Rolling the ankle helps the downswing

The classic golf tip series:

1 – Shoulder turn
2 – One-piece takeaway
3 – Downswing
4 – Weight transfer
5 – Golf club release
6 – Backspin
7 – Chipping and pitching

This is a classic golf tip that has always been associated with Jack Nicklaus. He always speaks about ‘rolling the ankles in the downswing’ and although it’s unlikely that by doing so you will also win 18 Major championships, there’s no doubt it will improve your ball-striking and all sorts of other good things.


How rolling the ankles helps the downswing

‘Rolling the ankles’ is all about the downswing, so let’s assume you’ve made it into a good, coiled and loaded position at the top of the backswing. From there, if the right foot pushes the weight to the left in the downswing and ‘rolls’ inwards towards the ankle, it does a number of positive things:

A – It creates a powerful weight shift.
B – It helps the right shoulder move down and under the chin, which keeps the arms on the correct path on the downswing.
C – As the club moves into the impact zone and you get ‘through the ball’, it allows the right side to chase the club down the line towards the target, adding to consistency in direction.


Golf tip no 1: Lifting your heel

If the right heel lifts early and the right knee moves towards the ball, as is common with amateurs, it gets the weight moving towards the toes instead of towards the target.

When the right knee moves towards the ball, it also naturally makes the right shoulder move outwards and that in turn throws the arms away from the body, causing a steep ‘outside-in’ downswing. The arms then swing across the ball through impact leading to a loss of direction and control – big slices and nasty pull-hooks.


Golf tip no 2: Nailing your heel to the floor

This fault is a result of golfers trying to stop swaying all over the place – and overdoing it. The ankles start to roll correctly but the heel stays down too long – so the golfer is planted to the ground.

If the heel does not lift through impact, it is simply not possible to support the downswing with the right side through the ball. The club cannot swing down the targetline and nine times out of 10, it will flip quickly to the left with horrendous results.


Golf tip no 3: The step drill

Start with your feet together, swing the club back and as you begin the downswing, take a large and pronounced step to the left – as shown in the sequence. You will find it almost impossible not to roll the ankles as you execute the golf tip, and you will feel the right side moving through the ball in a powerful, controlled golf swing.