The Triangles of The Golf Swing – Part 3: The Top of Backswing

In the final instalment of this golf instruction feature, Kevin Haime explains the structure he would like golfers achieve at the top of their backswing.

The full golf tip appeared in the June issue of Flagstick Golf Magazine. The entire text is shared below the video.

Two Key Check Points For Your Backswing

Teaching the golf swing sure has changed a lot since I gave my first lesson as a young PGA of Canada Pro way back in 1987 some 29 years ago…….

In many ways, it’s much easier to learn the golf swing today. Computer software, Doppler radar and the availability of high speed video have all allowed teaching pros to research the fundamentals of the motion, understand the golf swing in more detail and allowed them to show golfers exactly where they’re going wrong.

In my experience, when a golfer sees themselves and their golf swing, it completely changes their perception of what they think they’re doing and how they should swing the club. At our golf school, we literally video record every golfer who ends up on our lesson tee. I believe that seeing yourself and what your swing looks like is just that important.

I also believe that it’s easier than ever for the average golfer to more efficiently help fix their own golf swings because virtually everyone has a great high speed video camera on them at all time. We all have smart phones and those devices can make your practice much more efficient if you know what to look for. I know that I get my players to use their smartphones all the time. Over the past few years I’ve gotten in the habit of explaining specific swing positions then show them how to watch closely for those positions with their own smartphones.

With that concept in mind, here are two critical check point positions you can watch for in your backswing. If you can get the club swinging back on the right path while moving your body properly your downswing becomes so much more reactive and athletic. Think of your golf swing as a series of positions, each of which enables the next correct position (just like a series of dominoes being knocked over).

The two most important positions you can check during your backswing are your “waist high” and “top of backswing” position. There are a lot of things to look for when you see a video of these two positions but I’m going to keep it very simple for you in this tip. I want you to look for two triangles as you swing the club back and up.

Triangle #1: Your first critical backswing triangle happens when the club reaches parallel to the ground at waist high. If you start your swing properly by swinging your arms up as you coil your upper body over your lower body, your club will end up in this position (see photo one)

Many golfers mistakenly pull the club away from the ball with their arms without starting their body coil and if you do that your arms will fold up and the club will get stuck too far behind you.

The key to this position is to think of swinging the club back as you simply turn your chest. It looks so simple, and it is with a little careful video work, but very few golfers ever achieve this first triangle position.

Triangle #2: This top of backswing position is one I don’t see too often. Many golfers just do too much as they swing the club back and up. Some players lift, others sway, still more roll their arms or use their wrists too much. Ironically, many of the golfers I see on my lesson tee everyday actually do too much in an effort to find some distance. 

Next time you’re practicing try to just turn your chest and swing your arms up over your back shoulder. Think about keeping your elbows close together and simply swing…no lifting, no twisting, no rolling. Keep it simple, stay in posture and you might be surprised by the results. If you record yourself when you’re practicing and your 2 backswing triangles look just like these, you’re on your way to better golf.

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