Ground Up vs. Top Down

Finding consistency below your feet

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If you've ever thrown a baseball or football, you know that to throw it hard you have to engage the lower body and push off the ground. The same principle holds true with the golf swing. Hitting the ball powerfully and consistently requires you to engage the lower body and push off the ground. As you swing, think of what it feels like to step into a pitch and throw a fastball. The body coils up on the backswing and then uncoils with momentum moving not only toward the target, but down into the ground.

Check out the top photo where I throw the ball using just my upper body. Not only does it look bad, but the results weren't pretty, either. Now look at the more leveraged throw. I heaved that a good 20 yards without exerting myself. How? I used the ground and leveraged it by driving my left leg into the turf as I unwound and released the ball.

It's the same feeling you should have on your downswing. The body should feel as though it's driving down and into your left leg as you rotate toward the target. A great way for you to ingrain this proper feel is to drive your right knee toward the target as you swing. This will help you move weight both toward the target and into the ground. The more effectively you do this, the easier it is to rotate the body and also to make a full extension of the arms through impact.


If you're a top-down swinger, I'll bet you have a problem casting the club. When you cast the club and release the wrists too soon, it not only robs you of power and control, but it affects your lower-body stability, as well. Reason being, casting exerts force up and away from the ground, and when that happens, it's not uncommon for the heels to come off the ground and lose your footing. To illustrate, think of holding a fishing pole on the edge of a dock. The goal is to cast your bait as far away as you can, which means you'll likely lean and lift your heels as you cast, right? Well, that works in fishing, but it's a death knell in playing good golf.

Instead, practice adding some hinge and lag to your swing. I like to use a Smash Bag to check and make my wrists hold their hinge for as long as possible, and at impact, I have some forward shaft lean. Notice in the above sequence that I'm hitting down into the Smash Bag, as opposed to trying to hit up on the Smash Bag as seen in the upper left photos.

And, by the way, I don't always use the Smash Bag for impact-checking. I like to hit balls alongside of it to help me remember to hit down and through the golf ball.


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