A Golf Downswing Question

by Richard Down
(Canberra, Australia)

You say the downswing is started by the left knee, and elsewhere, in answers to questions, say that this move is in fact anticipatory and automatic. That makes perfect sense - its like the body's automatic preparations to throw a ball or, say, a javelin.

But, while many sites echo this, most slow-mo videos appear to show professional players start the swing by either pulling the left arm or adducting the right shoulder. They all appear to keep the power package (arms and shoulders) together for the first part of the downswing.

Also the right shoulder having turned slightly down and around, seems to move in a much steeper angle on the upswing (downswing). This seems to drive the right shoulder downwards rather than out and across the swing path.

You also advocate swinging the club down with the hands. I'm confused! Do I not worry about the left knee as this is automatic (if the back swing has been correctly performed) and simply swing the hands down to (say) my right pocket? Or do I pull the left shoulder upwards?

Help please!

Louis Reply

You have a good understanding of the move back to the ball and the javelin example is a great way to visualize the movement of the lower body in the golf down swing.

Your comment about Pro's pulling the left arm appears to be correct but this is a reaction from the hips turning and transferring weight to the left side without help from the shoulders.

The body is going into reverse from the pivot in the back swing, and allowing the right shoulder to be pulled down lower into impact helps to release the wrists, hands and club much later in the down swing.

This move will bring the club head into impact on an inside path.

Most high handicappers right shoulder is too high at impact because they have moved the right shoulder outwards and over the top coming into the ball from an outside path.

The left arm in a right handed player is the lead arm and should be controlling and pulling in the latter half of the down swing.

I have specifically mention that the hands should not be pulled down from the top and this should be avoided as much as possible. I think perhaps you missed that part in the article on the down swing.

You may be referring to an exercise I have mention in an article to increase hand speed. This is done by taking half swings and feeling the hands accelerate through the impact zone. Here you will need to pull the hands through.

Important Note

The golf swing is broken down into parts for instructional purposes, (like we are discussing here) but you should feel the swing as a continuous motion from the time the club is taken away from the ball till the finish position on the left side.

There is no start to the down swing only a reference point to the "top" or "transition"

If you practice swinging continuously back and through with a good pace the body reacts and stays in motion allowing you to swing in proper sequence.

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