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The Golf Backswing Part 3

The Thumb Press

Yes, your thumbs play an important role in performing your golf backswing. Indeed, thumbs are essential for the entire golf swing!

To make the backward wrist break we merely push the heel of the right hand down against the big knuckle of the left thumb.

This is a downward pressure of the heel on the thumb.

When it is done, without moving the hands other wise, the right hand breaks backward at the wrist and the left hand breaks forward or inward, the hack of the left hand going under and facing, in a general way, toward the ground.

golf back swing part 3

How the backward break is made, with the heel of the right hand pressing down on the knuckle of the left thumb.

The back of the left hand begins to turn down and under.

golf back swing part 3a

How not to make the break. Wrists and hands have rolled, the back of the left hand has turned upward.

The right hand is rolling too, instead of bending straight back.

At this point the club will have come back slightly inside the projected line of flight but the club face will not have opened.

The face will be at about a 45-degree angle with the ground and, as you stand there, you will not be able to see any of it.

golf back swing part 3c

How the backward break looks from the side.

Note the bend in the left wrist as the back of the hand turns down, and the position of the right wrist.

Notice also that the face of the club has not opened.

golf back swing part 3d

This is the wrong break, with wrists rolled.

Note the difference in the left-hand position here and in the illustration to your left, and observe also the differences in the club-face positions.

Never do it like this.

To be certain you are making the break correctly there is a perfect check point at this stage.

If you look at your hands you will see, if the break is right, one knuckle of your left hand and the first two knuckles of the right.

The left hand will be broken in, at an angle with the wrist.

Your view of the perfect backward break

Here is what you should see when you make the backward break perfectly — only one knuckle of the left hand but two knuckles of the right.

If the break is completed here, without letting the hands move away from their address position, the club will have been brought back and up until it is almost parallel with the ground.

How near it approaches the parallel depends on how supple your wrists happen to be.

Following our description of how the break is made, try it ten times.

If you don't soon get the feel of it, try it twenty or fifty times. But do it until you get the feel, checking yourself each time with the left-hand and right-hand knuckles and the angle of the face of the club.

This is a key move — the foundation of the golf swing — and you must do it right, get the feel of doing it right, and do it so much that it becomes automatic.

It is easy to practice, requiring very little room, and can be worked on indoors or out, winter as well as summer. Get it, and get it right.

We have not put this into the actual swing yet, remember. We are still working on the mechanics of the wrist break.

It is just possible that at this fundamental stage you will refuse to believe that you can hit the ball with such a break. So make this test:

Go to the practice tee, or to a range or an indoor net. Address the ball. Make the backward break and do nothing else.

Don't shift your weight, move your hips, or turn your shoulders. Just make the backward break. Hold it a couple of seconds.

Now simply turn your shoulders, letting the shoulders swing your arms and the club up to the top, and then go right on through with the swing and hit the golf ball.

You will be amazed at what happens after you try this a few times. You will find, if you keep the wrist position, that you not only hit the ball, but that you hit it solidly, hit it straight, and hit it a surprising distance.

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