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The Golf Backswing

Golf Backswing: Backward movement of the golf club.

  • Fatal flaw: Open-face take-away.
  • Awful results: Slice, pull, smother, hook, scuff, or shank.
  • Magic move: Early backward wrist break, with thumb press.
  • Check points: One knuckle of left hand visible, two of right hand, and none of club face when hands are hip high.

Ready to learn about the golf backswing?

In this section you'll learn to start the swing, uncover the first fatal flaws that appear (with the horrible shots they produce), and learn the first of the magic moves that will cut strokes from your score.

Ironically, these first flaws that creep into average players swing produce an effect that is the exact opposite of what they want.

Just as you have, they have read and heard all their golfing life that certain things are essential.

The first of these is that you must pivot, the second is that the club must be taken away from the ball inside the projected line of flight, the third is that the wrists should be broken late and upward.

Now let's see what happens when you put them into practice.

First, you twist your body as you start the take-away. This brings the club back on an inside line. Fine. It opens the face of the club too.

Excellent, you say, for you know it should be open at the top of the swing. You delay the wrist break as long as possible and then let the wrists break upward.

Then what happens? The very thing you wanted most to avoid. You hit the ball from the outside in, with an open face (usually), and you get an outlandish slice.

If you close the face on the downswing you probably will get a pull, or a smother (if it's closed too much), or a hook.

If the club is outside the line far enough, you will even get that most horrible of all shots, a shank.

You are then thoroughly crestfallen. You have done everything you'd been told to do and you still hit those awful shots. Why?

You hit them because your early movements got you into such a position at the top that you could hardly hit anything else.

Your early pivot, your attempt to "turn in a barrel," didn't permit you to transfer your weight to your right leg. You kept too much of it on your left leg.

Taking the club away inside (it was probably quite sharply inside) got it moving too flat, as well as opening the face.

Then, to get the swing farther along, you had to bring the club up. At that point things began to get tight and uncomfortable.

To ease them you stopped the turn that your shoulders were making and let your left wrist collapse, or bend back and go under the club. This let you raise the club and get what you felt was a full swing, without being uncomfortable.

The face of the club, of course, was wide open at the top. What happened next was inevitable.

You started the downswing by regripping with your left hand, which had loosened, which made you get the club head started moving too soon.

Your weight, being mostly on your left leg, moved back to the right leg. You turned your hips and shoulders sharply, which threw the club onto the outside-in line you were trying to avoid. And you came down across the ball.

Chances are that as you did, your left knee snapped back and locked and your right knee bent straight out in front of you. And your follow-through, what there was of it, carried the club around you instead of up and out after the ball.

You, however, see none of these things as the cause of your bad shots.

You feel only that you haven't done well enough what you are trying to do, and in your efforts to meet the standards, you exaggerate the actions. You don't improve. You may easily get worse.

And you finally end your practice session frustrated and dejected, or your round, if you are playing, with a shameful score.

How can you, then, improve your golf backswing?

Read on... ;-)

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