ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tie It Together

Ok, I've talked about the sequence of movements that start the downswing, the importance of the arms starting down just before you uncoil, and about feeling the pressure in your hands and wrists when the club reaches the end of its travel to the top of the swing.

Now let's tie it all together. Brian, this should answer most of your questions about what's happening at the change of direction and the first move down. I won't promise that it'll solve all your problems, but you need to understand what you're trying to do in order to find a way to do it consistently.

While replanting your right foot and starting that knee moving is the first move in the downswing (and remember, you'll have to determine how you feel that movement), you could argue that feeling the club's pressure against your wrists is the actual start of the downswing. As you become more sensitive to that pressure, you'll get to where you can anticipate it. That will allow you to choose when you start the downswing:
  • If you want to make an approach shot to the green, where consistency of distance is important, you'll make the first move of your downswing just as you feel the pressure in your hands. This way, your wrists uncock in a fairly predictable and therefore consistent manner, and you can be pretty sure how far the ball is going to go.
  • If you want to drive the ball as far as possible, you'll make the first move of your downswing just before you feel that pressure. That way, you'll be able to carry as much wrist cock as possible into the swing as long as you can. I don't care what you may hear, you don't "hold" your wrist cock; rather, wrist cock is delayed automatically if you start the club down at the right moment. However, because you're anticipating the pressure, there's guesswork involved; so you never know exactly when the wrists will fully uncock, and therefore you don't have any idea exactly how far the ball will go. That's why we only use this method when the exact distance isn't important.
Once you decide when you want to start down, you replant your right foot, the right knee starts to move, the hips turn slightly, and the arms drop a little. That's the sequence, but it happens so fast that you'll probably find it easier to think of it all as a single move. Once you are solidly into that move, then you uncoil and the swing happens really fast after that!

And with that, I'll call this the end of the Ruthless Golf Project: Brian McGregor post series. I'm going to do one more post just to put together a complete listing of all the post titles, complete with links, so individual posts are easier to find. As usual, though, the comments are always open; anybody (not just Brian) who has a question can add a comment to any post and I'll find it. Once I do, I'll do my best to give you a helpful answer.

I hope this series leaves you with a clear understanding of what happens during the swing and how to solve some of the most common swing problems.


  1. A brilliant set of articles Mike!
    Thanks so much for all your work on this.
    I'm looking forward to reviewing it again and again over the winter and putting what I've learned (and will continue to learn) in the spring.

    This is by far the best teaching - either from lessons or books - I've ever received on how the golf swing works, and more importantly, how to put swing thoughts and mechanics into an understandable context.

    Thanks again Mike!


  2. Thanks for all the kind words, Brian. I've never done anything like this (beyond troubleshooting my own swing), so it's really been kind of fun.

    Over the next month I'm going to do a lot of posts on 1) the swing thoughts of great players and 2) flexibility. Hopefully they'll help you find even more ways to improve over the winter, so it'll be easier to get your swing working when the courses open again in Canada.

    And don't forget to let me know how you're doing!