How Far Back Should You Start Your Backswing?

By Ed Ibarguen

Biggest Problem with the Backswing

One of the questions I get a lot is I know I am swinging it back too far but I am not sure where I need to be. I feel like I need to get that big turn and take a big backswing, get all my power but the club ends up being way down here. If you are John Daly you might be able to have the power to bring that backswing position from in here with a little bit of a bent wrist and bring it back but most people can't.

Drill: How Far to Bring Your Backswing

I have a great drill where you can figure out how far back you should be taking it and it is so simple it makes perfect sense.

  • Get a range basket and take that range basket and both hands are on it, don't grip your fingers inside it, just hold it gently with the wide side facing your knees.
  • What I want you to do is, here is this string between my legs, and am going to try to make my backswing where I am turning my upper body back and I am trying to keep my left arm firm.

It does not have to be rigid, I definitely don't want it bent because I am losing width in my swing, but I am just trying to get out into here and you will notice that for me this is about as far back as I can take it. Here is the problem and I am going to show you from down the line, most people can only do that with their left arm but look at what the right arm can do.

How to Correct Your Stance to Improve Your Backswing

I will often ask people, I want you to keep your hands apart as if you are holding the basket, and I want you to try this, make your swing at full motion and I want you to stop at the top. They will go and stop at the top and here is what you will see. Let me show you from down the line.

  • The basket really grows because this right arm, this shoulder, has the flexibility to go much further back.
  • What really ends up happening in your swing is that right arm is really yanking on the left arm and the left arm just can not handle it and it will give it two ways.
  • It will start to bend, and again you are losing width in your swing, or your left wrist will start to cup and you can see that gets your clubface open and the toe starts to fall down.

So look at this, you get to halfway back, you are looking like Tiger Woods and all of a sudden you start to lose width, you are cupping your wrists, your left arm is bent and the club is way past parallel.

So what is your best position? Grab your range basket, take it in here, stay as centered as you can, extend your arm, and look, here is what has to happen. This right hand needs to come back to the left hand. Again, this right hand needs to come back to the left hand, and there is nice full backswing. My upper body is turned back to the target, I have nice width in here and there is a great position.

A lot of people say well Ed that feels like a three quarter swing. I have even had students say it looks like half of a swing but that is a much more effective position. Your arms and body are more in front of you so that you can come back down into that nice solid forward lean, flat wrested impact position. Find out what is perfect for you in your backswing, use that range bucket for more than just carrying range balls.

About the Instructor