by Donald Crawley
Contributing Golf Writer and Director of Instruction for The Boulders Club
Voted as a TOP 100 Teacher in Golf Magazine, and Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy, Carefree, AZ.
Boulders, AZ (Sports Network) --
So much is written and spoken about regarding the ?over the top? move as you bring you club down and into contact with the ball, expecting it to be straight down the fairway. But, when you create this movement on your swing and wonder where the ball went you realize why there is so much discussion concerning this aspect of the game. It is justifiably warranted but has anyone actually helped you understand the correct move, not just the wrong one? That which frays many friendships on the course is someone telling you what you are doing wrong without an ability to correct it.That makes it a world of not crossing against the red but no one telling you what will happen when you do or advising to wait for the green.
I believe this article may change your whole life. OK, not your entire life but certainly your golf downswing!
Whenever I write these alleged pearls of wisdom, we must all agree on a few presumptions and an inference that you want to improve your golf game coupled with the following: One, you have a reasonable clue how to hold the golf club; two, you have taken instruction from a qualified teacher/pro at some point or, three, you were born holding a golf club in your hands and discovered, in your pubescent years, that you are naturally gifted with a talent that resulted in your swinging the golf club back and up in an acceptable plane and direction at all times. Should that situation not be the case where you are concerned, get out to the range at the earliest opportunity and start beating up the balls.
For those without that natural talent and who are still reading, let?s talk about how we should start the downswing. Most instructional books and golf teaching gurus will agree that the downswing actually starts as the backswing finishes. Confused? No reason to be when you think about it but, for the moment, club at your side and you almost unable to contain yourself relative to a trip the range, let?s skip past that right now and move into the actual physical movements that are required to allow the club head to strike the ball correctly.
What is the downswing sequence?
From the top of the backswing, presuming that this part of your swing has been executed properly and not just executed, the golf club must come down the way it went up...as in going in reverse. That means in the same plane and direction that was in place on the backswing. If the golf club comes down on the same path, it is most likely to be on the same plane. Contrary to common belief the arms have to initiate the downswing. A lot of top players talk about ?dropping? the arms, or ?let the club fall into the slot." In other words start the downswing with your arms and you will achieve the two previous statements. How simple this game can be.
However, this cannot be achieved if the lower body is static, if it is stationary. As the arms swing down, the legs and hips, or what I prefer to describe as the ?core?, or the trunk, must be unwinding in a rotational manner. Got it? Good. Wait, don't leave yet.
Let?s review this part of your game in the simplest of terms. After all, my own company isn?t called golf simplified without reason.
Remember this statement and you can tell anyone who asks that you got it from me - the arms initiate the downswing as your trunk unwinds. If we break the specific parts of the body down into segments, I would say that the arms swing down as the trunk unwinds and the shoulders follow. Arms, tummy, shoulders. Because 90% of golfers slice the ball, 90% of golfers, of which you are probably one, start the downswing shoulders, arms, hips. Therefore, if you fit into this category, change the sequence of your downswing to; arms, hips, shoulders. Your legs take your body from one point to the other and your arms take the rest of your upper body from one point to perfect contact with the golf ball.
If you are in the 10% category and tend to hook the ball, the best I can do right now is to allow you to sequence your downswing, hips, arms, shoulders.
I understand that I have taken the liberty to label the trunk as consisting of legs, hips, tummy. Try all three thoughts and see what works best for you. It does not happen instantaneously but it will happen. There are no absolute words that will apply to all golfers so take what works for you,, what improves your game and go with it. You can't take advice from everyone or you will soon find yourself in the bowling alley with a new love. For now, feel free to massage my message in any way that will help you the most. One way or another, I know it will help. It already has in thousands of cases.
Donald Crawley, Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy at the Boulders Resort & Golden Door? Spa in Carefree, Ariz. Crawley, a veteran of 29 years of teaching experience, is the newest contributor to The Sports Network with regular features that range from tips on improving your game to etiquette at the course. He has established 40 golf school sites in the United States since 1980,previously as vice president and director of instruction at John Jacobs? Golf Schools, consultant to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, and presently at the Boulders Golf Resort in Arizona.
Crawley is recognized among the "Top 100 Teachers in America" by Golf Magazine and one of the "Best Teachers in Arizona" by Golf Digest. As both a Class A U.S. PGA member and a British PGA member, Crawley has been recognized for his outstanding teaching abilities. In 2002, he won the Southwest Section PGA?s Teacher of the Year Award. He also received the Horton Smith Award for education in 2000. In addition to teaching over 60,000 students, Crawley has co-authored video instruction tapes with John Jacobs and BBC/ABC golf telecaster Peter Alliss.