Picture Perfect: 4 Tips For Your Top of Backswing Position

I really like my position in this photo. I look balance and relaxed. If you want to play better golf, work on an athletic, balanced and rhythmic backswing motion.

Every round of golf is a treat but a round of golf at Canada’s new #1 ranked course, Cabot Cliffs is very special. This particular shot, the tee shot at 17, is one of my all-time most memorable shots in golf. It came at the end of a perfect day on Cape Breton’s west coast on the Coore/Crenshaw designed masterpiece.

I like everything about the photo… from the stunning coastline, to the brilliant hole design, I even like my top of backswing position here. And that’s what I wanted to discuss.

Most golfers don’t really understand what a proper top of backswing should look like. Everyday on my lesson tee I see golfers try to do too much during their backswings. Newer players almost always lift, trying to make their swings bigger to find the speed they’re missing, and older players over rotate trying to keep the speed they think they’re losing. All in all, golfers just move around too much during their backswings. I like to tell my golfers… “the secret to more speed and power isn’t a bigger backswing, it’s a better backswing that gives you the ability to swing forward to a finish properly. The most important thing about your top of backswing position is that it enables you to deliver the club to the ball properly.”

If you really want to hit the ball better and farther, stop trying to increase your backswing size. Your top of backswing position doesn’t need to be bigger, it needs to be better. Spend some time with a teaching pro and learn how to coil your body and how to swing your arms on proper path and you’re in business.

Here are 4 reasons why I like this backswing position……

A Stable Foundation: Your legs and feet should be active but stable when you swing a golf club. I prefer quiet footwork as you wind my upper body against your lower body like a giant spring. I also really like the idea of keeping your back leg flexed as you load weight against it. If you can keep your weight on the inside of a back, flexed leg at the top of your backswing, you’ll be able to lead your downswing with your legs and hips and swing your club into the ball from inside path.

Arms Are Positioned Properly: Early in my teaching career I read a couple of things about your elbows that always stuck with me. First, your elbows should always point down during the swing. At address they should point to your hip bones and at the top of your swing they should both be pointed at the ground. Second, you should keep your elbows together as much as possible as you swing the club. Try to not let them separate and certainly don’t lift them at the top of your swing. Notice in this photo how my elbows form a nice triangle shape underneath the club.

Club Face Is Perfectly Square: Another key checkpoint to any top of backswing position is a square or neutral club face. Notice in this photo how my club face is perfectly parallel to my left arm. That’s right on the mark! If my club face pointed at the sky, it would be considered closed and if it drooped down at all, it would be open. Nothing is more important than hitting the ball with a square club face and that’s really hard to do that if the club is open or closed at the top of your swing.

Lead Arm Is On Plane: Consistent ball striking is so much easier if you swing your club on the proper plane. Some golfers lift too much and others pull the club too much around behind them. Both positions will make  hitting good shots more difficult. Notice in the photo how my left arm is intersecting my neck. That’s a terrific position and something you should try to copy next time you are practicing.

/ Kevin Haime, 2000 PGA of Canada National Teacher of The Year @KevinHaime