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The Golf Swing At The Top

The Magic Move at the Top of the Golf Swing

The move that avoids the easy-chair slouch and gets you to the top of the golf swing correctly is simply a purposeful shoulder turn with a firm retention of the wrist position gained by the backward break.

When the backward break was completed, as you may remember, the hands were only waist high. The break must be completed that early. Arms and golf club, at that point, have worked up a little momentum.

Let the shoulder turn then pick up the momentum and let it swing the hands to the top.

Remember that the shoulders are the motivating force.

The correct backswing: In A the backward wrist break is well under way and the club face is square. In B the position is getting tighter as the club is brought around and up, the wrist position has been retained, and the club face kept square.

The top of the golf swing, for the hands, is at a level just about even with the top of the head.

If you make sure the shoulders turn a full 90 degrees, the hands will reach that level.

A point which must be stressed here is that the shoulders must turn on the backswing, not rock.

As the hands are brought up and around, the shoulders will tilt somewhat, with the right eventually becoming higher than the left.

But one of the worst things that can happen is for the left shoulder to duck. When this occurs the golf club goes off the plane it should follow.

It comes up. And when it comes up the hand position gained by the wrist break is lost. The left wrist goes under the shaft and the face of the golf club opens.

Many players, we find in teaching, will duck the left shoulder and think they are turning it.

They substitute the duck for the turn. When they do, they get themselves in a perfect position at the top to come down across the golf ball from the outside — even to shank it.

The magic golf move here is not an action. It is a position: The right position at the top.

That position is measured in several ways: by the weight on the right leg, by the shoulder turn, by the unmoved head, but most of all by the tightness of the coil, the hand-and-wrist position, the face of the golf club, and the plane of the golf swing.

Most important is the firm retention of the hand-and-wrist position gained by the backward wrist break. If it is held, it almost forces you into the right position at the top. This is one of its greatest values.

Keeping everything tight, the player has reached the top in perfect position.

Note the full shoulder turn, the straight left arm, the unbroken left wrist, the right hand under the shaft, the golf club face still square. He's ready to make the right move down to the ball.

Holding that wrist position requires effort, though, because as the windup proceeds, the tension and the stretching increase and your strong instinct is to relieve it. You must not relieve it.

A good backward wrist break feels stiff and awkward. That is the feeling you must continue to have as the golf swing goes to the top.

If you don't do anything to ease it, to fall into the easy-chair slouch, such as collapsing the left wrist, ducking the left shoulder, or opening the left hand, the golf swing will continue in the plane we want it, which is a little on the flat side.

In this plane, if the golf club is to get back to a position horizontal with the ground, the shoulders must turn fully. There is no other way to get it there.

If this is done properly — just a stubborn retention of the wrist break and a full turn of the shoulders — you will reach the top in a stretched, spring-steel tight position poised and ready to deliver a powerful swing at the golf ball.

The left heel will be off the ground slightly, at least 60 per cent of the weight will be on the right leg, the hips will be turned about 45 degrees, the shoulders at least 90 degree the left arm will be straight, the grip tight, the right wrist will he under the shaft, and the clubface will be at about a 45-degree angle with the ground, maybe a little more.

With the right wrist under the shaft the right hand will be weakened by being bent back, but the left hand will be strengthened because hand, wrist, and forearm will be in a straight line.

This so-called straight-left-wrist position is important because it gives strength where strength is needed. That will be the topic for the next part in the top of golf swing section.

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