The Top of the Backswing

The Moving Parts

As the golf club leaves the 9:00 position, it has to continue on the arc until you reach the top of the backswing. There are a number of moving parts that must be in place during this journey. First and foremost the right shoulder must continue to turn.The right shoulder can not stop or change directions. If the right shoulder stops or tilts up, the golf club will swing up too much. If the right shoulder turns too much the golf club will not go up.

 

Right Shoulder Quit Turning Right Shoulder Quit Turning

 

Right Shoulder Closed Too Much Right Shoulder Turned Too Much

 

Right Shoulder Closed Too Much Correct

 

 

As the right shoulder continues to turn in the backswing, the right hip must not follow it. The right hip has to resist turning so you can develop resistance. If you develop resistance in the backswing with the bottom half of your body, you will build up tension and that is where the ability to develop clubhead speed comes from.As the right shoulder continues to turn level to the ground, the left knee will continue to turn more towards the golf ball. You have to make sure you do not allow the right knee to pass the golf ball.As the right shoulder continues to turn, the left shoulder will move from the address position towards the golf ball. As the right shoulder continues to turn, your head will move slightly to the right (away from the golf ball). Your head will move a couple of inches as a result of the right shoulder turning out of the way. The head does not slide back and away from the golf ball with the lower body.

 

 

  1. During this process the right knee never moves.

 

 

Right Leg Does Not Move 1. Right Leg Does Not Move

 

 
During the entire backswing, the left arm has remained long, not rigid. The right arm will begin to fold after the golf club leaves the 9:00 position. The reason the left arm remains long is to provide you with plenty of width in the backswing. Width in the backswing is the reason you can develop clubhead speed. If the left arm remains long you can swing the clubhead on the arc, and by swinging it on the arc you will be able to build clubhead speed in the downswing.

Arriving at the Top

When the golf club arrives at the top of the backswing there are four parts that have to be in the correct place. The first thing that is extremely important is for the golf club to be pointing towards the target or slightly left of the target. Now what does this mean? When you address the golf ball, the ball is on what we refer to as the “intended ball flight line”, and your feet are parallel to that line. At the top of the backswing the shaft has to aim parallel to your heel line or parallel left of the target.

Important Stops Along the Way

Getting to the top of the backswing is no easy feat. Now that you have reached the top let’s check to make sure all of the moving parts are in the correct place. Your checklist should start at the bottom of your feet and go all the way to the top of your head.

 

  1. At the address position the weight is evenly distributed between both feet.

 

Weight Evenly Distributed 2. Weight Evenly Distributed
 

 

  1. The arms and hands start the golf club back in a one-piece-take-away which includes the right shoulder turning.

 

One Piece Take-Away 3. One Piece Take-Away
 

 

  1. As the right shoulder continues to turn, the left knee will turn slightly towards the center of your body.

 

 

Left Knee Turning Towards Right Knee 4. Left Knee Turning Towards Right Knee
 

Don’t forget, the right knee never leaves its original position. As the top half of your body is turning, the right knee must remain in the exact same position. When you are addressing the golf ball, the right knee has a slight flex. During the back swing, the right knee can not slide backwards nor can it straighten out and it can not flex more. The right knee is the foundation of the backswing, it takes on all of the force of the right shoulder turning and the hips resisting from turning. The right knee has to maintain this rock solid foundation so you can continue to turn the top half of your body against the bottom half. When the golf club has reached the top of the backswing, the right knee will be there to support the upper golf club, arms, hands and upper body. If there is one part of the body that has to be in the correct position at the top of the backswing, it is the right knee. The function of the right knee is not only the foundation of the backswing. In the next section you are going to find out the value of the right knee in the downswing as well.

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