Swing Extremes: Knee Action
In order to deliver the golf club powerfully into the back of the golf ball, you must maintain a firm base with your lower body and create a powerful backswing coil. This coil results by turning the upper body against the resistance of the lower body. Good players facilitate the creation of coil by maintaining the gap between the knees on the backswing (right). They unleash the energy stored in the coil by closing the gap on the downswing.
A typical high-handicap player tends to do the opposite. He or she rotates the upper and lower body together, so that the left knee swings toward the right (for a right-handed golfer). In some instances, the left foot may even come off the ground. This creates a reverse weight shift and provides no stability for the lower body. From this position, the golfer is unable to execute a proper weight shift and will end up finishing the swing with most of his or her weight on the back foot, so the knees never touch on the followthrough. These errors result in the clubhead approaching the ball on an outside path.
Are you guilty of these errors? Make a practice swing in front of a mirror. If the gap between your knees closes on the backspin but widens on the downswing, you’re doing the exact opposite of what needs to occur.
Knee Action Drill
If you lack power or can never achieve balance when you finish your swing, try this drill.
Place a soccer or beach ball between your knees and simply squeeze it and keep it there as you coil your upper body on the backswing. This will help to remind you of the sensation of keeping the distance between your knees constant all the way up to the top of your swing, and encourage strong leg action and a powerful backswing coil. Once you complete the backswing, initiate the downswing with your lower body by moving your forward knee toward the target. Your legs should take on a squat or sit-down look, and the ball should fall from your knees.
As your arms drop, simply push off of your right foot and swing to the finish. If you perform the drill correctly, you can’t help but finish in balance. Use this drill to help remind you to create a gap between the knees on the backswing and to close the gap on the downswing. That’s what the pros do.
Class-A LPGA professional Karen Palacios-Jansen is the director of instruction for Swing Blade Golf (swingbladegolf.com).