Poised to Strike?
Check your downswing to find out
“Get your right elbow in the slot near your right hip.”
GOLFERS frequently stop their backswings to check the club. What you don’t see nearly as often is someone stopping halfway down to check if the club is in position to hit a quality shot.
Here I’m checking my driver’s shaft on the downswing. Note how it’s angled—not too steep or shallow. Lesser-skilled players tend to swing down with the shaft more upright, leading to an outside-in swing path and a pull or slice. Better players err with the shaft too shallow or flat at this checkpoint. That often causes them to push or hook the shot.
The key for a good, repeating swing is to have the club moving toward the ball on an angle or plane that closely matches the angle of the shaft at address. With a driver, that should be around 55 degrees. With irons, it’s a little higher.
I recommend taking the club back steeper than the address angle, and then shallowing it on the way down. I find it’s easier for most golfers to do that than trying to maintain the same angle back and through.
Once you verify you’re in a good spot coming down during a practice swing, try to create a similar look in your mind when you hit the shot. Getting the club down on the proper plane will improve your shotmaking. It’s the geometrical—and easier—way to play better golf.
— WITH RON KASPRISKE