Years ago Golf Illustrated Magazine presented a list of the all time golf instructors. At the top ranked number 1 was Percy Boomer from the Isle of Jersey in Great Britain. In his masterpiece golf instruction book, On Learning Golf, Boomer talks about a down feeling at the top of your backswing. This play on words could be a little confusing when you first read Percy’s book, and the number one question my students ask me after reading Boomer is what he meant by the down feeling. This down feeling is one of the most crucial feels in a great golf swing and is a relatively simple technique to achieve.
Let’s consider some examples of a down feeling. Shopper’s in the grocery store holding a paper bag of groceries in front of them is a down feeling, holding a heavy medicine ball in front of you with both your hands palms up, is a down feeling, a baseball hitter at the plate ready to swing is a down feeling, and finally a Tyrannosaurus Rex holding its prey in both its arms and hands would an example of a down feeling. The idea I am getting at is the arms do not lift up in the air on the backswing independent of the pivot to hit the golf ball. A baseball hitter when batting has his elbows slightly flexed as his arms remain down for power and leverage. World class PGA Tour professional Kenny Perry actually flexes his left elbow much the same as a baseball hitter. The most exaggerated and possibly detrimental phrase in golf is to keep your left arm straight. How many baseball hitters keep their left arm straight when batting, NONE!
The secret is to keep your arms in front of you and down as you rotate your shoulders, then left arm straightness can be achieved when you swing the golf club. But locking your left elbow straight at the top of your back swing is a NO NO! Look at these images of the baseball hitter and professional golfer. They contain the secret to the down feeling where the arms are leveraged against the body for power and consistent golf swing.
2004/2006 North Florida Section PGA Teacher of the Year
Director of Instruction, Dent/Bradshaw School of Golf
Heritage Isles Golf Club