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Golf Backswing and Follow Through

Golf Backswing

Generating the Power for Your Swing

The misconception which plagues many golfers is the belief they generate the power in their downswing.  The reality is your power and accuracy is generated in the golf backswing, with the golf downswing being the release of the energy captured.   The backswing can look very complex in the first analysis, but the correct form can make it all come together simply.

The Starting Point of Your Golf Backswing

At the start of your backswing you must be in your perfectly aligned golf stance.  Make sure your feet are comfortably spaced at shoulder width and your hands are holding the club straight below your shoulders.

In the takeaway from the ball keep your lead arm straight (left arm for most golfers).  As your back arm goes back with the club it will begin to naturally hinge at the elbow, while you keep your left arm straight.

Building the Power with Your Shoulders and Waist

As your golf backswing continues your shoulders should be turning along with your arms, allow your waist to rotate while keeping your hips relatively still.  Think of this process as winding up a spring into a tight position.  You will feel the tension generating in your torso as your shoulders and waist turn.

As you continue through your golf backswing you will feel your wrists make a slight cocking action at the upper limit.  You should not be attempting to cock your wrists until it becomes the natural culmination of motion.  This is the same with the bend in your right arm.  Let it happen naturally as the motion of turning and rotating your shoulders and waist while keeping the left arm straight forces the arm to bend.

Allowing these two bends to happen naturally as part of your swing takes away one item you do not need to mentally focus on.

Maintaining the Proper Plane to the Ball

One of the hardest parts of the backswing is to keep the proper plane throughout your effort.  By working to keep your hips and head still you will take care of most issues with plane control.  If you allow your head to move up and down, or side to side, you will break the plane causing the downswing to follow a different path to the ball.  This can result in hitting the ball off center or with an angled swing sending the ball on an unpredictable flight.

During every moment of your backswing keep your eyes locked to your golf ball.  This will help reduce any head motion.

2 Common Misconceptions about the Golf Backswing

2 items which consistently cause problems in golfers’ games are basic misconceptions about the backswing.

– The Illusion of a Side to Side Swing
– Speed and Rhythm

The first item, the belief the backswing follows a straight back trajectory leads to many golfers never generating true power.  The backswing is a rotational lift of the club to behind your head.  The right arm bends during the motion brining the club up and behind your head.  The shoulder and waist turn accentuates the bodies overall resistance to generate added power.

The second item, speed and rhythm, is caused by watching too many professional players.  Their backswing seems to be fast, quick, and explosive.  In reality if you compare their downswing to the backswing it is painfully slow and meticulous.

Your golf backswing needs to follow as smooth and precise a path as possible while rotating as deeply as your body allows.  At the peak of your rotation and club height you release all the generated power allowing the club to sizzle back down to the ball striking it perfectly down the fairway.

Now that you know how to maximize your golf backswing, learn how to improve your golf downswing.


Golf Follow Through

Releasing the Power down the Fairway

The golf follow through is the completion of your golf swing but from the standpoint of power it might be considered the second most important component of your swing.  You create the potential of power in your backswing as you rotate and tension your body for the swing.  You release the power in golf follow through.

You may be questioning whether this makes sense.  It seems the power is actually be released in the downswing, but think about players you see on the course who have a great backswing.  They possess a great downswing, but they get no distance.  The likely cause of their problem is they stop their momentum at the point of contact instead of at the end of their golf swing.

Changing Your Focus to Improve Your Follow Through

When you step up to the tee what is your intention?  Odds are high you just said you want to hit the ball hard.  When you listen to golf experts’ talk they do not often mention hitting the ball.  They usually talk about their swing.  They are focused on the proper swing which then drives the ball down the fairway with power.  What they know is power is generated through the entire swing, not just the point of contact.

Another suggestion from top golf teachers is to stop thinking about hitting the ball, but actually picture throwing the ball down the fairway off the end of your club.  Imagine you are playing Jai Lai instead of golf.  You are using a long curved paddle to generate immense speed and snap to send the ball flying down the course.  By imagining your club as scooping and throwing the ball you tend to swing through instead of hesitating at impact.

Practicing Blind for an Improved Follow Through

Another technique you can try on the driving range to improve your follow through is to close your eyes.  Line up to the ball, get ready for your swing, and then close your eyes before you swing.  Since you cannot see the ball you will not be tempted to hit the ball, but will just swing through it.  What you will discover is the ball flies further and straighter when you stop hitting at the ball, and start swinging through the ball.

Avoid Wrist Collapse during Your Swing

Another common point of failure in the follow through is seen in the wrists.  Do your wrists collapse and bend as your strike the ball?  In your follow through your wrists should roll over gently but not bend or collapse.  By keeping your wrists straighter your arms will continue to follow the swing plane delivering your shot where you intend.

Throw Your Clubs Away for a Winning Swing

Before we cover this technique make sure you fully understand.  You do not release the club.

When we talk about throwing your club away during your golf follow through it is meant as a mental vision.  Picture yourself pulling the club back, driving your downswing with your legs and hips, and then throwing the club perfectly down the line towards your target.

What this imagery does is to help you swing through the ball and keep your club head moving towards the target during your follow through.  This increases your accuracy and power.

Along with the idea of throwing your club away, consider adding the imagery Gary Player used.  He envisioned his follow through starting his walk down the fairway to the location of his ball.  His body turned opening to the target.  His back leg lifted as if he was beginning to step towards his target.  His final position was ideal.