The Sequence

What to look for when you analyze your own swing

This Article Features Photo Zoom

After you've completed your backswing, it's time for the swing's most important move: the transition. While some instructors advocate a slight hip bump toward the target, I tell my students that the first move of the downswing is actually a slight dropping of your hands and arms, as if you were pulling a chain. (See photo above.) Once you've done that, then your hips and body should rotate and make a slight lateral move forward and toward the target. While this happens, your legs and feet should also be driving forward onto your left side. A weight transition is taking place, and you should be trying to shift about 80% of your weight onto your left side.

Don't Cast!
Note the photo below where I've cast the club. Doing this—flipping my wrists to start the swing as if I'm going fishing—is how most amateurs start their downswings. You can see here that I've used my small muscles instead of my big muscles to drive the swing. But this move only leads to outside-to-inside swings with which you'll cut across the ball and produce a weak slice.

Although I wrote earlier that I want you to first start your downswing with a slight move of your arms and hands, remember that from there, it's vital that your hips, body and legs rotate and drive forward to the target. That and only that will yield powerful, solid contact.

I've reached the top of my backswing, and the club is parallel to my target line. Now I'm ready to transition.

It's subtle, but notice how my club has moved down a little. And my arms and hands have dropped slightly.

From face on, my club is parallel to the ground.

My hands and arms drop. That's the first move.


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