This is one of my young golfers displaying what I call “The Step In” move that defines the transition from backswing to downswing. I like to consider the lower body action the “engine” of the Pivot Train. Getting your lower body to function this way is the KEY to generating speed because it starts the action of pulling the handle of the club down from the top of the backswing. Many golfers destroy any chance of generating speed in the swing because they throw the head of the club at the ball from the top of the backswing. That is exactly the reverse of what should happen: It’s like the caboose moving the engine first—it doesn’t work! The club head should move last in the sequence.
This motion must be practiced slowly so that you can feel the correct order of the movement. Trying to hold the club up at the top of the backswing as long as you can, push off with your back foot (in this case the right foot) similar to a runner exploding out of the starting blocks, and drive your left knee toward the target. Don’t let your head—the pretty one with they eyes—move forward as you move. Then let the arms follow behind and continue all the way to the finish. Give me ¼ speed at first. Graduate in ¼ speed increments at a time until you can do this motion at full speed. Please don’t go from slow motion straight up to full speed. And start without the ball, but of course!
That’s the introductory level. Here’s the advanced level.
Next, I want you to combine pulling the butt of the club down with both arms as you drive the lower body toward the target. These moves will occur almost simultaneously—but the lower body moves just slightly first. Continue through to a beautiful finish: weight forward, chest to the sky like a professional. Be very patient and don’t try this on the golf course. Practice it every day until it happens naturally in your real swing.
Now remember, the #1 flaw in golf is an open club face. If you find that your ball suddenly goes way right when practicing this move, you will have to check your grip and backswing wrist action—the left wrist should be flat at the top—to make sure you can square the club face. By the way, I do believe that one of the big reasons why golfers fail to move correctly in the downswing is because they are trying to do their best to make up for a wide-open club face at the top of the backswing. A great shift combined with a wide open club face can send the ball right of Earth.
Hit ‘Em Great!John Dunigan is a PGA Master Professional and Director of Instruction at White Manor Country Club in Malvern where he runs the John Dunigan Golf Academy. An expert in Junior Golf, John received the prestigious PGA Philadelphia Section Junior Golf Leader Award for 2012, and was named Philadelphia Section Teacher of the Year in 2008.He lives in Kennett Square.