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The 7 Steps Every Backswing Should Have: The Body Shift

Stemming from our previous post regarding the 7-steps every backswing should have, we’re now onto step #2 – the body weight shift. This whole move occurs when the club begins its takeaway from the ball, and is complete by the time the club is parallel to the ground or at 9:00. The move itself, actually consists of two distinct movements. Here’s the nitty gritty:

The first portion of this move occurs as your shift your body weight slightly to the right (or near your rear foot anyway, for you left-handers). Specifically your hips, shoulders and head move slightly to the right as you swing back the club from address to the 9:00 position. The shift itself is small – maybe about 2 inches to the right, but this effectively moves your body weight over your rear foot, and sets you up to make a powerful turn (which we’ll get into shortly).

It is very important to move every part of your body to the right in this stage. For example, if your head remains motionless during this part of your backswing, you’ll find it very difficult to actually shift your weight at all, which often leads to a reverse pivot, a very common swing fault. Alternatively, if you head moves, but your body doesn’t, your lower body is consequently restricting your ability to turn and generate power for your swing. Finally, if you are able to shift everything to the right, but you overdo it (especially in your hips) you’re much more likely to have an overactive lower body, and/or sliding hips on your backswing and subsequently n your downswing, which will make your impact inconsistent. Regardless of the fault, your swing won’t be as reliable as it could be with any of this common faults in this portion of your backswing.

The second part of this move sets the stage for the rest of your backswing, and that is the initiation of the turn. So not only does your body move laterally 2 inches, it also begins to turn away from the ball, lead by your shoulders and hips. Both your shoulders and hips should turn back as your opposite shoulders and hips turn forward. The key here is that this turn is subtle. If you force it, and go over the top with the turn, you’ll pull your club in close to your body (or too far inside), which will be detrimental to you swing impacting your ability to make solid contact on the downswing.

We’re officially at 9:00 now in your swing… one half of the backswing down. Your triangle position has just started to break down, your body weight has shifted to your rear leg – approximately 75% of your body weight. And finally, you shoulders and hips have initiated the ‘turn’. The shift away from the ball, is complete.. and now the turn begins – which is step #3.

Next Up: The Turn


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  1. Albeit clubs, shafts and balls have changed per technology over time and as a result you can see a difference in the swings of greats like Bob Jones and current players such as Jordan Spieth. In the old days Jones took the club away almost with a lag being initiated with the hands and shoulders which seemed to then drag the club to the top. Today the take away seems to be in one piece, i.e. shoulders, arms, hands and club shaft and club head all in one piece. In addition at the top these two swings also seemed markedly different with much less of a bounce today than in the old days. Hope this helps.

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Triangle Backswing Setup

The 7 Steps Every Backswing Should Have: Arms & Shoulders Act Together

The 7 Steps Every Backswing Should Have: The Turn