Over the next several weeks, Tom Stickney will be presenting a series called, “The Swing In Pictures” on GolfWRX.

Each Monday a different swing position will be coupled with thoughts you (as the player) should pay attention to based on your current handicap level. I would suggest printing each of these articles out and placing them in a binder, as the series will take you from address through the finish from the front and down the line views.

Click here to view Tom’s previous articles.


This article is meant to be used as a general reference for the most common swing model used in today’s game. As with any golf swing, there are personal idiosyncrasies that will alter the look and/or actions of the club shaft and body motions back and through so there will always be exceptions. Please keep this in mind as you read each section. As Homer Kelley identifies in ‘The Golfing Machine,’ there are 446 quad-trillion stroke patterns, or ways to swing the club. You only need to find the one that works best for you.

The Transition (Forward View)

Tom Stickney

The transition is the period of shoulder acceleration that guides and directs the club shaft into its downstroke motion; this is the most critical portion of the downswing as it sets up your delivery through the ball.

For the Beginning Player:

  • The legs and hips are beginning to leave the shoulders behind as the weight begins to move from the rear foot to the forward foot in a lateral fashion.
  • The feet are firmly planted on the ground allowing a firm foundation at this point.
  • At this position you will find that around 50 to 60 percent of your weight has moved back into your forward foot via a lateral hip “bumping” motion.

For the Intermediate Player:

  • The lateral downswing motion of the legs and hips should begin slightly before the club reaches the end of the backswing.
  • At this point you are rebalancing your weight from the rear to the front foot.
  • The proper sequencing is vital for transitional success — resist the temptation to “jerk” it down from the top.
  • Lateral side bending is increasing as the hips pull the base of the spine toward the target, causing the top of the spine to tilt away from the target, lowering the rear shoulder.

For the Advanced Player:

  • The transitional motion can be felt in many different ways, however, we know the most efficient kinematic sequence begins from the ground up.
  • The hands are passive allowing the angle formed between the forward arm and the club shaft to become more acute.

For the Professional Player:

  • Hold your shoulders and hands at the top as long as possible to allow the forward hip to move as far away from the hands as possible — this X-Factor Stretch is the catalyst to increase transitional lag.
  • The more upright your backstroke plane the more you have to re-route the club during this transitional phase
  • Increasing transitional lag is a product of two factors:
  1. The lateral leg drive in the transition as the shaft is left behind (the X-Factor Stretch).
  2. The loading action used during the backstroke — the later the “wrist set” during the backstroke the greater the transitional lag in the transition usually.
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