PGA Professional Tom Ream says that following a series of checkpoints can help you achieve a proper backswing.
The tendency to raise your body in the backswing can be caused by your address position being out of shape, inhibiting your ability to turn your torso and resulting in a lift of your arms that changes your spine angle. Check your clubs to ensure that they fit you properly then, check your address position in a mirror, (this includes your grip), and observe these checkpoints:
- Stand straight in your normal posture, hold your club perpendicular to your spine and let your arms rest extended against the sides of your chest.
- Bend from your hip joints until the sole of the club rests on the ground and then from your knees. Your knees will bend only as far as the balls of your feet. Do not change your spine angle when you bend your knees.
- Keep your neck and spine aligned. Do not hang your head down below your spine angle.
The following checkpoints should result from the procedure described above:
- Your shoulder line and toe line should align vertically.
- Your hip joints should align vertically over your heels.
- The balls of your feet, the tips of your knees, the tip of your elbows and the back of your shoulder joint should align vertically.
- Your club shaft will intersect your body below belt buckle level.
- Your sternum will appear to point at the ball.
- Your ball position should align opposite your left chest.
Once your posture at address conforms within these parameters, it is then time for you to pursue in-swing position changes because you are in a balanced position to start your swing.
The arms can be the culprits if they initiate the swing by pulling the turn of the torso. The torso starts the backswing by rotating to the right, maintaining the address spine angle and the arms following. A good checkpoint to look for in the mirror will be when the club is parallel to the ground and/or target line the sternum will align vertically over the inside of the right knee and the butt of the club will be opposite the outside of the right thigh. Once you establish this checkpoint, the body is in position to support the shaft’s elevation to the top of your swing. The shaft, along with the momentum of the swing, will allow the wrists to hinge the club to the top of the swing while the body maintains the same spine angle as at address.
If your arms are pulling the turn, many things can result and the swing will be lost to a series of adjustments. Try to attain the proper sequence of movements with a club that is on the proper path. The body will have very little tension in it and the swing will feel effortless as it as you swing.