How To Shallow Your Golf Swing And Hit It Further

Here you will learn how to shallow your golf swing and why you shouldn’t have the same steep swing plane in your downswing as in your backswing. We’ll cover how to shallow the golf club and hit it further. 

Learning how to shallow the golf swing is something most beginner golfers need some help with and this article should fix it. So keep reading...

Male golfer with shallow downswing

Before we dig into how to shallow golf swing, let’s talk a bit about steep vs shallow golf swing and what problems you’re likely to experience today.

In case you are a beginner golfer, odds are that you experience not hitting your shots as far as you would like. I bet you also quite often see the ball curve to the side into that big slice most of us golfers dread so badly.

In the beginning when I first picked up golf I took for granted that the swing should travel on the same plane (or arc) in both the backswing and the downswing. I also thought that you either had a steep swing or a more shallow swing and that it should be kind of shallow vs steep in golf where your swing belonged to one of these two categories.

The first time I understood that there might not be the same swing plane on the shaft when you’re loading the swing as when you go towards impact was when I read Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons - Fundamentals of Modern Golf for the first time. 

However, I had a hard time understanding Mr Hogan’s pane of glass and the illustrations on how to shift from a steep to a more shallow shaft plane from the top of the backswing. In all other departments of the book the illustrations are crystal clear, but those describing how to shallow the golf club in the downswing just didn’t make sense to me.

For quite some time I kept slicing the ball and I never seemed to get the distance in my shots that I thought I should get from the power in my swing. Golf wasn’t really fun for me at this time. When I looked at my short shots I also had two out of three balls curved in a slice that more often landed in the rough than in the fairway.

I guess you come here today because you have reached the point in your golf adventure where you know you have to make a change. You have come to the insight that you should not swing your club in the same arc, or on the same plane, both on your backswing and your downswing. You are probably also experiencing the same problems in your club delivery and ball flight as I did in the beginning.

You now feel and understand that your club delivery in the downswing most often comes down on a quite steep plane and out to in relation to your target line. You feel that you don’t get as much power in your swing as you would like. You want a fix for your ball flight and to that slice you don’t want from your swing. 

It annoys you that you most often have to hit your next shot from the ruff when your playing partners are hitting their next one from the fairway fifty yards ahead from where you are. 

Now you’re at a point in your golf where you really want to understand how the swing should be executed . You want to take that next step in your golf development. It’s time to understand what shallow golf swing means and to get your swing working properly and consistently once and for all. 

So let’s dig in...

Male golfer with bowed lead wrist in downswing

What Is Shallow Golf Swing?

In golf shallow the shaft (or club, or swing - same thing) is when you in the downswing have a more shallow arc (swing plane) than you had on the steeper backswing. 

I had a very hard time understanding this during my first years golfing. I always thought that the club shaft should travel the same way down as the arc it travels on when going up. I had never given this much thought before. When I understood that this is not the case in a proper golf swing, I still had a hard time figuring out how this could be possible.

One reason I had such a hard time understanding this and then execute it in my swing is probably due to the illustrations in Mr. Hogan’s Five Lessons. Still today I’m having trouble relating a shallow shaft in a golf swing to the pane of glass illustrations in the book. But I get the concept now and thinking about how the ball is thrown in other sports have helped me a lot.

Fortunately the local pro had other ways to explain the shallow shaft golf downswing to me. He also related the motion to similar motions in other sports. Further he told me step by step how my club should travel on the steeper backswing arc all the way to the top and then on a more shallow swing plane on its way down to impact. 

Finally it all became clear to me! It was just one of these great moments when you finally understand something you didn't previously know.

But, executing a more shallow downswing isn’t the easiest thing in the world for a beginner adult golfer. I’ve put in a lot of practice into this detail of the swing, but for someone that did not grow up playing golf as a child it’s not that easy to do on a consistent basis.

Why Shallow Golf Swing?

As I’ve described, it took me a long time to understand the concept of shallowing the shaft plane in my downswing. And it wasn’t until I understood it both theoretically and how the club physically should travel on the arc down that I really understood why a shallow golf swing on the way towards impact is the way to go.

If you try to hit the ball with that over the top swing as I did for a long time, you won’t find yourself hitting consistent good golf shots. The only way I can think of to really get a consistent and powerful golf swing you can trust, is by understanding why you should shallow your club on the way down.

When you crasp this, you will find yourself hitting more consistent and longer shots. Your golf game will reach a new level and you will be hooked on golf forever. 

You will get the feel of your body turning, lag building up in the swing and you can see that the increased clubhead speed gives you both a solid contact and nicer ball flights.

How To Shallow Golf Swing Plane

When someone explains how to shallow golf swing plane it can sound simple, but it is in fact quite hard for most beginner golfers who are trying to improve their swing. 

This short video will give you an overview of what happens when you do other parts of your swing correctly. You can see that when you know how to shallow golf club in transition, it’s actually just a byproduct of a good golf swing.

Many beginner golfers try to shallow the club after they understand that it’s the way of a proper swing, but few understand how to do it correctly. There are some mistakes most beginners do and if you do it the wrong way it will not benefit you out on the course.

Shallowing the golf swing is basically having the club shaft coming down on a slightly more shallow plane in the downswing. When doing this right it will allow you to rotate better and to hit the ball better.

This might sound easier than it is for most beginner golfers who picked up the game as adults. Trust me, I know! 

What most beginners do is that they still come down too steep in their downswing. This will cause them to swing the club head across the target line outside to in and the outcome is less good shots and in many cases that big slice most of us don't want.

A common problem for beginners trying to fix this is that they change the angle of their body causing your club to struggle through impact. 

What you should aim for is to increase the flex in your body as you use your trail arm to drag the club behind you. Getting this right should help you get the shaft in a good shallow position to help you rotate nicely in order to get a solid impact.

With a more shallow plane, your golf swing will be more consistent and you will make better contact with the ball. This might seem like an easy shallow golf swing fix, but I had problems for a long time figuring out how to get this shallow arc.

There’s actually quite a few things about how to shallow my golf swing that aren't so easy to do and understand when trying to fix a more shallow transition in the arc. At least not  for us who began swinging the club as adults. But you will get there if you put some time in to learn the concept. 

With a good grip and then starting the swing correctly with your body you will soon feel that you too have that nice shallowing in your downswing.

How To Shallow The Golf Driver

Shallow your golf swing with the driver is done in about the same way as with other clubs. But personally I’m having a hard time to shallow the driver for reasons I’m yet to figure out. It’s often harder for many beginner golfers to shallow longer clubs such as the driver, but with the right body motions you should be just fine. 

I figure that the problem for me is that my mind tells my body to load the big stick more than other clubs. This often causes my arms to start the swing, leading to a less shallow shoulder turn that forces me coming over the top. I’m aware of this and I will keep working on it until I get it right on a more consistent basis.

In this video Adam Bazalgette will show you how to shallow the golf club in order to hit longer drives:

Adam is in the business of helping beginner golfers  shallowing the club and it’s a vital skill. What we mean by that is when your swing comes down in a flatter plane you are well on your way to play better golf. You will see that getting more shallow builds more distance with your driver.

In this video he also shows you some really good clips from pro swings. If you don't already have a clear picture of what shallowing the club in the downswing is, you will after watching this. Then you can start building the feel of a more shallow downswing with the two drills he shows in the video.

The first drill is done by hitting some balls from standing on your knees. This will help you get an almost circular feeling. When standing up again after a few shoots you begin building more feel for the swing.

The second drill is swinging with a towel. In what directions can you swing the towel? This is yet another way to help get more feel for the swing with the driver.

The thoughts and example drills from this video will definitely help you on your way to a more shallow angle of attack with your driver. 

What you shouldn’t do however is to lean back in your downswing in order to feel shallow. Make sure you don't drop-kick your swing.

How To Shallow Golf Iron Swing

The principle is the same with both your irons and your woods when it comes to shallow your swing. With woods you don’t hit down on the ball as you do with your irons. But that comes from differences in setup, not from differences in how to shallow your golf club. 

Start your downswing right with your body and you should have yourself a nice shallow downswing motion making consistent good contact with the ball.

Same goes for the long irons. But many beginner golfers do have a harder time to get a shallow golf downswing with longer clubs, including the longer irons as compared to the shorter irons.

Practice the correct order of body movement in the swing and you should be ready for the upcoming season. Put some time in now on the driving range, practicing the drills from the section below...

Drills To Shallow Your Golf Swing

Here’s some drills to shallow golf swing to help you understand the concept in smaller steps. With these shallow golf swing drills you should be able to come closer to that smooth swing that makes solid contact with the ball on a consistent basis.

For most beginner golfers shallowing the golf club isn't something that comes natural. I'm still having a hard time shallowing the club that the way it should be done. When practicing I often think about mr. Hogan's quote about reversing everything in your natural instinct and you should have something close to a golf swing.

But with time spent practicing on the driving range and some good drills for shallowing the club, you should be well on your way to a consistent swing. When you get a grip of it, you too will be able to implement it into your swing motion in a natural way.

In the video below Piers and Andy will explain to you how to get a little bit more shallow in the downswing. They will also give you three tips on drills that will help you:

  • Improve your body rotation
  • Stabilize your clubface at impact
  • Maintaining a good posture throughout your swing

Drill #1 is about the lead wrist. It explains how a cupped lead wrist can cause you problems and that you do want your lead wrist to bow in the downswing. To make this work, you need some physical flexibility in order to do the bowed lead wrist. Most golfers can do this and you too should be able to get the feeling of a bowed lead wrist.

Drill #2 is The Wall Drill. Here you drag the club head along the imaginary wall on your way down. This creates the feeling and motion of the club dragging down on its way towards impact. In order to make this work it’s a good thing if you can disassociate the hips without moving your torso.

Drill #3 is about your trail arm. This is an important step when it comes to creating a more shallow downswing. You want the elbow on your trail arm to move underneath the club in order to help the club shaft shallow on its way down. Just as with other things in golf, this takes some range of motion in your physical ability. 

This is a great drill and one way to practice it is to swing onehanded with the other hand under your trail elbow since it forces the trail elbow to move in underneath you when you rotate.


The tips and drills from these videos should be all you need in order to understand and begin practice on how to shallow the golf club and hit it further. When you get this right you will be well on your way to hit your golf balls better and to enjoy the game the way everyone should be able to enjoy it out on the course.

Striking the ball well with a more shallow plane is within your reach!

But remember -  it takes some practice to shallow the golf club for most beginners. And putting in time for practice is something most golfers don’t do. 

Make sure you don’t become one of these golfers that don’t put in the necessary time to deserve it. The rewards for you when you understand and get a more shallow golf club in transition through impact will be huge. So the time invested in practice to make it work is time well spent.

If you still struggle with fixing this after some practice, taking a golf lesson from your local teaching professional is always a good way to move forward in your game. These PGA guys are good and they love helping your golf game forward.

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