Find a smooth transition for straighter golf shots

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Gary Alliss has some tips on perfecting the transition in your swing in order to maximise power and consistency.


Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Gary Alliss offers his advice on how to find a smooth transition for straighter golf shots.

Find a smooth transition for straighter golf shots

One of the big themes of this article will be the way in which many amateurs instigate the downswing with completely the wrong move – a critical error that will have a detrimental effect on the quality of your ball-striking.

A lot of amateurs I see either drive their weight too quickly and too aggressively towards the target or they sit back on their right side – both of these moves will cause big problems with accuracy and strike.

Instead, the move should be more gentle and follow a simple sequence, which the following drill will help you groove.

Firstly, swing to the top and pause – make sure your weight is set over the inside of your left hip. Then let your hips rotate back a fraction towards the target until your weight is set evenly between both feet.

Hold this position for a fraction and notice how your hands will have naturally dropped. Finally, swing through from here. This drill is a great way to instil a smoother transition that works in the perfect sequence.

Bag drill

An excellent way to check whether your transition is the root cause of problems in your golf swing is to use the following drill.

Set your bag next to your left hip at address, as I have done here. Swing to the top and you’ll notice that a gap appears between the bag and your hip – this is the sign of a good weight shift on to your right side.

Now, as you start down – with your hip rotation triggering the downswing - your left thigh should gently nudge the bag.

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If you knock the bag over or do not make contact with it, your transition is off. Try to keep your sternum directly over the ball during the downswing and you’ll be in a fantastic position to hit consistently sweet shots.

Shoulder angle

One of the reasons many golfers find the transition hard to get right is because you are bracing yourself for a powerful strike.

Some players dip, like Tiger Woods, while others lift their upper body. The spine and shoulder angles set at address are lost just at the critical moment.

Remember that you should rotate around a spine angle that remains constant. A great swing thought is simply to concentrate on keeping your posture firm through the transition.

With Tiger being the exception to the rule, this is one of the most fundamental elements to any good golf swing, so devote some time to this in your next practice session.

Hitting from the top

Instead of triggering the downswing with the rotation of your hips, the first move down either consists of throwing your hands or your body at the ball.

The two positions shown here are incredibly common. The first illustrates what happens if I throw my hands at the ball – my right shoulder comes over the top and sends the club on an out-to-in path which will either cause a slice or a pull.

The second illustrates what happens if you throw your body at the ball. Your hips slide too far towards the target leaving you no room to square the club at impact, causing a big block. Be aware of these two very common positions and make sure you aren’t falling into either trap.

Tom Clarke
Senior Content Editor

Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 being promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014, before becoming Sports Digital Editor for the Sport Vertical within Future in 2022. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including Strategy and Content Planning for the website and social media - Tom also assists the Cycling, Football, Rugby and Marine titles at Future. Tom plays off 18 and lists Augusta National (name drop), Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.