The Basic Steps to Perfect Golf.

By Philip A Gorfett.

www.playperfectgolf.co.uk


Home Golf Swing Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7 Lesson 8 Lesson 9 Lesson 10

Lesson 4 - The Back Swing.(Changed 04/11/2019)


The back swing movement is the bedrock of the golf swing and therefore if you can perform it correctly you will have a solid foundation for a top quality golf swing.

 

Therefore the set up and the way you take the club away from the ball at the very beginning of the back swing movement will determine the outcome of the golf shot, so pay particular attention to this aspect of the golf swing.

 

The majority of amateur golfer do not perform a correct back swing movement -- what they do is lift the arms/golf club to the top of the back swing movement and to the onlooker it appears that the golfer has made a full shoulder turn, but more important, most golfers allow the hips to sway during the back swing movement.

It is not general explained very well to golfers but the upper body unit must be firmly held together, but importantly, it is the movement of the shoulders that causes the complete compact upper body unit to rotate during the back swing movement whilst concentrating on the left arm as a controlling factor.

The feeling you must have is that the shoulders and the arms have been welded together so that the complete compact unit moves as a whole at all times and that you keep the club face square to the ball until the arms are parallel to the ground.

( The same criteria also applies to the upper body unit during the down swing and the follow through movements.)

 

As a point of interest, If you continually hit the ground before striking the ball rather than striking the ball before you hit the ground, the most obvious reason is that you are allowing your hips to sway away from the original address position during the back swing and not returning the hips back to the original address position.

Therefore you must hold the hips in the original address position throughout the complete back swing movement, to be clear, the hips must not sway away from the original address position for a fraction of an inch, if you can do this, it will cure this problem.


However what in equally as important, the upper body must remain at the angle that it was set at the address position whilst the shoulders rotate into the back swing.

In addition, the head must remain in the original address position throughout the back swing movement.( See Headrite)



Before you begin your golf swing always make a full turn of the shoulders and the arms as a practice movement whilst they are held firmly together as a one piece unit in order to remind you to do the same as you perform the back swing proper.

This practice movement will help you to avoid the basic fault of simply lifting the arms during the back swing movement.


 

Back Swing Movement. ( See "Still Mechanics" 4.1)

The back swing movement is a very basic movement where you rotate the shoulders and the arms whilst they are held firmly together as a one piece unit. However whilst holding the upper body unit firmly together as a compact unit is the primary function, you must focus on the left arm as the controlling factor.

It is vital that the left shoulder gradually moves under the chin as the back swing movement is performed and also whilst the hips are stopped from swaying away from the original address --- To achieve accuracy the back swing must be a slow and controlled movement.

The important criteria whilst the upper body rotates is:-

1) You must hold the shoulders and arms firmly held together as a compact unit, which is done by holding the elbows close together so that the triangular shape of the upper body is maintained at all times and do not allow the forearms to rotate, simply keep the club face square to the ball position, but importantly, ensure that it is the rotational movement of the shoulders that forces the compact upper body unit to rotate to the end of the back swing movement, as opposed to simply lifting the arms.


2) As you rotate the compact upper body into the back swing movement the upper body angles must be maintained and you must ensure that the club head moves on a swing path that actively moves the club head inside the parallel to the target line, with the arms held in the extended mode for as long as possible.
( When you practice the back swing movement, allow your head to rotate with the upper body so that you can see the club head remains square to the ball for the majority of the back swing movement.)

3) As the upper body unit continues to rotate into the back swing movement, you must keep the club head square to the ball -- not the target line -- for as long as possible and continue to hold the upper body angles so that the left shoulder moves under the chin.
( Imagine you spine as a hinge on a door and your upper body as the door. Therefore using this concept, the door opens as far as you want, but importantly it always returns to the correct closed position -- and that is how you should view the back swing movement.)


4) The left heel must remain firmly on the ground at all times and the muscles of the legs must remain in a firm condition at all times, to add stability to the back swing movement.


5) The hips must be firmly held over the centre of your stance throughout the complete back swing movement -- without any swaying movement.



6) The head must be held firmly in the Fixed Frontal position throughout the back swing movement.


It is important to also understand that at no time must you lift the arms during the back swing movement, the rotational movement of the shoulders push the arms at all times during the back swing movement.

At the end of the back swing movement the left shoulder will be nearly under the chin and the left arm will be close to the right shoulder but importantly, your whole upper body has rotated to a point where a baseball player would feel comfortable.

( Look at this VIDEO of a top professional making a golf swing, notice as the back swing movement is performed the hips only begin to rotate away from the frontal facing position by the time the shoulders have reach their limit, but they never sway.)


I place the ball on the tee so that the manufacture's name is facing away from the target area, but is just visible as I address the ball.

In this lesson I am playing a seven iron, so the first thing I do as I address the ball is to ensure that the shoulders are parallel to the target line but with the right shoulder much lower than the left shoulder, the hands are well to the left of the ball and the head is behind the ball position so that you at looking at the back of the ball.

I then check that upper body angles are correctly set and then I fully focus my eyes on the golf ball.

To ensure that I maintain the compact upper body unit, I keep the elbows as close together as is possible and the right elbow tucked into my waist.

However as the upper body unit is rotated into the back swing movement, I concentrate very hard to ensure that the hips do not sway away from the original address position. ( see lesson 2) and the head remains in the Fixed Frontal position.


This is the critical part of the golf swing.

Whilst concentrating on the rotation of the compact upper body unit into the back swing movement I keep the weight of the body over the centre of my stance so that the hips do not sway away from the original address position.


As I stated above, this part of the back swing is important, so as the compact upper body unit rotates into the back swing movement I ensure three vital aspects are adhered too.

(1) From the moment back swing movement begins I ensure that the club head immediately begins to move inside the "parallel to the target line" but ensuring that the club face remains square to the ball for as long as possible.
(Make sure you swing the club head well inside the parallel to the target line as you perform the back swing movement but do not allow the forearms to rotate.)


(2) I ensure that the upper body rotates around the central core of the spine whilst the upper body angle, as set at the address position, is strictly adhered too, but importantly, the head remains slightly behind the ball. As the back swing reaches the half way point I ensure that the club face is still square to the ball position.

(3) The hips are totally resisted from swaying away from the original address position - for even a fraction of an inch.

 

Danger, do not over do the back swing movement, only rotate the upper body until your head feels as if it wants to rotate away from the Fixed Frontal position.


As long as I continue to adhere to these aspects of the back swing and the upper body angles are maintained, as the upper body unit continues to rotate as a solid unit and the club face is held square to the ball position for as long as possible, the left shoulder will gradually begin to rotate under the chin.

When you reach a position where your hips are just about to rotate away from the frontal facing position and the head begins to rotate, the back swing movement is deemed as completed.

(If you correctly rotate the upper body unit around the central core of the spine and keep the head in the fixed frontal position, the left shoulder will immediately begin to rotate under the chin -- and if you are very flexible, as the back swing continues to its conclusion, the left shoulder will be pointing to the ground and the right shoulder will be pointing to the sky. -- However I must point out that when you perform the down swing movement, the club head must return to the ball on exactly the same swing path as performed during the back swing. )



Important Points

I ensure that the club face remain square to the ball position (not square to the target line) for as long as possible, whilst moving the club head inside the parallel to the target line but towards the end of the back swing the forearms will automatically begin to rotate.

But whilst the upper body unit rotates into the back swing movement, I keep the elbows held close together thus maintaining the shoulders and the arms as a very compact unit, whilst my grip on the club is very light.
(If you hold the elbows close together at all times as described it will feel very unusual to you, but after a while you will become accustomed.)


As the upper body unit rotates during the back swing movement the hips remain firmly held in the original address position without any swaying whatsoever.

1) At the end of the back swing movement both feet remain firmly on the ground, the muscles of the whole body have been wound up to the maximum torsion.

2) The shoulders have been rotated as far as it is physically possible, but the right elbow is tucked well into the waist, the forearms have rotated.

3) The hips have not been allowed to sway away from the original address position.


See Pete Cowen`s -"Axe Drill"- (When site comes up, click on "home page" for the video.)

 

***You will only perform a correct back swing movement by:-


Maintaining the upper body angles.

Keeping the elbows held as close together as is physically possible as the upper body unit rotates around the central core of the spine.

Ensuring that the club head moves inside the parallel to the target line immediately the club head moves away from the ball but keeping the club face square to the ball position for as long as possible.

Stopping the head from rotating away from the fixed frontal position.

Keeping the hips in the frontal facing position at all times as the upper body unit rotates.

Keeping the left heel firmly on the ground.




You must learn to rotate the upper body unit into a full back swing movement whilst the elbows are held as close together as is physically possible and the head held in the fixed frontal position whilst allowing the weight of the body to move onto the right leg.

At the end of the back swing movement the whole body will have been twisted to its maximum, therefore as you perform the down swing movement, the torsion created by the hip movement will force the upper body unit to follow, you must retain this twisted condition of the whole body until well after the ball has been struck.

It is not easy at first but when you see the results you will understand the importance of the action.


All these changes to your golf swing will not happen "overnight" -- so remember, the more you practice a new movement, the more natural the movement will become.

However, only practice one new movement at a time until the movement becomes automatic, then you can move on to the next new movement.

Therefore when you have fully absorbed and thoroughly practiced the movements as described within this lesson, proceed to Lesson 5, the "Down Swing Movement"



But remember, think of the back swing as a single action, because at the end of the back swing movement everything has to stop moving.

However the main keys to a successful back swing movement is a nice even tempo, simply rotate the whole body thus pushing the arms to the end of the back swing movement and also ensure that the head remains in the frontal facing position at all times and that the hips do not sway.

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