Golf Tip Today: Understanding Downswing

The downswing is the portion of the swing where the club head is moving down toward the ball – the opposite movement created from the back swing. After a smooth transition, the downswing is created by the uncoiling of the body while the arms and club are swinging down toward impact.

One key movement…

One of the key movements in your downswing is created from the body uncoiling around the spine. Remember, the spine should remain in a fixed position during the swing. Try to avoid any vertical or lateral movements. The idea is to swing your arms and the club around your body, and not to swing your body with the club.

Lower body is key

The lower body initiates the uncoiling movement in the downswing. The hips will begin moving to the left. Both knees will start moving together. When both knees move correctly, the head will stay behind the golf ball, producing the proper weight shift.  The right knee will start moving towards and below the left knee.

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Next, the hands and arms start to fall back down toward the ball. The right elbow should remain close to the right pocket as the club approaches the ball, while the left shoulder will go from a low position and move slightly higher down toward impact.

The right shoulder will move from a higher position and move lower toward impact.  Maintain a firm and straight left arm. The majority of the downswing should produce approximately a 90 degree angle between the left arm/wrist and club.  As the club approaches on a downward angle, the right heel will start to lift up.  This is the proper weight shift of the weight transferring from the right side to the left side.

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What to avoid

Many players initiate the downswing incorrectly with many different movements. Avoid flipping the wrists to start the downswing. This results in an early release and a huge loss of power and swing speed.  Another common move is an “Over the top” move.

Over the top?

An over-the-top swing, also referred as “casting,” usually results in swinging too hard.  The downswing is initiated with the hands and arms rather than the body. The swing should be controlled with the left arm. An over-the-top swing starts with an overpowering move with the dominant ride side including the right hand and arm. The right hand and arm start the swing down toward the ball. This creates a steep downswing creating an outside to in swing path. The left shoulder will open up to create room for the steep outside to in swing path.  The butt end of the club will point down toward the feet rather than the target line. The ball will start left of the target line. If the divot points left, you probably came over the top.

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Watch where the club points!

Similar to the backswing, keep the butt end of the club pointing down the target line.  The idea is tp swing the club in one circle around the body.  This allows a player to keep the club on one plane and one path throughout the entire swing. Capture a feeling of driving the butt end of the club down towards impact.  This should help maintain the proper angle between the left arm and the club and eliminate releasing the club early.

What are your thoughts on downswing? Let us know!

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