How Important is Your Backswing

When you watch golfers hit the golf ball you will see many different backswings. Some are short, some are long and some are in between. Which one is correct? Depending on your body type and physical abilities one of them is correct for you.

The majority of inexperienced players I see have back swings that are too long. Why do so many golfers have swings that are longer than they need?

I think it all boils down to perception. Many golfers feel that if they swing the club farther back they will hit the ball farther. But if this were true how come many pros hit the ball as far as John Daily and have a much shorter back swing?

When you watch PGA Tour professionals on T.V. you see different lengths of backswings but they all have basic similarities. Let’s examine these common traits.

Good ball strikers usually hinge their wrists to their maximum. This means the left arm and the golf club at the top of the swing is 90 degrees or less. Some professionals call this setting the angle.

The average player tends to keep their wrists too stiff-many times it is because they are trying to hit the ball too hard. Hitting the ball too hard tends to make you tense up-which often causes you to lock the wrists which forces the left elbow to break on the backswing, and results in the club going back too far. You must allow the wrist to stay loose throughout the swing and keep you left arm straight on the backswing. The more you cock your wrists the more power you can create without taking the club too far back.

Good ball strikers maximize their shoulder rotation and the rotation determines how far the left arm extends back. Proper back swings are directly related to the amount of shoulder rotation a player is capable of making. John Daily can turn his shoulders past 90 degrees and because of this he has a very long backswing.

Your goal should be to turn your shoulders 90 degrees (hips approximately 45 degrees or less) keep your left arm straight and allow your wrists to hinge as much as possible. You should turn your shoulders until you feel a good stretch and a little tension. The tension tells you that you have coiled your body and are in a powerful position to make your forward swing.


Think of your back swing as if you were winding a spring. Wind it up as tight as you can. When you let the spring go it wants to release back the other direction with speed and power.

Remember the key points to better swings and longer and straighter shots.

1. Turning your shoulders to 90 degrees on the backswing.
2. Keep your hip turn to 45 degrees or less on the backswing.
3. Left arm straight and extended-weight slightly more on the back foot.
4. Allow your wrist to be flexible and relaxed.

For more information on the Sure Swing Golf Machine and the Sure Swing Golf Academy in Colorado Springs, CO or Scottsdale, AZ please contact us at 602-314-5950.

Don Powers, PGA Life Member, is Director of Instruction at the Sure Swing Golf Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and Scottsdale, AZ. He was a 2-time All American at Arizona State University, competed on the PGA Tour and other world-wide Professional Tours. Email Don at

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