Category Archives: backswing

Your Left Wrist in the Backswing

One of the keys to hitting a straight shot is for the angle in your left wrist be the same at the top of the backswing as it is at address.

This video shows you why that is so, and how to learn this critical skill.

Here’s the rule. If you have less bend in the left wrist at the top than at address, you have closed the clubface. If you have more bend at the top than at address, you have opened the clubface.

The best way to fix a mismatch is to set the club at the top the way you like it. If you like a cuppy wrist up there, you need a strong grip. If you like a flat left wrist at the top, a neutral grip will do.

A bowed out left wrist is seldom seen in recreational golf, but if that’s you, use a weak grip.

The Length of Your Backswing

To be in control of your swing, you have to be in control of the clubhead at all times. Take a backswing that is only so long that you can still be aware of where the clubhead is. It’s like pounding a nail into a board. You’ll take only a short stroke with the hammer so you can hit down on the nail squarely. With a longer stroke you would lose the connection between the hammerhead and the nail. You’d have to “find” the nail again as you swing down and would seldom to it right.

In the same way, you should swing a golf club back only so far that you still feel a connection between the ball and the clubhead. If you swing back farther than that, the ball is essentially lost, and the chance of good contact is diminished.

Try this. Take the club back until your hands are at about an 8 o’clock position. At that point, you can feel exactly how the clubhead will come into the ball. The swing is small enough so that you feel complete confidence that you can make the clubhead meet the ball squarely. That’s the feeling you want to have all the time.

Make more swings, taking the clubhead back farther and farther until you lose that confident feeling. That is a step too far. Shorten your swing so you get that feeling back. That’s it. Don’t ever take the club back any farther than that. After a certain point, taking the club back farther doesn’t do you any good, and probably makes things worse.

This might be a shorter backswing than you’re used to, but that’s all right. It’s farther back that it feels like. Don’t worry that this shorter swing will cost you distance. Because you’ll hit the ball more solidly, you won’t lose any, and might get more.

What I talked about is taking the club back only so far as you can still sense where the clubhead is. That does not mean that you restrict your turn. Always turn fully, that is, turn your upper body to the point where your back faces the hole directly. You can restrict your arms, but never restrict your turn.

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