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How important is your back swing?

Published on 31 August 2017
The golf shot is made up of many parts – but how important is the back swing to the perfect strike of the ball? According to scientists, very.
How important is your back swing?

Trying to perfect your golfing game means analysing every aspect of it – from how you hold the club to how you stand, your club selection and which gloves you wear. But one aspect has always been more important than others – the swing. And now scientists believe that it’s the back swing  in particular that’s important.

What the scientists say
While pros might argue over whether grip or stance has a bigger effect on your final shot, scientists in the UK and Germany have actual proof that it’s all about the back swing.

Academics at the University of Plymouth and the Technical University of Munich looked at how fast people learned basic skills that allowed them to achieve consistent results. And they used a golf swing to demonstrate.

The results showed that those who were able to consistently replicate their back swing perfected their techniques twice as quickly as those who couldn't.

While learning how to play golf can take lots of practice, the rate at which players can compensate for things like environmental changes (different courses, weather changes, ball lie) or taking on board new skills obviously plays an big part in overall performance.

The new research shows the final part of the swing – when club connects with ball - is only one part of the learning process and that generating a consistent back swing allows players to learn new skills faster or adapt to changes faster.

Top 4 tips for improving back swing
So getting your back swing perfected is important. But that can be easier said than done. To help, follow these 4 tips to improve your back swing.

1. Put it on the right path – imagine two tracks running parallel to the ball. Point the club head in between these as you start your swing to keep it true.

2. Get a full wrist bend – Set the bend at different points for different swings – far back for drive or early for chips.

3. Roll the body – Power doesn’t come from the arms but the body. You need to roll your body when swinging back. The left arm and hand swings the club up into position, while the roll of the body helps create conditions for a full arm swing.

4. Get straight at the top – When your swing reaches its apex, the club should be nearly horizontal to the ground, while being parallel with the line of flight of the ball.