How to Start the Downswing in Golf

Trajectory of the Downswing in Golf

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So far you have learned the proper setup technique and the wind-up, known as the backswing. The next stage of the golf swing is the downswing. The downswing in golf is the start of “showtime.”

At the top of the backswing, the properly positioned body is wound tightly, ready to unleash the power that is released during the properly executed golf downswing. In this article, we look at how to start the downswing.

The Downswing in Golf, a Mixture of Power and Beauty

If you love the feeling of swinging a golf club with power, you are going to love the downswing. At the culmination of the backswing, your body will be coiled tightly, like a snake waiting to strike. On days when you are hitting the ball well, you will feel an excitement,  a natural high, at the moment you start your downswing.

Remember this feeling.

It’s what you feel when your body knows that it is aligned properly and positioned to unleash a perfect golf swing. Similarly, when feel anxious, something inside you knows that a hiccup in the way you executed your setup or backswing is going to interfere with your downswing. Welcome to the moment of truth.

Your backswing should have felt controlled and smooth. At the start of the downswing in golf, you will experience a change in the tempo of your swing as it picks up speed for the power you are about to unleash.

The transition from the backswing to the downswing should be seamless and smooth. Never force your downswing. This will pull your body and swing out of alignment.

Let’s look at the downswing sequence.

The Golf Downswing Sequence Starts with the Lower Body

The golf downswing sequence starts from the ground and works its way up. The lower body, or hips, should be the first body parts to move when you transition from the backswing to the downswing in golf. Your entire body is preparing to unwind and release energy. That motion starts with the hips. At the moment of impact with the ball, the hips will be open face to the target. Next, your torso will follow your hips. Gradually, your weight will shift from your back foot to your front foot. Your arms and hands will be the last to turn.

When you turn properly you will unwind faster and hit the ball harder.

Once you have initiated the swing and the club starts its descent toward the ball, let the swing progress naturally. Beginner golfers tend to pull the golf club as hard as they can during the beginning portion of the downswing. This will always result in problems with timing, the shifting of your weight, and making contact between the ball and the club’s sweet spot. Both your balance and power will be lost.

Once your torso starts to unwind, be sure that your weight is shifting from your back foot to your front. If you fail to transfer your weight properly onto the lead foot you can lose as much as half of the power and accuracy needed for a successful shot. This is all about timing, and it takes practice. Be patient with yourself, and practice this often until muscle memory takes over.

Release the Arms, Release the Energy

With your hips and torso in motion, and your body weight shifting forward, the arms are the last to release their power in full extension and follow-through.

Keep your left arm straight during this transition. Your straightened arm enables the club head to remain square and hit the ball properly on the sweet spot. The club head should now be coming down and moving faster toward the ball. Maintain your good form as the downswing gains momentum and speed. Picture yourself hitting through the ball and lifting it off its tee or spot. Your entire body will follow through naturally and powerfully.

Try to maintain the bend in your cocked wrists (from your backswing form) as long as possible. They should be the last part of your body to release before hiting the ball. If you can learn to release your wrists at the moment of impact, you will maximize the power transferred to the ball.

Two Golf Downswing Drills

Watch these golf downswing drills to learn two great exercises that will help you practice the downswing properly.

Don’t Rush the Downswing

Don’t rush your downswing. If you do, you’ll increase the chances of swinging straight down on the ball instead of through it with a perfect sweeping motion that lifts it up, up, and away. The downswing in golf is the big moment that brings us to contact with the ball. It is the transition that takes us to the main attraction: when club face meets ball. When you execute the downswing perfectly, it is one of the most exhilarating parts of the game. At the moment of contact with the golf ball, you will know, instinctively, whether your downswing has been successful.

Next in our articles on the parts of the golf swing, we will look at the main event: what happens at the moment of impact.


Golf Downswing Drill For Better Transition

Golf downswing drill for better transition with PGA Professionals Piers Ward and Andy Proudman.

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