Ground Up vs. Top Down

Finding consistency below your feet

This Article Features Photo Zoom

As golfers, we're a blessed bunch to be able to play our favorite game over miles and miles of manicured turf. And, while most courses (especially the TPC of Valencia, where we shot this article) serve as some pretty nice backdrops for the eyes, the ground we play on is actually an integral part of the golf swing. Without stable footing, it becomes near impossible to hit the ball with any sense of consistency. This is one of the reasons why we wear spikes under our feet.

That said, the ground isn't just there for our feet to cling to. It also serves as the foundation for the golf swing. In fact, better golf swings always work from the ground up and not the top down. Turn the page to see what I mean.


Here, I'm using one of my favorite training aids, the Orange Whip. It's a great tool for tempo-timing, and it helps you make longer, more patient swings, especially as the body coils to the top of the backswing and initiates the downswing.

If you look at the photo above at the top of my swing, the goal is to feel as though you've loaded your weight into the inner side of your right leg. The sensation should feel as though your right foot is pressing into the ground. As you then start the downswing, the key is not to lift the weight out of your right leg; rather you should laterally bump it over to your left leg. This is done by a slight bump of the hips as you begin to rotate the body toward the target. The left leg should feel as though it's plugged into the ground and stays firm as you move through the downswing.

Often, I see students do just the opposite. They take the club back with weight on the forward (left) leg and slide it over to the right leg on the downswing. That's a recipe for the dreaded reverse-pivot, folks! Instead, let your weight move (I don't use exact weight percentages since everyone's swing is a little different) and load up that right leg. Then, bump those hips on the downswing and keep that left foot plugged in the ground.


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