I do not consider the down swing movement to
be fully completed until the club head reaches the bottom of the
As long as the elbows remain close together and the left arm remains
fully extended whilst the arms interact, this will automatically
cause the club head to swing to the bottom of the swing arc -
a position that is reached after the ball has been struck.
(The most common fault for most amateur
golfers is to allow either the left arm to bend or/and allow the
left shoulder to lift at the precise moment the club head strikes
However in order to perform this action correctly,
you must keep the right heel firmly on the ground until the club
head strikes the ball and also keep the head and the hips firmly fixed
in the original address position until well after the ball has
(If you allow the head to sway away
from the original address position or similarly, allow the hips
to sway during the back swing movement and then fail to return
the head and the hips to the original address position, at the
precise moment the club head strikes the ball, you will almost
certainly miss-hit the ball, so it is important to keep the head
and the hips stationary throughout the golf swing.) ( See below for further details.)
Bottom of the Swing Arc.
Photograph shows the difference between the way High Handicapped
golfers and Professional golfers strike the ball.
The bottom of the swing arc for the average PGA Tour player
is approximately four inches in front of the golf ball.
However in contrast, the bottom of the swing arc for a high-handicapper
is an inch or so behind the ball.
A high-handicap golfer would reduce his or her average score
by four strokes for every forward inch of improvement made for
the bottom of the swing arc.
In other words, if you want to break a scoring barrier, ensure
that you continue to swing the club head with a descending strike
until the club head has gone past the ball for a distance of about
four inches, thus fully compressing the golf ball.
(This will ensure that the club head swings to
the bottom of the swing arc - which is well after the ball has
This also applies to the short game.
Courtesy of the "Golf
As the first section of this lesson illustrates, every
top class golfer aims to bottom out the golf swing about four
inches in front of the ball, except when using the driver.
This means that when playing irons and woods, the ball is struck
with a descending blow, an action which imparts back spin on the
golf ball, thus giving the ball a unique flight trajectory.
For instance, when long irons
and woods are used, it creates a moderate back spin action of
the golf ball which causes the ball to curve upwards to its maximum
height until the back spin dissipates.
However, when short irons are
used it creates a much higher back spin action and therefore the
ball moves on a much more pronounced upwards curve as it soars
to it maximum height, but importantly the ball will still be spinning
at a high rate as it hits the ground, thus causing the ball to
Location of the Bottom of the
To understand where the bottom
of the swing arc is located, carry out the following exercise
using a three wood:-
Adopt the normal address position
and place a marker on the ground just left of the centre of your
stance, to indicate the normal ball position.
Step back a couple of inches
so that the club head is adjacent to the marker.
Just before you perform a back
swing movement, hold the club head so that it is just touching
( It is important to hold the head and the hips firmly
in the original address position throughout this exercise.)
You will note that as you rotate
the shoulders thus moving the the golf club away from the ball,
the club head moves smoothly away and upwards from the ground.
( Remember to keep the elbows
as close together as it is physically possible.)
If you simply rotate the shoulders,
thus returning the golf club back to the original address position
and then continued to rotate the shoulders in order to swing the
golf club beyond the original address position, you will note
that as long as you maintain your body at a constant level and
without the hips being allowed to sway towards the target area,
the club head immediately begins to dig into the ground, thus
stopping the club head from moving any further.
This indicates that the bottom
of the swing arc of the golf swing is after the ball has been
The position of the bottom
of the swing arc is adjacent to the big toe of the left foot but
this actual point is only applicable as long as the golfer ensures
that head and the hips remain firmly held in the original address position throughout
the complete golf swing movement.
Why is it so important?? --
let me explain.
If your head and your hips
sway away from the original address position during the back swing
movement ( away from
the target) and you fail to return the head and the hips back
to the original address position at the precise moment the club
head strikes the ball, this swaying action effectively moves the
bottom of the swing arc position backwards by the same distance
that the hips have moved away from the original address position,
for example if your hips sway away from the original address position
for about four inches and remained in that position by the time
the club head struck the ground, it would strike the ground about
four inches behind the ball.
However, because the ball is
stationary, it means that the ball position, (relative
to the position of your hips and your head at the moment of contact) has effectively moved forward in the stance, thus creating a situation
where the golfer would possibly hit the ground well before the
golfer struck the ball.
Similarly, if you over compensate during the down swing
movement and allow the head and the hips to move ahead of the
original address position ( towards the target area) and the head and the hips remain in that forward position until
the precise moment the club head makes contact with the ball,
it effectively moves the bottom of the swing arc position forward
by the same amount.
However, because the ball is stationary, it means that the ball
to the position of your hips and your head at the moment of contact),
has effectively moves back in the stance, thus creating a situation
where the golfer could possibly hit the ball too soon.
So concentrate on holding the
head and the hips in the original address position from the moment
you begin the back swing movement - right throughout the down
swing and into the follow through movement.