you’ve made the knee drive, and begun to open your hips, then can your shoulders begin to rotate. At this point in the swing, your hips need to continue to open all the while the shoulders rotate as they try to catch up to your hip rotation….and here is where a lot of your swing speed comes from as your shoulders chase your hips as they both rotate about your body.

As your shoulders rotate, your arms will actually be pulled by your shoulders. As your arms drop into position your wrists should not have uncocked at all yet. Only until your hands get to right above your right hip should the wrists begin to uncock. Remember, your hips are still opening to the target this whole time. If at any point in the swing, the hips stop rotating toward the target, the swing will be lost.

The final part of the downswing will be the wrists uncocking and releasing the golf club into the ball as your roll your wrists over to close the clubface at impact.

More can be read about this on the downswing page on this site, but I want you to have a swing thought and the reasoning behind it to help you start your downswing. So take this knee drive golf drill and put it into practice, and start your downswing from the ground on up.

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