Many amateur golfers grip the club tightly and swing at the ball using their arms, hands and shoulders. This perception becomes their reality and they never become good golfers. In reality, the golf swing is powered by the lower body with relaxed arms, wrist, and hands. In the video below, Ben Hogan demonstrates the power of the lower body as illustrated on pages 81 – 83 in his well known book “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.”
Ben Hogan explains the use of the “lower body” to power the golf swing!
Fundamental Swing drills for learning the golf swing
There have been many books and articles written about the use of swing drills to learn the proper golf swing. The drills below emphasize use of the lower body as Ben Hogan taught more than 60 years ago. Each drill lead to the most important point in the golf swing – Impact. Impact position is the moment of truth, when the face of the club meets the ball.
Swing drills teach you how to take the club away in one motion, set the club at the top of the swing, start the transition, and swing the club to impact. Use of the “lower body” is the foundation. I believe that distance and control is regulated by the tempo of the lower body. The lower body essentially controls the speed of your arms and hands as you complete a swing. The “swing drills” you will learn in my class emulate the sequence of movements that comprise, or build the golf swing in a step-by-step process powered by your lower body!
Lateral Swing Drill, or Step drill – Part I
I introduce this drill with a stretching exercise, then set up and swing a club at shoulder level emphasizing the extension of the arms, rotation and soft slide of the hips – starting with swinging the club back then forward. The action of your feet pushng off from the backswing starts the forward downswing. The feet are very active as you pivot your weight into your back foot, then forward into your forward foot on the downswing emulating the golf swing.
As you swing the club back, your forward foot weight shifts laterally as you pivot. Your base shifts and weight transfers onto the inside of your back foot. This drill emulates the swing and lower body control as your weight shifts to the inside of your back foot then forward, and you step laterally to keep your balance.
Another way to describe it, as you push off with your back foot to begin your swing your weight shifts forward almost totally on your forward foot as in the photo of Ben Hogan illustrates as he moves towards the IMPACT position. This photo also shows another essential element to the swing – the position of the right elbow at Impact. As you release the club thru Impact the right elbow is in a “tuck” position where it actually brushes the hip. Watch the video above again and note this important swing key.
By pushing off with the toe of your back foot your knees swing forward and hips follow – your hips slide and rotate smoothly – and if you finish your swing properly nearly all of your weight shifts onto your front foot. It is important to pivot your feet as you swing because the ground provides your source of power. Keep your balance as you rehearse these movements. As you practice these drills think about remaining fluid and you will learn to swing as Ben Hogan does in his video. Watch the video – then practice it in a mirror – then watch it again.
The Swing-step-Swing Drill – Part Il
In the video below you see how the ‘Lateral – Step Drill” helps you to freely engage your lower body and sets up the release of the club. This drill will ultimately maintain the rhythm of your downswing – generate club head speed – and uses the power of your lower body. I use this drills to warm up and in my “pre-shot” routine. I use and practice it extensively in every session and when I play.
Start the drill with your feet close together. Swing the club back to shoulder height. Then slide your front foot forward towards your target and swing forward as you plant your foot. Your hips will slide and rotate with your weight shifting almost entirely on your front foot as you complete your swing.
Learn the Step Drill to enhance … your lower body power!
The “toe-up” or “L-to-L” swing drill
This swing drill helps you with your takeaway and lets you feel how to set the club at the top [of the swing] and how to release it. If you hear the whipping action of the swing you are doing it correctly. The benefit of this drill is to understand and learn that holding the attack angle as you start your swing, then releasing the club produces more power than gripping tightly and guiding the club as you swing it thru IMPACT.
You must release the club and let is whip freely. If you can feel the weight of the club in your hands and arms as you swing it through impact, you have properly released it. That feedback will help you “find the natural rhythm of your swing – stay in balance – improve your swing speed – and feel the rhythm of your entire body that is uniquely your own.
Basics … of all swing drills
Grip and arm extension – make sure you are gripping the club as you would when setting up to hit a shot. You want to be able to rehearse the swing and control the club. Relax your grip pressure as this will also relax your wrists, arms, and upper body. The less tightness and proper tension in your muscles is key to remaining relaxed and producing a fluid swing.
Extension of the arms – shoulders turn in and stretch out; cups of arms turn up and elbows get closer to hips; extend your arms to the max – feel the tension in the shoulder joints and the back of your neck/spine – then relax your muscles.
Left side dominates – I can not stress the importance of the left shoulder and side of the body enough. We will practice swinging club in left hand only, then place the right hand of top of the left – so it can dominate the swing.
Stance – to begin all drills, make sure your stand with your feet at least as wide as your shoulders with your knees bent to cushion your weight inside and between your feet. Your should never feel your weight out and over your toe line and on your toes.
As you practice your stance wiggle your toes – as you repeat this over and over it will become automatic and part of your setup routine before every shot!
Use the illustration below for a review, and better understanding of the setup.