RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


How To Start The Downswing

By Butch Harmon Photos by J.D. Cuban
April 15, 2013


As your first move down from the top, get your weight moving to your front foot. This little forward bump will drop your hands and arms to the inside, setting up a powerful move through the ball. You can rotate your body through as hard as you want; just make sure you get your weight going toward the target before you start.



Don't just turn from the top. Many golfers have had it drilled into their brains that they need to turn more, so they whip their hips around to start the downswing. This is a killer, because when the left side spins open, the arms and club are thrown away from the body. That pretty much guarantees an out-to-in swing path—and a big pull or pull-slice.


I see these golfers who make beautiful practice swings and then step up and flash the club back so fast they have no chance. You've got to understand that you want to save your speed for the downswing. The only function of the backswing is to get in position to deliver the club down to the ball. But you don't want to think about swinging back slowly—that can cause an abrupt change of speed later—so think about being deliberate. That's what Jack Nicklaus always told himself.

BUTCH HARMON, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf, at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev.**