Best Way To Time Your Backswing - Left Arm And Shoulder Stay Together - Senior Golf Tip 1

The role of the backswing is purely to build power in the golf swing.

However, the simpler the backswing, the simpler the downswing will be to deliver the golf club to the ball and so the more consistent the shot will be. Use this exercise to simplify the backswing by connecting the arms and shoulders together for improved timing and a better connection with the ball.

The backswing is dominated by an upper body turn that winds up against the lower body. The shoulders power the swing and should turn backwards so that the golfer's back faces the target. At this point, the arms should still be connected to the body and so the hands should be positioned directly opposite the golfer's chest. The relationship between hands, chest and shoulder turn is important and all should stay together and be connected through the whole swing for consistency. The problem for many golfers is knowing when to stop the turn back and begin the turn down. As soon as the shoulders stop turning back, they have reached their maximum limit of rotation and the backswing should not continue any further.

At this point, the golf swing is connected as the shoulders, arms and hands are all working and moving together as one unit. Here, there is nothing more to be gained from going any further, although the golfer may carry on with the arms and hands moving them higher than they should as it feels like more power will be gained. If the shoulders stop but the arms, hands and club continue moving, the swing loses it's connection and the downswing becomes a recovery motion as the golfer tries to regain connection for an effective impact position with the golf ball. This costs the golfer consistency as sometimes the connection will be recovered and sometimes it will not.

Here is an exercise to time the backswing well and maintain the connection between the arms and shoulders.

For this exercise, there needs to be an awareness of the front arm and front shoulder (left for right handed golfers and right for left handed golfers). They should stay together as one unit in the backswing motion. Take a slow backswing and note when the shoulders stop moving. When they do, concentrate on stopping the arms at the same point. The front arm should be approximately 90 degrees to the line of the shoulders. To help with stopping at this point, hold the position at the finish of the backswing movement and note an object in the background that the front arm points at (a certain tree or light on the driving range, for example) or imagine the arm as the hour hand on a clock face and what number it would be pointing at (10 o'clock for instance). With each practice swing, make sure that the arm in the backswing only ever reaches this point but also make sure that the swing is only powered by the shoulders.

This exercise provides a simpler and more connected swing for consistency.

Golf is a game of timing.

Best Way to Time Your Backswing – Left Arm and Shoulder Stay Together?

You need excellent timing in your swing if you are going to hit powerful, on-target golf shots over and over again. Without the ability to time everything in your swing correctly, it will be virtually impossible to strike the ball properly. Of course, as any golfer knows, mastering the art of good timing in the swing is a serious challenge. It's hard enough to time your swing properly on the driving range, and that task gets even harder when you head out onto the course.

The reason timing is so important in golf is because of the number of moving parts involved in a single swing. Your hands and wrists have a job to do, as do your shoulders, hips, legs, and more. There is a lot going on in a swing that lasts only a couple of seconds from start to finish. Bringing all of those movements together into a synchronized action is an uphill battle, to say the least.

In this article, we are going to work on getting you a little closer to the goal of timing your swing beautifully. The specific topic we will tackle is the timing of your backswing. The backswing sets the stage for a great downswing, so learn how to get things right on the way back and much of what you need to do in the downswing will take care of itself. As you can see from the title of this article, we are going to talk about the importance of keeping your left arm and shoulder together – or connected – during the backswing. We will explain what that means, why it is important, and how you can pull it off. Also, we will touch on other important issues in your backswing that can influence the overall timing of your swing.

All of the content in this article is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Basic Idea

The Basic Idea

At first, you might think that it sounds pretty silly to say that your left arm and shoulder need to stay connected during the swing. Of course they do! Your left arm is connected to your body through your shoulder, and there really isn't anything to be done about that. As you might suspect, we aren't talking about the literal connection between your arm and your shoulder. Rather, we are talking about the way they need to work together in the backswing. By the end of this section, you should have a good idea of what it means to stay connected on the way back.

When you stand over the ball, your address position is going to establish a number of things. First, it is going to establish your aim for the shot, since you will need to aim the club face at your target when you set the club behind the ball. Also, you will set some other lines, such as those established by your feet, hips, and shoulders. All of these different elements will play a role in the eventual outcome of your shot. In addition to the lines you create when you build your stance, you also establish a relationship between your left arm and shoulder. In other words, you set the position at which your left arm will hang from your body. This is an important position because it is one that needs to be maintained during the backswing.

To keep this position stable throughout the backswing, your job is to turn your shoulders away from the target while keeping the rest of your body quiet and passive. This is easier said than done. When the swing begins, you are going to turn your back gradually toward the target as the club turns away. When done correctly, this is a simple and effective way to move the club and your body into position. Unfortunately, it is not done correctly by a large percentage of amateur golfers.

Let's take a quick look at some of the ways in which this move away from the ball can go wrong.

  • Too much hand action. Without a doubt, this is the biggest mistake made by amateur golfers when it comes to the backswing. Instead of starting by turning away from the target, the average player uses his or her hands and wrists to put the club in motion. Right away, that move is going to change the connection of the various angles of the swing. The club will be forced to the inside and the left arm will start to move across your chest more than it should. Taking this early action out of the swing is a great way to improve your consistency and timing. From short shots with your wedges all the way up to long shots with the driver, a quiet and simple takeaway is your best bet.
  • Rush with the arms. Even if you manage to keep your hands and wrists quiet, you can still get into trouble early in the backswing. This will happen mostly when you rush your arms away from address, forcing the club back too quickly for the rest of your body to keep up. It needs to be reiterated here that the shoulders should be in charge of this action. The core of your body is the engine of the club, but you have to let it do its job. Turn that core – driven by your shoulders – away from the target and let your arms come along for the ride. It's never good to feel like you are rushing during the golf swing, and that is especially true when it comes to the early phase of the backswing.
  • Standing up out of your stance. This last point doesn't have anything to do specifically with your left arm and shoulder, but everything is connected in the golf swing. For some golfers, the temptation to stand up out of the stance early in the backswing is strong. Players who fall into this trap will give up most of their knee flex only shortly after beginning the swing. That means they will lose track of their posture, and it will be necessary to make other adjustments later in the swing to get back on track. Needless to say, some of those adjustments are going to impact the way your left arm works together with your shoulder to produce a swing that has good timing from start to finish. Pay attention to this point as you practice and make sure you stay down in your stance all the way up to the top of your backswing and into the transition.

In the end, this concept is actually quite simple. You are trying to turn away from the target while maintaining as much of what you established at address as possible. Of course, understanding what is supposed to happen and actually making it happen are two different things. Now that you understand how your left arm and shoulder need to work together on the way back, the next step in your progression is to actually incorporate this move into your game.

Why It Matters

Why It Matters

We might have gotten ahead of ourselves a bit with that first sections worth of information. You should now understand the basic idea of how you can keep your left arm and shoulder connected in the backswing, but why would you want to? It's important to understand the 'why' behind everything you do in golf, as it will give you the motivation to keep working. With a clear vision of what you stand to gain when you work on a particularly fundamental, you can keep at it on the range until you start to see the desired results.

To make sure you have a clear understanding of what is to gain here, let's take a look at a few benefits of keeping your left arm and shoulder together properly.

  • A coordinated transition. From the time you transition from backswing to downswing, to the moment you actually hit the ball, you don't have a chance to make many adjustments. It takes just a fraction of a second to get from the top down to impact, so your swing needs to be in good shape at the top if you have any hope of striking the ball cleanly. Should you find yourself out of position at the top, there simply isn't time enough to recover on the way down. By keeping your left arm and shoulder in sync with one another, you will have one big piece of the puzzle in place ahead of the downswing. You won't need to bring them back together at some point, because they will have never become disconnected in the first place. This is a big deal, and one of the biggest keys to quality ball striking. Too many golfers try to save their swings on the way down, and the results are predictably disappointing.
  • Improved accuracy. When you take moving parts out of the golf swing, you naturally are going to become more accurate. This is why you shouldn't use your hands or wrists at all when putting – you just rock the club back and forth with your shoulders, and you are hopefully able to hit the target line with relative consistency. You can't get away with that in the full swing, since you need your hands and arms to create power, but you can still work to keep the moving parts to a minimum. If you are able to make a swing where your left arm and shoulder stay connected throughout, there will be one less thing in your way of hitting an accurate shot.
  • Perform under pressure. With enough practice, it is possible that you could learn how to time your swing nicely even with too many moving parts. Many golfers get to this point on the driving range. Without solid fundamentals, they are still able to produce good looking shots thanks to the many repetitions they have logged. Unfortunately, this kind of swing tends to fall apart on the course. Sure, you might get away with it for a while, but not for long. At some point, a swing with too many moving pieces is going to unravel on the course, and you are going to be frustrated as to why you can't play as well on the links as you do on the range. Keeping your left arm and shoulder connected is a great way to improve your performance under the pressure that comes with playing on the course. The timing of your overall swing will be simpler and easier to replicate, and therefore things will be less likely to break down as you get nervous.

Playing golf with your left arm and shoulder working together in the backswing is a big step in the right direction. Once you have spent enough time practicing this move to get comfortable with what it can do, you may be amazed to find how simple your golf swing feels. The overall continuity of the swing should be dramatically improved, and your results should demonstrate as much. We aren't saying it will be easy to bring your swing together in this way, but you'll love the results if you can make it happen.