By Shawn McConnon

January 19, 2023

Shallowing the golf club does not have to be difficult. In fact, you may be surprised how simple it really is. More often than not amateur golfers make the golf swing more difficult and create more work. In today's video Athletic Motion Golf does an excellent job showing what you need to do to shallow the golf club in the transition and downswing.

Players Analyzed for Shallowing

As golfers, it's important to understand how our club moves in a good golf swing. This video will dive into the data of players who've won over 35 majors and 400 wins on tour, including 28 wins this year alone. The clubs you'll see on the screen are from as many of those winners as we could fit in, including all the outliers - the steepest and most shallow clubs. We'll also fill in the middle with as many clubs as we can possibly fit.

Understanding Shallowing

Just referring to the angle of the shaft relative to the ground, shallowing is when the shaft is pointing at or just beyond the golf ball in the downswing. This is the most common landmark used for determining if a shaft is shallow or steep. However, there are two potential downsides to using this as the basis for shallowing: it doesn't account for what the hands are doing, and it often gives a misleading perspective of what needs to happen to the club in three dimensions.

The Problem with Analyzing Steepness at Top of Swing

Players are used to seeing the clubs at the top of their swings looking steep, so they feel they have to do something to shallow it, lay it down or flatten it at the beginning of their downswings. But the problem is that's not really the case at all. When we bring in the face-on view of these clubs, you can see that what looks steep from down the line is actually quite shallow. In fact, when we roll the left side down to what would be left arm parallel, you can see for these pros and most likely for you, the club is its shallowest, flattest, or most laid off at the top of the swing.

Pros do not shallow the club by using external rotation

Pros do not use external rotation to shallow the club.

Shallowing the Club: Understanding the Role of the Body

As golfers, we often hear about the importance of shallowing the club in our swings. However, it's not just about the angle of the shaft relative to the ground, but also about the movement of the club in three dimensions and how it's affected by the body. In this video, we'll take a look at how the body can help or hinder us from shallowing the club, using data from tour-winning players.

The Importance of Active Arms

To shallow the club the arms must move down

Many golfers try to be passive with their arms, with the goal of having a body-dominated swing. However, this can take the timing out of the golf swing and result in a swing that is not ideal. Clearly, the arms cannot be passive; they have to do something. Good players lift their arms in the backswing and lower them in the downswing, independent of the pivot.

Common Body Concepts and Their Impact on Shallowing

There are several body concepts that players try to use as shallowers in their swings, such as keeping the back to the target while shifting, rotating without any lateral shifting, and early side tilt with shift. However, with passive trail arms, none of these body movements shallow the shaft or move the club properly. The body is extremely important in the golf swing, but so are the arms.

Mobility Test for Pro-level Shallowing

You do not need crazy flexibility to shallow your swing

Some golfers may think that pro-level shallowing moves are physically out of reach for them. To test this, here's a quick mobility test that you can do in golf posture or standing posture.  

  • Adduction Test:  
    • The first test is your ability to adduct your arm at a tour level which is 10 degrees.

  • Internal Rotation: 
    • The second test is your ability to internally rotate your arm at a tour level which is 5 degrees.

  • Unbending Elbow: 

    • The third test is just unbending your elbow by 10 degrees.
  • Forearm Supination:

    • Fourth, we need 20 degrees of forearm supination.
  • Lowering Arm:

    • Finally, lower your arm 20-25 degrees.

If you can do those moves you can achieve pro-level shallowing of the golf club. I bet you feel more confident in your ability to shallow your swing. 

The KEY Move to Shallowing in Downswing

The Spiderman move to shallow your downswing

Image credit: - original image did not include text. License:

Pros lower their arms twice as much as amateurs. That’s it. By lowering and straightening your trail arm you can achieve a shallow downswing.

Don’t overthink it or make it more difficult than it needs to be.

A visual for you to accomplish this is imagine you are Spiderman at the top of your swing and you need to shoot your web behind you. Just make sure to maintain your posture.

Shallowing the Golf Club Conclusion

In conclusion, shallowing the club is not just about the angle of the shaft relative to the ground, but also about the movement of the club in three dimensions and how it's affected by the body. The body is extremely important in the golf swing, but so are the arms. While some pro-level shallowing moves may seem out of reach, it actually takes very little mobility to achieve shallowing the golf club in transition and downswing. 

About the author

Shawn is the founder of UpGlove. He started UpGlove to solve his own problem of getting an affordable player's glove. Shawn is a single-digit Handicap and loves to play different courses throughout Tampa Bay. He also enjoys taking his two doggies Brutus & Champi for long walks.

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