Secret To Starting the Downswing

By | on October 27, 2017 | 36 Comments | Array


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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+

36 Responses to “Secret To Starting the Downswing”

  1. January 1, 2013


    What about “Big Guys”Who have a hard time touching knees and getting on the toe of the right foot.

  2. January 1, 2013


    Hi Paul. I marvel at how simple your swing looks, free of a lot of “moving parts.” Byron Nelson was known for his shallow approach to the ball, which produced dollar width shallow divots. I presume you prefer this approach, which my favorite pro Tom Watson also recommends.

    Thanks, Ron

    • January 3, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Thanks for the compliment. I actually did a tip on this here:

      Move Less:

      Yes, I don’t like deep divots. Just skim the surface. This is what happens when you have a taller setup and rotate properly. Sliding gives you the deep ones.

  3. HI Paul. This is hard to explain but, I have a question about the take away. At waist high, does the club (and your hands) move in so that the club points at the center of your chest and parallel to the target line, or do your hands stay out away from your body so that the club points down the target line but even with where your hands started. In the first scenario, you would not see the club at all at waist high when looking at a down the line video and you would in the second scenario. Thanks. Ralph

  4. January 2, 2013


    People need to realize how key this tip is. It wasn’t until I focused on this aspect of feeling the big toe and rolling a relaxed (not tense and scrunched) foot that the swing really kicked in. This is a Top Ten Paul Wilson tip.

    BTW…Happy New Year Paul and here’s to a great year for your website and golf school!! My goal this year is to get to the 70’s…2 years ago it was just to get into the 90’s 😉

    • January 3, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Happy New Year to you too.

      I thought I would get many more comments on this one. You are right this is critical. Hopefully, everyone was working on it around the house so they forgot to post comments about it.

      You are close to reaching your goal. I can see this happening this year. Keep at it.

  5. January 2, 2013


    Hi Paul,

    I think your three lessons including this one are ALL talking about firing from the right side (Right knee, Right Lats, and Right Hip). Please either confirm or explain. All three lessons are at the crux of the majority of high handicappers problems when I believe on the downswing we have to fire from the loaded right side back to the left foot.

    • January 3, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      They are all firing related that is why I posted them together. Most average players do not do this so I will keep mentioning it until they do.

  6. January 5, 2013


    G’day Paul,
    This as you say is a detailed demonstration of your personally preferred way of rotating the legs. I have used the straightening of the left knee or turning the belt buckle back to address. I wasn’t getting the balanced finish with the toe pointed. Having your full demo I went out onto the back deck and quickly got the technique. On the course I got some fine results with a few lapses however, overall, good with powerless arms and free hinging wrists. Getting to the top, then focusing on the move with the right foot made the difference.

    • January 7, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      That’s great news. Good initial results. Just be aware of the fact that you will want to start hitting harder and harder. This is human nature. If you want more power do so by trying to touch the legs faster not by hitting harder. If you really lose it slow down and build it back up again.

      • January 7, 2013


        Thanks Paul,
        Saturday I had nett 76 (off the blue plates) with major blunder on the 16th par3 , front bunker tight under the revetted face did not get it up twice took a 7. 17th par & 18th par. Today 40 Stableford points off the white markers played to 12 h’cap I expect to drop from 16 to 15 h’cap.
        You are right, beware the roller coaster. I have been down this road before, start getting better then try to force results.

        • January 8, 2013

          Paul Wilson


          Yes, just be patient and keep working on the perfect the swing positions. It is starting to happen.

  7. Hi Paul,

    I have been following your method and my swing has improved a lot, my son is following your method also. When he finishes his swing his back foot is not straight up, it leans out away from him. What can he do to fix this? I am not sure what flaw is causing this. Keep up the great tips, I keep trying to get others to join your sight too.

    • August 20, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you are doing well with my method.

      I certainly want this foot straight up and down. Just looks better plus no chance of spinning out. He needs to hit 10 shots in a row with the back foot flat through and past impact into the follow through. This will slow it down. Then on number 11 he will feel it down more and gradually let it roll up.


      Back Toe:

      Thank you for the promo. I truly appreciate the help.

  8. October 5, 2014


    Hi Paul,

    I’ve been following your instruction for a little while now, and the results are showing. You describe the mechanisms and feelings of a repeatable golf swing in a simple way.

    I’ve lost count of how many aha moments Ive had through your instruction now! Thank you very much.

    I now have a repeatable swing that is providing me with so much fulfilment. Currently shooting mid 80s and aim to break 80 consistently soon, depending on the winter here in the UK!

    My hits are consistently straight, and now Im even trying to shape shots when appropriate, which I never thought I’d do. My distance has gone from a 110 yard PW to 145PW, and reasonable par 5s are reachable in 2.

    This lesson is absolutely KEY, as it helps solidify the trigger swing thought and exemplifies that its a coil and then turn for power and repeatability. If you are executing this, with loose wrists, the swing feels effortless and the finish is with the club behind the head, like Mcilroy. If you label this as “the secret to distance and power”, it’ll help many of your subscribers.

    Thanks again (hope to have a lesson or few holes with you next year when I am in Vegas)


    • October 6, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      That’s great. Glad you are improving.

      Now just keep perfecting the swing positions. Do lots of practice swings at home and at the range looking for the feedback I teach. It’s not just about hitting balls. Perfect movement = perfect shots.

      Just let me know if you can make it to town.

      I did changed the name. Thanks.

  9. October 11, 2014


    Paul, I’ve noticed my left foot sometimes slides away from the perpendicular to the target line. How important is it to end up with the front foot perpendicular to the target line. Is this an indication the weight is not shifting properly?

    Thanks, Ron

    • October 13, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Mine moves a little when I am not practicing. Ideally, you want it stable then rolling onto the outside edge on the baby toe. It would and should be turned out 25-30 degrees at address. If it is not turned out enough and you try to turn it will have to twist to get you into the follow through. If it didn’t twist you would hurt your knee. This is a very important aspect of the swing so make sure it is open and try to keep it there and you go to the touch your legs position. Again, it can roll onto the outside but it shouldn’t be twisting a lot if any.


      Left Foot Impact:

  10. October 11, 2014


    Hey Paul,

    Now over a year still unable to touch my knees when using 3 wood Or driver?

    SECOND QUESTION- hoe far away from the edge of the green do I switch from chipping to pitching?

    Using your ratios I get all off on example 14 yards away I count off 14 to edge then add one yard to 15 and note the spot nor walk to the pin 9 yards. What is the ratio and what club should be used?



    • October 13, 2014

      Paul Wilson

      Jay Jay,

      If you have ever thrown a ball overhand in your life you have one the touch the legs position. Narrow your stance. Throw some balls overhand. Get used to it. Then do it in practice swings. Then keep doing it with the ball. Then after you are used to it widen a little.


      It’s Like A Throwing Motion:

      The ratios tell you exactly when to pitch and when to chip.


      When To Pitch:

    • October 28, 2017


      Jay Jay,You switch from chipping to pitching when the ratio: Distance to the edge of the green to Distance from the edge of the green to the pin is over one
      Now you can also go to the chip and run or pitch and run technique where the ball rolls some distance on the fairway before landing on the green .

  11. I stumbled onto this old 2014 tip just this week. Wow what a great tip! you explained this so clearly and it clicked in. I asked myself, “Self,why can’t this “roll on to the big toe” be my downswing trigger?” I tried the other triggers and kept swaying. Couldn’t keep my head behind the ball. I took this tip to the range today and hit most of my small bucket of balls dead straight. This tip also helps me “touch the legs touch the head” more consistently and takes the focus off of my arms. My swing speed radar is only at 92 – 94 but I figure if I can roll onto the big toe faster, more distance will happen. What are your thoughts on the big toe as a trigger? thanks Paul.


    • John,

      Perfect. This is what I am doing. My big toe, calf and right cheek are radiating after every shot. Keep doing it at this pace. Then go faster in the future once you are more confident. I don’t want you to trying to do it too hard and not do it at all.

  12. As a P.S. to my previous comment – the big aha, eureka moment for me that came from this tip is that I can actually feel the circular rotation you teach which eliminates my slide and sway and that circular rotation actually makes my golf swing feel effortless. I am so psyched about this and cant wait for my next round of golf!!!


    • John,

      Light bulb moments are great. Now, just keep doing and mastering it. This will change your whole golfing life.

  13. April 5, 2017


    In this video at 3:00 you say – AS we start down, we roll on the big toe. Could you tell me, what starts down? to me it sounds like you are starting down with the upper body.

  14. October 28, 2017


    Paul ,You give here a fine detailed demonstration on the role of the back foot when rotating forwards
    Now ,what about the head move during the through swing.
    It seems to me from this video that you move it slightly forwards.
    Should it not stay at the same place or even move slightly backwards instead while rotating your upper body and extending your arms in the follow through ?

    • Avatar photo

      October 29, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      It will first move every so slightly forward as you are turning and shifting into the forward foot. In no way am I trying to think about it. I think I move an inch. It is when someone gets really moving or even or ahead of the ball at this stage. This is what sends it over the top. From this leaning forward position they can try to re-gain the swing be sliding laterally. I just taught someone who did this. the problem is the swing is lateral going back and lateral coming down so they are very inconsistent. You need to make it rotational.

      Here is a tip on the head movement:

      Where Should Your Head Be Throughout the Swing?:
      How The Head Moves Down and Past Impact:

  15. October 28, 2017


    Paul, great tip as usual! I picked up something I have skipped over. The weight goes to the instep HEEL of the back foot. I have not placed weight far enough back in the back foot leading to transferring weight to the forward leg too soon. This has straightened out my drives and added distance. It may be adding more time to get the lower body moving. Thoughts?

  16. September 7, 2018



    I would have never found this gem had you not referred to it in one of your current tips. That is what I love most about Ignition Golf. It is now in my faves list.

    This tip will really help me improve on activating my lower body. As a long-time hip slider it took me awhile to get my left leg locked to insure rotational force. However, it seems like that alone does not quite get my hips all the way around. Driving off of the right foot will probably become my new swing trigger and rolling on the toe showed me how to achieve this. I will practice it around the house and use your drills, which is exactly how I got the locked left leg to become second nature rather than a forced action.

    I had mentioned in another comment that I had gone from a 200 yard arm hitter to a 230 yard swinger. I notice in swing videos my right foot is not flat on the ground like it used to be but is not as far up as you prescribe. This tip will help me build my effortless swing to my goal of 250 yards.

    Thanks Paul!!


  17. September 11, 2018


    Paul…great detail on the role of the right foot instep transitioning to the toe. This really helps my focus on “what to do” as I transition. Also, helps keep my arms less active.

    • Avatar photo

      September 12, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      I just posted that tip before seeing that you found it already. Yes, this is how to do it.

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