Your swing isn’t just one monolithic whole, it consists of a number of elements. And each of these elements has it’s own effect on the way you strike the ball. One of the fundamental components of a good golf swing is the backswing – the way in which you take away the club head from the ball to the top of your swing before starting your downswing to actually hit the ball.
Many golf teachers and coaches tell their students to try and keep the club head near the ground by using a wide arc when taking the club back. The idea behind this is that you’ll create more power if your swing is wider.
However, there is a major problem with this technique, namely that as you try to swing on a wide arc it’s very easy to fail to get the 90 degree angle between the club and your left arm (right arm for left-handed golfers) that you’re looking for.
If you watch amateur golfers in action, you’ll soon notice they don’t often get this 90 degree angle and so they don’t generate the maximum power they could. As they take the club away on a wide arc, they fail to cock their wrists and don’t fully complete their backswing and so their shots lack the power and hence distance they should have.
But what can you do about this natural tendency not to complete the backswing?
A good tip is to practice keeping the club shaft closer to you during your backswing. It will seem a little strange at first, but try to make sure that even as you reach the halfway point in your backswing you have a 90 degreen angle between the shaft and your leading arm.
Imagine stopping your backswing when your leading arm is horizontal across your body. At this point the club head should be pointing directly upwards at the sky. If you can create this 90 degree angle so early in your backswing, you’re sure to keep that angle at the top of your swing.
Of course, if you can confidently create the 90 degree angle later in your swing then by all means go ahead, but lots of recreational golfers struggle with this. And with this being the case, it’s sensible to make sure you get the right angle nice and early in the swing which you can then keep right to the top.
Many players find it useful to first practice this with their short irons before trying it out with their other clubs. If you spend a little time working on this while at the driving range, you should soon start to hit the ball better and further will all your clubs.
Good luck on the course!