Instruction articles pay much attention to the backswing which is certainly appropriate and important to a proper golf swing. However, I want to bring up the topic of what happens after the backswing is completed. There are two things you must be careful about that are critical to a proper golf downswing.
The area of the swing when you are at the top of your backswing and just before you begin the downswing is referred to as the “transition.” I believe that it is more critical for an amateur to have a longer transition than it is for the pro. The professional has a trained swing that almost automatically knows what comes next, but the amateur isn’t quite sure exactly what is about to happen. It’s as though the amateur is just “wish’n & hope’n” that what happens next will be the right move. Because of this uncertainty at the top, I believe that the amateur needs an additional split second to contemplate how to begin the downswing. It’s vital to understand what comes next. This is one of the most critical points in a golf swing if not the most critical point. What happens next determines if the swing will be executed in proper sequence, in a continued proper swing plane, and with the torso remaining in the same position as when the backswing was started or not.
The next move, immediately following the transition, becomes critical to the proper execution of the downswing. Centrifugal force and how the golfer deals with it, plays a major role in how the golf ball is struck. The downswing begins with the lower body’s weight being transferred over to the left side while at the same time not moving the upper body. It is very important to understand that when the lower body is moving over to the left side that the upper body doesn’t begin moving along with the lower body. The centrifugal force generated by the movement of the lower body will have a tendency to pull the torso toward the target. You must be aware of this pulling force and resist it.
Now, at the same time you are moving the lower body over to the left side, the shoulders begin to move down and around the spine. When the shoulders begin to rotate around the spine additional centrifugal force is exerted on the torso. Unless this centrifugal force is resisted the upper body will begin to move toward the target along with the lower body. This movement of the upper body will destroy the swing and will cause all kinds of problems including: fat shots, topped shots, thin shots, pulled left shots, and pushed wide right shots.
One way to resist the centrifugal force pulling on the upper body from both the lower body and the shoulder turn is to think of bracing your upper body against these forces. As you begin to swing the shoulders down, slightly tense up the upper body to help resist any movement in the torso other than the shoulders. Another way to think of it is as the lower body and shoulders move from the right to the left, think of countering that movement by creating the opposite movement applying the same amount of force in the upper body from left to right. The opposing forces will help keep the upper body in place and also allow the free movement of the lower body and the shoulders.