The most important thing to get right in golf is your swing. You know this, I know this, everyone with a mind in the game knows. And keeping that swing on point is critical to improving your game.
You’ve probably heard golf pros talking about shallowing up the swing to help, but what exactly does this mean, and why should you bother? I mean, if you’re game is okay, why try to shallow your golf swing, right?
A properly executed shallow golf swing will increase your swing’s power, stability, and impact strength. It does this by transforming your swing into more of a whip-like motion rather than a pure rotational swing (like you would swing a baseball bat).
Diving deeper into the elements of a shallow swing, we’ll discuss the benefits, features, and of course, why you should try to mold your swing into a more shallow swing to improve your golf game.
Let’s start by defining the difference between a steep and a shallow swing so that we’re all on the same page.
Shallow Versus Steep Golf Swing
The exact angle that will define your perfect shot will be different for each player and even potentially each club.
The concept is simple, though; a golf swing that is either too steep or too shallow will both prove to be detrimental to your game. And conversely, that sweet spot in between shallow and steep will help improve your game.
A shallow golf swing can be defined by the clubhead’s path traveling on a rotational angle close to the club’s lie angle. Conversely, a steep golf swing will have the clubhead path travel closer to a vertical circle, like a Ferris wheel.
The angle that a club swing takes relative to the ground will alter the club’s face direction and thus affect the shot.
For example, if a right-handed swing is too shallow, the lie angle will be too small, and the club’s face will point more towards the left, pulling the ball to the left.
And if the shot were too steep, the opposite is true: the lie angle would be too great, causing the club head face to point more towards the right.
There may be situations where you want to pull or slice the ball slightly. But most of the time, you want to have yourself correctly aligned with the target direction.
There aren’t many situations where intentional over shallowing or intentionally steep swings would be beneficial.
Benefits Of Shallowing The CLub
You came here to find out why to shallow up your swing. Well, there are four excellent reasons to get this into your game.
- Improves swing body rotation
- Aids in maintaining good posture
- Stabilizes the clubface
- Increases the ‘whip’ effect of the swing
When you practice your swing, try leading ever so slightly with your hips before rotating your shoulders. The motion of using your hips as the primary rotation point allows your torso to ‘pull’ your upper body along with the rotation of the swing.
The improved rotation of the body due to a practiced swing will help your body rotation and provide a basis for good swing posture.
A proper body posture is essential to avoid injury with your body, like a rotator cuff injury, for example. To prevent these sorts of injuries, proper posture during the swing is essential.
The next benefit of the shallow swing (but not too shallow) is its effect on the clubface. When the shaft’s lie angle is incorrect, the club’s face will face either the left or right, rather than on the directed path.
A correctly performed swing will allow for a clean lie angle, directing the clubface to the appropriate direction and angle relative to the ground for a more significant period during the swing than a steeper golf swing.
Maintaining the lie angle for a longer duration of the swing allows for a better chance of striking the ball at the club-face’s correct angle. In this sense, the swing increases the clubface direction’s stability for a more significant portion of the swing.
Lastly, but by no means of least importance, is the whip effect. Comparing the speed of a rotational swing with that of a whip, it is evident that a whip has a much higher-end velocity than that of a rotational swing.
Shallowing up your swing helps transform the clubs’ path from a circular (rotational) to a more elliptical (whip-like) path.
However, the correct route may indeed be more circular than oval when the angle the arms take during the swing relative to the shaft shows that the end of the swing acts almost like a whip.
The whipping like motion in the latter half of a shallowed swing adds speed and power to the clubface while, as mentioned, increasing the time the face is in alignment with your target intended direction.
The combination of increased strength and a larger window of accuracy for the face to strike the ball means a noticeable improvement in your golf swing and thus game.
4 Tips To A Better Shallow Sing
1. Watch The Lead Wrist Angle
The transition from backswing from having the wrist of the lead hand bent up towards the elbow. Some instructors call this cupping the wrist. But in the transition from the backswing, if we focus on ensuring the wrist is not bent back, but instead straight or even bent inward slightly, it provides a cleaner swing the body rotating can smoothly keep in line.
- Bending the wrist (also called bowing the wrist) in this manner allows the club to come down flatter.
- The strength of the clubface impact increases.
- Further power and stability to the swing increase.
2. Practice In Slow Motion Repeatedly
Start your wrist flexing from the highest point of your backswing.
Try tucking in the elbow of your following arm forwards slightly on the downswing.
At the point where the club is halfway down the downswing, the following arm should almost be above the club, seemingly pushing the shaft downward rather than swinging the club like one would swing a baseball.
3. Start With The Hips
Start your body swing rotation from the hips first, pulling the upper torso behind it.
Rotating your swing in this fashion helps keep the club naturally shallow rather than the higher swing when the torso rotates together as one on the downswing.
4. Use Your Club Lie Angle
Here’s how to set this training up:
Get two poles, about 4 feet or so in length.
Take the club you want to practice with and hold it, so the head is parallel to the ground.
It makes the shaft sit on an angle. It is your lie angle for your club.
Set your two poles in the ground, about a foot and a half apart. But make sure they are inserted into the ground so both are parallel and both are on the same angle as the lie angle of your club.
Practice your swing slowly, standing a couple of feet from the poles. Your swing should follow a path between the two poles.
The bars help act as a guide for your swing.
Take a look at the following video to explain more.
These four tips are not the be-all and end-all of shallowing your swing. There are likely numerous other aspects of the swing that can alter the ball’s course, but these are the four main things that most people with steep swing issues can do to improve.
A final tip to put out there is to use a video camera.
When I practice my swing, I like to set up a video camera to film myself. Then I can play it back in slow motion and see how my posture is during my swing.
Using a video recording of your swing can improve your angle and shallow up your golf swing if a steep swing is an issue for you.
The Last Thought
We’ve talked about what defines a steep and shallow swing. We’ve looked at the benefits of a shallow swing (compared to a steep) and discussed the benefits.
A good swing is one where the golfer has control over the clubface when striking the ball.
And we’ve talked about how a shallow swing can help increase the time the clubface lines up with the ball for a clean hit.
Keeping these tips in mind and giving yourself regular practice to hone your golf swing is critical to improving your game.
If you want to get even more help improving, take a look at some golf coaching to help improve things.
Our Drive For Show coaching course can help you build a classic golf swing and will also help focus your mind on getting that swing shallowed to just the right amount.
Having a shot that’s too shallow or too steep can make or break a game. So, keep practicing, and don’t be afraid to reach out for more advice about how you can improve your golf swing and game.