Proper Golf Downswing Instruction for Good Golf Shots
Since you’ve read this far, you are positioned correctly and you’re now ready to unleash this power and make contact with the ball cleanly and in an “inside-out” manner to give the ball the hook spin we're after.
The golf downswing is where the "magic happens" in the golf swing. Even if you haven't read the other pages on the site yet, and regardless of how you get the golf swing to the top, the true test is whether or not you can get the club to make impact with the ball from the inside, and not cut across the ball anymore.
If you've seen Jim Furyk's backswing, you've noticed that it's not conventional, and his backswing has big "loop" in it. Moreso, have you seen the move that Hank Haney taught Charles Barkley in "The Haney Project" on the Golf Channel? To help put him in better position at the top of the swing and "unlearn" the bad habits Charles has, Hank's got him lifting the club straight up from the ball, and then begin his backswing almost like a baseball swing. What this is doing is helping Charles flatten out the golf swing.
Charles has a tendency to have the club too perpendicular to the ground and is much too steep on his downswing.
Don't pay another $30 greens fee without taking some action to cure your slice. There's so much more the game can offer you when you can understand why the ball is going the way it's going. The first step is identifying the problem...now this is how you'll fix your golf downswing.
Downswing Golf SequenceThe start of your golf downswing is initiated by your lower body. If you start your downswing with your arms, you’ve just lost all of your power and the whole backswing discussion above makes no difference. The first conscious move you should make to start the golf downswing is to move the inside of your right knee toward your left knee. This starts really coiling up the power you have shifted to your right side. By making this move with your right knee it will force your left leg to straighten out, your left heel to plant itself back on the ground and your hips will start to open up.
Hips Open to Lead Your DownswingAs your hips start to open and your legs are shifting the weight, your upper body has still not moved (yes it will have to move a little, but let it be natural). When your hips start to open to the target, of course your shoulders and arms are going to have to follow along, we aren’t pretzels after all, but this is where the power is coiled. The torque is generated as the hips open and the shoulders stay closed until we get to the “hitting zone”.
When the hips open, your weight will shift some to your left leg, but most of it is still on your right side. And you will want to keep your weight behind the ball until impact. As your hips are opening and your trying to point your belt buckle to the target, your right shoulder will drop a bit and the inside of your right elbow in the golf downswing should almost touch your right hip bone. That right elbow needs to stay close to the body as we’ve talked about before to maintain the “inside-out” feel. Now we’re ready to attack the ball.
Hammer the Ball in Your Golf DownswingAt this point now, our hips are clearing through the hitting zone and our torso is opening up, your weight is still behind the ball as well as your head. Don’t move your head and upper body in front of the ball with your hips, keep them back. Your right elbow is close to your body and your wrists are still cocked in that 90 degree angle. Now envision yourself taking the butt end of the club and hammering the ball with it.
That’s the motion you need to have as you drop your hands down toward the hitting zone. This motion will result in a downward motion toward the ball. You’ve heard people stress hitting down on the ball, well this is how it is done. With your wrists still cocked, you start to “hammer” down on the ball until your hands come down and your club shaft is back to parallel with the ground. At this point where your club shaft is parallel, your club face should be perpendicular to the ground, just like on your takeaway. The difference now though is that your hands are almost in front of your body, instead of being extended out behind you.
This move on your golf downswing is where the inside swing comes from, and more than that, it's where most of the power and club head speed is generated in your swing. If you can't master this move on the downswing, you're losing out on distance, but maybe more importantly for you, accuracy. Master the golf downswing today, you've waited too long already.
The moment of truth in all of golf swing is the contact point. Have you put yourself in position to make solid contact? Make it happen and learn how to ingrain this motion and make it second nature to you with the tools that Pure Point Golf has to teach you. Not only will you cure your slice, but you'll help other parts of your game to help you score better.
You’re ready to make contact and make the move through the hitting zone. We talked earlier about rotating your wrists to make the club face go from open to closed. This is where we implement that step. You now un-cock your wrists, unloading all of the power that we built up throughout the swing from the weight shift, the hip turn and now the wrist cock. Your hands are close to your body, your right elbow is almost touching your right side now and we’re ready to hit down on the ball. Your hands should be slightly in front of the ball at impact, lessening the loft of the club face. This enables you to hit down on the ball. Hitting down on the ball is where the extra distance comes from that you’re searching for.
Let me draw an analogy here for you to help you with this concept. Have you ever been to a roller skating rink? If you have great, if not, I’m sure you can picture this. Pretend you and four other people are skating together and you’re all holding hands. And you’re getting to one end of the roller rink about to turn around to go the other way. Now picture yourself on the end of the chain toward the outside and the person on the inside of the chain stops and digs in with their skate and turns the entire chain around. The inside person isn’t moving much at all, but it’s a different story for you on the outside of this chain as you get flung around the corner at an incredible speed. This is a version of Newton’s laws of centripetal and centrifugal forces.
The person on the inside of the chain is supplying the centripetal force of your roller skating chain, while you on the outside are experiencing the centrifugal force brought upon you by the centripetal force from the inside.
Now translate this to the golf swing. There is an important idea here that will help you understand the value of the weight shift and the body coil and the wrist cock as it applies to the importance of the golf swing. Not all of it completely follows Newton’s law, but the basic idea is here.
As you start your downswing, you begin with the lower body as we mentioned earlier. By starting the downswing with your legs and hips, you are applying the centripetal force to the golf swing. As you build that coil up between your hips and your shoulders, your torso will feel tight and constricted. That’s the goal here in the downswing. When you release that tension, the centripetal force pulling from your torso forces your arms and club shaft and ultimately your club head to swing around on plane and feel the centrifugal force that speeds the club head.
In taking this thought further, your hands and wrists do the same thing all the while the torso and hips are pulling the shoulders and arms around. The centripetal force is applied by the hands and the wrists, primarily the wrists then you keep them cocked until the last second of the swing. When you un-cock your wrists at the bottom of the swing the club shaft and head react and feel the centrifugal force as a result of the centripetal force applied by the wrists un-cocking.
Practice these golf downswing drills to help cure your slice and hit longer and straighter golf shots.
Communication is vital to the success of anything. Part of communication is interpretation and translation, and nothing translates the proper golf swing better than this. If you misinterpret just one foundational aspect of the golf swing, frustration will begin to mount, because you'll be practicing the wrong thing. Practice doesn't make perfect as is so commonly stated, but instead, practice makes permanent. Let that sink in for a second.
A permanently flawed golf swing is what we're trying to fix. Practicing the wrong things is a waste of time and energy. Ensure that you're practicing the RIGHT SWING. This is the only way progress will be made. It is an important idea to completely understand where the power comes from in the golf swing. To help you visualize this thought, I'd recommend having a look at this video from teaching pro Bobby Eldridge where he explains just how to hit a draw.
So in review, the un-coiling of the torso and the un-cocking of the wrists on the downswing at the appropriate time hold the all important power and distance of the golf swing. We’ve all watched Ernie Els on the pro tour and seen the fluid and smooth tempo of his golf swing. He doesn’t swing hard, but the mechanics and physics of his swing are such that everything happens at the right time and ultimately unfolds into a beautiful piece of work. Now that you've learned the components of the golf downswing, now it's on to the follow through…