The Basic Steps to Perfect Golf.

By Philip A Gorfett.

www.playperfectgolf.co.uk

 

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Lesson 5 - The Down Swing. (Changed 07/10/2019)




Before you start look at this Video -- It shows you how to use your body as you strike the ball.

It is absolutely vital that throughout the back swing movement that the upper body unit has been firmly held together as a compact unit and thus ensuring that it was the rotational movement of the shoulders has caused the arms to move and the movement has been slow and controlled -- as opposed to the arms being simply lifted to the end of the back swing movement.

Failure to keep the upper body unit held tightly together during the back swing will result in very erratic shots.

Begin the down swing movement with a relatively slow action and gradually build up the speed of the hips as it progresses, but the left leg must also gradually straighten as the down swing movement progresses so that it is fully straightened by the time the club head strikes the ball.

Importantly, you must have control of the club head at the impact position therefore keep the whole down swing movement at a relatively slow pace throughout until you get the timing of the action correct. - It is far more important to hit the ball in the direction you are aiming, rather than the distance to ball goes.

The down swing movement comprises of a sequence of movements.

Down Swing Movement.

It is important to point out that the down swing and the follow through movement is predominantly a rotational movement of the upper body unit which is greatly enhanced by the rotational movement of the hips.

I pause slightly before I move my weight slightly on to the left foot thus initiating the down swing movement.
( As soon as the weight of the body moves onto the left foot it must remain over the left side of the body for the remainder of the swing process.)

I allow the hips to rotate for a short while before beginning to force the upper body unit to rotate but importantly I ensure that the weight remains on the left foot and I also stop the hips from swaying away from the target area.

(As the hips rotate towards the target area you must ensure that the shoulders are held at the end of the back swing movement for a milli second thus creating a time lag before the upper body unit begin to rotate into the down swing movement,)

( From the moment the down swing begins, although the shoulders tilt during the down swing movement, the shoulders must be held parallel to the target area until well into the the follow through movement.)


The process of quickly straightening the left leg from the moment the down swing begins gives the swing the snap effect. ( See Video )

As the upper body unit and the hips rotate, the upper body unit must remain held firmly together as a one piece unit with the right arm keeping close to the body throughout the down swing movement so that the right arm nearly touches the right upper thigh as the ball is struck.
( If you look at the first video on the top of this page, adjust the settings on the YouTube video to a much slower replay speed and you will see what I mean about the right arm brushing the right upper thigh.)

 

(As long as you hold the hips remain in the same fixed position throughout the back swing and also during the down swing movement you will soon notice that you can gradually increase the speed of the down swing action without hitting the ground before striking the ball - this is why it is absolutely vital that the hips are not allowed to sway away from the ball for even a fraction of an inch during the back swing or the down swing movement -- It can be done, you simply need to concentrate)

Throughout the entire down swing movement is aided by the action of forcing the left leg to straighten.

 

To perform the correct down swing movement, the upper body unit must be the dominant factor whilst the hips enhance the movement but ensuring that the upper body unit rotates at exactly the same speed that the hips are rotating towards the target area, whilst the weight of the body is predominately over the left leg.

Therefore at the precise moment the club head strikes the ball, the hips are partially facing the target area, the right shoulder is beginning the rotate under the chin and the left leg is almost fully straightened.

However as the down swing reaches it conclusion, the arms are pulled into the contact area.


But to be successful, at the point when the club head strikes the ball -- you must ensure that your head is in the original the address position and still facing the ball position -- the hands are prevented from going beyond the original address position until the ball has been struck -- the upper body angles have been maintained and the hip turn has forced both knees to be facing at 45 degrees towards the target area and importantly, the right shoulder must begin to move under the chin.

 

However as the two parts rotate, the waist line acts as a universal joint to enable the upper body angles to be maintained

In addition, the left arm must remain close to the right shoulder for as long as possible before the arms are forced to be released, ideally until the club head strikes the ball.

(At the impact position, the right shoulder must be lower than the left shoulder, very similar to the tilt of the shoulders at the address position, therefore try to resist the left arm from moving away from the right shoulder until the club head makes contact with the ball.)

This will ensure two things, the club head will swing down through the contact area whilst it is square to the target line and it will also ensure that the right shoulder rotates under the chin after the ball has been struck, but importantly, but you must keep the head firmly in the original address position until well after the ball has been struck - whilst the hips fully rotate towards the target area.

 

However at the precise moment the club head strikes the ball, the hands must be in exactly the same position as set at the address position, but importantly, and as soon as the club head strikes the ball, the hips are quickly turned to fully face the target area --- at the same speed that the club head and the upper body unit is moving through the contact area.

(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 hip movement must be in total control at all times.)


Therefore whilst the down swing movement is performed :-

1) The waist must act as a universal joint whilst the upper body unit and the hips rotate.

2) The left arm must remain held close to the right shoulder for as long as possible.

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

5) The head must remain in the original address position until well after the ball has been struck.

6) The weight of the body must be over the left leg.

 

But importantly, at the precise moment the club head strikes the ball the head must be in the exact position it was at the original address position. ( See Head Position )


However one important fact is that as the down swing is performed you must focus your eyes on the back of the ball, so that you see the club head 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.)



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 but I ensure that my head remains slightly behind the ball so that I am looking at the back of the ball all the way to the contact position.

I also make sure that the head is held in the frontal facing position whilst maintaining the upper body angles as the upper body unit / hips 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 continuing to rotate the hips so that the whole body turns to fully face the target area ---- at the same speed the arms swing past the body


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

 

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 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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