Do you talk about your backswing much? If you do, you’re not alone. Golfers, in fact, talk about their backswings often. And with good reason. Savvy golfers know it’s a critical stage in the golf swing they must master to develop a potent swing—one that can help them break 80 consistently.
A poor golf backswing changes your clubface angle, weakens your downswing, and causes you to slice. That, in turn, drains power, accuracy, and consistency from your swing. That can cost you distance and strokes.
A good backswing, on the other hand, sets you up for a powerful follow-through—one that can help you hit the ball farther, straighter and with more authority. As a weekend golfer, however, you’re prone to some common backswing mistakes.
These mistakes can creep into your swing undetected, causing havoc with your game. Eliminating them one you find them, however, produces a golf backswing that supercharges your game. Below we discuss three deadly golf backswing mistakes and their cures:
- Opening the clubface — Opening your clubface at the top of your swing is, perhaps, the deadliest golf backswing mistake. Often, it occurs because you cup your wrist, so it tilts away from your target.
To hit laser-like shots, however, you need to achieve the same wrist hinge you had at setup. That squares up your clubface impact, generating longer, straighter shots that can help save you strokes:
The Fix: Squaring the Clubface Golf Drill
Address a ball lying on the ground in your usual stance. Next place a training ball (or a ball of similar size) between your forearms. Make sure the ball is just above your forearms. Now, practice swinging with the training ball in place. Hit a few shots that way as well. Make sure the ball doesn’t drop from between your arms as you do.
This golf drill forces you to maintain the position of your lead wrist through impact. It also breaks you of the habit of cupping your left wrist. Practice the golf drill until you eliminate cupping. Do that and you’ll hit longer shots with more authority.
- Separating your elbows — This swing fault is another deadly golf backswing mistake—one you’re prone to if you’re over 40. When you separate your elbows while going back, you create a steeper angle of approach, resulting in a bad shot. The primary cause of this “chicken win” mistake is lack of flexibility
The Fix: Chicken Wing Golf Drill
You can’t always tell if you’re separating your elbows on your backswing. The golf drill below tells if you’re committing this swing fault and cures it:
Address the ball as you typically would. Place the training ball between your arms. Place the ball a little higher than on the previous golf drill. Now take your normal swing as you do without letting the ball drop. This drill forces you to keep the same distance apart, eliminating your chicken wing.
3. Poor Body Rotation — This move is the third deadly golf backswing mistake. It’s easily beaten. You know you have to rotate your body. But like many weekend golfers, you may not be doing it quite the right way. Or, you’re swinging your arms too much instead of your body.
Keeping your arm connected to your body, however, forces your body to rotate. Don’t let your arm drift away from your body. It weakens your downswing and drains power. Instead of hitting bombs, you’re hitting weak high fliers.
Body Rotation Golf Drill
Take your setup as you normally would. Now place your training ball at the elbows. It needs to be higher than in the other two drills. Now take a couple of shots, keeping the ball in place. Be aware of how it feels to have your arms connected to your chest. It shouldn’t be a tight feeling but a lite one. Try to maintain that feeling when hitting without the ball.
Making these three golf backswing mistakes drains power, accuracy, and consistency from your swing. It also drains your confidence, as you hit shots all over the place. They can cost you strokes on your scorecard. It’s no way to break 80.
Eliminating these golf backswing mistakes, on the other hand, can take your swing and your game to the next level. You’ll generate more power with less effort. You’ll also find yourself going low every time you play.
Supercharge Your Golf Backswing by Refining Your Mechanics
Want to supercharge your swing. Refine your mechanics. The goal of your backswing is to put
you in the perfect place at the top of the swing position. Achieving that position sets you up for a powerful follow-through and generates more distance If your backswing isn’t getting you to the perfect top spot, you need to do something about it.
Below we provide the mechanics of an effective golf backswing. Mastering them crafts a repeatable swing that helps you hammer out a predictable result every time. That, in turn, helps you hit the ball farther and slash strokes from your scores.
Below are six keys to a great golf backswing:
- Use a one-piece takeaway
- Keep everything connected
- Hinge wrists as your arms go back
- Set the club on the correct plane
- Turn your body in harmony with your swing
- Stop briefly at the top, then come down
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Staying connected during your backswing is critical. To do that, you need to use a one-piece takeaway with your hands, arms, and club moving away from the ball together. That move creates a wide arc away from the ball. You should also feel your weight transfer from your front foot to your back one.
Wrist hinge is another critical move in your backswing. You should feel your wrists start to hinge as you go back at about hip high. Some players hinge or cock their wrists earlier in the swing than other players. Both approaches work. The key is finding which method works for you—early or late.
Setting the club on the correct plane is a third critical stage in the golf backswing. As you go back and you starting cocking your wrists, they begin to point the club skyward. The club shaft’s angle at this stage should be the same as at address. Also, your body should turn in harmony with the swing.
At this point, your golf backswing should slide naturally into the perfect top slot. Check this position in a mirror. If the club shaft is horizontal to the ground and parallel to the target line, you’re in the square or neutral position, exactly where you want to be to supercharge your swing.
Try These Golf Drills to Master Your Golf Backswing
Screwing up your backswing mechanics is costly, as we said above. It saps power, consistency, and accuracy from your swing. That cost your strokes. Make no mistake about it. To master your swing, however, you need to perfect your backswing mechanics.
The simplest—and many say—best golf drill to do that is to address a ball and then move your rear foot back until the toe is even with your front heel. Now hit a few shots in that position.
This golf drill ingrains the feel of a powerful, yet technically correct golf backswing.
Below is another golf drill that does the same thing, compliments of Golf’s Michael Breed. It gets your backswing started on the right path:
Michael Breeds Golf Backswing Drill
Drop a ball down on the ground at the range. Now get two alignment rods and set them up on the target line behind the ball, creating a channel. Tee the ball up on the front part of that path. You want to keep the club shaft in that channel when making your backswing.
Now take the club back low and slow. Keep the shaft pointing in the channel until your backswing forces the clubhead out of the channel. Pause slightly at the top. Then, come forward with your swing and hit the ball. Don’t rush the downswing.
Work on both of these golf drills. They’ll help you perfect your backswing, injecting power, accuracy, and consistency into your swing. That will help you cut strokes from your scores and your golf handicap.