Drills for the Downswing Part of your Golf Swing
The exercises and drills in this section will tackle the downswing sequence of your golf swing. The downswing begins right after the backswing reaches the top of the golf swing. It ends at the impact, when the club actually makes contact with the ball.
Through these exercises you will learn to transfer your weight onto your front foot, make sure you bring the club in the correct direction during the downswing and shield your swing from the over the top swing error.
Weight Transfer Drill
Before you begin your golf swing – at address – your weight should be equally distributed along your two feet. Then during your backswing your weight is meant to be shifted towards your back, right foot as you coil and rotate your shoulders on top of your hips. Then, during the downswing you are meant to shift the weight towards your front foot so that you deliver as much energy onto the golf ball.
Use this drill in order to make sure your weight transfer goes the right direction, so that you do not commit the reverse pivot golf swing error.
- Make a few practice swings to loosen up and take note of how your hips, legs and feet are interacting as you perform your downswing.
- Naturally, at the follow through, your weight should be almost exclusively on your front foot, with your right heel completely off the ground.
- In order to promote a strong weight transfer and to make sure your weight does indeed move forward start pushing on your right toes as you begin your downswing.
- This action will cause your right heel to lift sooner rather than later and will make it very difficult for your weight to get stuck on the back foot.
Cure for the Reverse Pivot
One of the golf swing errors covered on this site is the reverse pivot.
In this swing flaw your weight transfer goes in the opposite direction. Indeed, rather than going back during the backswing and forward during the downswing the weight moves forward in your backswing and back during your downswing. This leaves your weight on your back foot at impact, resulting in a poor contact with the ball and a loss of distance.
Correct Path Downswing Drill
Let’s assume that you are bringing your club up on-plane and that your top of the swing position is ideal. While these are great building blocks and do promote good results down the line they don’t guarantee that you will bring the club down correctly during the downswing.
Use this drill to quickly check if you are bringing the club down square at the target.
- Insert a tee into the butt end of your club, into the hole that can be found in the middle of the golf grip.
- Take a few practice swings to loosen up and when ready pause at the top of the swing. As we’ve seen in the top of the swing drills if you are in a correct position the end of your grip should point towards the general direction of the ball.
- Move on to the downswing and as you reach the point where the shaft of the club is parallel to the ground make a pause to observe how your club is positioned.
- If you are bringing the club down square the tee peg should be pointing straight down the target line. If the tee is pointing to the left of the target line then you are coming in with an outside-in swing path. If the tee is pointing to the right of the target line then you are coming in with an inside-out swing path. (More on club path.)
Great Visual Aid for Observing Club Path
Inserting a tee into your golf grip can provide you with a very good visual aid to confirm if you are performing the swing sequence as you think you are.
While a square club path might not always be what you are after the tee will quickly help you determine if you are on the right path. Indeed, maybe you are trying to fix a golf slice and in doing so are trying to move from an out-to-in swing path to an in-to-out swing path (or vice-versa with a hook).
Anti Over-the-Top Drill
One of the worst mistakes a golfer can make during the downswing is called the over the top. In this swing error the club swirls away from the golfer at the top of the swing, with the hands moving towards the front of the golfer and resulting in an outside-in swing. While in itself that club path can be helpful in producing specific ball flights such as a fade it can also lead to a slice or a pull that can be difficult to get rid of.
Follow this drill if you are trying to get rid of your over the top swing.
- Hold your golf club with your left hand at the top of the grip (as normal) but slide down your right hand until it grips the club on the shaft, below the grip.
- Perform a few practice swings with your hands in this position and notice how your right elbow moves after you reach the top of the swing.
- If you are suffering from an over the top swing you will notice that your right elbow will tend to move away from your body, pushing your hands and club away from your body in front of you.
- With this drill, focus on dropping your right elbow straight down towards the right side of your hips as the first movement you make from the top of the swing. This movement will help draw in your hands and club and will help shield you from the out-to-in swing path that you are trying to get rid of.
Cannot Produce a Straight Shot at the Target
The fundamental problem with an over the top swing is that it produces an outside-in swing path. And that swing path – however you position your clubface at impact – can’t produce a straight shot at the target. Instead, golfers need to juggle between a fade, a pull, or a slice.
While this drill will likely put you on an inside-out swing path it is effective in breaking the swing error and can act as a preliminary step towards an inside-square-inside club path which can produce straight shot at the target.