Improve Your Golf Backswing: Proper Technique, Positions, and Drills

Golf Backswing

A fundamentally sound golf backswing lays the foundation for an efficient and powerful downswing. Mastering proper backswing technique is critical for consistent ball-striking and lowering scores.

In this complete guide, we’ll break down the proper sequence, key positions, common errors, and useful drills to groove an effective golf backswing.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to build a solid swing from the ground up or a seasoned player seeking to eliminate backswing flaws, applying these tips and checkpoints will lead to noticeable improvements.

Setting Up For Golf Backswing Success

Before making any motion, ensure your setup and posture establish an athletic foundation for an on-plane golf backswing. Here are key checkpoints:

Grip: Use a neutral or slightly strong grip to allow for full wrist hinge and prevent flipping.

Stance Width: Position feet shoulder-width apart to enable a balanced coil.

Ball Position: Play the ball off the instep of your front foot in most situations.

Posture & Alignment: Maintain spine angle with knees softly flexed, bend slightly at the hips. Align feet, knees, hips, and shoulders parallel to target line.

Weight Distribution: Distribute weight evenly between feet, centered in the arches.

Swing Thoughts: Initiate the backswing by turning back hip and letting the arms and club follow. Keep front heel planted and right knee flexed.

Golf Backswing Step-By-Step

Executing a proper backswing involves coordinated sequence of motions to build efficiency. Use this backswing checklist:


Initiate the takeaway by turning your back hip laterally away from the target. Maintain angle of spine, resisting any upward motion. Keep hands passive, letting the clubhead follow the body rotation.

Knee Drive

As hips open, drive right knee inward toward the left knee. Delay wrist hinge or arm lift, keeping left arm straight.

Hip Turn

Continue rotating back hip to point right back pocket toward the target. Weight shifts to the inside of right foot but avoid swaying motion.

Hands at Waist High

When hands reach waist high, hinge wrists to maintain right elbow pointing down and clubface aimed at the ball. Left arm remains straight.

Halfway Back

At halfway back, right arm folds to maintain wrist hinge and right elbow points down under right shoulder. Left arm stays straight, left wrist flat.

Three-Quarter Back

When shaft is parallel to ground, right elbow folds under the shoulder plane as right wrist remains hinged. Left arm extends straight out from shoulder socket.

Top of Golf Backswing

At the completion of the backswing, hips have fully turned 45-60 degrees. Left arm extends straight from shoulder, left heel anchored to the ground. Right elbow tucked under plane, right palm facing the ground. Upper torso and shoulders turn against a stable lower body. Weight shifts inside the right leg but avoid swaying.

Pausing at the top of the backswing to assess alignment helps ingrain proper positions. Are hips fully turned? Is left arm straight and left heel down? Is right elbow folded under the shoulder plane with wrist hinge maintained? Confirming these swing thoughts before initiating the downswing enhances consistency.

Read Also: Master Proper Golf Grip Technique in 5 Simple Steps

Avoid Common Golf Backswing Errors

While executing the sequence above, be vigilant to avoid these common flaws:

  • Swaying – excessive lateral movement of hips away from the target during the backswing. Causes imbalance and inconsistent striking.
  • Sliding – lateral motion of hips toward the target during the backswing. Reduces power and precision.
  • Rolling Wrists – flipping or rolling wrists through impact, losing angle too early. Leads to inconsistent contact.
  • Overswinging – excessive shoulder turn past parallel at the top of the backswing. Promotes swinging out-to-in.

Diagnosing and correcting backswing errors requires an understanding of what causes them. Here are typical causes and prescribed fixes:


Cause: Too much weight on the outside of the back foot, upper body leaning away from target

Fix: Maintain spine angle, keep head still and weight inside the right heel


Cause: Hips clear too early in the backswing motion

Fix: Delay hip turn, keep left knee flexed brace right knee against it

Rolling Wrists

Cause: Gripping too tightly, forced hand action

Fix: Neutral grip, passive hands and arms, let body rotate to square club


Cause: Over-rotating shoulders and disconnecting upper/lower body

Fix: Turn shoulders slightly less, keep left heel planted and maintain posture

Concentrating on proper sequence, positions, and swing thoughts throughout the golf backswing helps minimize errors.

Groove Your Golf Backswing with Drills

Ingraining optimal backswing technique requires mindful practice and drilling. Here are useful solo and partner drills:

Solo Drills

Wall Tap Drill – Make gentle swings, tapping a club against a wall at different points to rehearse proper elbow positions and arm extension. Groove keeping lead arm straight and trail elbow tucked.

Alignment Stick Drill – Swing under alignment stick set at proper angles to keep arms and elbows on plane throughout the swing.

Backswing Barrel Roll Drill – Feel the motion of rolling a barrel with your body, keeping hands passive and clubface square.

Pause Swing Drill – Make incremental backswings, pausing to confirm proper positions before making full swings. Build positions piece-by-piece.

Partner Drills

Alignment Stick Check – Have partner evaluate backswing positions using an alignment stick held against spine angle and arm angles.

Split Hands Drill – Grip club with split hands, right hand low left hand high to feel turning backswing with body instead of hands.

Coil Drill – Have partner apply light pressure with pads against hips and shoulders to feel resistance and maintain angles.

Fluidly Transition to the Downswing

Achieving ideal impact position and maximizing power requires seamlessly transitioning from the backswing to golf downswing. Key checkpoints:

  • Initiate the downswing by driving the lower body and unwinding the hips aggressively through impact. Avoid sliding or swaying.
  • Maintain spine angle and straight left arm as long as possible through impact before releasing the wrists.
  • Rotate shoulders on plane, keeping back elbow tucked close to the body on the downswing.
  • Transfer weight forward through the arches of feet, avoiding a reverse pivot back toward the rear foot.
  • Swing through the ball along the target line, extending arms, body, and clubhead fully through the finish position.

Maintaining proper sequence, angles, and motions from the top of the backswing will deliver the clubface to impact consistently and powerfully.

Execute a Fundamentally Sound Golf Backswing

A technically sound golf backswing sets up every golfer for success. Applying the swing checkpoints and drills above ingrains proper technique. Common errors can be diagnosed and eliminated by concentrating on efficient sequence, setup, and body positions throughout the backswing motion.

Consistently positioning the body to deliver the clubface on plane is key for solid contact. Master an effective backswing and you’ll be primed to strike quality shots that lower scores.

Focus on keeping the fundamentals front of mind during your practice sessions. Ingrain key swing thoughts like:

  • Initiate backswing by turning back hip
  • Maintain spine angle and posture
  • Delay wrist hinge
  • Drive right knee in toward left knee
  • Keep left arm straight and heel grounded
  • Fold right elbow under shoulder plane
  • Complete full shoulder and hip turn
  • Transition weight smoothly to right side
  • Prevent swaying and sliding

Implementing these concepts and integrating feedback from the solo and partner drills above will engrain an efficient, repeatable golf backswing in no time.

You now have the complete blueprint to analyze your swing, identify flaws, and make meaningful improvements. With discipline and diligent practice, a picture-perfect golf backswing is within your grasp. So grab your clubs, head to the driving range, and get to work enhancing one of the most important phases of the golf swing.

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