By Steve Donelly
The downswing in golf is certainly a popular topic for golf writers and teachers. And why wouldn’t it be? There almost seems to be no limit to the different downswings out there nor the “mistakes” that golfers make! You have the golfers who fall away from the ball and actually pivot around their back foot. Then there are those that really break their wrist as they approach the ball trying to help get the ball in the air. Anyway, you get the idea. There is no way one article can help with all the things that can go wrong so how about just looking at a few characteristics of a good golf downswing?
Before you can make a good downswing you need to be in a good position at the top of your backswing. So what exactly does this look like? The main thing is to make sure you don’t over-swing on your backswing. As long as you do not sway off of the ball, maintain a consistent spine angle and stop swinging your arms as soon as your chest and shoulders have stopped rotating you should be in good shape.
Ok, so you’re ready to start your downswing – what should you focus on? Unfortunately this piece of advice will not really be useful for anyone who falls away from the golf ball but in general a lot of golfers tend to focus too much on driving their hips forward as a means to start the downswing. This is what many of the best teachers advise though isn’t it? As with many things in golf, a little is good but too much of a good thing can cause problems. By over-emphasizing the leg drive many golfers end-up sliding ahead of the ball rather than rotating properly and as a consequence the hands never have a chance to catch-up and square the clubface properly at impact.
Try sticking an old golf shaft just in front of your left (or leading) leg and then practice not sliding or bumping into it during your downswing. This will force you to quiet down your lower body and give you a chance to “post up” on a firm front leg. If you simplify your swing you should see better results. Once you have control of your lower body the trick is to get your upper body rotating around your spine basically in one piece but you may actually need to feel like your hands are leading. You may not get that powerful feeling you are searching for but the benefits of more solid contact will soon make a believer out of you!
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