The Perfect Top of The Backswing Position

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The length of backswing is an individual matter.  The position of the club will also vary from player to player ... BUT this does not preclude the existence of a strong set of guidelines for the most biomechanically efficient position which represents both a worthy learning and performance goal.

Checkpoints of Correct Performance

  1. Left Shoulder Behind the Ball

  2. Nose on the Ball

  3. Weight on the Back Foot

  4. Intact, Connected Grip

  5. Right Elbow Down, Forearm as Close to Vertical as Your Body Allows

  6. Flat Left Wrist




This teaching program is predicated on a 3-part swing ... backswing, transition and forward swing.  Three key components of this method are the movement of the handle of the club, extension of the handle away from the body and a delayed wrist cock to complete the movement to the traditional top of the backswing position ... cocking to the top.  The cocking of the wrists is a cleanly defined movement as illustrated by the graphic.  To cock the wrists, simply cock both thumbs towards the forearms.  Cocking the wrists is the first movement of a three part transition into the forward swing.  The act of cocking your wrists initiates the forward movement of your body from your back foot to a centered, flat footed position.

Other key components are to move behind the ball, have a flat wrist position, have a fully connected, intact grip and to keep the elbow down.  Getting behind the ball is the only way to move through the ball.  Keeping the elbow down is the critical technique needed to eliminate the dreaded "over the top" move, eliminating a slice.  There's good news!  So long as you get the shoulder behind the ball and keep your grip connected, the elbow MUST remain in a correct position.

So much has been written about flat, cupped or laid off wrist position.  This subject is one of the biggest areas of conflict in golf.  Most traditional instruction is dead wrong on this subject.  There is only one biomechanically correct wrist position.  Your left wrist must be flat!  When the left wrist is flat, the clubface is in a perfectly square position REGARDLESS OF THE FINAL LENGTH OF THE BACKSWING!  It is amazing how tea


The image on the right shows the cause of most recreational player's banana ball ... a cupped left wrist which causes the club to "cross the line" at the top and a loose grip which prevents the player from correcting the error.  The solution is to not make either error so there is no need to correct anything.  This accomplished by "grabbing the thumb".  This does not mean a white knuckle death grip.  It simply means keeping your right palm connected to your left thumb.  There are MULTIPLE benefits to this simple concept.  First, an intact grip CAUSES the swing to be slightly flatter because the right elbow cannot "fly" out of a correct position.  Second, the clubface is dead square.  It is very difficult to cross the line (cup) or layoff (palmer flex the left wrist) into either on open or closed position.  If the club is in a square position, there is no need to manipulate it on the downswing.  The timing of the swing comes much closer to being automatic.


When considering how you get behind the ball, Tiger and his latest coach have had some interesting things to say about head movement.  It is the contention of this website that lateral head movement is perfectly OK, but vertical head movement is not acceptable.  Tiger and his coach do not agree.  Their view is lateral head movement "distorts" the visual perception system.  This view is not supported by science, rendering it to be an opinion, not fact.  The above illustration show the fractional amount of movement Tiger really has.  For this amount of movement, vision is not affected.  Now, that does not mean his view is without merit.  The human vestibular and kinesthetic systems can sense this movement.  To Tiger's near perfect sense of kinethesis (feel), it probably feels like he is moving a lot further off the ball.  He is no different from anyone else in the sense that a change in feel can affect his finely tuned swing motion as well as his confidence.  Neither does this mean moving behind the ball is wrong.  This image illustrates how he once moved further behind the ball.  This picture is of Tiger's "old" swing motion, not the new, more Hoganesque movement.  The view of this website is a critique/opinion, NOT a criticism.  It is worth noting, Tiger won most of his majors and tournaments with the older style.

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