Shallowing Technique

Are we going to discuss technical matters at all on this forum? If not, that’s fine, won’t bother me. I’m more interested in strategy / mental / psychological / spiritual aspects of golf than technical anyway.

Buuuttt… I respect what this forum is all about and respect the civility and would be interested to hear what some folks have to say about some technical issues.

For example, I’d be curious to see what people have to say about shallowing the club in the transition, downswing, and through impact. Seems to be all the rage in today’s instructional world and truly does seem to be the difference between elite players and amateurs. It’s a tricky thing to feel, though, so I’d be interested in seeing how you all try to feel it.

What seems to work for me is not internal feels like laying down the club or clearing the hips or things like that. What seems to work for me is an external feel based on envisioning what a shallow shaft exiting left would look like and feel like, then try to bring that vision to life. Like envisioning swinging the club like a baseball bat flat to the ground (shallow), but obviously with the ball on the ground rather than waist high. Take a few practice swings like that, see the blur of the club head coming from inside and returning to inside and the blur of the shaft parallel or flat to the ground, then swing it like that.

What works for you to shallow out the club?

I’m not particularly good at shallowing, but going for the “skipping rocks” feeling has helped me. Skipped a lot of rocks as a kid, so it’s something I can relate to which is important to making it stick I think.

Oooh, I like that. In that same vein, throwing a baseball side-armed. So many similarities to a good golf swing.


Skipping rocks is probably the best explanation I’ve heard to be able to visualize shallowing the club. I can see that and know what that’s supposed to feel like. Good one here @CoryO

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This is definitely something I’m working on improving… the skipping rocks analogy is great!

I also think technical stuff has a home here… I went with the approach of start some topics and see if it generates conversation.

To me, the shallow club follows the correct kinetic sequence I want to maximize force through the ball… if I start my turn with my hips and clear my body out of the way of my swing, my hands follow and drag the club through… at least that’s how I think of it… I really focus on “firing “ my hips.

My approach to a golf swing is to start “correctly” and it forces my body along for the ride… it doesn’t always work!

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I know shallowing has become very popular lately, and while I don’t want this forum to necessarily be about swing mechanics, I’ll see if I can get instructors on here to comment from time to time.

@Adamyounggolf do you want to take a stab at this?

That doesn’t work for us lefties who do everything else righty! need another feel

Oh trust me, I know. Been playing with one for years! :wink:

The best way I find to help me in the transition is like throwing a baseball. That is very natural to me and I can take that translation over to the swinging of the club. It also helps in my extension after hitting the ball.

When I’m working on shallowing at the driving range, I usually do a few slow-mo ‘feel’ swings, where I try to focus on starting my front hip and feeling my trail elbow start to drop-in towards my ribcage.

I’ll do a few half or quarter swings getting that feeling, then a full practice swing doing the same before addressing the ball and hitting.

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Simple drill that works is to tee a ball up on the range really high. Then use your lob wedge to hit it. Your brain will help your body get the club sufficiently shallow in no time


Be careful with this one - most pros aren’t shallowING the club after P5 (lead arm parallel in downswing). They get it shallow before that point, so it should happen more before, during, or ever so slightly after transition.

Rahm is a great example of just placing it in a laid off/shallow position very early
Garcia is a good example of laying it off more during/slightly post transition

Wolff (and many others) are examples of players who don’t use active shallowing, but place the club across the line at the top so that when they start down, the club overshoot the line of force and shallows “automatically”. This is a really complex topic, so I understand if many can’t visualize this one.

I like the concepts of skipping stones/throwing sidearm. It’s interesting that when I give any player (even beginners) an alignment rod and ask them to whip is as loud as they can, 90+% will shallow the shaft without even knowing it.

Be warned though - shallowing is also a face opening move. Most players combine it with a fair amount of lead wrist flexion (a face closing move) to balance it out.

One additional point - shallowing of the shaft is not the same as (and in many cases can be opposing to) a shallow angle of attack.


Great explanation, thanks for chiming in!

Love the distinction between shallow plane and shallow angle of attack! I think you’re the first person I’ve seen mention that. Makes total sense to me, yet I see how using the term “shallow” in two different contexts could confuse others.

Here’s how the think of it: The plane is the pitch of the club itself. Shallow plane is when the shaft is closer to being parallel to the ground. Steep plane is when the shaft is more perpendicular to the ground.

Angle of attack is how the club comes into the ball. Shallow angle of attack is like a plane landing gently. Steep angle of attack is like a kamikaze.

So you could swing a shallow shaft steeply (think of a baseball bat parallel to the ground being swung straight down to the ground to drive in a tent stake) or vice versa, a steep shaft shallowly.

I think instructors need to do a better job of clarifying what they mean when they tell people to “shallow”.

God now I have that Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper song in my head…


@devonpetersen great visuals from that description. I love this technical part of the game because I consider myself super analytical. That’s why I had such a hard time adapting to my swing change with my coach. I try and break down each thing and position so I’m super mechanical, until I can make it all make sense and connect all the synapsis. I’m finally getting to that point. But to your point if those visual pictures were explained to me, I probably would’ve understood it sooner. I think a lot of times it’s hard for most to take the two and make a picture as you just did.

Great info! Very much appreciated.

As an FYI, I’m glad this topic popped up yesterday! Was playing twilight yesterday evening, started fine, but was definitely losing my focus as the sun was setting and hit a couple flat out awful duck hooks off the tee. Next drive, I just cleared the mind, said “skip the stone” and really bashed a few the last couple holes I had before it was completely dark.


Serious question, why is everyone so concerned about shallowing the club? My understanding, as basic as it is, is that the shallowing motion is a by-product of actions that happen as early as the takeaway. If your swing sequence is pretty good, shallowing will happen automatically.

It seems to me that this is in the same vein of searching for tips to start the downswing. Again, your body will get itself out of the way assuming you have the club in a good position at the top.

Please note, I don’t pretend to be an instructor so I’m open to ideas that run contrary to my statements.

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I think what a “good swing sequence” feels like is really subjective player to player and the feeling of trying to shallow the club may work for some to trigger that good swing sequence. IMO, the argument can be made that every good position is a by-product of something else since it’s all working in tandem. Different focus areas can work for different players, so if “shallowing” works for someone and they work to produce it in the right way, more power to them.

I see shallow in 3 ways

  1. angle of attack
  2. the trajectory of the clubhead
  3. the shaft pitch

They all have importance but do different things. And as mentioned, can be opposing. Here is a great example in this blog -

and for those wanting to delve into angle of attack, this article explains more -