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Improved body motion will give you a more fluid and successful golf swing.
Improved body motion will give you a more fluid and successful golf swing. (Karen Palcios-Jansen)

Swing essentials demand proper body motion

Karen Palacios-JansenBy Karen Palacios-Jansen,

In the fourth installment of her "Swing Essentials" series, LPGA instructor Karen Palacios-Jansen shows you how to improve your body motion for a more effective golf swing.

Now that you have learned how to grip and setup correctly and understand how your hand, wrist and arm action square the clubface at impact, you need to learn to move your body to put power into your swing.

To get the feeling of a full swing, it is best to practice without a club. My mentor, Jim McLean, puts a huge emphasis on the importance of correct body motion. Your body ultimately influences the path of your club at impact, which we already know affects the initial flight of the ball. If you want to become a more consistent ball striker, you better learn to move your body correctly.

Body Motion Drill

Standing without a club, assume a good set up. As you do these exercises, remember that we are practicing to hit a golf ball. Always stay in your spine angle and keep your vision down where the ball would be.

You can crisscross your arms over your chest, put your hands in your pockets, or put your hands behind your back.

From here, think of winding your upper body over the resistance of your lower body. If your knees are pinched in slightly at address, it's easy to feel the weight stay on the inside of your right foot. You want the weight of your lower body to shift so it ends up positioned over your right hip, leg and foot.

Back swing

Your shoulders wind perpendicular to your spine angle, and they turn so they are at a 90-degree angle to your target line. Of course, you may lack flexibility to make a complete 90-degree turn, so just think of turning your shoulders twice as far as your hips turn. Try to turn your left shoulder (if you are right-handed) over your right knee.

Down swing

After you have loaded your body weight into your right foot, you immediately shift your lower body back to the left as your upper body momentarily stays put. Specifically, your left hip bumps toward the target, which makes your right shoulder drop down. Once this move has taken place, you can complete the sequence by turning your right side through to the finish.

Common mistakes

On the back swing, you are just trying to turn to get your arms in position at the top of the swing. It is not necessary to lift, heave, lunge or over-turn on the back swing. In fact, most higher-handicappers overdo the things they are supposed to do on the back swing. Be careful not to over-turn on the back swing and raise your body up out of the original angle. If you raise up out of your posture then you will have to do something drastic on the downswing to compensate, usually resulting in fat or thin shots.

Practice the body motion drill often to make it a part of your swing. The more effectively and efficiently you can shift your weight, the more consistent ball striker you will become.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Downswing motion

    Bill wrote on: Feb 29, 2008

    I have always had a problem with my swing sequence. After I completed my backswing, I could never seem to unleash the coil. It always felt like I was leaving something behind or I would tend to loose my balance and then horribly hook the ball. The comment about "the slight bump" changed all of that. I now make a nice smooth transition and have really started smashing the ball.