How To Start The Downswing

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In this tip I explain how to start the downswing.  This tip continues on from the tip I did about the backswing coil.  Once coiled up, you uncoil in the downswing.  It is this uncoiling that gives you the power and consistency that you are after.

Most people are simply trying to get the ball solely with their hands and arms.  In order to generate the kind of power you are looking for you need to use your legs.  As you watch this tip you will finally understand how using the lower body to uncoil in the downswing creates the power so you will want to practice it and incorporate it into your own golf swing. Once you do, you will have plenty of power for years to come.



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Author Description

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

38 Responses to “How To Start The Downswing”

  1. Hey Paul!!! Two questions:

    1) I still have days where I get excited and either don’t fully complete my backswing and/or start down to quick. Any drills to make me slow down and not be in such a rush to make contact?

    2) Any way to help differentiate the tension that we should feel in a good coil vs being too tight/tense with our shoulders and arms (which usually leads to my 1st question…lol).
    Thanks!!

    • Bryan, we have all had days when we get excited. You have to focus on repeating your golf swing. Look for the torque in your left lat area as you coil back. This tells you that you have completed the backswing. It is unmistakeable and you will be able to repeat it every time. You can slow down by following the tip below.

      Follow this:

      Count In Backswing: http://ignitiongolf.com/drill-count-in-backswing

      2. You are coiling up at a steady pace. At about 3/4 back you start to feel the torque. Momentum will keep you turning back. A little further back and you are done. This is smooth not fast. As you coil back the shoulders are relaxed and the arms are powerless. You would be tight if you were trying to hit the ball hard. You should never been trying to do this. The arms are an extension from your body. They move because your body moves them (this is after you have trained them to go up and set the club at the top). So keep the arms turned off going back. You hit the ball in the downswing not the backswing. Once coiled you fire the legs hard to hit the ball. The arms will follow. Gradually start moving the lower body faster and faster until you hit the ball with the power you are after.

  2. September 12, 2012

    HermanKoh

    Hi Paul,

    I know you teach powerless arms in golf. I take my back leg and touch the front leg/knees to begin the downswing. This has already become second nature to me in starting the downswing. The further we want to hit the ball the faster we turn our body and the faster the hands that is connected with the body will follow. My question is : When we begin to come down do we pull the club down with our left hand or do use more of our right hand? or would you say it is a 50% to 50% ratio between our right and left hand on the downswing?

  3. September 14, 2012

    TERRYHUNTER

    How long does it usely take to learn your method of swinging the golf club?

    • Paul Wilson

      September 15, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      Terry, Some people get it right away while for others it can takes months to get the arms out of your swing. Remember, you have engrained it for years. I think a few months is pretty quick.

      I can give you the information it is up to you to do something different than you have done before. In doing so you are not going to hit every shot great. You may hit a few good ones here and there. Then the next day you hit a few more and so on. Don’t rush it and stay focused on your movement. The faster you move like a better player the faster you will become one.

      Too many people want instant results and they keep watching the ball to see if they have it. Forget the ball and focus on the movement. Everyday you work on better positioning you get one step close to the goal. Just keep doing it.

      Make sure you start doing this drill immediately. The day you can do it with a driver on the first swing is the day you will have it:

      DRILL: This Is The Best Drill You Should Be Doing Right Now: http://ignitiongolf.com/drill-three-quarter-distance/

      Watch this too:

      Why You Can’t Stop Hitting With Arms: http://ignitiongolf.com/cure-hitting-with-arms

      This is an actual email sent in by an actual customer:

      I am writing this e-mail with joy. I finally got it!!!! I wrote an e-mail previously totally dejected and at a point at which I never thought I would get it well, I finally got it.

      In the interest of full disclosure I did not do exactly what you said to do in terms of time frame and not hitting balls and in retrospect I think I needed to do it the way I did it for it all to click.

      I practiced every day, I ate and slept the swing and I refused to give up. I wanted to play a little so I went out and played one round of the most frustrating golf in my life doing the swing very slow. Frustrated and mad I did not give up. A week later I played 18 holes of the most frustrating golf in y life doing the swing again very slow.

      I never wanted to give up on the swing even when my friends were crushing drives of the tee box and stroking their irons. One friend was also telling me “i don’t get the swing, you have to use your arms” I refused to listen even when it was so tempting just to say forget it, I stayed steadfast. After this round of eighteen we played a few extra holes and I got fed up and just started swinging as hard as I could exploding with my hips and I laced four drives about 220 with a slight fade.

      I then went home and hit some plastic balls, just like you say not to do I know sorry but it helped, and it all clicked! I went to the course the next day and played to best golf of my life. I did not shoot my best score but I only hit two bad balls and I hit a 305 yd drive for the first time in my life.

      I shot a 47 and I counted up 6 strokes I left out there because of chipping and putting and I put a ball that went dead straight of the tee box in the water. so it could have been a 41 and that would have been the best score of my life.

      I think I am on my way to being a very good golfer. Thank you Paul Wilson.

  4. September 14, 2012

    TERRYHUNTER

    How long does it take to learn your method of
    swinging the golf club with no arms involved?
    I’ve been at it for two weeks and still havent
    got it . I have been a arms only player for
    years and its hard to change.

  5. September 21, 2012

    thomasflaherty

    Paul:

    I really enjoy your videos. They are very informative and you really break things down for the viewer to understand the components of the swign. I have watched your video on how to start the down swing a number of times and was making progress with much straighter shots. However something fell apart and i’m back to coming over the top and my club face is open any suggestions to fix my slice. Secondly I almost daily practice your drill of swinging the club off the ground (no) ball to work on seperation, is there a way to ensure that i’m doing this drill correctly. thanks for your time and developing this website.

    • Paul Wilson

      September 21, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      Glad you like the tips. I appreciate it.

      What fell apart is you trying to hit the ball too hard again with your arms. Remember when you start the downswing with your arms your upper body will lean left in the downswing. This sends the golf club over the top.

      The telltale sign is that the face is open. This is due to the tightness in your wrists. So any time you start slicing the golf ball immediately backup and start rolling your wrists over way sooner than you currently are. This will get the clubface closing instead of it being open. Now step up to the ball roll the wrists over early and hook it. Then hook another few shots feeling how the wrists are rolling over. Once your shots are hooking consistently you then forget about rolling the wrists and you change your focus on to starting the downswing with your lower body. If your lower body moves before your arms start coming down you will hit it dead straight.

      Watch these two tips:

      Manually Square the Clubface: http://ignitiongolf.com/impact-squaring-clubface

      Manually Square the Clubface (Follow Up): http://ignitiongolf.com/impact-squaring-face-follow-up

      Then work on your touching of the legs position:

      Legs Touching: http://ignitiongolf.com/touch-knees

  6. January 13, 2013

    WadeThames

    Paul,
    This was the critical part of the swing for me. This is part for me that took the longest to understand. I had read many things about the downswing at most say the same thing: fire the hips and maintain that power angle (Lag). What made it clear and built my confidence is find out what not to do:

    “The arms, hands and club do nothing at the beginning of the downswing!” “Don’t hold to anything (besides the club) just turn your hips.”

    The lag angle is created by momentum of the backswing (shoulders) and is maintained or sometimes increased by momentum of the downswing by using lower body (hips).

    You said in the video: “when I make the uncoiling motion my arms come down automatically”.

    This reminded me not long ago, I remember watching TV and hearing things in regards to some great touring pros: “look at his arms drop” or “he is in the slot” or “look how he maintain that angle”. They would say something at the end like “that’s what you need to do if you want to swing like “. So, I kept thinking that was something I needed to focus on or make happen. I hear lot things said by commentators that I know now they do not know what they are talking about.

    Al in all, it is getting better everyday, thanks!

    • Paul Wilson

      January 14, 2013

      Paul Wilson

      Wade,

      If you do nothing with the arms and start the body rotation the physics will cause the clubshaft to flatten in the downswing.

      Watch:

      Flatten Plane 1: http://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-flatten-plane

      Flatten Plane 2: http://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-flatten-plane-2

      So keep trying to turn the arms off and work on powering your swing with your legs and hips. They are the motor to your swing. Every machine has a motor which turns a driveshaft. You are no different. Your legs and hips are your motor. They turn your driveshaft (upper body). The arm with the hinge is the accessory which is attached to the machine.

  7. February 26, 2013

    AndrewMah

    hi paul, love the website. So are you saying that if we adhere to your techniques with powerless arms, getting the body ahead of the club, and turning the hips, that one does not need to worry about trying to swing through to first base? my question is, is it still important to focus on a line or target as you swing? if your answer is no, then would I be safe to deduce the only reason we would be hitting over the top or pulling the ball, is because we creeped forward ahead of the ball? thanks Andrew

  8. Paul, the problem that we face you dont seem to truly address head on. Its when we are 190 out on the fairway so we are needing more than just control. Can you please show us your shot when you are truly going for more power and how do we increase that coiling to get to this kind of distance.

    I think the hitting you are doing on the video lesson does not appear to be going for anymore than maybe 160. When we have to add that power we will need to turn up the intensity of the whip and really get the lower body turning faster. Can you show a drill for how you deal with this need to more power and you really speed up the lower body. Seeing this would truly help.

  9. Played some beautiful Golf today Paul. Shot a 74. Strangest feeling so many times of ease, slower, more control. Its amazing. Thanks brother. I think of you almost every time on the course and think of your nice smooth easy swing. I was nailing those greens today………….. Just nailing em.

    Have a great day…………….

    • Paul Wilson

      April 21, 2013

      Paul Wilson

      Ralph,

      That’s great news. Glad you are improving.

      I hope others are seeing this and realize that swinging a little different way will allow you to play better golf than you can imagine.

  10. Is there a way to keep the angle between the clubshaft and the left arm as closed as possible long enough into the downswing to increase the lag and thence the clubhead speed.BEN HOGAN managed to keep this angle shut an incredible amount of Time in the downswing!

  11. Paul

    Would using the belt buckle be ok or is there a preference to using the legs (pushing off in step and straightening knee) or focusing on hip?
    Also in your book you talk about getting the belt buckle back to the original setup position before moving arms on the downswing. Is that a good swing thought or is it too narrow?

    Thank you, Patrick

    • Patrick,

      I have no preference on what you trigger the downswing with. This is why I give choices. I use the right foot. You can use the belt buckle. Whatever works for you is what you should use. I do like the belt buckle.

      By the time the left arm is parallel to the ground in the downswing (in a good players swing) the belt buckle is at the ball so this is a great thought (if you want to develop a great swing and become a great player). Do it in practice swings constantly until you are good at it.

  12. You really say it all perfectly in this video Paul. I have really been feeling how the right arm is sprung into a smooth whipping action due to be so loose. I can now feel the right elbow hitting my hip and creating the swing rather than using my arms. Only took me 3 years to feel how the right arm gets in the action.

    • Ralph,

      Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.

      Although 3 years is a long time at least you are feeling it. Now lets look to the future to keep developing a great swing and hitting great shots.

  13. Paul ,When I started golf -a long Time ago-there was a common saying that there should be a slight pause at THE top of THE backswing :you should be saying to yourself internally :one ,two (Going back :two at THE top of THE backswing ),then say “Wait “then start THE downswing in saying “Three “.is this Still valid today (I keep doing it when I feel that my swing is becoming too fast in THE course of a game …)

  14. August 26, 2013

    HansooKim

    Hey Paul,
    I’ve really been working on your no arms lately. It’s almost there but i have to confess, there are different feelings from time to time. I’ve realized that maybe I’m sometimes completely turning the arms off, while sometimes turning it on just a little bit. (not completely, thankfully)

    anyways, i got wondering..

    1. when i completely turn my arms off, sometimes they seem to feel like they’re dragging behind after i turn my hips..is that a normal feeling? it’s a bit less with the irons, but with woods and driver, they really do feel like they’re trying to catch up with my hips.

    2. at one of your videos you mentioned that your swing shouldn’t look like they’re moving fast. But as i move my hips faster, i can feel my swings going a lot faster, almost to a point where it feels they’re going the same speed as when i was using my arms. Is it possible to seem this way?

    always thanks for all the fantastic videos. you’ve changed me more in the past 3 weeks than years of practice without these videos before that.

    • August 26, 2013

      HansooKim

      just to add a bit more information on question 1; i tried the drill you mentioned on the “stay connected” video. i seem to have no problems with that drill..but because my arms feel like they’re dragging behind, it does gives me the “sensation” of being unconnected.

    • Paul Wilson

      August 28, 2013

      Paul Wilson

      Hansoo,

      Powerless arms is simply you not hitting or helping it with your arms. I just did a tip on this here:

      What Is Powerless Arms?: http://ignitiongolf.com/what-is-powerless-arms/

      If the arms are dragging behind your body too much you are driving the hips too hard which is causing you to disconnect under the lead armpit. The tell-tale sign is that you will blow it right hitting pushes and push fades. So slow down. Feel the connection under the lead armpit and gradually speed up the lower body for more power.

      Watch:

      Connection: http://ignitiongolf.com/connection-backswing

      Depth of Swing Coming Down: http://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-depth-of-swing

      How Much Legs Should You Use To Power Your Swing?: http://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-how-much-legs/

      The swing should look slow because your body does not even rotate at 3mph. It is approx. 2.5 mph. If you arms are connected to your body and your body is powering the swing how would our swing look fast? It would only look fast if you were also trying to hit with your arms. Your arms moves faster than your body in life so if you use them you will have a fast looking swing.

      I don’t see how you can have a fast swing and become disconnected. Seems to contradict what I said above. So slow down. Get the connection back then gradually speed up your body. Keep the wrists loose to generate a faster whipping action of the club which is clubhead speed.

  15. February 19, 2014

    DavidCalvert

    Every time i have trouble with a slice i go back to this clip it has helped me a lot cheers.

  16. February 26, 2014

    DavidCalvert

    Hey paul just wondering out of the few methods you can use to rotate your body witch do you think is the best one to use ?
    This is one area I still have trouble with from time to time

    • Paul Wilson

      February 26, 2014

      Paul Wilson

      David,

      This is really up to you. I am right handed and right sided. I like taking the weight from my right instep and pushing in a circle. A lot of people like using the left leg. When I do it with the left leg I am terrible at it even though it is the same move. You should just throw a few balls overhand out in front of you and feel what is making you do this throwing motion. This is the same move you should be doing in your golf swing.

      Watch:

      It

      • February 27, 2014

        DavidCalvert

        Thanks very much
        I’ve tried the three ones you describe in the clip and I think the best one that works for me is using my right leg (left handed) to go straight back. It seems to be the easiest to do every time I tend to struggle with the other but this method is a simple leg push back. I think it’s the one I will stick with.

        • Paul Wilson

          February 27, 2014

          Paul Wilson

          David,

          Very good. Just do it until you are good at it. Then always think about doing it.

  17. Paul

    Have been trying all the drills (favorite drill, 2/3 distance, etc) at home and at range, and also all the downswing triggers (belt buckle, left leg back, right leg touching, etc) but still coming over the top a lot and hooking the ball. If I try the touching legs by springing the right leg, or pulling left leg back, it feels like I’m not getting a complete swing or I hit the ball thin. And while I get a full swing in when I do the belt buckle, it tends to bring my arms over the top.

    Is there a particular trigger you think is best for people coming over the top that I should just stick with (rather than trying all of them)? And a particular drill that I should just pick and stick with to get the hip turn started at right speed and ahead of arms?

    Thanks. Really enjoying the site, technique and videos.

    Larry

  18. September 30, 2014

    CraigMinner

    Hi Paul,

    Please further clarify why you have confirmed not to think or concentrate on the “ball” when swinging down, but instead focus on turning your hips and touching your left leg. Years of lessons have ingrained me to look and concentrate on the ball, come down on the ball, sweep the ball, get the divot in front of the ball or basically eye the ball for clean contact. This is different from any other “ball” sport where instead here you do not pay 1st attention to the golf ball? Very challenging to not make the visual contact the priority of concentration and let all the swing elements happen naturally through practice. A real mind changer here?

    • Paul Wilson

      September 30, 2014

      Paul Wilson

      Craig,

      If you are thinking of hitting something you will try to hit it with your arms. I want your arms powerless so how are you going to do that if you are trying to hit something?

      If you are thinking of hitting something you are NOT thinking of applying your downswing trigger.

      If you are thinking of hitting the ball you are making it Point B to your swing. If the ball was Point B your club would stop at the ball. If the club goes 1 millimeter past the ball you have to figure out where Point B is so you can do 2 swing in a row. Point B is not the ball. Point B is the Follow Through. You should be going up and setting Point A then swinging through to Point B (Follow Through). In no way do you care about impact because impact is not the widest point of the arc. If you are using physics to hit the ball would it not make sense that the mass swings to its widest point? This point does not even occur until after the ball is hit.

      Watch:

      How to Release the Golf Club: http://ignitiongolf.com/impact-wrist-release/

      The years of you trying to hit the ball are definitely holding you back. If you are thinking of hitting the object you will use your arms because you are making it Point B to your swing. If so, the harder you hit, the tighter your wrists, the slower the club swings, the more you manipulate the clubface.

      So you are using torque and forces now to hit the ball. You coil you uncoil and let the club swing wherever it wants to swing. In doing so, the ball will get in the way of the club going to point B which is the Follow Through.

      Swing From Point A to Point B: http://ignitiongolf.com/point-a-to-point-b/
      DRILL: Point A to Point B: http://ignitiongolf.com/drill-point-a-to-point-b/

      If you do not know by now I do not teach what everyone else teaches. To me, the follow through is the most important part of the swing. Impact to me means nothing because as I said it is not the widest point of the arc. So, if you are just starting to follow me work on the grip, setup and my follow through positions. Once you master those you will hit the ball better than you ever have in your life! Let me know when you do.

      Grip

      Left Hand: http://ignitiongolf.com/left-hand-grip
      Right Hand: http://ignitiongolf.com/right-hand-grip

      Setup

      Set Up Steps: http://ignitiongolf.com/setup-position

      Follow Through

      Legs Touching: http://ignitiongolf.com/touch-knees
      One Of The Secrets To The Golf Swing: http://ignitiongolf.com/secrets-to-golf-swing/
      Spine Angle Follow Through: http://ignitiongolf.com/follow-through-eyes-tilted

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