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The Down Swing in Golf

Impact to completion of the full swing

In golf, the backswing is the initial movement where the golfer swings the club away from the ball, preparing for the downswing and eventual impact with the ball. The backswing can be divided into two main phases: the takeaway and the completion of the backswing, and then the downswing.

Below is a sequence of movements that help a player in achieving the complete swing.


Takeaway: The initial movement of the club away from the ball. During the takeaway, the golfer's goal is to initiate a smooth, controlled motion where the clubhead moves away from the ball while maintaining proper alignment and posture. This phase sets the foundation for the rest of the backswing.


Completion of the backswing: This phase involves continuing the rotation of the body and the club until the club reaches the top of the swing. It's crucial for golfers to achieve a full backswing, where the club is parallel to the ground (for most golfers, but not essential) and ideally in line with the target or slightly beyond it. This position allows for maximum power and control when transitioning into the downswing.


During the second half of the backswing, the golfer focuses on maintaining proper wrist hinge, shoulder rotation, and weight transfer to achieve a consistent and powerful position at the top of the swing. It's essential to maintain balance and stability throughout this phase to ensure a smooth transition into the downswing and an effective strike at the ball. Players often work on the rhythm and tempo of their backswing to achieve consistency and accuracy in their shots. 


The golf downswing is a crucial part of the golf swing sequence where the club transitions from the backswing to striking the ball. Here's a basic breakdown of the golf downswing:


Transition: The downswing begins with a smooth transition from the backswing. This transition should be initiated by the lower body, particularly the hips, turning towards the target. The hands and arms follow suit, but the key is to avoid any jerky movements or excessive tension.


Lower Body Movement: As mentioned, the lower body plays a significant role in initiating the downswing. The weight shifts from the back foot (right foot for right-handed golfers) to the front foot (left foot for right-handed golfers). This shift of weight helps generate power and momentum.


Hip Rotation: Proper hip rotation is essential for generating clubhead speed and power. As the downswing progresses, the hips should continue to rotate toward the target. This rotation creates torque in the body, which is then transferred to the arms and ultimately to the club.


Upper Body and Arm Movement: As the lower body initiates the downswing, the upper body and arms follow suit. The shoulders begin to unwind, and the arms drop into position, bringing the club down towards the ball.


Maintaining Lag: Lag refers to the angle formed between the club-shaft and the lead arm (left arm for right-handed golfers) during the downswing. Maintaining lag as long as possible helps store energy, leading to a more powerful release at impact.


From the top of the swing to impact

Release: The release occurs just before impact when the wrists unhinge, allowing the clubhead to accelerate through the ball. This release should feel natural and not forced.


Impact: Impact is the moment of truth in the golf swing. The goal is to make clean contact with the ball, with the clubface square to the target line. Proper weight transfer, hip rotation, and arm extension all contribute to solid impact.


Follow Through: After striking the ball, the golfer's momentum continues into the follow-through. The body rotates fully towards the target, and the arms extend high and towards the target, with the club finishing high and around the body.


It's important to note that while there are key elements to a proper downswing, there can be variations in technique based on individual physical capabilities and swing styles. Working with a golf instructor can help you refine your downswing and improve your overall golf game.