The Finish Position of the Golf Swing

One spring morning I showed up at the course for a 9:30 a.m. tee time to find the first tee full of players. There had been a frost delay, so about eight foursomes ahead of us had yet to tee off. I hung around the first tee to watch everyone swing. This is what I saw. A clear majority of the players ended their swing with their weight firmly on their right foot, if not falling backward in that direction. You can imagine what their shots looked like.

How a golfer finishes the swing is a clear indicator of what went on before. It takes only a half second to get from impact to finish, in which time the golfer decelerates the clubhead from about 80-90 miles per hour to a full stop. The state of the swing at impact will thus directly influence the state of the finish position. When a good finish position is your goal, you will find yourself modifying your swing so you can get there, and the changes you make will be for the better.

Finish your swing standing comfortably upright, facing the target squarely, with your weight on your left foot, and your right foot balanced on the toe tip. You should be able to lift your right foot off the ground without disturbing your balance. Both hands will be to the left of your head and the club will be behind your head on a line that connects your ears. Your right shoulder should end up near your chin, but this depends in part on your flexibility.

Practice your finish by making shortened swings with your driver, no ball. Take the club halfway back and swing smoothly through to a full finish. When you get to the finish position, hold it there for a few seconds to let your mind absorb the process of your swing leading you into that position.*

The next time you watch a tournament on TV, watch where the players end up and how they get there. Or, if you have a chance to see a professional tournament in person, go to the range and watch the players warm up. In every case, the finishes you will see are graceful and balanced. That’s your model. There are things the pros do that we can’t, but this is not one of them. Build a good finish into your swing and watch the rest of your swing improve.

*Your finish position can subject your back to considerable twisting. I would recommend that hold your finish position infrequently as a check, and never routinely when practicing or playing. Always release yourself to a neutral upright position with your hands in front of you as you watch the ball, just like Phil does.


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