How to Start the Downswing in Golf

Every golfer has his or her style of swing. They can vary enormously, and many different kinds of swing can be made to work well and produce impressive results.

There is no one perfect way to swing a club and strike a ball, and there are so many factors to take into account when analyzing each player’s individual swinging style, but the one way to tell if a swing is going to work out well or result in an unsatisfying hit is to look at the very beginning of the downswing.

This is the key moment that decides the success of your shot. Starting a good downswing can help to guide the club down into the perfect moment of impact, resulting in the ideal shot.

If your downswing starts badly, it’s more or less impossible to recover and your shot will not be as effective or accurate as it could be, guaranteed. The moment of transition to the downswing is so key and its influence on your game cannot be underestimated.

Think of that moment as the setup or creation of your shot. You don’t want to get off to a bad start, so it’s vital to concentrate at the beginning of your downswing and give your shot the best chance of being successful.

Every player knows how it feels to start a good downswing; the club glides so much more easily onto the sweet spot of the ball and you can feel proud of a solid hit. Similarly, a bad transition is easy to recognize; players know when their swing has started badly and will do all they can to save a shot, but any efforts they make are often in vain.

In short, the start of the downswing is clearly a key moment, and it can be difficult to improve this area of your game, as every player has their own unique swinging style. The more you play, the more your style becomes cemented as part of your game, and it can be hard to suddenly try and change an action you’ve performed the same way countless times.

However, we’re here to say it is possible to give yourself a better downswing and it is possible to change the way you swing the club in general.

Not only is it possible, it’s worth it. The benefits of a good downswing motion are clear to see and you’ll really start seeing that hard work pay off once you get out on the course. Mastering the downswing transition will result in fewer mishits, more power, more accuracy, and more satisfying strokes overall.

There are four key techniques to improving your downswing and you can try them all to see which one works for you. Let’s take a look at each one in turn.

The Left Heel

The first technique is one made famous by Jack Nicklaus himself. One of history’s greatest golfers always used to start his downswing with this technique, planting his left heel firmly onto the ground.

This simple action helps to calm down the rest of the body and keep your muscles focused on the task at hand. This is perfect for golfers who tend to swing too quickly or have trouble transferring their body weight forwards.

To perform the technique, simply bring the heel up as you normally would during the backswing, and then plant it back down as you initiate the downswing.

Firing the Hips

The next technique concerns the hips. This is a great method for golfers suffering all sorts of issues with their swings, including a loss of balance or power, fat shots, and other problems.

It’s also good for golfers who struggle with back problems. Firing the hips will allow you to generate power and accuracy at the beginning of your downswing, allowing you to cover the ball.

To perform this technique, unwind the hips sharply and powerfully, rotating the left hip around towards the left heel. The power of this movement will be transferred down towards your left foot. Ensure that your movement is entirely rotational, rather than horizontal.

Leave the Shoulders, Drop the Arms

Our third technique concerns the arms and is well-suited for players who tend to “come over the top” often, creating slices and pulls with irons or pop-ups in drives. This happens because the player tends to throw their right shoulder in the direction of the ball.

By letting the arms fall down smoothly and tucking them back against the chest, you can avoid this issue and improve your swing speed at the same time. To perform this technique, focus on the position of your hands and arms.

When you lift up for the backswing, your hands should be behind your ear. From that point, allow the arms to fall towards the ball without twisting your shoulder around to push them.

Bumping the Knee

The final technique is one you might be familiar with: bumping the knee. Many pro and amateur players alike have grown to rely on this movement to prevent the upper body from moving too much, while also keeping the lower body involved in the swing.

It’s ideal for players who are taller than average or those with long arms who have quite steep downswing motion. The technique is to take a pause just before the downswing, then push out the left knee towards the target, round outside the left shoulder.

This helps to transition body weight forwards, allowing the downswing to power through onto the ball.

Take what you will and follow these simple tips at the top of your backswing and transition into the downswing, and you will instantly see results in your ball striking.

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