10 Senior Major tournament wins…
3 in 2017,
That makes Bernard Langer the most decorated Senior Golfer ever,
He doesn’t hit it the furthest,
But he is one of the most accurate and consistent ball strikers on the Champions Tour,
His backswing is like a metronome,
Essentially, the backswing is a rotation to the right, consisting of a shifting of the player’s body weight to the right side, a turning of the pelvis and shoulders, lifting of the arms and flexing of the elbows and wrists. At the end of the backswing the hands are above the right shoulder, with the club pointing more or less in the intended direction of ball flight.
The downswing is roughly a backswing reversed. After the ball is hit, the follow-through stage consists of a continued rotation to the left. At the end of the swing, the weight has shifted almost entirely to the left foot, the body is fully turned to the left and the hands are above the left shoulder with the club hanging down over the players’ back.
Instead of thinking about your arms and swinging your club backwards, try to think of your back swing as turning your back to the target. You’re not swinging the club up in the air; instead you’re just putting the club behind your back. It’s like winding a spring!
The back swing works from the top down. The back swing takeaway starts at the top with your arms and shoulder turning, and it works its way down to your hips and legs.
The back swing is all about coiling up your body and creating the muscle tension or torque needed to release a powerful downswing. More specifically, resistance is created between the greater turning of the upper body and shoulders and the lesser turning of the hips and lower body.
Don’t get in a hurry! A hurried back swing doesn’t make the downswing any faster. In fact, it may be just the opposite. You’ve got to remember that somewhere at the top of that back swing, you’ve got to change and go the exact opposite direction.
The speed of your back swing should be at a steady tempo, not real fast or real slow. The tendency is to go too fast. Any time your golf swing begins to break down; your first correction should usually be to slow down my back swing.
Turn your back toward the target or, maybe better, think of turning your chest away from the target. Pick the thought that produces the greater feeling of coiling or resistance. Don’t allow the back knee to fly outwards. Keep your weight towards the inside of that foot.
Your wrists should be completely cocked by the time your left arm is parallel to the ground. The golf club shaft should be at a 90 degree angle to your left arm.
Don’t focus on the club head during the backswing. Instead think of the arm as being hinged at the left shoulder. Then, like a gate that swings open from its hinges, the left arm hinges at the left shoulder and swings across the body until it approaches the right side at my right armpit. The left arm remains relatively straight, but could bend slightly.
Your shoulder and upper body turn begin as the left arm reaches this position. As the arms go back, two things should happen:
- The forearms will naturally rotate clockwise slightly until the golf club head points to the sky. Opening the club face more won’t seem right to you if you tend to slice, but don’t resist this very natural movement.
- As your arms travel up and back and the golf club shaft approaches parallel to the ground, you will gradually begin cocking your wrists. Then by the time that your left arm is parallel to the ground, your wrists should be completely cocked at a 90 degree angle.
Cocking your wrists is a very important part of creating club head speed. This is often a big swing problem. You can get so concerned about “taking the club straight back” at the beginning of your back swing that you don’t completely cock your wrists. Fixing this problem can straighten out several golf swing problems.
The next part of the golf swing is the shoulder and upper body turn. The left arm has swung across the body near the right armpit. The natural continuation of this motion is to begin the turning of the shoulders. The shoulders will turn from parallel to the target line to approximately perpendicular to the target line depending on your own flexibility. As this happens, the hips and then legs will also become involved in the turn.
Wouldn’t you like to feel more body torque build up in your golf back swing? Of course! A friend gave me this golf swing tip just the other day. Maybe you’ll find it to be as helpful as I did.
Instead of trying to create body torque by turning your shoulders, think of turning your lower chest (Let’s say about six inches above your bellybutton) away from the target. Of course when you do it this way your shoulders will still turn but you should feel much more torque building through your body.
Don’t let the knee of your back leg turn or fly out or to the back as the back swing progresses. You’ll lose part of your body torque.
At the height of the back swing, you’ll feel like your back is over top of your back leg. At this point your weight has shifted back over your back leg.
It is truly a myth that the head stays over the ball as at address and the body turns on an axis formed by a line traveling through the head and the backbone. In reality, the body turns on an axis formed by a line traveling through the head and the back leg. Keep in mind that the head is moving slightly backwards. The head should stay fairly level and not bob up and down.
Where are the arms and club at the end of the back swing? Should the golf club be parallel to the ground? Honestly, you shouldn’t really don’t give that much thought. As long as you don’t bend the left arm more than slightly, these positions will be determined by how far you can turn your upper body.
If you keep your back knee in, the back foot will feel your body weight on the inside as the shoulders turn. Towards the end of the golf back swing, some golfers make the mistake of letting the heel of their front foot leave the ground. If the back swing coils the spring, the feet must stay anchored to the ground to give the body something to coil against. Better to let the front foot roll or sort of lay down on the inside of the foot without dragging.
If you start with a correct golf stance, grip, and back swing, the best advice for your down swing for the most part is to just let it happen!