Starting Golf Downswing from Ground Up
Online Golf Instruction By: Chuck Quinton, Master Instructor • FULL BIO •
Hi! Chuck Quinton, founder of rotaryswing.com here. I want to talk about a really important concept that you've heard a million times but probably still to this day, no matter how hard you've tried, no matter what ever else you've done to try and drill this into your golf swing, you haven't been able to do it and that is starting your down swing from the ground up.
How many times have we heard that? "Jack Nicholas starts his downswing from the ground up. Use your legs for power." Yet, nearly every amateur golfer that I teach starts their swing from the top up; from the top down. Why is that? Well it's a really simple, yet really important concept and it's gonna have to help you understand-it's gonna help you understand why it is that you can't do this, and what it's going to take to be able to do this. So let's take a look at what causes you to start from the top down instead of the bottom up.
The reason is is that your body is going to use tension as its primary indicator of what muscles to fire in what order, or sequence in the golf swing. And, the body is really clever in that it listens to you when you tell it what it is you want it to do, we're just usually giving it the wrong information. And that wrong information is tension typically in the upper body or the shoulders - that's the area we sometimes refer to as the rectangle - you want to swing more from your core, from this top of the down swing, and you know that but no matter what you try, you still can't do it. It's because you're giving your body the wrong signals.
When you go to the top of your swing, stop and see which muscles are the tightest in your body. What you'll probably find, in most instances is it's going to be these muscles up here in your shoulders and arms. So of course, what you're telling your body is, "Hey! These muscles are really tight." What does your muscle want to do when it has a lot of tension in it? It wants to release the tension, of course. So what you've gotta do, is start telling your body the right signals but before we do that, let's look at what's typically the wrong signals to send to your body.
The wrong signal is, when you first start the club going back and you take this lead arm - we're going to talk, refer to as pushing - and you start pushing this across your body, instantly I feel tension in the upper part of my back and the rear delts of my shoulders here. As I've done this, I've now gone where I've moved my arms and my club a long ways, but my body hasn't turned much; I haven't created any healthy tension or load in my trunk, my core, the area we sometimes call "the box," and that's this area from here to here. So instead, I'm loading up my shoulders so by the time I get here I'm so tight that guess what my body wants to do? It's gotta get rid of this tension in my shoulders ... Of course it does.
So as you're doing this, if you don't start using your body to load and load these muscles up before you turn, your shoulders are going to get loaded long before the big muscles do. And so by the time you get here, you've gotta fire from the top and your body, instead of using your legs to be able to shift your weight and so on and so forth in the down swing, which you know are good things you want to do, your body just kind of freezes to try to keep you from falling on your face cause you're creating all this force going out away from you and all of a sudden you've got a bad golf swing. How do we fix it? That's the key. The most important part of learning RST, or any golf swing for that matter, is learning how to load your body first and use your body to swing from the inside out to move the club correctly. So, here's how we do that.
First, throw the club down. You don't need that anymore. You need to learn how to use your body first; that has nothing to do with that gold club. Take your arms across your shoulders and the first thing I want you to do ... Lift your right heel up in the air and plant it on the ground and as you do that, push it into the ground and let your upper body turn and rotate on this hip. I want you to load and create tension. I feel a lot of load in my quad, my hamstring, and primarily, my right glute. And as I'm doing that, I'm going to keep the flex in my knee. It's okay for it to straighten up a little bit, but what I see all the time is people swinging with their arms and their right leg straightens up and all of a sudden they've got this move going on. So as you go back, lift your right heel up ... The right heel gives you something to focus on pushing it into the ground, which gives you a little mental cue to load that right glute.
So I lift it up, push it into the ground, and now all of a sudden I feel loaded and powerful, as if I could move and jump that way! Now, granted we don't wanna push that hard off the right leg, but it's okay to use it; the primary thing we're trying to do is get load and stability in there, so that we can have a powerful move coming down. So as we do this, right heel up, plant it in the ground, turn; now my shoulder completely relaxed. It could hang out here all day, but I've still made a full shoulder turn; my right leg is loaded up, my trunk, importantly, my core is now really loaded up so guess what's going to want to fire first? Not my shoulders because they're relaxed, so I-I'm loaded up here. My abs, my core, my obliques are loaded. Now the first thing I'm gonna do is what? Well ... You know this.
You need to shift your weight back to the left. How do I do that? Again, give yourself a little help; give yourself a little mental cue. Lift your left foot up and stomp it into the ground. Now, as I do this and I - when I say stomp it *stomping sound* I want to here it. Stomp it cause now as soon as you do that, the muscles in the left that you need to use to post up on and drive up to rotate your hips are going to be activated. So lift the left heel, stomp it in the ground; now, as I'm doing that, I'm also using my leg to push my hips back out of the way to get my shoulders squared up and impact. Come down the line ... So now I'm going to lift my right heel, stomp it, load it up - shoulders are relaxed - now I'm going to lift my left heel, stomp it, post up ... And now you'll see my shoulders are at impact.
I didn't move my shoulders, in fact, my shoulders have been chilled out and relaxed this entire time ... Right leg, left leg. Now, I'm in a great impact position and this, all these big muscles these big thick dense muscles in my hips, my core, my quads, my hamstrings, have done all the heavy lifting to move my arms and shoulders into impact without me having to use my arms and hands to get into hitting area. So focus on getting your core rotation first, then worry about what the club and arms are going to do in the swing.