How Far Back on the Backswing? Backswing Length

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  • #12749
    RossRoss
    Keymaster

    EmailsToRoss Apr 20, 2016

    I find myself sometimes bringing the club to far back (to much wrist hinge). Should I be more at a 3/4 swing???. Very troubling to me, your thoughts please, I know the wrists must hinge to some extent

    Chris

    Hi Chris

    My thoughts on this could be a book. FYI, there has been quite a bit of discussion already on this in the forum & blog. In a nutshell… think about what “impact” needs to look like, and then work backwards.

    Impact, on a solid, square golf shot only looks one way. Now, there are many variations, that cause different results, but essentially… the shaft will be in line (maximizing the strength) of the front arm, being supported by the back wrist, with a square club face, at just the right point of the swing arc, and all that is being moved by the body’s rotation (the body is unwinding moving that arm/impact shape, around to the left for a right hander). So, how can we arrive into that position reliably, and repeatedly?

    Well, the less we move the better. We setup the shaft and hands like we need impact to be, and then only move Large Muscles, hoping to maintain the integrity of the impact shape… that means, the less hinging, and elbow bending and arm separating, and arm lifting (all the fun things the arms/hands/elbows instinctively like to do, to try to generate a “hit-at-it” action by impact), the easier it will be to return to that impact position we started with.

    Okay, that’s a mouthful, but what did we learn. The more we can return to impact with the shaft correct and the face square, the better!

    Senario: If you setup correctly, use your shoulders to move the arm template back 2’, then rotate through and not change a thing, you get x. A straight shot, that goes some distance. Now, we need more distance, so we go back a little farther with the shoulders controlling the arm template and get x+ … great. What this leads to is, eventually, your swing, as you make your backswing longer and longer (trying to go farther and farther), will start to break down as other body parts try to help… but, they don’t help, they just break down the impact shape we need… and then we hope magically that everything will realign by impact… not going to happen. PLUS, what good does hinging do, if we need a straight line with the front arm at impact?? Actually, it makes you FLIP instead, which changes the club face loft & direction and most likely cause you to miss the sweet spot.

    Sorry, wish it was a simple “do this” and you’d know what to practice, but you have to find where your swing breaks down on the backswing… then learn to maximize that spot just before. If that is 3/4 swing in your mind then play that! It really is about efficiency on the backswing, not length. When in doubt… shorten it until you get solid and straight.

    Oh, btw… if you think about hammering a nail… if you use your wrist, you get x… if you use the wrist to “hold a shape” instead, as the arm controls the hammer you get x+, then if you add the shoulders, to control the arm that controls, the wrist, to move the hammer, you get x++ … you get the idea.

    The most important benefit to learning to use the Larger Muscles is “control” and “repeatability”. This gives much more consistency with direction and centeredness of impact. We want to move the ball with our entire body mass accelerating, not just the mass of the club head flipping… or occasionally like most Pros, the club and the arms moving the ball, but almost never do you see any Pro using the entire body through impact on a full swing (yet…it’s coming). Some have learned to use the entire body rotating through impact for short controlled pitch shots vs. hands.

    #13383
    Avataralanschulte
    Participant

    Ross: Jon Rahm’s swing is rather on the shortish side but he hits it way long. Would you describe his motion as getting the club to impact in the same position it started?

    #13387
    RossRoss
    Keymaster

    Yes, at least the club face. Not all golfers setup with the shaft in line with the front arm or with front wrist flat or bowed out slightly, but they do get to that position by impact. Jon does get the shaft in line and gets his wrist bowed by impact with the face square… he may not always start that way.

    Ross

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by RossRoss.
    #13416
    Avataralanschulte
    Participant

    Ross I was watching a couple of your drill videos and went to the range. I kept the back swing relatively short and then rotated through the ball. I think my club was straight up and down at the top of the backswing and my hands got no higher than shoulder height. It seemed like I was compressing the ball and the ball was going fairly straight. I then went and played nine holes and shot two over with two three putts. Is there a danger in using the short drill swing as my real swing? It seemed like the ball flight was lower but my approach shots stopped on the green. I’ve been in my typical mid season slump and this almost seemed like an “Eureka” moment but thought I would ask the expert if I’m playing with fire here.

    #13421
    RossRoss
    Keymaster

    No, not playing with fire. The backswing usually feels short when the golfer does not “add” a little lift with the arms. Learning to let the backswing end when the shoulders have turned as far as they can go… and have turned the hips a little, takes practice, but the results are really good. A couple of gofers come to mind Jon Rahm and Steve Stricker (who is winning like crazy lately) who have ideal backswings in my opinion. The backswing just sets up the downswing. That’s where the golf swing is! Good to hear from you Alan

    Ross

    #13422
    Avataralanschulte
    Participant

    Thank you Ross.

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