The Basic Steps to Perfect Golf.

By Philip A Gorfett.

www.playperfectgolf.co.uk
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Lesson 5 - The Down Swing. (Changed 23/02/2018)


I cannot stress too strongly that the rotational movement of the compact upper body during the down swing movement must be created and controlled by the rotational movement of the hips, in fact the only conscious movement you must be aware of is the rotational movement of the hips.

Do not attempt to physically assist in the rotational movement of the upper body unit --- simply ensure that the upper body unit remains held together as a very compact unit whilst the hip movement rapidly increases the torsion between the upper part of the body and the lower part of the body and then forces the upper body unit to follow the hip movement.

But importantly, as soon as the torsion of the muscles reach their maximum thus causing the upper body unit to rotate into the down swing movement, the hips and the upper body unit must become fused into a solid unit so that the both parts rotate into the down swing movement as a single unit, thus swinging the club head into the back of the ball, but the left arm must remain close to the right shoulder for as long as it is physically possible, but with the hips and the upper body rotating in complete tandem but with the hip movement in overall control.


 

Because the left heel has remained fully on the ground as the lower back muscles rotate the compact upper body unit to the end of the back swing movement, the whole body has been twisted to its maximum with 70% of the body weight over the right leg.

At this point the left shoulder is pointing to the ground and the right shoulder is pointing to the sky -- whilst the left arm is close to the right shoulder and the right elbow remains tightly tucked into the waist.

At this point the whole body is formed into a solid one piece unit.

Therefore as the hips rotate towards the target area the whole twisted body rotates on its axis the upper part of the body and the lower part of the body then rotate in complete tandem, but importantly, the upper body unit remains in a totally passive condition whilst the hip movement is the driving force.

(It is important to point out that you must keep the left arm held close to the right shoulder and the right elbow tucked into the waist for as long as it is physically possible.)
By holding the right elbow tight into the waist until the club head strikes the ball, it stops the left arm from moving away from the right shoulder too early, thus dramatically improving the accuracy of the shot.


Down Swing Movement.

Whilst holding the compact upper body with the left arm close to the right shoulder and the right elbow tucked into the waist, I press down with my left foot and simultaneously force the hips to rotate towards the target area whilst similarly, because the whole body is held firmly together as a solid unit, the upper body also rotates in complete tandem with the movement of the hips.

(You must strive to create a separation between the rotational movement of the hips and the rotational movement of the upper body unit and this can only be achieve by aggressively rotating the hips towards the target area whilst the upper body in held is held in a totally passive condition.

It is very difficult during the initial learning stage but you will soon be able to create that separation so that all you simply focus on is using the rotational movement of the hips to cause the whole twisted body to rotate, so in order for the down swing to be a complete success the hip movement must remain in overall control.)

However, whilst the upper body unit is rotating during the down swing movement, the left arm must remain held close to the right shoulder for as long as possible.

You will reach a point where, although the left arm is still close to the right shoulder, the hips are halfway to fully facing the target area and the shoulders are practically back to the original address position, it is that point that you must concentrate the most and maintain your focus on the ball.

At the precise point the club head makes contact with the ball, the head must be back in the original address position and thus begins the follow through movement.

(See video as an example of how the left arm remains close to the right shoulder and the right elbow remain close to the body until the impact position.)

When you perform this down swing movement as described above, where the hips are facing at 45 degrees towards the target area and the left arm remains close to the right shoulder, it feels as if the shoulders has rotated too far beyond what you would consider to be the correct impact position, but persevere and as you get used to the new impact position you will begin to notice how accurate you shots will are become.

 

It is important that you master the action of only being conscious of the rotational movement of the hips during the down swing movement, so keep practicing this action until it is an automatic movement.

As you become more familiar with the action you will begin to strike the ball more solidly, but you will still not achieve the distance you hoped for, but do not despair, when you reach that advanced stage where the rotational action of the upper and the lower parts of the body become automatic, you will then be able to begin to refine the flaying action of the club head in order to considerably boost the club head speed.

But beware, do not try to increase the flaying action of the club head in order to boost the club head speed until the hips have total control during the down swing movement.


 

When you understand the basic principles of the technique that I am teaching, have a look at the top professionals and you will see that as the upper body unit rotates during the down swing, how the left arm is held close to the right shoulder and the right elbow is tucked into the waist until the ball is struck.

( I call the hips and the upper body as they both rotate into the down swing / follow through, the Shoulder/Hips unit.)

(It is absolutely vital that the hips should be partially facing the target area well before the upper body unit has reached the halfway stage of the down swing movement.
See video of Jordan Spieth and notice how the hips rotate slight ahead of the rotational movement of the upper body unit.)

 

As the hips and the upper body unit rotate as a one piece unit, the upper body angles must be maintained and because of this, from the very beginning of the down swing movement the universal joint theory must be applied to the waist line and also the golf club must return on a swing path that is a reflection of the back swing movement.


As the down swing movement is performed, try to keep the left arm close to the right shoulder with the right elbow tucked into the waist until the club head strikes the ball, you will not achieve it because the centrifugal action forces the club head to release, but as soon as the club head strikes the ball the right arm is quickly fully extended.
( The longer you can keep the left arm close to the right shoulder, maintain the twisted condition of the whole body and hold the right elbow close to the waist, the better the contact and the accuracy of the shot.)


Throughout the down swing movement I am concentrating very hard to make sure that my head returns back to the original address position before the ball is struck
and also in the frontal facing position whilst maintaining the upper body angles as the rotational movement of the hips and the upper body unit rotate into the down swing movement, but importantly my eyes are fully focused on the back of the ball so that I can see the precise moment the club head strikes the ball, because at that point, the follow through begins.

This is where the arms interact, thus forcing the club head through the contact area, whilst simultaneously completing the task of turning the hips to fully face the target area and causing the whole body to fully face the target area ---- at the same speed the arms swing past the body

 

At impact the hips have rotated about half way to facing the target area and the shoulders feel as if they are also facing the target area with the left shoulder still close to the right shoulder, the right elbow remains tucked into the waist -- but this action can only be achieved by using the waist line as a universal joint.

 

 

However as long as the hips initially force the compact upper body unit to rotate whilst held over the centre of your stance and you keep the left arm close to the right shoulder and the right elbow tucked into the waist until the club head strikes then ball, you will experience a beautifully controlled whipping action of the club head through the ball, to the bottom of the swing arc.

 

At the impact position, the hips and the compact upper body unit has rotated to a point where the hips are at 45 degrees towards facing the target area and the shoulders are parallel to the target line, thus reversing the swing path as taken during the back swing movement, but importantly, the head remains firmly in the original address position.

At the impact position, because the left arm is held close to the right shoulder and the right elbow is held close to the waist, it will feel as if the shoulders are very open but this is an illusion.

 


Similar to the back swing movement, consider the down swing as a single action.

See VIDEO -- I have slowed the video sequence to illustrate how the hip movement totally controls the movement of the passive but compact upper body unit in order to pull the club head into the contact area.


TIP

You must must ensure that the club head continues on a downwards trajectory as the ball is struck and continue for a further four inches AFTER the ball has been struck, thus effectively completing the down swing movement.

At that point you must ensure that you pivot on your left foot and complete the turning of the whole body to fully face the target area, in order to begin to "walk" after the ball.


Bottom of the Swing Arc.

This 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, where 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 been struck!!)

This also applies to the short game.

Courtesy of the "Golf Digest"

swing arc

At impact the shoulders are square to the target line, therefore whilst the hips continue to force the upper body unit to rotate, the right arm is forced into the fully straightened position, thereby forcing the club head to descend to the bottom of the swing arc, thus beginning the follow through movement.

 

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