Throughout this golf season we will build your swing brick by brick. In the last article we discussed the foundation of the swing, the setup. This week we will start to build a swing on top of that solid setup foundation, the backswing.
There is a lot of confusion about the backswing. Students ask, “Should I swing like Bubba Watson and turn my hips way back on my backswing to get power? Or should I keep my hips really quiet during the backswing like Rory McIlroy? Or should I lift my front foot like Ben Hogan used to do to get a better turn?” The answer is more simple than you think. Thanks to scientific study and biofeedback, the swing is much more of an objective science than it used to be. With the help of biofeedback technology like the K-Vest or the data that we gather from Trackman, we understand the physics of the swing and can firmly give proof that certain positions are more beneficial than others.
We now know that the most efficient backswing is a coiling movement whereas the upper body separates from the lower body, creating tension. Underneath this separation lies a significant amount of power. Rory McIlroy is a testament to the power of separation. Because of his ability to separate his upper body from his lower body, he is able to fire his hips through the ball at 700 degrees PER SECOND! The centrifugal force of this quick turn generates clubhead speed.
The golfer in the picture demonstrates separation perfectly. The player starts his backswing with his shoulders in frame number two. He turns his shoulders and upper center for 30 degrees before his hips begin to turn. In the third frame you will see that the golfer’s hips have started turning. The ratio is now 60 degrees of shoulder turn and 30 degrees of hip turn. In the fourth frame, the golfer stops his turn at around 80-85 degrees with his hips at 40 degrees of turn. This separation creates a good amount of tension between the upper and lower body. The golfer feels coiled and ready to fire through the ball.
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