The Basic Steps to Perfect Golf.

By Philip A Gorfett.

www.playperfectgolf.co.uk
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Lesson 5 - The Down Swing. (Changed 21/08/2018)


The object of the down swing movement is use the rotational/pivotal movement of the hips to create a torsion of the body muscles which will begin to force the upper body unit to rotate into the down swing movement .

However as soon as the upper body unit begins to follow the movement of the hips, you then begin to actively force the upper body unit to rotate and simultaneously use the arms to pull the club head into the back of the ball at maximum velocity whilst the hips continue to rotate/pivot.

In order to perform this action correctly it requires a lot of practice therefore first of all learn to rotate/pivot the hips whilst the upper body unit remains in a totally passive condition.

When the hip action becomes a natural movement you can then begin to forcefully rotate the upper body unit into the down swing movement and simultaneously use the arms to pull the club head into the back of the ball at maximum velocity.

The down swing movement is performed by using the waist line as a universal joint from the moment the down swing movement begins.


However it is vital that the
left arm remains held close to the right shoulder for a milli-second as the upper body unit begins to rotate back to the original address position.


 

Because the left heel has remained fully on the ground whilst the upper body unit has rotated 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 as the back swing reaches it conclusion, 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, the hips are forced to rotate/pivot towards the target area.


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 left foot to the ground


At that point you must force the hips to rotate towards the target area whilst simultaneously forcing the hips to pivot, i,e. the right hip is forced to go in a downwards manner and the left hip is forced to go up in a rising manner, whilst the upper body unit is held at the end of the back swing position thus increasing the torsion of the muscles between the upper and the lower part of the body.

As the hips rotate, this torsion reaches its maximum which forces the upper body to follow the movement of the hips and at that point the hips and the upper body unit rotate in complete tandem but as the two parts rotate in tandem, the arms also begin to pull the club head into the back of the ball., however the only way to perform this action correctly is to use the waist line as a universal joint.

(For the first milli seconds of the down swing movement the lower body moves independently of the upper body unit, but importantly, at no time in the down swing movement must you allow the upper body unit to move independently of the lower part of the body, the arm will move independently of the shoulders
Once the pulling action of the hips cause the upper body unit to rotate into the down swing movement, from that point onwards, the upper body unit moves in complete tandem with the movement of the hips, thereby maintaining the twisted condition of the whole body, therefore whatever effort you put into the rotation of the upper body, this must be matched by the same amount of effort to rotate the hips.)

 

Therefore whilst the down swing movement is performed :-

1) The waist must act as a universal joint so that the whole twisted body can rotate around the central core of the spine whilst upper body and the lower body are held at their relative angles.

2) The left arm must remain held close to the right shoulder for a milli second until the arms begin to pull the club head into the contact area.

3) The wrists held in the fully cocked position for as long as possible.

4) The upper body unit must be firmly held together so that the arms and the torso form a triangular compact unit and this condition must be held until well after the ball has been struck


 

You will reach a point where 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 and the upper body unit continue to rotate, using the waist acts as a universal joint, the arms begin to pull the club head into the contact area whilst the uncocking of the wrists will return the club head to the ball.

At the precise point the club head makes contact with the ball,
the right shoulder is just about to rotate under the chin, the head must be back in the original address position.

 

However one important fact is that as the down swing is performed you must focus on the back of the ball, so that you strike the ball whilst the club head is moving at its maximum velocity - and from that point onwards, the follow through begins.

(See video as an example of how the left arm remains close to the right shoulder for a milli second before the arms begin to pull the club head into the contact area,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 arms have pull the club head back to the original address position, whilst the hips continue to rotate thus forcing the upper body unit to follow its movement 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.

 


At impact you will notice that the right shoulder of the professional golfer has rotated past the original address position, which can only be achieved by delaying the uncocking of the wrists until the last possible moment and using the waist as a universal joint.


(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 as the upper body unit rotates.)

 

As the down swing movement is performed, 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.


( The longer you can keep 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 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 rotating the hips, so that the whole body turns to fully face the target area ---- at the same speed the arms swing past the body

 

At impact the the hips are about half way to facing the target area and the right shoulder feel as if it facing the target area with the left arm 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 down swing movement is carried out 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 hips are at 45 degrees towards facing the target area and the shoulders have gone beyond the 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, the right shoulder is almost facing the target area.


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

See VIDEO -- to illustrate how the hips force the upper body unit to rotates thus pulling the club head into and through 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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