Why You Need This: How would you like to have a complete guide to the "Perfect Golf Backswing?"
Sure, you have watched videos on making a good backswing in the past, but I bet you still have a lot of questions.
That's exactly why I scoured the internet looking for all the questions you have and answered them in this one video.
You are going to want to save this video as one of your favorites!
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Golf Pros Featured:
Instructors Featured: Clay Ballard
Video Duration: 27:29
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All right, this is the ultimate video if you want that perfect backswing.
I’m going to first start out by saying is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to build a great backswing, and then I have scoured the Internet, I have looked at your comments, I have read your questions.
I’m going to go through and answer every possible question that people have had in regards to the backswing. Give the incorrect and correct ways to do those. Give you some great drills for each of those pieces if you find yourself off track.
So you’re going to want to bookmark this video. This is not like a normal video like you’d see on YouTube. This is kind of a complete guide to the backswing.
So let’s jump right in and go ahead and get started.
Now the first thing when I’m looking to build a good backswing, most of the time what that means to me are a couple things.
Number one, I want to make sure that I really get loaded up. I want my chest to really rotate in the backswing, I want to get that good shoulder turn. I want my hips to go ahead and rotate, that way I have the full power from my body.
If I find myself without very much body rotation, I’m going to tend to pick up the club with my hands and arms, fold my left arm at the top of the swing, go all hands and arms in the downswing, I lose tons of speed and I lose a lot of consistency also.
That’s the first piece. I want my full body loading up, and I want to do it in a consistent way.
Then the second piece, is I want to go ahead and have my club working on plane throughout the swing. So if I go ahead and demonstrate a shot, let me hit a good one, and then I’ll talk about what exactly I feel to make those two things happen.
There we go, right down the right-center. Probably not going to read super far on my FlightScope today, I’ll be showing you numbers throughout this entire video.
We got a little bit of wind in our face, but I’ll do my best to get them out there. So the first piece here, how do we build a good, consistent backswing. What is the main thing I’m looking for?
I want to build my turn and my overall swing plane throughout my entire body. You’ve probably heard me talk about this before, but if you can imagine a plane of glass going from my knees, imagine my knees are through this plane of glass and it’s going down to the golf ball.
As I make my backswing, I want my knees to swivel and be on that plane of glass. So now my knees are kind of angled toward that golf ball.
Anywhere in this zone is fine.
If I go up to my hips, the same thing is happening. As I rotate in the backswing, my right leg is straightening a bit. My right hip gets higher, my left hip gets a little bit lower, and you can see my hips are on this angle kind of going to the golf ball there, too.
That’s going to allow me to not only rotate back and through, but to also be consistent with my swing plane.
Take it up to the shoulders. Now all of a sudden I’m doing the exact same thing there. This club, if I put one across my shoulders, is somewhere in the zone of this golf ball as I go back.
Because I’ve rotated my knees and my hips, now I can get really loaded up with my shoulders to get a lot of power, and as I come through the same thing is happening.
As I let my knees rotate on through, my hips rotate on through, my right heel comes off the ground for me to be able to do this, now I’m staying on plane there.
Now we go up to the arms. If my knees, my hips, my shoulders are working correctly, it’s a whole lot easier to get my arms working correctly.
As I let my arms swing to the top of the backswing, now that arm is going to be roughly angled down to the golf ball, and then the club slots to match up with those overall planes in the downswing, and it’s going to be pointing right at the golf ball or just slightly outside that golf ball.
So that’s the big key there, two things. I want to rotate my body, that’s number one. I’ve got to make sure I get loaded up for power. Then number two, I want my entire body working to keep me on plane.
I don’t want my body to be shifting and my shoulders to be level, or for me to have a reverse pivot and my shoulders to be level or off plane. Then everything gets thrown out of whack.
I’ve got to have from my knees all the way up to my shoulders, my arms, my club, everything working down to that golf ball, that really simplifies things.
That’s the first thing I would start out with. Do a good 15-20 reps, get familiar with what that feels like. Hit a couple shots while you’re doing that.
Again, on this swing, I’m going to go ahead and hit one. You’ll notice how my entire body is angled down and staying on plane from my knees all the way up to my arms, shoulders, and club.
There we go, another one right down the right-center of the fairway.
All right, so from here, what’s the next big myth, or next big problem that I see players having? The biggest one, and the one that I heard time and time again when you guys commented on this, or when you comment on this, is that you’re folding your arms.
So as you make that backswing, you’re essentially your chest isn’t rotating, and your arms are folding up.
The typical solution to this, or what you’ll hear a lot of coaches and players, and there’s nothing wrong with this tip by itself, but you’ll hear to really keep the arms wide, to really keep these arms stretched out away from your body.
One thing I see players do when they try to keep their arms wide, though, is they end up swaying off the ball. Now all of a sudden, I try to keep my arms wide, I sway over here, my body gets a huge weight shift to the right, and then as I come into my downswing, then I’m going to sway back to the left.
Not only does that make your swing extremely inconsistent, is my head starts to go to the right, and then back to the left.
My proprioception, my hand-eye coordination is thrown all out of whack, but also it doesn’t really help you to keep your arms that straight. What really helps you to keep your arms straight is to rotate your shoulders.
If I do this correctly, instead of thinking arms wide and stretch way over here, I’d end up just folding up anyways, and now I’m moving around all over the place.
What I’d like you to feel like is your chest stays centered. You have a slight tilt away from the target like we talk about in the Top Speed Golf System, that’s what we call the Stable Fluid Spine.
That little angle there, that’s going to keep you behind the golf ball for some power.
Now from there, I’m going to rotate around my spine and I have to keep my shoulders turning. This is one of the biggest keys in golf.
If my hips, my knees, my legs, loosen up your left foot if you have to, if you’re not very flexible, but I’ve got to make my shoulders make that good full turn in the backswing.
If I do that, I can get my arms coming all the way back up here, I can get that wide takeaway, keep my arms straight, and I won’t have to fold them up.
The real cause behind your arms folding, sorry for the mower there for a second, I’ll try to…hopefully you won’t hear that too bad on the mic.
But the real reason for your arms folding is that when my shoulders stop, if these shoulders stop rotating, I can only get my arms back to here. I can’t get any power from there.
The only way to keep my arms keeping on going if I don’t move my shoulders, is to fold them and get the club going farther back.
So if you’re bending your arms, it’s actually a lack of rotation and not a lack of being wide off the ball.
In this one, I’m going to really concentrate on my shoulder turn to keep my arms wide, to keep my arms from folding up, and you’ll see that I create a lot of width and I don’t fold up my arms when I do this.
There we go, overcompensated a little bit. I was trying to stay away from the right side of the fairway, got to the left side of the fairway.
All right, so the next piece, one of the questions I hear all the time is, what do I do when I’m uncomfortable? If I’m trying to make these swing changes, maybe I’m used to folding my arms, I do that all the time, how do I get comfortable doing this?
Well, there’s a couple things happening here. There’s a progression of drills that need to happen if you want to get comfortable on the course.
Number one, we want to get comfortable making these slow-motion practice swings and pausing.
If I can’t make a swing where I go really slow in my living room, and I get this big shoulder turn, and my arms stay wide and they don’t break down without hitting a golf ball, just doing a practice swing, then I’m not going to be able to put a golf ball down there and do it correctly.
You have to do that first level which is slow-motion practice swings, pausing, hitting the right positions, getting an overall awareness of what this feels like.
Once your body starts to feel that, you build a little bit of muscle memory. You get a little bit of awareness, you start to lay down some new neural pathways would be more accurate way of talking about this.
You just get more comfortable doing that. Once you get comfortable with that, then you get comfortable taking the next step up which would be swinging without pausing. More practice swings, fuller speed practice swings.
Once you get comfortable with that, you get to go to the driving range and hit some range balls with one club over and over again, and you get comfortable there.
Once you’re comfortable with that, you can mix up the clubs on the driving range. You’re going to be able to go from a 7 iron, to driver, to a pitching wedge, and it’s going to hold together when you’re not under the stress of the course.
Once you’re comfortable with that, you can take it to the course. Once you’re comfortable with that, you can take it to a competition.
What I see players that get really frustrated, they say oh, man, I’m uncomfortable making these swing changes, they’re trying to go straight from one swing on the driving range to a tournament and have it hold up on the weekend right from there.
You have to build up those levels. The reason for that is, as you add levels you get more and more distractions. You go from the comfort of your living room to out where there’s other players watching you.
You go from there to the course where there’s players watching you and you’re actually playing against somebody for a tournament, a club championship, or maybe a skins game, or just a local Nassau, something like that.
You have to build up those levels. If you can do that, you’re going to fly through these progressions and things are going to get comfortable a lot faster.
If you try it, the real danger with this, is if I try to go from level 1 right to the course and a tournament, I’m going to fall apart and instead of keeping on working on the right things and making those comfortable.
What’s going to happen is you’re going to go searching for the next greatest tip and you’re going to be right back from square one again. It’s going to fail again because we’re going to try to go step 5, and we’re going to be back searching again.
We were on the right track, we just had to stick with it. That’s a big key. I can’t reiterate that one enough.
So the next piece here, wrist set. A lot of times I’ll hear about players wanting to set their wrist early in the backswing.
Typically, this is one of my least favorite drills, because what happens if I set my wrist early, a lot of times you’ll see players wanting to, coaches telling you to get the wrist set here.
Then I hold this angle of my wrist all the way back, all the way down, and I have this great angle of lag and I release it. We’ve all tried it out.
If worked, and that was the right way to do it, then you would try it out a few times, get a little bit comfortable with it, and all of a sudden you’d have tons of lag.
We all know that that doesn’t actually work if we tried it this way. The reason is, when you set your wrist early, you’re stretching out the muscles of your forearm and they immediately want to fire.
So what ends up happening is, if I set the wrist early, number one, I don’t get that good turn. In order to set this wrist early, I have to turn off my body and just use my wrist to set the club. Now my hips and my shoulders aren’t rotating, I’m losing tons of distance from there.
Number two, my wrists naturally want to cast, so as soon as I start down I’m going to start casting that club.
I’m going to do my best to try to do this. I have a real hard time casting it, but I’m going to try to do that wrist set cast, the natural reaction that I feel.
You’ll notice that my body doesn’t turn, I’m going to lose a ton of distance doing this. I’m going to go ahead and just warn you of that one.
Oh, I about hit a house over there on the left. Not good. I don’t know if I want to do that one again. That’s one of the reasons that you can’t play good golf if you’re casting the club. It’s really tough.
I was trying to hit it on the fairway. I hit my neighbor over here, 40, 50 yards off the tee, right into their backyard. So you definitely don’t want to do that.
It was basically impossible for me to keep the club face square swinging that way. I think you guys would experience the same thing.
If I grab another ball, let’s talk about the right way to do this which would be a later wrist set. Whenever you’re taking that club back, I’m going to feel like my wrists are angled down this way.
That’s what’s called ulnar deviation. When I do that, what you’ll notice is if I keep my wrist angled down, the only way to get this club moving back, because I’m not using my wrist now, is to move my body.
Bigger shoulder turn, bigger hip turn, bigger knee turn, now I can load up, I’m going to get a lot more club head speed, and I also get a lot wider as I rotate my body like we talked about earlier, that makes it easier to keep the arms straighter.
So that later wrist set helps you get more power from rotation, helps you keep your arms straighter in the backswing.
The third benefit of this is, as I don’t stretch out my forearms, the bottom of my forearms yet, as I build lag in the downswing, late in the swing, I’m stretching my forearms late and then I’m releasing that late and I get that whipping action.
If I set the wrist early, I’m holding on, I’m not going to get the speed. If I set the wrist late, I get that good stretch and I can immediately let it go like you’re kind of cracking a whip. You’re really getting a lot of speed from that.
Let’s try one out now, getting that late wrist set and a good golf swing. There we go, right down the right-center of the fairway again. I’ll take that one. I think I’m three for four on fairways, and one in the backyard of the person beside me.
Let’s try out the next thing, a question that I get a lot of times is does this work for every club? If I’m making this backswing, do I want to set the wrist at the same time with a pitching wedge as I do with the driver? Do I want to have my swing plane working the same?
In general, this is the same idea. The only difference is when I’m setting up with the pitching wedge, I am closer to the ball and I’m on a steeper angle.
So typically, this swing is going to be more vertical and shorter, because I’m closer to the ball. As I go to the driver, now I’m farther away. Again, these angles, these planes of glass if you want to visualize it that way, are flatter and I’m a little longer and more round.
If I’m looking from face on, I feel like I’m doing the exact same thing. This long driver has a lot of momentum. As I go into the backswing, that really lets the club go farther back.
Shorter pitching wedge has less momentum, so when I feel like I’m doing the same thing, my swing ends up being a little bit shorter.
My shoulders are still turning, my arms are still going back, the club just doesn’t set as far back, maybe the club stops here rather than going there.
If you want to swing a little bit longer with a pitching wedge, I’m completely fine with that. I don’t think length of backswing is all that big of a deal.
If you want a perfect backswing, I think you can do that with a shorter swing, or with a longer swing. There’s major champions, many major champions that have done it with both types.
So that’s the does it work with all clubs? It does. Any differences you see in the clubs are mostly just feeling like you’re doing the same thing, and because of the way the club is designed, it’s actually happening slightly different, but it’s not a conscious thing you’re worrying about.
The next thing, cupped wrists, this is a big one. A lot of times people will do what I call this motion, which is an inside, so the club comes inside here. You’ll notice my wrist is flat.
So they think in their mind, and what people tell you is to keep your wrist flat the whole time. You immediately try to flatten your wrist, that brings the club inside.
So my club starts to do this, look how my wrist is flat, and then that angles my swing plane this way. That angles my swing plane out to the right.
What ends up happening, I flatten my wrist and bring the club inside, and then from the there as my club comes back, my wrist cups as that club hinges at the top of the swing. That gets me across the line with a cupped wrist.
Now in general, that’s not exactly the best way to do that. If I start to do that motion, then what’s going to happen is my body naturally realizes I’ve got to straighten this thing back out.
Your face is open because my wrist is cupped, so whenever I cup my wrist that opens the face. My face is open, and then I reroute it over the top and now all of a sudden I have an over the top with the face wide open.
When you’re trying to keep the wrist, if you’re struggling having this cupped wrist at the top, little across the line, I don’t want you to feel like you flatten that wrist out in the takeaway. I think that’s only going to make things worse.
What I would focus on, is in the takeaway, be nice and wide like we talked about, and you actually want a little bit of a cup here.
If you really are struggling with this, think about keeping the club head a little bit outside your hands. If I pause when my club is parallel with the ground, I have a little cup in my left wrist and my club is pointing out this way.
The reason that’s good is because now that’s going to put me on a more laid off position at the top, and my wrist is going to want to bow.
So if I go inside, I want to go across the line and cup. If I keep that club a little bit outside and cupped early, it wants to go a little more laid off and bowed.
You’ll notice that in this swing, I don’t suck that club way back inside. Not to say that you can’t play great golf doing that, but the players that do well taking that club back inside, they make sure they keep that club laid off at the top which isn’t, it’s a little counterintuitive.
Then from there, they come down, like a JB Holmes. If you’re struggling getting that cupped and across the line, here’s what I’d recommend doing.
Keep the club head a little outside your hands, it’s going to get you laid off in a better position at the top, and that would look something like this.
There we go, right down the left-center fairway. Hit that one pretty solid. So that’s how to keep the wrists a little bit flatter. Again, a little bit counterintuitive.
Now the next thing that I hear all the time, and this one kind of drives me nuts to be honest with you, because I know it’s hurting so many players’ games from a false idea that we want to be short, and if we stay a more short, compact swing, we’re going to be more consistent.
I have found this not to be the case. I’ve found that the best players tend to have longer, more free-flowing swings for a couple reasons.
Not to say you can’t swing short, I’ll actually tell you the right way if you do want to shorten your swing, I’ll give you the right way to do that here, later in this video.
But what I found players do, and the most common tip out there to keep a short swing, is to keep the hands lower.
When you lower the hands, I’m going to keep my hands lower here. Notice how my shoulders don’t rotate as much.
When I don’t rotate my shoulders, I don’t have as much time to build up swing speed. I’m kind of essentially making a little half backswing.
When I do that, my hands are low, my shoulders haven’t turned, now I have to be twice as good with my timing, because I have to go from here where my hands at the top of the swing, to contact, the very short period of time, short period of distance, I have to accelerate really fast.
What I typically find players doing, is their hands get tight, they always feel rushed, and because they’re accelerating so fast, they’ve lost the feel of the club head and it gets very tight and heavy in their hands.They actually lose some consistencies for contact.
Let me go ahead and swing one here, let me make sure my FlightScope’s on. FlightScope X3, I use that one a lot. This is an awesome machine. I’ve only had this for about a month now, but I love this thing.
Short backswing, lower hands, kind of the common tip that’s out there, and let me go ahead and make the swing, see where this goes.
So for me, I feel really rushed on that one. That was the worst contact that I’ve had on a normal swing all day. Low and off the heel, and that ball went into the left rough. Had a little bit of a fade on it.
I got 104 miles an hour of swing speed, swing speed’s way down. 204 carry, 234 total distance. That is way lower than I’d normally get. I’m usually around 300 yards, somewhere around in there.
So that short swing, because it shortened my shoulder turn, then I felt rushed, I felt tight, and it killed my club head speed.
Let me go ahead and do one the correct way again, where I would feel like I get a lot of shoulder turn. I want to feel like my hands go as far back as they can as long as they can stay nice and wide and straight.
I don’t want them to fold up like this, but I’m going to keep them fairly wide and go as far as I can. If you’re a little bit tight, just go as far as you can, that’s completely fine.
This is something I can’t reiterate enough. If you’re tight and you’re not very flexible, make sure you loosen up this left knee. I don’t want this left knee to be stiff and look like this at the top of the backswing.
I’m going to let that come on out toward the golf ball, I’m going to let that left heel come a little off the ground, that’s going to loosen my hips. That’s going to loosen my shoulders, and I’m going to get a bigger turn and more club head speed.
Let’s go ahead and give it a whirl. That was a mis-hit there, didn’t really hit that one that good. Right down the middle of the fairway, I can’t really complain too much.
So I went from 104 club head speed, I’m guessing that’s probably 115, 117. Again, I mis-hit, 270. Heck of a lot better than 234 so you can see how that adds to distance.
Now if we do want a shorter swing. Let’s say you’re just dead set, and you say OK, I’m just a believer that the swing should be short and you can’t convince me any way, Clay, I’m not buying it that the swing can be long.
If you’re going to make a shorter backswing, don’t concentrate on the hands being shorter, what I would concentrate on is the shoulders making a big turn and the club just not setting very much.
So I’m rotating my shoulders, my legs, hips, everything’s getting a big turn. My hands are getting a big turn, and I’m just not taking the club as far back.
I’m not letting the club drop down, I’m keeping a little bit up here. That’s what you see guys like John Rahm, JB Holmes, those shorter-swing players, they still have a big shoulder turn.
Look at their shoulders next time. They’re getting to 90°, that’s allowing them to generate speed from the body and to get this big hand path. Their hands go fairly high in the backswing, they’re just not setting the club.
If do one like that, I’m going to try. That’s not my natural swing, but I’m going to try to make a big shoulder turn with a shorter swing and see what happens.
So there, a little bit off, a little spin-y for me. Again, into the wind it’s not going to go that far, but I still had power because I rotated my shoulders. If you’re going to make a shorter swing, that’s the way to do it.
Right down the middle, 118.5, I actually picked up a little swing speed because I tried to really be aggressive there. Completely fine if you’re going to do that. Again, about 270 into the wind. Not too bad, I’ll take that for today.
Now the last thing here, or one of the last things is the reverse pivot. A lot of players struggle with this reverse pivot.
Let me go ahead and grab a tee, I’m losing all my tees here. The reverse pivot, what I see players doing when they have that is the most common misconception I see is to have a reverse K.
So the reverse pivot is this. I set up to this golf ball, my hips slide to the right in the backswing, and my upper body leans to the left. So that’s your reverse pivot.
This can be disastrous to your backswing and your golf game, because as I do this reverse pivot, I’m going to have to change from here.
I know I can’t hit from here, I won’t be able to hit the ball at all. So what happens is the hips bump back forward, the upper body starts to drop back, but all this momentum of your upper body falling back, now all of a sudden you start chunking behind the golf ball.
A common mis-hit I’ll see with the reverse pivot is, the lean to the left and then fall, crash into the right. Looks something like this. Now it’s a big slice, hit it all over the place. Really, really tough to get consistent contact when that’s happening.
The common advice for this is your reverse K, which sounds a little complicated, but it’s actually fairly easy, fairly simple.
What that means is instead of my hips going out and this kind of a like a K, so you imagine my upper body, if this is a straight up and down line, my upper body’s going this way, my lower body’s going that way, kind of makes a K shape.
A reverse K would be my hips bumping this way, and my upper body doing this. Now if you imagine a wall here, that kind of makes like a reverse K, kind of shape.
The problem is, when I see players that sway their hips a lot they tend to do that and have a hard time breaking that habit.
If you have that reverse pivot, then what you’re going to typically do when you try to get that reverse K, is you’re going to not only keep your body to the right, but you’re still going to sway.
A lot of times you’re just going to shift way over here to the right and you’re going to start moving around a lot. So you went from a lot of movement leaning left and then crashing to the right to a lot of movement away from the ball and then sliding this way.
Both of those are going to cause a lot of trouble for you. What I’d like for you to do is still keep that reverse K idea, keep the idea that as I turn, your body’s going to flex away from the target.
But when you do this, don’t keep as much weight on your right side. Normally a reverse pivot, your right foot comes all the way off the ground on the inside.
I want you to feel like the inside of your right foot is kind of planted in, you have a little bit more weight on the inside of your left foot as you turn away form the target.
Now for you, that’s going to be the right feeling. That’s going to keep you in the right position. I would take it even a little bit simpler than that and just put the club across your shoulders like we did in the beginning of the video.
Let’s keep it as simple as possible. Let’s try the easiest solution first. Hinge forward, what you’ll find if you do a reverse pivot is now all of a sudden my club’s pointing way too level with the ground, it’s pointing out there.
If I start to do this and point my club toward the ground, and I have a little bit of weight on the inside on my right foot, you’ll notice I’m in a great position here. As I rotate through the shot, I’m in a great position there too.
So try that drill first rather than doing the reverse K and trying to mess with all that. Just get your swing planes working correct. I think that makes things a lot easier.
Let’s give one more a whirl here, see if I can get one down the middle to end on. There we go. I’ll take that one, right down the center of the fairway.
Those tips will help you to build a perfect backswing, a great-looking backswing, but remember. Start with the simplest piece first. Your knees, your hips, your shoulders, your arms, everything rotating toward that golf ball. That’s really going to simplify the golf swing.
I hope you really enjoyed this video, we covered tons of great information on this. We really hit the basics and then dove into the questions that I hear time and time again.
I don’t want us to stop here. Now this is a great video to learn a lot of the question that you may have and really, your one stop to a perfect backswing video.
But if we really want to build the fundamentals that make this happen, you’ll throughout this entire video, I kept coming back to the fact that we have to have this Power Turn.
Whether it was the swing length, whether it was swing speed, whether it was maintaining a consistent plane, all that came back to the Power Turn. Rotating on the way back, rotating on the way through, that’s the core, one of the pieces of the core that allows this to happen.
The other piece is the Stable Fluid Spine. That’s the spine angle being slightly tilted away and me rotating around that as I’m doing my Power Turn.
If I can do those two things correctly my swing plane starts to get better. The length of my swing starts to get better.
My arms don’t fold, I don’t set the wrist too early or too late. Everything just starts to happen a lot more easily in the golf swing.
What I want you to do is to go to the Power Turn, to go to the Stable Fluid Spine, and start from level 1. Start building in those fundamentals with those reps.
If you can just pick one video every single practice session, you work through one video that’s in one of those sections.
As you turn around a few weeks later, you’re going to notice that your swing is a lot smoother, it’s a lot more effortless, and you’re not moving around as much and the backswing just starts to fall into place.
So I challenge you to kind of start working through that, and to stick with it. That’s going to help you to build the muscle memory so we never have to worry about the backswing again. It’s just going to happen completely natural.
I’ll see you in the Power Turn and the Stable Fluid Spine.