Take a close look at the above video, especially the downswing. Without reading further, take a minute or two and really try to observe what is happening.
OK, since you didn’t do that, I’ll just tell you. What you’re observing is a near-perfect kinematic sequence, or what you hear golf announcers and great players call efficiency.
You can go all sorts of crazy watching extremely technical videos that will break down the sequence frame-by-frame, but in all honesty that’s not going to help your golf game. I’m going to try to make it as simple as possible.
A kinematic sequence is the order in which various parts of the body and club accelerate and decelerate. There is a kinematic sequence in the backswing, but it’s more often referenced in the downswing, so that’s what we’ll focus on today.
Think of it like throwing a ball. In a good throwing motion, the first thing you do is step forward with your lower body, then rotate your torso, then fling your arm, then release the ball. A bad motion would be to fling your arm, then rotate, then step. This wouldn’t feel very natural, and the ball wouldn’t fly very far. It’s the same in golf.
To start the downswing, we want to lead with our lower body, then rotate our torso, then swing our arms and finally release the club. The builds speed until it is released fully into the clubhead at the moment of impact. Take a look:
Most people tend to start the downswing with their upper body. Again, this is like flinging your arm before you step to throw a ball. We need to get into the habit of starting the downswing with our lower body. See what a legend (who was way ahead of his time) had to say about it:
One of the best drills to learn a good kinematic sequence is the stop-at-the-top drill. It’ll be tricky to hit good shots at first, but stick with it. Slowly take the club to the top of the backswing, then stop for a good 2-3 seconds. Now feel your lower body unwind, followed by your torso (ribcage), then swing your arms, then whip the club through the ball. Do this slowly at first. You’ll feel a good stretch in your midsection and probably your upper lead arm. Keep working at it until you can actually hit balls. When you can make decent contact a few times, you’re well on your way.
This is probably the most important aspect of a good golf swing, so keep at it. If you can change this, you’ll definitely become a better ballstriker. Happy golfing!