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How Does a Pefect Golf Downswing Feel Like?

Describing "How it Feels"

The Perfect Downswing

How Does a Perfect Golf Downswing Feel?

For you who have been hitting from the top and from the outside for years (and you are about 95 per cent of all golfers), peforming a golf downswing the way we suggest will feel strange indeed.

In this section, we'll try to describe the feeling you should have when you perform these actions.

Words here become of even greater importance than they are customarily. So, since the same action feels different to different people, we will describe several feelings so that perhaps one of them may be recognized.

Once we were giving a lesson to a doctor who was one of the most persistent hitters-from-the-top, outside-in swingers, and hip-stoppers we ever have seen.

We told him to keep his head back, even holding it back for him. But that failed to give him the idea. Telling him to stay behind the ball had even less effect.

Insisting he move his hips through brought no response.

Other pros had told him to bring his hands straight down from the top, to bring the butt of the club straight down to the ground, to move his hands toward his right trousers pocket—all the standard gimmicks.

He would do these things, in a sense, but he would always manage to turn
his shoulders a little first, so when he brought his hands down he brought them down outside.

"Words here become of even greater importance than they are customarily. So, since the same action feels different to different people, we will describe several feelings so that perhaps one of them may be recognized."

Finally we said to him: "How do you feel when you are at the top of the swing?"

"When I go there by myself I feel comfortable,"he replied," but when you put me there I am uncomfortable."

That was the clue!

"O.K.," we said. "Just go to the top a few times the way I want you to go, so that you are uncomfortable."

He did.

"Now," we said, "go up the same way, only stay uncom¬fortable as you come down to the ball."

He followed instructions and drilled a 7 iron that was practically perfect—inside out with a late hit. You could see a light go on inside him.

The idea of staying uncomfortable as he came down meant, to him, that he had to keep that uncomfortable body twist he had at the top, and the only way he could keep it was to keep his hips moving to the left past the ball.

When he started his hips right from the top and kept them moving, he didn't have time to make the little shoulder turn toward the ball that he invariably made to be comfortable, and he didn't have time to do anything with the club head.

Another pupil, who got the idea quicker, said: "My whole idea now is to move my hips so far that I feel them pulling my left arm down toward the ball.

When I get that feeling I know I will hit a good shot."

Still a third, an engineer, gave it an excellent expression when he said: "I have the feeling on that first move from the top, when I do nothing with my arms and hands, that I am storing up something—energy or momentum or power—that I am going to release farther down in the swing."

This is a wonderful feeling to have, because that is exactly what you are doing when this first move is made correctly. You are storing up energy that is going to explode at the ball.

What all this comes down to is two things. First, we coil ourselves up on the backswing to gain tension that is going to be released as late as possible on the downswing.

Holding that tension is the "staying uncomfortable" feeling, the "storing up" feeling. That is what gives us distance.

Second, as we move our hips laterally and keep our head back, but do nothing else, there is a complete absence of effort in our arms and hands.

Then, if we have kept ourselves from uncoiling, the hands and club come down on the inside.

That, plus club-face position, gives us direction.

When we have made this first move from the top correctly, where does it bring us? It brings us to a position generally called the hitting area.

It is not that, exactly. It is only one position in an infinite number that we pass through in the downswing.

It is, roughly, the point in the downswing that we reach before the arm-shaft angle opens up much.

The move brings us down so that our hands are nearly opposite our right leg, our weight is about equally distributed but moving toward our left leg, the body is beginning to bow out to the left, the right elbow is nestled against the hip bone, and the club is nearing a horizontal position.

That is the feeling of a perfect golf downswing.

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