What Starts The Backswing In Golf

The backswing in golf is a crucial component of a golfer’s swing sequence. It sets the stage for a powerful and accurate shot. Understanding what initiates the backswing is fundamental for any golfer looking to improve their game. In this article, we will delve into the key factors that kickstart the backswing in golf.

Rangefinder on Discount

Grip and Stance:

  • Grip: The backswing begins with the grip on the golf club. A proper grip provides the foundation for a controlled and efficient swing. Golfers typically use either the interlocking, overlapping, or baseball grip. The grip should be firm but not overly tight, allowing for flexibility and control during the backswing.
  • Stance: A golfer’s stance plays a pivotal role in initiating the backswing. A well-balanced stance with feet shoulder-width apart and weight evenly distributed helps maintain stability during the swing. The direction in which the golfer aims to hit the ball also influences the initial movement of the backswing.

The Role of the Hips and Shoulders:

  • Hips: The rotation of the hips is a crucial factor in starting the backswing. A golfer should feel a subtle shift of weight to the right foot (for right-handed golfers) as the hips rotate away from the target. This weight transfer helps create torque and stores energy for the downswing.
  • Shoulders: Simultaneously, the golfer’s shoulders start to turn away from the target. This rotation is closely connected to the hip movement and provides the upper body’s contribution to the backswing. The shoulders should stay on a level plane during this initial phase, ensuring a consistent swing path.

The Role of the Clubhead:

  • Clubhead Position: As the hips and shoulders begin to rotate, the clubhead starts to move away from the ball. The clubface should remain square to the target line during this phase, promoting a consistent and accurate swing. The angle of the club shaft will depend on the golfer’s swing style, with some opting for a more upright position and others a flatter one.

Wrist Hinge:

  • Wrist Hinge: Proper wrist hinge is another critical element that initiates the backswing. As the clubhead moves away from the ball, the wrists should hinge naturally, allowing the club to reach a perpendicular angle to the ground. This wrist hinge creates a more powerful and efficient swing by increasing the club’s potential energy.

Maintaining Tempo and Balance:

  • Tempo: While the backswing’s initiation involves a sequence of movements, it’s essential to maintain a consistent tempo. Rushing the backswing can lead to loss of control and accuracy. Conversely, a slow backswing can also affect the rhythm of the swing adversely. Finding the right tempo is crucial for a balanced and controlled swing.
  • Balance: Balance is key throughout the golf swing, including the backswing. As the golfer shifts weight and initiates the backswing, it’s crucial to maintain stability. The weight transfer should not be excessive, as this can lead to balance issues and a lack of control.

Common Backswing Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Overuse of Hands: Some golfers tend to initiate the backswing by excessively using their hands and wrists. This can lead to an erratic and inconsistent swing. It’s important to remember that the backswing should be a coordinated movement involving the entire body, with the hands and wrists playing a supporting role.
  • Swaying: Another common mistake is swaying the body excessively to one side during the backswing. This lateral movement can result in poor balance and a lack of power. Instead, the goal is to rotate the hips and shoulders while maintaining a stable lower body.
  • Too Flat or Too Upright: The angle at which the clubshaft moves during the backswing can vary from golfer to golfer based on their body type and swing style. However, extreme deviations from the ideal plane can cause swing path issues. Finding the right balance between a flat and upright backswing is crucial for consistency.
  • Lack of Shoulder Turn: Failing to achieve a sufficient shoulder turn can limit the potential power and distance of the shot. Golfers should aim for a full 90-degree turn of the shoulders away from the target during the backswing, while keeping the lower body relatively stable.

Drills for Improving the Backswing:

  • Mirror Work: Practicing in front of a mirror allows golfers to visually assess their backswing. This helps in checking the club’s position, wrist hinge, and shoulder rotation. It also aids in maintaining a balanced stance.
  • Swing Plane Drills: Golfers can use alignment sticks or clubs on the ground to visualize and practice the correct swing plane. This helps in avoiding overly flat or upright backswings.
  • Hinge and Hold: A useful drill for wrist hinge involves taking the club back until it is parallel to the ground and then holding that position for a few seconds. This helps develop a proper wrist hinge and club positioning.
  • Slow Motion Swings: Practicing slow-motion backswings can promote a smoother and more controlled tempo. It allows golfers to focus on the sequence of movements without rushing.

Common Initiators of the Golf Backswing

InitiatorDescriptionBenefitsCommon ErrorsTips for Improvement
Weight ShiftShifting weight to back footImproved balanceSwaying or slidingPractice weight transfer
Shoulder TurnRotating shoulders away from targetIncreased powerOver-rotationMaintain spine angle
Clubhead MovementMoving the clubhead backConsistent pathTaking it too far backControlled takeaway
Hinge of WristsCocking wrists to set club angleLag in downswingOveractive wristsMaintain wrist stability
Hip RotationTurning hips to coil the bodyImproved torqueLack of hip mobilityWork on hip flexibility

Backswing Sequence Tips

StepDescriptionKey PointsCommon MistakesDrills for Practice
AddressStarting position before the backswingBalanced stancePoor grip alignmentSetup alignment drills
TakeawayInitial movement to begin the backswingLow and slow takeawayLifting the clubHalf-backswing drills
RotationRotation of the shoulders and hipsCoil the upper bodyOver-rotating hipsMirror drills for rotation
Set the WristsCreating the proper wrist angleMaintain wrist hingeCupping or bowingWrist hinge exercises
Pause at TopBrief pause at the top of the backswingBalance and controlRushing the transitionCount to 3 at the top

Importance of Backswing in Golf

Power GenerationA proper backswing sets up power in the swing
Club PositionDetermines the club’s path and face angle
ConsistencyA repeatable backswing leads to consistency
Balance and ControlSets the stage for a controlled downswing
Tempo and RhythmEstablishes the timing for a smooth swing

Backswing Drills

DrillDescriptionPurposeCommon MistakesTips for Success
One-Piece TakeawayMoving club, arms, and body togetherDevelop a connected swingIsolating the armsFocus on body movement
Swing to the MirrorPracticing backswing in front of mirrorVisual feedbackOverthinking mechanicsCheck alignment
Slow Motion BackswingSlowing down the backswingImprove sequencingRushing the drillMaintain balance
Swing Plane AwarenessUsing alignment sticks to guide pathCorrect swing planeIncorrect stick setupFilm your practice
3-Step Backswing DrillBreaks the backswing into 3 partsImprove coordinationSkipping stepsGradually increase speed

Common Backswing Errors

ErrorDescriptionImpact on SwingCorrection
OverextendingTaking the club too far backLoss of controlFocus on compact swing
Lifting the ArmsRaising the arms instead of turningLack of powerEngage the body in the swing
Flat Shoulder TurnNot turning the shoulders sufficientlyRestricted powerWork on shoulder rotation
Chicken WingElbow bends outward during the backswingPoor ball strikingKeep the lead arm straight
Over-Rotating HipsExcessive hip turn leading to poor balanceLoss of controlFocus on controlled hip turn


Perfecting the initiation of the backswing in golf is a continuous journey of refinement. Golfers must strive to find the right balance between various components like grip, stance, body rotation, and wrist hinge. Avoiding common mistakes and implementing drills can contribute to a more consistent and effective backswing. With dedicated practice and a focus on proper technique, golfers can enhance their overall game and enjoy better results on the course.


What Starts The Backswing In Golf


  • Anglo Carson

    Anglo Carson, a Certified Golf Instructor, embarked on a remarkable journey, driven by his unwavering love for golf. He founded The Golf Mine with a singular mission - to create a golfing haven where passion knows no boundaries. His lifelong love affair with golf, combined with his expertise as a Certified Golf Instructor, turned into a vision to share his extensive knowledge, inspire, and promote the game he holds dear.

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