The Basic Steps to Perfect Golf.

By Philip A Gorfett.

www.playperfectgolf.co.uk
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Lesson 5 - The Down Swing. (Changed 14/07/2018)


I cannot stress too strongly that the down swing movement begins by pressing down with the left foot and simultaneously forcing the hips to rotate, thus causing the whole twisted body to rotate about its axis.

The rotational movement of the hips and the rotational movement of the twisted body move as a single unit, with maximum force being used to rotate the hips so that the hip movement forces the whole unit to rotate around its axis.


It is vital that the twisted condition of the body is maintained throughout the complete down swing movement.
--- ensure that the whole twisted body unit remains held together as a very compact unit and the left arm remains held close to the right shoulder as the hip movement forces it to rotate around its axis, but importantly, you must hold it in this twisted condition until the club head strikes the ball.


 

Because the left heel has remained fully on the ground whilst the upper torso has been forced to rotate to the end of the back swing movement, the whole body has been twisted to its maximum and 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 and the whole body is formed into a solid one piece unit.

However try to begin the down swing movement whilst the back swing is being completed, which is done by pressing the left foot to the ground a fraction of a second before you finish the back swing movement, thus setting up a very slight time lag in the transition.

Therefore as soon as the left foot is pressed to the ground and the hips are forced to rotate towards the target area whilst the upper body unit is initially stopped from moving, albeit for only a milli-second.

After that milli-second delay, the whole twisted body is also forced to follow the movement of the hips.

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(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 move my weight slightly on to the left foot and press the foot to the ground.


This foot action triggers the down swing movement and at that point you must also begin to force the hips to rotate towards the target area.

It is absolutely vital that you hold the upper body unit in the position it achieved at the end of the back swing movement whilst the hips begin to rotate towards the target area, thus increasing the torsion of the muscles between the upper part of the body and the lower part of the body.

This holding of the upper body unit at the end of the back swing movement can only be achieved for a milli-second it is forced by inertia to follow the movement of the hips, but it it vital that this delay is incorporated into the down swing movement in order to perform the down swing movement correctly.

However when the point is reached where the upper body unit can no longer hold its position, the hip movement must continue to rotate towards the target area thus aggressively forcing the whole twisted body to rotate around its axis, therefore the hip movement must be the driving force of the down swing movement, whilst the twisted body simply follows.

 

But importantly, whilst the hips force the twisted body unit to rotate, the left arm must remain held close to the right shoulder until the club head strikes the ball and and the wrists held in the fully cocked position for as long as possible.

During the down swing movement the rotational movement of the hips is the dominant factor.

However the hands must be slightly ahead of the ball position at the precise moment of impact.


EXERCISE.

The down swing movement is a one piece movement and as an exercise to enable you to understand the movement, stand erect, stretch out your arms and hold your hands together, rotate your shoulders and arms as a one piece unit to your right as far as it will go, then whilst holding the shoulders in the frontal facing position, simply rotate the hips towards the target area until the upper body is literally forced to move and begin to rotate.

Now to mimic the proper golf swing, simply carry out this action whilst taking the address position.


Down Swing (Continued)

You will reach a point where, although the left arm is still close to the right shoulder and the wrists fully cocked, 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.

As the hips continue to force the twisted body unit to rotate around its axis, the uncocking of the wrists will return the club head to the ball, and 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, at impact, both knees and the hips should be facing at 45 degrees towards the target area, i,e. the right heel is well off the ground, the left knee and the right knee are pointing towards the target area at a 45 degree angle and the left arm remaining close to the right shoulder whilst the hips continue to rotate and the wrists uncock.


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 forcing the hips to rotate towards the target area whilst the upper body unit is held at the end of the back swing position for as long as it is physically possible, so keep practicing the movement until is an automatic movement, because it is the movement of the hips that controls the movement of the twisted body unit.

As you become more familiar with the action you will begin to strike the ball more solidly.

However you will still not achieve the distance you hoped for, but do not despair because when you reach that advanced stage where the movement become automatic, you will then be able to refine the flaying action of the club head in order to considerably boost the club head speed.


 

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 the movement of the hips forces the twisted body unit to rotate during the down swing, how the left arm is held close to the right shoulder and the right elbow is tucked into the waist and the wrists fully cocked 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 are 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 pivot / rotate slight ahead of the rotational movement of the upper body unit.)

 

As the whole twisted body unit rotates , 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 that 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 and the wrists fully cocked until the club head strikes the ball, you will not achieve it completely at first because the centrifugal action forces the club head to release, but keep practicing the movement until you can hold the left arm in this position and the wrists fully cocked until the club head strikes the ball.


( 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 and keep the wrists fully cocked, 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 does not go beyond the original address position before the ball is struck
and also make sure it is held in the frontal facing position whilst maintaining the upper body angles as the whole twisted body rotates 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 the whole twisted body unit has rotated to a point where the hips are 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 whole twisted body unit rotates whilst held over the centre of the stance and you keep the left arm close to the right shoulder, the right elbow tucked into the waist and the wrists fully cocked 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 whole twisted 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 whole twisted body unit rotates as a single one piece 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 a Professional golfer striking the ball (With the tee peg indicating the bottom of the swing arc.)

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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