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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cristie Kerr's Downswing Move (Video)

Golf Digest did a short post called Change Directions Like Cristie Kerr to Fix Your Driver. (Pretty self-explanatory, to be honest.) Here's the video they included, which I may have used several months back; I don't remember. It's a good video.

The article says, "Most amateurs are moving their hands hard down toward the ball and moving their bodies toward the target. The key move is to avoid letting your right hip rotate toward the target too early as you move your hands and the club away."

That's good advice, but I think it could be simpler. We're just too hung up on driving our lower body -- we think everything has to be described in terms of leg drive. Let me give you a drill that will teach you the move a bit more simply.

What you want to focus on is keeping your trailing elbow straighter. Don't fold your trailing elbow so much as you swing to the top of your backswing. I know, I know -- it feels as if it stops you from turning your shoulders fully, it feels as if it shortens your backswing. it feels too upright. Ignore these feelings! Here's the drill, which will translate very easily to your swing:
As you take the club away from the ball, keep your trailing elbow fairly straight for as long as possible. I say "fairly straight" because your elbow HAS to bend some. You can keep it straight longer if you let your lead knee bend toward the center of your stance and your lead heel come off the ground. Stop swinging before you get near a 90° bend in your trailing elbow.

Now, to start your downswing, try to plant your lead heel back on the ground AND swing your arms down without bending your trailing elbow AT THE SAME TIME. Basically, it feels as if you're just holding your arms in the same position while you pivot them down from your shoulder joints. It's like a karate chop with both hands. IF YOU BEND YOUR TRAILING ELBOW EVEN MORE AS YOU START DOWN, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!
You may not be able to do this very fast at first, but you'll get used to it. It won't take long. Try it in your backyard until it feels a bit more natural, then try hitting some balls at the range.
It won't take long to catch onto the rhythm of this move. It feels a bit awkward because it keeps your trailing hip from moving forward too quickly. After you get used to the move, your swing speed will pick up and you'll start to naturally bend your elbow a bit more... but you'll also start to create more wrist cock on your downswing. If you watch the third swing in the video, which is in much slower motion, you'll see that Cristie's trailing elbow is bent around 100° and her wrist cock increases before her hands reach waist high on her downswing. That will start to happen naturally.

An added benefit of this move: You'll get more consistent contact because this motion makes it easier to tell where the bottom of the club is. That means fewer fat and thin shots.

UPDATE: I've added a second post at this link, with an extra tip that may make this move easier to learn.

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