Let’s Take It From The Top – Gravity + Leverage

I liked the comment left by long-time Wax Nation citizen Goose, who hit the nail on the head with a perfect description of the right arm action with the club.

In fact, it is the perfect description of what’s going on with a perfect (or as close to it as you can get to perfect) down swing action leveraged by the leading side and powered by the trailing arm.

In his comment, Goose said the following, in part:

You have to swing DOWN… It’s the only way to get full acceleration and not break the pendulum.

And that, friends, is the shortest and best way to describe the down swing action that combines the dual aspects of gravity & leverage.

I’ve been talking about how even a right-dominant swinger needs both sides of the body working in unison to best leverage the swing down, and of course I’ve talked about the role of gravity in the down swing (and how not to interfere with gravity).

The thing is, the minute I found my tightest leveraging position at the top of the back pivot, I began to feel the gravity in the down swing.


You’ve seen this gif. of the “drop” action of the right arm above, and you can see how it would look in the actual down swing shown below:


Most of the above actions are aided more by the leading side leverage than actual gravity, but by the time the club shaft is reaching parallel to the ground, the end of the “Drop” phase in the “Drop & Pop” action, you will find that gravity gives a big power boost.

Gravity is the turbo-charge to your down swing leverage, and if you build the proper stance, get the proper tight position at the top, then you will really feel it as you practice slow down swings.

Going back to Goose’s comment, this is where you can visualize the “pendulum” action of the swing, but there most people think of the pendulum action of the leading arm, here’s something to think about:


It is not a perfect analogy because the hands are moving from the beginning of the down swing to the finish, but you can think of the green fulcrum above as being the hands, and this pendulum action, you will feel very strongly when swinging slowly from the top and allowing gravity to boost the swing from the “3 O’Clock” point onward.

Because, that’s exactly what the club is doing with the hands in the “3 to9” phase:


When I’m swinging slowly on purpose, I feel gravity begin to force the tip of my SwingRite down (the “pendulum effect”) right around the “3 O’Clock” position.

In fact, this is the reason for many people’s “casting” or early release problems.

If are impeding your down swing in any way by slowing down your shift to the leading leg, slowing or stopping the hip rotation coming down, or even having too loose a top position, then gravity will cause the club to swing down and past the hands before it should, making you “flip” or “cast,” and perhaps even making you hit your shot fat.

This is how powerful the gravity effect is. If you’re not swinging properly, it will cause unwanted things to occur – but if you’re swinging correctly, it makes hitting smooth and powerful irons and big, booming drives all the more easy.

That’s what Mike Dunaway did so excellently in his own down swing:


Leverage lasts from the beginning of the down swing largely to the end, certainly through impact or the swing bottom.

Gravity only lasts from a part shortly into the down swing transition to the swing bottom, but it is a crucial part of the entire swing.


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10 thoughts on “Let’s Take It From The Top – Gravity + Leverage

  1. xzorro123

    Thank you- a fine number of Slo-Mo videos to support yr point.
    Now to the range/ course, if the winter weather allows – in Belgium.

  2. targettom

    Warning guys: my Swingrite broke apart today. I haven’t used it all that often so it’s a very concerning failure. Seems the top part has a very tentative connection to the collars.

    1. D Watts Post author

      That’s unfortunate, Tom – I’ve had mine for years and years, swing it almost every day. I’ll forward your email to Katy, she’s amazing and will look into it for you.

  3. targettom

    Actually I copied you on the original email just to keep you informed. She has kindly offered to replace it. I think it possible that your version may be more robust than the one I have which was made more recently, it seems production/design has changed in recent years. Maybe. I think it helps build/maintain a better swing, but I havent used mine much because it stresses my wrists.

    I’m not a design expert but I think it might be a good idea to put duct tape over the pin to keep it from coming loose. I was very lucky it didnt break any glass but it did leave a big dent in the floor and wall. I dont think I’ll be swinging indoors anymore

    1. D Watts Post author

      It’s too bad you got that one. I haven’t heard anything from anyone else who bought one, and like I said, mine’s still going strong.

      I’ve got a gouge taken out of the hardwood coffee table that my in-laws gave us the year the missus and I got married, from a swing I made with a driver a little too close to it. That’s when I made my swing sticks, no more clubs indoors. Then the SwingRite and the Momentus heavy iron. Every time I see that gouge in the table, I think back on the years of work I’ve done working on swing theory.

      Think of the marks as historic artifacts!

  4. Mr. McJohn

    I believe what you describe as the “drop” or what you’re describing here in the article is simply the right elbow coming into the body on the downswing. I find this to be what almost every good swinger does. If the elbow gets disconnected, over the top happens or in general just a poor swing.

    Not sure if this is what you’re describing or not, but it appears that way.

    Haven’t got the video. Can’t afford it, to be honest. But looking at your swing, it appears that I do a lot of things you do already. Studied Snead for years, and just did that.

    1. D Watts Post author

      That’s exactly what it is, Mr. McJohn – the the tighter the top position, the tighter the dropping elbow, and without that, the elbow can separate or stray from the body, leading to the over the top or outside-in impact club path.

      I also offer the MCS videos on sale once every season or so – keep your eye open for the next time! 🙂

  5. Uncle JJ

    This post turned on a light bulb for me, DJ. If I understand correctly, the “Pop” is that section of the swing where the gravity kicks in. For some reason, I thought of gravity being more connected to the “Drop,” and I could never reconcile that with feel during my swing.

    Now I think I see. I can see driving deep into the leading leg, which causes significant force; but the extra speed generated from using gravity from 3-9 really can make a big difference.

    Anyway, your wording was better. Sometimes I have to read your posts (and watch your videos) a few times before it clicks in my hard head. The green fulcrum as the hands in your illustration is what made it work for me. This is a great post – thanks!

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