In this new series, PGA professional GRANT HEPBURN demonstrates some of the key concepts in generating more power in your golf swing. This month he focuses on creating and retaining power in your downswing.
In theory, the downswing should be the easiest part of the golf swing. Having got yourself into a good position at the top of the backswing, the role of the downswing is to accelerate from zero km/h at the top to maximum speed at impact, as you swing back down into the ball.
I like to think of a good, solid downswing as a combination of lateral movement towards the target, the turn of your body and the swinging of your arms. I’ll use the sequence below to explain what I mean.
Getting it right
In this sequence you can see that, in my backswing, I have made a nice, powerful turn, with a full swing of my arms. As I start my downswing, note how I shift my weight to my left as my arms swing down. While my weight is shifting to the left, my body needs to rotate towards the target. By combining this weight transfer and rotation, I am able to maximise power by using a good technique.
Getting it wrong
In this downswing, I move my weight laterally towards the target but there isn’t nearly enough rotation of my body. As a result, my hips and legs end up sliding towards the target and my body stays closed through the swing. The result is an unstable body position at impact and a big loss of speed – because there is no rotational force coming from the body.
In this sequence I demonstrate a downswing with too much rotational movement from top of backswing and not enough transfer of weight towards the target. You can see how my body spins out and my weight gets stuck on my back foot. This causes my club to swing across the ball instead of towards the target, resulting in a loss of power and direction – with a big slice or a pull-hook the common outcomes.
The step drill is an excellent way to get the feeling of a good weight transfer and unwinding of the upper body.
Start with your feet together and the ball forward. Make a normal backswing, turning your shoulders and swinging your arms back. Now, push with your right foot and step on to your left foot as you swing through the ball. You can actually hit the ball during this drill.
As you do this, you will experience the feeling of a good transfer of weight to your left side and your body will naturally turn as your arms swing through the ball.
It’s such an effective drill because you are forced to transfer your weight to the left side as you step on to the left foot and your body will naturally unwind as you hit the ball.
– This article first appeared in the January 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!