The Golf Downswing Explained

The swing is one of the most important parts of golf. The perfect swing requires consistency, control of the direction the shots take, and power. At some point during a round, a player transitions from a backswing to a downswing. Transition is what links the starting of a downswing after the end of a backswing.

Many amateur and new golfers struggle with transitioning from one sequence of the game to the next. Furthermore, how a player transitions from one to the other separates the best from the average. The segments that a player undergoes through the entire swing motion are as follows:

  • Address
  • Takeaway
  • Top of the backswing
  • Transition
  • Downswing
  • Moment of impact
  • Finish

In this article, we look at what it takes to transition to a golf downswing with ease.

What Is A Golf Downswing?

The name downswing is probably self-explanatory to everyone. If you interpret it literally, it means swinging down. However, a downswing is much more than just swinging down. It is the part where you make contact with the golf ball and swing it in motion until its point of impact.

Moreover, it plays a massive role in determining the accuracy of your shot and the distance your ball flight will cover. While the other segments are easy to master, doing the same with a downswing is challenging because it requires precision and takes place too fast. Some golfers think because the downswing is the only moment they make contact with the ball, it is their decisive moment.

That short time it takes to make a downswing determines the ball trajectory and distance, and as every golfer knows, ball flight plays a significant role in determining how a round of golf ends. After executing the other transition segments of the swing, you might find yourself in a comfortable and ideal position to master the perfect downswing.

However, if you are an amateur player, you might also need lots of practice, most conveniently on a driving range, to improve your swing and garner consistency. In this next part of the article, we look at the perfect golf downswing sequence.

Read next: How to Put Backspin on a Golf Ball 

Golf Downswing Sequence


Every sporting activity, including baseball, basketball, football, and even athletics, follows a sequence or pattern for consistency and power. Golf is not different from the other sports, and for an effective downswing, you need to follow a similarly effective sequence. Without the sequence, your swing will lack consistency and power, leading to poor ball flight trajectory and less distance.

Remember that a good and productive swing separates the good from the not so good or the golf high- handicappers in golf. The following is the pattern of movement or sequence you require to maintain accuracy, power, and consistency during your downswing.

  1. Exert pressure into your lead foot

Each golf swing you take starts from the ground, and your feet are the first parts of the body that respond to the motions of making a swing. Your leading foot plays one of the most prominent roles in ensuring that your footing on the ground is firm enough for transitioning. Even when your other parts of the body, such as the arms, lower and upper bodies, are moving backwards, putting pressure on the foot at the start of the transition sets up the pace for downswing.

  1. Move the knees and hips 

The first part of the body that moves back towards the target is the hips. However, many players swear that the parts of their bodies that move first towards the target line are the knees. Whether the knees or hips move first, the most crucial factor is they follow the sequence of starting from the ground up. Remember, for the sequence to follow its pattern, the ground must be the starting point, and you should use it effectively.

  1. Before moving out the arms, rotate the hips

When you rotate your body downwards, the hands drop to prepare for taking the downswing. You have to move them out to accomplish this, but they should not be the only parts of the body moving. If you pull the arms from the top and use them first, you could end up creating a narrow downswing or a steep shaft angle, putting you in a death position.

Maintaining this position will give you few and far apart consistent shots. Attain a better position for a downswing by allowing your body, especially the hips, to dictate or initiate where your hands and arms drop for the transition.

  1. Your trail elbow should be close to the body

The upper torso of your body follows your lower body as you take the downswing, with the arms following that. Now you have to think about the activities of the trail elbow and the lead elbow. The trail elbow must work under the lead elbow and very close to the body.

The position provides you with more body rotation and power to get your golf club on an inside track and ready to deliver. If the elbows have a considerable separation between them, you will find yourself in a compromising status or another death position after or at the top of transition.

  1. Keep your chest and lead shoulder down

One of the most common mistakes that some players make is using their shoulders to manipulate their trail arm to move under their lead arms. Starting a downswing in this position shallows the club leading to poor results at impact. Do not move your lead shoulder up too fast or too soon because you end with less consistency than you had before.

During the transition, the trailing arm needs to work under the lead arm, but if you have to do so, you should ensure that your chest and lead shoulder are down for consistency and better results at impact.

  1. Maintain the correct wrist angle

The clubhead automatically lags behind your hand with the proper sequence of the lower body, torso, and arms. Too much lag is prevalent with well-sequenced golf swings. Even this occurrence might be rare for most top players; it is not uncommon with many other players. Ensure that you maintain the proper wrist angle without forcing the lag to avoid having any issues with the sequence.

  1. Keep your head still

Another mistake many players, especially those new in the game make is shifting their heads between the ground and the target line. It is crucial to maintain consistent contact, and the only way to achieve this is by having less movement with your body parts. Keep your head still as it helps to maintain a stable swing canter and better over ball-striking results.

  1. Weight or pressure transfer

One of the most valuable staples in any excellent golf swing is weight or pressure transfer. During the early stages of the backswing, you should have pressure moving from your trail foot. Before you make a downswing, just when the backswing is nearing its end, pressure should be more on your lead foot than on the trail foot, which starts the whole chain of movement towards the torso, followed by the arms and finally the hands.

Read next: Best Golf Clubs For Seniors

Common Mistakes in the Golf Downswing


Making a golf downswing is not complex though it needs lots of practice and patience. Some of the mistakes some players make in the downswing include coming over the top and casting. The two errors are common in downswings, and many people use them interchangeably, with several of them struggling to differentiate them even though they both have different meanings.

  • Over the top mistake

When you come over the top, the direction you are leading to the club is wrong. It also means that the club, arms, and hands are all sweeping back the right (if you are left-handed or to the left, if you are right-handed) as they move out of the body. The problems associated with over the top error include

  • Failure to make straight shots at the target
  • Inability to generate much energy leading to less power transfer onto the ball
  • Casting

Casting happens when a player loses their wrist angle during a downswing. You should always ensure that you maintain a hinged wrist when you get to the top of your golf swing. The hinge helps provide you with the much-needed control and power you need while at the top of your swing. Unraveling of the wrist casts the club away from your body, leading to:

  • Loss of power, control, and connection
  • Loss of spin and launch
  • It affects the angle of the clubface

Read next: Golf Club Distances : How Far Should You Hit Your Clubs?

Wrapping it up

Every golfer's dream is to play quality golf, and nothing says quality like a good swing. One of the transition sequences that make for a good swing is the downswing, and its quality can determine the effectiveness of your impact. Making a downswing happens too fast yet, it is one of the most challenging things to do.

However, with enough practice, confidence, consistency, and the above tips, there is no reason why you should nit a great swing that improves the ball distance and trajectory. Any successful downswing needs you to take the proper stance and maintain the correct body posture. If nothing seems to work, you can also use swing drills to help you.

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