Mexico Open at Vidanta

Vidanta Vallarta

The Loop

Saturday Morning Tip: Like Hogan,start down with the lower body

August 26, 2011

The other day, I was having a friendly argument over lunch with my golfing buddy, Charlie Miller, about what starts the downswing. Jack Nicklaus, I noted, says it's the feet--"swing from the ground up." Jack's coach, Jim Flick, concurs: "Left foot, leg, knee, thigh, hip, in that order."

But my friend Charlie, an avid student of Ben Hogan's swing, notes that Hogan himself said repeatedly in his book, Five Lessons, that the left hip starts the downswing. I checked the source, and Charlie's right. But then I found this video on You Tube, in which Ben says it's the lower body.

All I know is, you don't want to start the downswing with the upper body, especially not the right shoulder, which many higher-handicappers (and some lower-handicappers) do. That causes your swing path to come from outside the target line and causes you to restrict your release (otherwise you'll hit pulls and pull-hooks). The result is often a weak slice or a low-left line drive.

So start the downswing with your lower body and let your upper body follow. This will allow you to swing the club into the ball on an inside path so you can release the club fully for a powerful strike without fear of hooking. That's exactly what Hogan did. Check his swing below. I hope this weekend you hit at least half as many fairways and greens as Hogan did.

*Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest

Twitter [@RogerSchiffman