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How To Become A Successful Golfer

Jan 3, 2008
This is how the key parts of the body, and not forgetting the club head, need to respond in the correctly shaped downswing, smoothly and unhurriedly applied:

The head has remained in its original position throughout.

It has not "gone" and must not be allowed to "go" with the lateral shift of the lower part of the body.

The shoulders have squared up parallel to the intended line of flight, the left shoulder, remember, still up.

The right elbow has quietly slipped into its groove close to the body, "inside" the left elbow (as it had it at address). The right arm has still not entirely straightened at the elbow and no strain should be felt in this limb.

The stomach as it should have been throughout the backswing and downswing is still retracted, and this control of the stomach has been the more easily retained if you have stayed down to the ball on flexed knees.

The left arm still extended is in line with the shaft which means that the hands are slightly ahead of the ball with the back of the left hand and the palm of the right square to the line of flight.

The left knee has commenced to straighten, not stiffen. (Nothing is stiff in golf.) I prefer to describe it as a "firming up" of the left leg. The outside of the left knee, consequent on the lateral weight-shift, will ideally have gone a fraction beyond a vertical line drawn up from the outside of the left foot.

The right heel has left the ground and such weight as remains on the foot is along the inside of the sole.

The left foot has now taken the major part of the weight which is concentrated on the outside of this foot, again as a result of the lateral shift which has taken place.


The club head has, without any manipulation this way or that, been returned SQUARE to the back of the ball from the inside and is about to be driven through along the line of flight under the build-up of power.

All this has taken place without the body being thrown off balance. In fact you should be solidly balanced with a sense of firmness running right up the left side from the foot to the shoulder.

Now to clear up one controversial point: the popular conception that the downswing starts with the return movement of the left hip while the hands remain passive.

I cannot accept this. I insist that the hands much remain active at all times. Many outstanding players probably feel that the left hip dominates the start of the downswing, and I fancy that this is because they have been playing from early boyhood and hand-action to them has become second nature.

My point is that this passive hands theory can destroy the smoothness of the whole movement because the moment they become active again is likely to result in a sudden quickening of the tempo. You must sense the club head through the hands ALL the time.

What I urge you to concentrate on above all else in the downswing is:

(a) the driving down from a slow measured start with the hands and left arm across the body,
(b) the club under full control behind the hands and
(c) the lateral shift of the lower part of the body.

With a little practice, you downswing will become a strong part of your golfing technique.
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