Golf Backswing Tips for Beginners

golf backswing tipsOnce you have the proper setup, you are positioned to begin your golf swing. The perfect swing is one fluid movement, but there are definite stages within that movement. The first is the backswing. The backswing is the initial movement of the golf club. If you have a poor backswing, everything else that follows will be out of alignment, resulting in a poor shot. This article offers golf backswing tips.

The Proper Backswing

The backswing begins with the slow backward movement of the club. Known as the “takeaway,” you will slowly take the club away from its position on the ground in which the club head’s center is aligned with the ball in a sweeping motion until the head is waist high.

At the same time, you will gradually turn your entire torso, except your head, 45 degrees. As you turn, your left shoulder will be slightly higher than the right shoulder (right-handed players). Your shoulders, arms, and hips should all be moving together in one fluid motion.

Watch the video for a quick demonstration of the proper takeaway form by the great golfing coach Butch Harmon:

When your torso reaches its full turn, your chest will face away from the target. This is the most challenging part of the backswing and the most important. Golfers who start their backswing with just their arms and hands have difficulty hitting the ball straight and with power.

You must learn to coordinate all of your body parts at one time. The key is not to think too much about it, just do it.

Golf Backswing Tips: Master the Turn, Master the Torque

Remember this: for torque, turn your torso. Getting torque is the key to the backswing in golf. If you’re not hitting straight or for distance, it’s a good bet that you didn’t put enough torque into your shot.

Once your backswing is in motion, your body will start its turn and your right arm will begin to fold inside. Keep the left arm straight but not stiff. Tuck your right elbow into your body throughout the entire backswing. At this point, everything should be turning naturally and your weight will begin to shift.

At the same time your body is rotating, your arms are lifting the club head and pulling it straight back until it is waist high.

Keep turning everything until your left shoulder starts to snuggle itself underneath your chin. The left knee will start to bend toward your right knee. The club is cocked above and behind your head. You are now ready for the downswing.

Watch the video to see a great tip for ensuring that your arms and torso are working together properly during the backswing:

Mastering the Perfect Golf Backswing Sequence

Here is the golf backswing sequence:

  1. Gradually draw back the club head from the ball, initially keeping it low to the ground.
  2. As the club moves back, fold your right elbow into your side, keeping your left arm as straight as possible (the opposite for left-handed golfers).
  3. In unison, begin to turn your shoulders away from the target.
  4. Let your arms and torso pull the club head straight back waist high until your swing is well behind the ball.
  5. About 1-2 feet behind the ball, allow the club head to gradually begin to wrap around your body. Keep turning your shoulders. Let your hands move back until they reach the height of your shoulders. At the top of the backswing, your wrists should cock back, ready for the downswing to begin.

The Top of Your Backswing

At the top of your backswing you will experience a tremendous amount of energy coiled tightly inside your body, waiting to unleash and strike the ball. At this point, the club is in the air, pointing toward your target line. The majority of your weight should be on the right foot, and the left knee is bent inward slightly.

The power will come from having your shoulders properly rotated. They should be rotated a full 90 degrees away from the target with your hips turned about 45 degrees. The right knee will have a slight bend throughout the entire backswing. It willl brace the power that is unleashed from your body. Practice keeping your left foot grounded at the top of your backswing to aid your balance and accuracy.

Check the Golf Backswing Positions

Practice often until your body develops muscle memory of the proper backswing positions. Be sure to check for these fundamentals:

  • Your head is centered over the ball.
  • Your left arm is straight throughout the entire backswing.
  • Your left shoulder is tucked underneath your chin.
  • Your right arm folds into your side, brushing across your rib cage.
  • Your right knee is always slightly bent throughout the backswing sequence.
  • Your body weight shifts to the right foot as your body turns behind the ball.

What comes next as you wind up your backswing will be an explosion of power at the end of your downswing. We’ll look at this stage in the next article. For now, remember that the effectiveness of your downswing and stroke of the ball depend on the proper setup and following the golf backswing sequence. So practice your backswing as often as possible. Simply stand in front of a mirror so you can see your body parts moving and following through with the golf backswing tips offered here.

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Butch Harmon: The Correct Takeaway (July 2012)

The direction of your takeaway really dictates everything you do in the swing. You want the clubhead to start back first, followed by the hands and arms and the left shoulder.

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