The Basic Steps to Perfect Golf.

By Philip A Gorfett.

www.playperfectgolf.co.uk
Home Introduction Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7 Lesson 8 Lesson 9 Lesson 10

Lesson 5 - The Down Swing. (Changed 15/05/2017)


Because the left heel has remained fully the ground, as the back swing reaches its conclusion the whole body has been twisted to its maximum, the left shoulder is pointing to the ground and the right shoulder is pointing to the sky -- whilst the right elbow remains tightly tucked into the waist.

The object of the down swing movement is not just simply to use the rotation of the upper body to swing the arms into the contact area, but to use the rotational movement of the hips to lead the upper body unit as the two parts as a whole, rotate into the down swing movement, then when the ball is struck, you use your arms to swing the club head through the contact area.


(It is important to point out that you must keep the right elbow tucked into the waist throughout the down swing movement, until the club head strikes the ball.

This is not an easy task as first as the impulse is to activate the arms during the down swing movement, but persevere and you will reap the results, because by holding the right elbow tight into the waist until the club head strikes the ball it stops the arms from moving 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 right hip to rotate towards the target area, whilst also simultaneously forcing the left hip to rotate away from the target area, thus ensuring that the hips rotate around an central axis whilst being held firmly over the centre of your stance.
(This action is performed whilst keeping my head positioned so that the left eye remains slightly behind the ball position, the left arm close to the right shoulder, the right elbow tucked into my waist and my eyes fully focused on the back edge of the golf ball, but very aware that the bottom of the swing arc is about four inches in front of the ball.)



This hip action will create a tremendous pulling effect upon the passive compact upper body, but the upper body unit must be held back from following the movement of the hips for much longer than you can imagine, thus further increasing the torsion of the muscles between the lower body and the upper body and thereby increasing the twisting effect of the whole body.

This will literally force the upper body unit to follow the movement of the hips, but you must continue to hold the left arm close to the right shoulder and keep the right elbow tucked into the waist.

But importantly,once the torsion of the body has been built up to its maximum, the hips will be rotating ahead of the compact upper body unit so you can tgin to force the compact upper body unit to rotate towards the target area.
(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 understand the basic principles of the technique that I am teaching, have a look at the top professionals and you will see 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 whilst the upper body unit rotates during the down swing.

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

 



From the moment the hips begin to rotate towards the target area, the rotational movement of the hips must continue to exert this pulling effect upon the upper body unit, but eventually the upper body unit can forced to rotate but always with the hips exerting the most power.

However, importantly, as the upper body unit rotates into the down swing movement, I continue to hold the upper body unit so that the left arm is held close to the right shoulder, but equally important, I keep the right elbow tucked into the waist, and I hold the upper body unit in this configuration until the club head strikes the ball.

(It is absolutely vital that the right hip/left hip rotation causes the hips to physically begin to rotate to fully face the target area in an aggressive manner, 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 continue to lead the compact upper body unit as the two parts rotate into the down swing movement, 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 and 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, you must keep your head behind the ball and also try to keep the left arm close to the right shoulder and the right elbow tucked into the waist until the club head strikes the ball, at that point 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 keep my head firmly in the original address position and also in the frontal facing position whilst maintaining the upper body angles
as the rotational movement of the hipsand 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 where the arms interact thus forcing the club head through the contact area, whilst simultaneously completing the task of turning the whole body to fully face the target area ---- at the same speed the arms swing past the body

 

At impact the hips are almost completely facing the target area and the shoulders feel as if they are also facing the target area and the left shoulder is 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 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 almost 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 compact upper body unit to the conclusion of the golf swing movement, thus literally pulling the club head into the contact area.



The object of the down swing movement is use the rotational movement of the hips to force a very passive, but compact upper body unit to rotate back to and beyond the original address position whilst the left arm is held firmly close to the right shoulder, and the right elbow is tucked into the waist,thus literally using the hip movement as the only source of energy to pull the club head from the end of the back swing position right up to the point where the club head strikes the ball.

But importantly, keeping the arms in a totally passive condition right up to the impact position, whilst the left arm is held close to the right shoulder and the right elbow remains close to the waist ----- and then as the club head strikes the ball, you must force the arms to interact, whilst simultaneously the hips continue to force the compact upper body unit to rotate.

(You must hold the left arm close to the right shoulder and the right elbow tucked into your waist for as long as it is physically possible and also keep the arm in a totally passive condition throughout the down swing movement which will enable you to totally focus on the main task of rotating the hips.

The arms will be forced to move away from the right shoulder as the down swing progresses, but the longer you can hold the left arm close to the right shoulder the more accurate the shot will be. This is not easy to master but try to hold the left arm close to the right shoulder until the club head strikes the ball.)



Therefore it is vital that the hips exert a continual pulling effect upon the compact upper body unit, so that the whole body is held in the fully twisted condition whilst the hips force the upper body unit to rotate around the central core of the spine.

( Whilst using the hip movement to literally force the compact upper body unit to follow its movement, it creates a situation where the upper body unit, which includes the arms, become absolutely passive to the rotational movement of the hips.
This action eliminates a lot of the faults that can occur if you try to physically rotate the upper body unit as a separate unit.)

If you perform this action correctly, the forced rotation of the passive upper body unit by the rotational movement of the hips will automatically return the club head into the back of the ball with a descending blow, but you must continue this descending action until the club head reaches well beyond the bottom of the swing arc - which effectively is the end of the down swing movement.



With the hip action initiating the down swing movement and continuing to exert a pulling effect upon the compact upper body unit throughout the down swing movement, it will ensure that the club face returns to the ball square to the target line.


For the purpose of understanding the down swing sequence of movements, imagine making the down swing in SLOW MOTION.

So whilst holding the left arm close to the right shoulder and the right elbow tucked into the waist, and holding the upper body unit at the end of the back swing position, thus ready to resist any hip movement, slowly begin to force the hips to rotate towards the target area by forcing the right hip to turn towards the target area whilst simultaneously forcing the left hip to turn away from the target area
, , thus resisting the pulling effect of the hip movement.(but continue to hold the upper body unit at the end of the back swing movement in the configuration as described)

 

As the hips rotate to fully face the target area, the torsion between the lower part of the body and the upper part of the body reach a point where the upper body is literally forced to follow the movement of the hips and from that point onwards the upper body unit will rotate into the down swing movement at exactly the same speed as the hips, but always being pulled along by the rotational movement of the hips.



Therefore as the upper body unit is forced to follow the movement of the hips, the upper body unit is now being totally controlled by the rotational movement of the hips but it remains in a totally passive condition and importantly, the left arm must remain close to the right shoulder and the right elbows must remain tight to the waist during the down swing movement.

It is important that you keep the upper body unit in this totally passive condition whilst the hip movement forces it to rotate to the conclusion of the golf swing, thus pulling the club head into and though the contact area.

Once you understand the basic principle of the dominance of the hip movement you can begin to concentrate a bit more of the interaction of the arms, but first of all master the technique of using the hips to have overall control over the rotational movement of the upper body unit to the conclusion of the golf swing.



TIP

You must must ensure that the club head continues on a downwards trajectory after the ball has been struck and continue for a further four inches after the ball has been struck, thus effectively completing the down swing movement and at that point you must ensure that you pivot on your left foot and turn the whole body to fully face the target area, in order to begin to "walk" after the ball.

This turning action of the hips as soon as the ball is struck is one of the most important moves of the golf swing.

After that manoeuvre, the down swing movement is deemed as completed and the follow through movement begins.


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 and the upper body unit continue to rotate, the shoulder muscles force the right arm 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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