Golf is undoubtedly amongst one of the world’s most misunderstood sports. It is seen as a sport for the retired rich rather than a game for the commoners or athletes. This presumption of grandeur surrounding the sport is what makes it unique.
It is well, golf. One of the classiest games there and indeed a game for the ones brave enough to step up to the plate. I was an amateur golfer.
I was one of the best players in my club. Naturally, my handicap was therefore very low. I used to not only give tutorials on playing golf but also coach my colleagues from the club as well.
To up my game, every practice session I’d record my swings and evaluate them later on. My backswing was a very long and high one with a complete follow through at the end.
Today I’ll be telling you a story. My story, a story of how I changed my backswing.
What is a Swing?
Dictionary meaning of swing is to move or be a cause to move back and forth or from side to side while suspended or on an axis. In terms of golfing, it is a stroke mechanism only. It is used for each of the below shots;
- Tee shot
- Fairway shot
- Chip sot
What is a Backswing?
It is a backward motion used to gain momentum in your shot so that your ball goes further. It is used in golf to make sure your shot goes further than a random shot can.
To make a good backswing, players must have the proper posture with leg placement, spine twist and hand movements. Use of big muscles such as shoulders and biceps is as essential as the use of smaller muscles like wrists and fingers.
Nowadays people have not only changed the attire of golfing but also the idea of golf on its own. Moreover, it is also to be noted that this change is not widely accepted.
There are some greats who had to wash away their careers and put the money to the rich. That’s because when you are interested in the backswing, it is understandable that you want to learn it.
What are the Essentials of a Backswing?
Backswings are said to be a personal move. It varies from person to person how they will make a backswing. The essential part of it is that it needs to feel natural. You cannot just follow instructions page by page and hope to make a perfect backswing.
Golfers must practice and adjust to their style of doing a natural backswing. However, some general rules make it work:
The Position of Arms
The left arm or your non-dominant arm must be straight or have little to no bend during a backswing. This helps to maintain a proper form and enables you to create enough power during your subsequent downswing.
A golfer must draw his hands back in a position in which it clears a path for them to downswing the club. Shoulder muscles are the main source for this kind of swing.
To achieve a good full swing, maintaining a proper grip is essential. You cannot expect a good backswing or downswing if you fail to get solid contact on the club with your hands.
You have the freedom to have your style of gripping. That means you can establish your style of grip. But there are a few key essentials that must be maintained. Otherwise, you won’t have a proper grip. So keep working on your grip for a more effective backswing.
With a proper stance, you can move and rotate your upper body easily and more effectively. A healthy posture also helps to avoid injuries and any form of muscle complications.
A healthy posture involves an athletic stance with your back straight and the knees incorporating a slight bend. The key part here is how you move and twist your spine.
A combination of a straight back, bent knees and a twisting spine with the action of your arms and legs provide the power and drive needed for the backswing.
What is Long Swing?
A long swing is a swing where a club may rise as far as the head during the backswing. Then a complete follow up ensures for a finish.
There are some potential pros and cons for such type of swing. The pros are:
Gives Your Shot Added Momentum
Initially, usage of strength is not recommended to keep the misalignment of the swing in check.However, a good long swing will use the momentum and help a new golfer to put in the distance. Thus, helping him cover up a little of the inexperience.
Helps to Keep Body Balance
If the swing does not have a uniform shape, you will undoubtedly lose balance and fall. On the other hand, a good swing will keep your center of gravity in place and ensure you keep the balance of your body.
Keeps Your Stance Perfect
Similar to the previous point, if the swing does not have a uniform shape, you will undoubtedly lose balance and fall due to a bad stance. Likewise, a good swing will keep your center of gravity in place and thus secure your shot to finish in style and flair.
Ensures the Ball to be Hit Properly
When you pick a club in golf, you do so to hit the ball. Unlike many other sports, the technique of hitting the golf ball is very complex as such certain technical boxes need to be checked. A swing is one of the more essential boxes requiring a check. As a result, the ball can be hit correctly.
There are also some cons. These misconnects are:
Lack of Strength If Failed
A newbie is not taught to control their depth in golf. He learns it slowly. Accordingly, if a swing is faulty, the golfer is at the mercy of his club for not being able to wield it properly by strength.
Takes a Lot More Concentrations
Using a swing takes a lot of attention because one might easily mishit the ball. As a result, it may cause some serious injury to others.
How Appropriate is a Long Swing?
When you learn golfing, it is taught at the beginning that you should use as much momentum and little body force as possible. This is only possible when you use the long swing.
Even though the long swing is prone to make mistake, a newbie golfer doesn’t have to worry about the details. You are then just happy to be able to hit the ball far enough. Moreover, such a swing only serves the purpose of getting used to the movements that your body will have in golf.
A good swing starts with a good backswing. How you set up the backswing ensures how the swing would later turn out.
The goal of the backswing is to position the club in a way that club-head speed can be generated through the ball in a controlled manner.
Why Discuss So Much About What to Do in Golf?
Golf has a lot of rules. Moreover, there are certain etiquette that everyone follows. If these are not followed, the golfer might go unpunished but their reputation will suffer.
Such a strict moral code in golf involves not just the in-game aspects of the sport such as when you are allowed to change the ball’s position etc., but also extends to something as disconnected from the game as your outfit.
The Outfit Really Matters
For most golfers, especially men, the standard form of the outfit is khaki pants and t-shirt with collars. Shorts are also allowed if they are khaki.
For women, the standard is short skirts. The less posh courses are more lenient and allow denim and even jeans.
Some courses are rigorous, mandating collared t-shirts and khakis prohibiting denim. In some exceptional cases they are extremely conservative and don’t allow women to wear short skirts.
Golf, An uptight Sport!
So many rules, so many etiquettes. Surely, golf is a very uptight sport one might opine.
Yes, there are a lot of rules and a lot of etiquettes but most of these are related to everyday behavior within society. It is just shown on a bigger plate in sports, especially golf.
However, the fact that people associating golf with the uprightness of the upper class of the society is most certainly not the case. Most of the etiquettes respectfully followed in this magnificent game are etiquettes one would require to follow in a civilized society.
For example, ensuring one’s position isn’t distracting or causing discomfort to another person is a simple courtesy. Settling financial agreement without hassle is also a civilized etiquette. Ensuring one’s own pace doesn’t hold back other people is also common etiquette.
Behaviour Is Important
Moreover, keeping a cool head and having clarity between partners is considered a civilized thing to do as well.
If a person can maintain a civilized behavior, it should not be too much of an inconvenience for them to show it on the golf course. On the other hand, if one has issues relating to such etiquettes, he or she should need to sort out these issues to live in a civilized world.
Finally, with this argument made here, this article would like to state that no golf as a sport is not uptight having too many rules and etiquettes. It is only the depiction of a world where all the rules are respected. Every one is appreciated for maintaining the etiquettes amidst and towards themselves.
Therefore, if simply put into a line, the answer to “Why is golf such an uptight sport?”
“It is but only a Gentleman’s sport.”
How Appropriate is a Small Backswing?
Almost all professionals and amateurs who can play on the tours use a short backswing. Why is it the case?
The reason is that a short backswing gives the golfer much more control than a longer swing ever can. Most golfers never try to go back to visit the more extended version of the swing again.
However, given below are the pros of backswing;
- Allows the player to have more control
- Let’s the player get more width within himself and the ball
- Allows the player to get crafty with their shots when faced with difficult situations
- Like all good things, small backswings have cons too. These are;
- Too advanced for newbies
- Takes a lot of transitional time to get used to
- Very error prone without constant practice
- Harder to conserve strength
When It’s Recommended to Use a Long Swing?
It is preferred that you don’t play too much with a long swing. However, there are individual shots; you just cannot play without a long swing.
Places such as sand traps or roughs require you to try and take a desperate option. This is because the natural rolling length of the shot has been cut short by the obstacle. From here, you will not only want to recover the lost distance but also to make sure your strength coming from a shorter strength doesn’t deviate your shot and risk ruining your game further.
What Is It Like to Switch from Long Backswing to Short Backswing?
It is a long transitional process that may take weeks or months to finish with consistent results.
You will be getting loads of spin, huge trajectory changes and various heights as you maintain a level of minimal consistency throughout your practice. During the practices, keeping everything else constant is the key and that only tweak your strength enforcing.
To be specific, change your application of force and target specific areas on which the golf ball will be landing.
The switch usually takes a five-stage process. These are;
Long Backswing Training
Initially, the golfer had been practicing with the long backswing but has now come under the impression to improve the game further. You have to switch from long to the short backswing.
Shortening of Swing
You through some advices and suddenly you have significantly shortened the swing. That’s because you have no idea of how much decrement it was required. Coupled with the fact, you still ought to finish the swing without using any ounce of strength and your strokes become a shadow of its former self.
After being guided by a technical coach, you realize your mistakes. You take on the grueling task of trying not only to control and channel your energy into the shots but also try to learn to use the proper distance of backswing that won’t negate the strength you put in the shot.
Sometimes a few shots will suddenly happen that exceeds any observation. Instead ofstopping your practice, you should use that as motivation and standard to try and get a more consistent result.
Finally, regular sessions on the driving range and a lot of rounds of golf later, a more consistent result can be seen in the swing.
How to Get Through the Transitional Period?
Two of the essential parts to improve a golf swing are the balance and rhythm of the swing. When you get the basics of the golf swing down, it is time to focus on those elements.
To improve your rhythm in the golf swing, you can try out some drills.
For practice, you don’t necessarily have to hit hundreds of golf balls in a driving range. You can try out an idea with 10. Use your clubs and try to repeat the same movement over and over again.
You will be getting a consistent spin, trajectory changes, and various heights as you try to maintain consistency throughout your motions.
Once you have made it through all the drives and fairway takes, it is finally time to take on the final challenge. It is the time to take on the green and the hole. You only have to take the final swing to get that hole.
For the green, you do not need the grips as you would need for drivers and the fairway. Instead, put your index fingers as well as the thumbs on top of the shaft of your golf club is the way to go. That way, you will be getting a good sense of how your swing will be going.
Now you have to change your stance a little. Try to get closer to the ball than you would in a drive. Unlike usually, you don’t want to equally divide the weight on your feet. This time, put around seventy percent of pressure on your front foot.
Finishing it up, your arms should be kept straight as well as parallel to each other. During your swing, try to control the club with minimal shoulder adjustments.
Note These Drills
As a drill for your putt and drive swings, try to putt three golf balls into a hole or drive three times into a specific area which is distinguishable from where you stand. When you swing to focus on the target rather than the ball, through this, you will be able to judge distances better as well as focus on the bullseye.
The next is a drill for longer distances. You can also try out one for short putts. Unlike the previous one, find a hole which is less than six feet or around two meters. This time, putt with your eyes on the ball and not the hole.
That way, you will teach yourself to trust your instincts. The same is applicable for almost impossible shots by keeping your eyes on the prize i.e. your golf ball.
Our Final Thoughts
The traditional golf swing is tough to time. Even professionals who practice every day sometimes struggle with timing.
Just because you perfected the above-mentioned issues, it doesn’t mean that you can just have the perfect backswing. It only becomes perfect after regular practice in the golf course with exceptional patience.