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Finish the Back Swing

By: Bob Burns

Golf Professional

The surest way to hit the ball off line is to start the club down before you're finished going up. This is one of the most common errors among players. I term this practice "hitting in the back swing". In other words, too many players are so anxious to hit the ball that they never complete their back swing, and are unable to start down to the ball with the proper motion. 

The most successful concept I've found to alleviate this problem is by thinking of making a full shoulder turn on the back swing. The left shoulder should coil back and brush under the chin of the back swing. Learn to pause momentarily at this point. The back should be facing the hole, with the shaft and club head pointing at the target. 

I wait for it to stop there, and then begin my downswing by shifting my hips and legs laterally at the hole. This makes sure I'm always starting the downswing from the same position. Working in sequence, the shoulder turn gets you back all the way, and keeps you from starting the downswing too early. The hip movement reduces the tendency to use only the hands in the downswing. Thus, you make a united swinging move forward, not a hitting move downward.

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