To commence a good backswing in golf, start the club straight back from the ball for twelve to eighteen inches using only the hands and the arms keeping the club-face and the hands SQUARE to the line with no rolling of the forearms or turning of the wrists. It is just one single movement.
By keeping the club-face and hands square to the line I mean the square club-face is maintained by retaining the position of the club-face in relation to the shoulders as the shoulders turn in the backswing.
The club-face and hands are square to the intended line of flight at the address and the shoulders are parallel with the intended line of flight. This set-up should be exactly the same when the club-head is returned to the ball.
The initial movement away from the ball has an important bearing on this matter of returning the club head to the ball with the hands and club-face square and the shoulders back in line. The set-up must not be altered as the backswing gets under way. This clearly implies that the club-face is neither rolled open by a clockwise motion of the hands and wrists nor closed by an anti-clockwise motion of the hands and wrists.
Get this right in the early stages of the backswing and you need not concern yourself further with the squaring of the clubface.
Let us start the movement as we would for the short shots.
The movement must start with the hands for they are the unit in direct contact with the club. From the hands the sense of activation travels up the left forearm and into the upper arm just below the shoulder. At this point, with the club head twelve to eighteen inches back from the ball, the shoulders commence their turn. So does the chest which turns over the retracted stomach. The turn carried through in this way brings the left shoulder close up underneath the chin at the top of the swing.
The stomach must be kept in. It CAN be done even by portly players.
Now I come to the all-important matter of upper-arm-leverage. The upper arm carries the club back and up on a passive, extended (never stiff) left arm.
For a backswing, the forearms and wrists are still not rolled open neither are they turned to shut the club-face. Where a slight roll or twist does occur is in the upper left arm which has been allowed to swing freely and clear of the body as the shoulders and chest turn, let me repeat, over the retracted stomach.
Only by acquiring this knack of upper-left-arm-leverage with the left shoulder kept UP as it turns can the left arm find room to do its work, the work of tracing out the pattern in this first movement in the building of a well shaped swing. You are on the way to the top of the swing, but so far I have said nothing about the feet.
I will recap and at the same time bring the feet into the picture. You have:
(a) Started the club back with the hands and felt the transmission move up through the left forearm into the upper arm;
(b) turned the shoulders and chest over the retracted stomach, keeping the left shoulder UP by utilising upper-left-arm-leverage on a passive extended left arm;
(c) retained the flexed right knee and not stiffened it. This has enabled the body turn to take place with the right hip back but NOT drawn up.
Your feet have come into the operation in this way.
The first movement is as natural and simple as the initial involuntary action when you take a step forward in walking. Assuming you are stepping out right foot first the weight immediately shifts forward on to the ball of the left.
This is precisely what takes place as the left foot begins to come into the backswing. The heel comes slightly off the ground following that initial movement with the hands and arms straight back from the ball. Your weight comes on to the ball of the foot below the toe crease.
You have made a great start on your backswing!
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