Your lower body has two very important roles within the golf swing. Firstly the legs act as important sources of stability within the golf swing. Just think about it: a good player can swing the golf club in excess of 100 mph. When you are swinging the golf club at these speeds you need a solid base of support to allow your upper body to turn around your lower body while maintaining excellent balance. The other role that the lower half of your body plays in the golf swing is to help to generate power in the golf swing by initiating the downswing. This sometimes is referred to as pivot thrust. When teaching golf, I believe that this is one of the most important areas to learn and master, and is generally the point of difference between a good player and a poor player.
Initiating the downswing is a skill and something that generally must be learnt. Let’s now take a look at a drill that we use at Rachel Hetherington Golf Range to help students improve their left side and lower body action and therefore prevent you from casting the golf club from the top of the golf swing.
Gripping the golf club in only your left hand with your right hand behind your back, take your address position as if you are going to make a normal golf swing. Now as you swing the golf club back to a point across your right shoulder try and allow your body to create the same positions that it would if you were swinging the golf club with two hands.
In this picture you can see that Rachel is trying to move her legs and waist first to help pull her arm and the golf club down and into the impact position. This is where most golfers get confused. During the transition from the backswing into the downswing, most players will attempt to move their left knee (for right-handed golfers) in the direction of the target. This is the correct movement to make but it is vital that your right knee (for right-handed golfers) traces or moves almost simultaneously to the movement of the leading knee. It is not you pulling the golf club down into impact, rather your lower half pulling the golf club down into impact. If you do this correctly it will assist you in not casting the club from the top.
Once your legs and hips (waist) have initiated your downswing and have helped to pull your left arm and the golf club down and through impact, just allow the momentum of the golf club to move through impact to a full finish position with the golf club now positioned over your left shoulder.
It is very important that when you do this practice drill that you only try and swing the golf club at a speed that you feel you can control as well as getting a good feeling for the lower half of your body initiating the downswing. After you do this practice swing maybe 30-50 times you can try it with both hands on the golf club and see if the feeling is the same.