How to Build a Better Backswing

By Teresa Justine Kelly

The backswing is the initial windup and setup of the downswing. It works like a bow and arrow in that you want to create enough tension and resistance in the bow to release the arrow with power, speed, distance and control. The same thing is true of the golf swing. A good backswing will set you up for a powerful downswing and ultimately a powerful golf shot. A few easy pointers in the backswing can help you execute controlled, strong golf shots.


Difficulty: Easy
  1. Take your driver back at the start of your backswing, forming the same triangle you made at address and takeaway.
  2. Keep your hands, arms and shoulders together in a one-piece takeaway.
  3. Use a smooth, even tempo as you reach the halfway point into your backswing. Your driver should be horizontal and parallel to your target line.
  4. Gradually hinge your wrists upward at a 90-degree angle as you take your club back.
  5. Place your right arm in a position to form the letter "L" at the top of your backswing, with your back facing the target. Keep your left arm straight and upward, and place your chin on your left shoulder.
  6. Turn your hips at a 40- to 50-degree angle, with a 90- to 95-degree shoulder turn. This stretch and resistance will increase power and distance.
  7. Pivot to the top of your backswing, shifting 75 percent of your weight to the inside of the right foot, flexing your right knee. Pause briefly at the top of your backswing before transitioning to the downswing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice your shoulder turn in your backswing at the driving range, Turn only as far back as comfortable, until you feel some tightness in your shoulders. This tightness produces the resistance necessary to maximize your power.
  • Taking your backswing past parallel or using too much shoulder and hip turn will decrease your power and distance. Less is more in this case.

About the Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.