Build An Athletic Golf Swing

Sporting goods and household items are the key to a softer swing!

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A great way to feel the right sensation of how the upper body rotates away on the backswing is to rehearse your backswing using a saw. Remember, to use a saw properly, you have to rock the saw back and forth, right? The same principle applies to the right arm on the backswing.

So grab a saw, and set up in a good golf stance. As you take the saw back with your right arm, imagine you're cutting something at a 45-degree angle.

As you do this, notice the direction my right shoulder moves. It should go straight back. Also, the upper body will want to rotate to the right. This is a positive by-product of a good backswing.

When transferring the feeling of the saw over to a golf club, you'll quickly see the correlation. The right elbow, as you take the club back, doesn't juke out to the side as you see in the infamous "chicken wing" pose at the top of the backswing. By allowing the right shoulder to move back, the elbow stays in the proper position and my upper body is poised to make a better and bigger backswing, all the while keeping the clubhead on the proper plane. This is what you want!


A great way to feel the proper position at the top of the swing in perfect plane is to imagine swinging a sledgehammer. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, grab one and try what I'm doing here. (Just be careful!) While you take the hammer back, as you would with a club, allow the shoulders to twist back first, which then makes it easier to hinge the wrists and support the weight of the hammer. If you take the hammer back with the hands first, you'll know because of the increased strain on your hands and forearms at the top (see the photo to the right.) Ouch! 

When you make a proper backswing, the head of the hammer ought to reside just above the hands. In the sequence above, I'm doing it correctly and I feel my strongest and most secure with the hammer in the upright position. This was made possible because I first turned with my shoulders, which made it easier to keep my hands in front of my chest and hinge my wrists. Now, it's a little steeper than you'd normally see with a golf club, but the point of the drill is to avoid laying the club too much off the line at the top. If you do that, you'll hit a lot of sliced and errant shots.

Here I've taken the club back too much to the inside. This means I'll be across the line at the top, and I'll have to really fire my body to get the club back to square at impact. In most cases, the club will get stuck behind me and I'll hit a lot of shanks.

When you swing too far to the outside, as you see here, you're likely to swing down to the ball on the forwardswing from the same position and end up smother-hooking it or hitting a big, vicious left-to-right slice. It's also a weak position to be in.

Here we go. I'm in the perfect position, there's little to no tension in my hands and wrists, and from this angle, the club bisects my shoulder. From here, I can simply start rotating my body toward the target as my hands drop down and into the impact zone.

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