Tom’s Tip: Stay Under, Bring Thunder

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, July 7th, 2017


I have an excellent drill to share this week that will help
educate your body on how to make the perfect backswing and proper
downswing back to the ball. One of my junior golfers has assisted me
in illustrating the drill.
First, set up to the ball, as preparing to make a swing, without
a golf club. As shown in the photo, I placed an alignment golf stick
under he arms and behind the back (you can use your own golf club
which will more than suffice.) Next, I had him grip the golf club in
using the left hand only as shown in the photos. (Left handed golfers
use your right hand.)
Now he will go ahead and make the backswing which initially was
perplexing because he had a golf club in his left hand and a stick
wedged behind his back. After that initial reluctance the golfer
started the backswing. Realizing that he couldn’t just use his left
hand to take the club back because of the restrictions… he employed
his whole body to work as one cohesive unit in making the backswing.
Take a close look at the top left photo as he takes the club
back. This drill is the cumulative effect of the upper body
(shoulders) turning slightly downward against a braced right leg
(lower body). When doing this drill you’ll feel exactly what I’m
talking about. As you can clearly see in the top right photo, the
golfers left shoulder is pointing downwards towards the ground. This
motion, combined with the golfers left hand holding the club,
automatically pulls the golfers club on the correct swing path
relative to his physical build…. and to near hip level high. You can
see how the toe of the clubface is pointing upwards toward the sky
with no premature cocking or breaking of the wrists. This was a
natural occurrence whereby the left shoulder (turning back) brought
the left arm along in perfect symmetry without any manipulations. The
reason he can only turn so far going back (around hip level high) is
because the right leg has acted as a brace to stabilize his stance.
He’s loading the body up as well…. taking his upper body and turning
it against a braced lower body to create a dynamic coiling effect
which is what the purpose of the backswing is designed to do. When
trying this drill you’ll come to that realization immediately.
The golfers body has been fully coiled…removing the stick and
placing the right hand onto the club (along with the left) allows the
laws of physics to take over as centrifugal force will continue
bringing the club further back on its natural path completing the
backswing. That movement in your actual swing would only help to
tighten the coiling action.
This drill teaches you exactly how the body should be winding up
to create the proper backswing sequence.
Once the golfer has reached the hip level high point he can’t go
backwards anymore…his body is anxious and ready to make the
downswing back into golf ball. The bottom right photo illustrates how
the legs will initiate and pull the club back into the correct angle
of attack on the downswing keeping the shoulders passive and not allow
them to interfere. Think of it like a teeter totter or seesaw.
On the golfers takeaway the left shoulder is working down and
under against a braced right leg and hip as the right shoulder goes
upwards….while turning around a fixed axis and maintaining balance
through the swing. On the downswing just reverse the process whereby
the right shoulder is working downward and under and the left shoulder
goes upwards past impact. This motion was created by the lower body
pulling the club (which is in the golfers left hand) without him doing
anything but holding onto the club.
Throughout the entire process his head has remained steady from
start to finish meaning his balance is intact. The clubface in the
bottom right photo (well past impact) shows the toe of the club facing
the sky similar to how it was on the takeaway around hip level high.
The club followed the movements of the body not vice versa. We are
all guilty of trying to manipulate and control or guide the club head.
Golf is a game of motion and the key to success is to train your
body and mind to work together in unison, not independently of each
other. The beauty of this drill is you can do it at home in private
and it will have a profound impact in how you swing the golf club. As
I told the young golfer after the lesson, once you learn the how your
shoulders should work correctly in the golf swing you’ll be able to
“Stay Under and Bring Thunder” into your shots.
Tom Ward can be reached at


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