2008-01-25 / Sports

Golf Instruction - Improving the Downswing

By Joel Garyn

(Garyn is a USGTF Golf Professional. You can contact him for lessons at 347-404-3751.)

Now things really begin to get interesting. The downswing is the main attraction, the moment of truth. It's when all the action of the swing really starts. While the backswing should feel slow, smooth, and controlled, the downswing should give you a feeling of release and a graceful accelerating, yet unhurried power.

The transition from the top of the backswing to the beginning of the downswing should be as seamless and graceful as possible, with no hint of yanking the club down furiously into the ball. The worst thing to do from the top position is to initiate your downswing with your arms.

This will cause the club head to deliver a glancing, out-to-in (or over the top) blow, and can cancel out all of the stored energy in your legs, hips and torso.

The First Move: From the Hip.

The first move you make from the top of the backswing should be with your hips, which should begin to turn back toward your target. In effect, your entire body is now going to uncoil itself from the hips up. Don't worry about your arms and hands, they should be the last part of you to turn.

As your hips begin turning, they naturally pull your torso and shoulders along, which will in turn bring along your arms, hands and the club. The club head should be the very last thing to move on the downswing.

As your body begins to uncoil, you need to make sure your weight starts to shift from your right foot to your left foot (very very important). If you fail to shift, it will cause a reverse pivot and loss of power, and accuracy. One last thought and its critical to do- On the way down you should make sure that your right elbow (for right handed golfers) remains close in to your side, almost rubbing against your rib cage.

If it does not stay in close, the club head might come into the ball from the outside causing a slice.

Your head must remain behind the ball at impact and that goes for all golf swings. Please call me if you have any questions and have a great week. Next lesson we will talk about is the proper set up for chipping and distance control for chip shots.

Recommended Practice: 1) Stop at the top of your backswing. Start down in slow motion, and only work on the start of the downswing. Keep your head back, and feel the weight move onto your front foot. 2) Do this three times a week for one month and then refer to it after you hit behind a few balls.

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