How To Execute a Godly Golf Backswing 

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Your golf backswing sets the stage. It allows you to stack energy for maximum clubhead speed at impact.

Do you think about your golf backswing a lot? Could a lousy backswing be the cause of your missed greens and fairways? Smart golfers know a solid backswing is critical for hitting the ball far and straight.

A poor golf backswing sequence is nothing but trouble. Your clubface angle changes, your downswing is weak, and your ball will slice. The wrong backswing position robs you of power, accuracy, and consistency. Translation? Triple Bogey Land.

Let’s get you some golf backswing tips so you can hit the ball farther and straighter on your next trip to the driving range. Here’s the scoop.

What Does The Ideal Golf Backswing Look Like?

You can see in this diagram how simple it is to practice the perfect backswing in front of a mirror. You may use these as references throughout this article.

backswing frame by frame

Set your phone on a tripod and record yourself when you are setting up. You will quickly see if your backswing is correct.

Why is the backswing so crucial for your golf swing?

Even though hitting the ball is the main aim of your swing, the focus really needs to be on the club head. Look down at your club head when you set up for your shot. Notice how it is lined up behind the ball.

In this position, the clubface is square. This means that when the clubhead swings through in the same position, you will hit the shot longer and straighter, relative to your skill level. Let’s take a look at what can go wrong.

In your regular golf stance, turn the toe of the club back, which opens the clubface; now turn the toe of the club forward, which closes the face. You see, there are three positions that your club head can take during your swing. A proper backswing can help keep your clubhead square at impact.

3 Most Common Mistakes in the Golf Backswing And How To Fix Them

Ready to stop losing strokes? Let’s check these common errors first. Once you are aware of your backswing mistakes, you can fix them. These golf backswing drills will rescue you from the weak, embarrassing golf shots you hate.

Mistake Number 1: Cupping your lead wrist

When you cup your wrist, the clubface will be open at the top of your swing, making it impossible to hit the ball squarely. The secret is in your wrist hinge. 

The Cure: Wrist Hinge Drill 

  • The easiest way to learn the perfect wrist hinge is to repeat the correct motion until it is automatic. 
  • Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the club and extend your arms, and club straight out in front of you. Hinge your wrists as you lift the club to vertical. Concentrate on the feeling of this hinge as you keep your arms straight in front of you.
  • Using the same position, with the club extended straight out in front of you, cup your lead wrist on purpose. Point the club head to the right (or left for lefties). Make sure to keep your arms extended in front of you. Concentrate on the difference you feel in your wrists.
  • Using your 7 iron, set up in your normal golf stance. Keeping your hands in position, simply hinge your wrists as you practiced above. Next, turn your body into a backswing position. Keep the wrist hinge in place. Now release your downswing and complete a practice swing.
  • Practice hitting balls with this weird drill, and you might surprise yourself.
  • Swinging with a weighted club as a practice tool helps create the perfect release in the downswing.

Mistake #2 Separating Your Elbows – The Dreaded Chicken Wing Position

When you allow your elbows to separate, the angle of your swing becomes steeper, which robs you of distance and accuracy.

The Cure: The Chicken Wing Drill 

  • Set up in your normal stance and tuck a head cover or golf towel under your right arm (left for lefties). 
  • Take a practice swing. You will know immediately if you have a flying right elbow (left for lefties).
  • Practice taking swings until you can keep your headcover/towel in place. Make sure that you are not squeezing or pressing the headcover. Keep your upper body as relaxed as possible. 
  • Next, try hitting some shots to nail down that chicken wing once and for all. Be sure to use a short iron when using this backswing drill to hit balls.

Mistake #3 Body Sway Instead of Body Rotation

When you sway, your hips slide sideways during the golf swing, and you lose all your power. This move is a killer golf backswing mistake. Without a complete body turn, you end up hitting weak fliers that go nowhere.

The Cure: Body Rotation Drill 

  • Using your 5-iron, stand in front of a mirror and extend the club straight out in front of you. Line up your right hip with something in the background. You can also place a piece of duct tape on the mirror to line up with. 
  • Make sure your right hip doesn’t cross your marker. As you rotate your body, keeping the club straight out in front of you, notice how your right hip backs out of the way without a bit of sway. Feel the twist in your torso and the tension holding your hips steady.
  • Now turn into a finish position. Repeat a couple of times. Then take your swing position and duplicate the rotation you felt in the drill. 
  • Keep watching your marker in the mirror so that the right hip stays in its pivot with no sway.
  • Bonus Tip: Try tucking the headcover under your right arm as you practice body rotation while hitting balls. This is an excellent way to teach yourself to turn your body away from the ball and into a great backswing position.

Fixing these common golf backswing mistakes can dramatically change your swing and your game. Your downswing can generate more power with less effort from a correct backswing position. Your scorecard will show the results.

How To Execute The Ideal Golf Backswing Consistently

Here are the exact skills you need to practice to take your backswing and your game to the next level:

1. Keep your Left Arm Straight Through the Backswing

The oldest piece of advice in golf is “keep your left arm straight.” (right for righties). This tip alone will make a huge difference. Just remember, it is extension WITHOUT tension. Keep your arms muscles loose and relaxed.

2. How much Weight Transfers to the Back Foot

At the top of the backswing,  lean into the inside of your back foot as you pivot until 75% of your weight is on that back foot. Never let your weight slide to the outside of your back foot.

3. The Angle of your Clubface on the Backswing


If the face of the club comes through open, or the toe tipped back, the shot will be weak and to the right of your target. When the face of the club comes through closed or toe-tipped forward, the shot will go left of the target. Sometimes a long way left of the target. Ouch.

What does all this have to do with your backswing? Everything. If you are a natural athlete with good eye-hand coordination, you may get away with a poorly executed backswing. The simpler and more fundamentally sound your backswing, the better chance you have of hitting more and more solid shots

4. How to Rotate The Hips Properly

backswing hip rotation

Instead of focusing on turning your hips, try moving your right hip back in a straight line away from the ball. Imagine taking a step backward. Here’s a great drill from Golf Digest for feeling the proper hip motion: 

Take your normal stance and then set your right foot back about 18 to 24 inches from its normal position (above). Make practice backswings while balancing on your right toe. Your hips will turn freely from this position. If you don’t turn them in, you will know right away. You won’t be able to keep your balance at the top.

5. How Your Golf Backswing Plane Affects your Swing Path 

Backswing Setup Alignment
Maintaining your body angle created by the tilt
Forward at the hips is helpful to keep you on plane.

Once you are in the ideal backswing position, your downswing path is easy to follow. When you maintain your hip tilt, you will have an easier time swinging “from the inside.” This means the clubhead enters and exits the hitting zone from inside the target line. The result is a solid shot.

If you stand up or dip forward on your backswing, you change the plane of your swing, and your downswing angle is outside the target line/swing path. Loss of body position creates all kinds of mishits.

6. The Correct Angle of Your Clubface on the Top of Your Backswing

top of the backswing

As you can see from this illustration when the wrist hinge is in place with a flat left hand and no cupping, the body is fully rotated, the weight on the inner edges of the feet and the hips are turned and level, the leading edge of the clubface is parallel with the left arm. (Right for righties)

7. How the Backswing Starts

The backswing starts with a “one-piece takeaway.” This means that the body, arms, and club move together for the first stage of the backswing.

The reason the takeaway is so important to master is the focus on rotating your body rather than trying to hit the ball with your arms. 

Most importantly, the correct takeaway keeps your swing on plane. That way, your downswing is set in the natural arc resulting in a solid shot. 

There is less need for corrections or adjustments to square up the clubface at contact, leading to a simple swing you can count on from driver to wedge.


1) How to Generate More Power on Impact With Your Backswing? 

A fully loaded golf backswing is a thing of beauty. Weight is transferred through body rotation and the tension created by the pivot of the upper body and restricted movement of the hips. 

When centrifugal force brings the clubhead back into the hitting zone, maximum ball speed is the natural result.

2) Is the backswing supposed to be fast? 

The rhythm and timing of your backswing set you up for an accelerating downswing. A slower backswing works best and gives an aspiring golfer a great habit to build from. Next time you watch the pros play, study their backswing speed.

3. Can a backswing be too short?

This is kind of a trick question. There are many times when you need to swing half a swing on the course. What is important is your body rotation. A partial swing needs to have partial body rotation. A backswing that is all arms with no body rotation would definitely be too short.

4.  How do you put the golf backswing together?

Follow these seven steps:

  1. Use a one-piece takeaway, club, arms, and body moving at the same time.
  2. Hinge wrists late in your takeaway. (No cupping)
  3. Set the club on the correct plane by keeping your body tilted forward.
  4. Keep your weight on the inner edge of both feet.
  5. Allow 75% of your weight to shift to your back foot
  6. Keep your hips level when pivoting. (No swaying)
  7. Stop briefly at the top, then let that downswing momentum transfer all the stacked energy into the impact zone.

The Verdict: Golf Backswing

In this article, we have given our favorite golf backswing tips so you can build a firm foundation for your golf future. Teaching your body to move correctly in your takeaway can keep your swing on plane. Leveraging your body rotation and wrist hinge in the backswing sets you up for a powerful downswing.

Remember that touring players use golf practice tools, professional instructors, and video analysis to ensure they are in perfect alignment at all points of their swing. What does that mean for you as a beginner? One word. Practice. If pros are continually tweaking their alignment, then you should too.

Be sure to take out this blog post next time you are at the driving range and use the golf backswing drills and tips until you feel you can lock and load that backswing. 

What Next? Make sure to read these posts that will elevate your golf techniques:

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Catherine is a Short Game Coach, Master Motivator, and Peak Performance Geek on a mission to make golf less embarrassing for beginning golfers. Known for spending more time practicing than playing, her claim to fame is dropping her handicap from 33 to single digits in two seasons. When Catherine is not writing golf tips, she hikes with her dogs, creates acrylic paintings, and reads Tarot Cards. Her favorite golfer of the moment is Lydia Ko, who lives unapologetically and leads by example. Golf career highlight: Meeting Arnold Palmer.

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