Address and Backswing Paths and loops

I am not one that spends too much time dwelling on address alignments… starting on a low (hands plane) or elbow plane, or shoulder plane, they are all covered in TGM components…

Also I am not big on backswing paths, of course it might be nice to be “on plane” but I have never seen a golfer swing back and forth on the same identical plane, which leads me to another of my personal preferences…

Visit the gallery pages on our site here… no two backswings look the same.


The feeling of keeping the motion continuous, in other words, once the swing starts, the flow remains constant to the finish… only with a loop can this happen.

To have to abruptly stop, then re start from a point of stagnation is not typically “healthy” for a true sense of rhythm.

You rhythm is the true glue that hold the whole motion together.

Trevino, Hogan, Nicklaus, nice big loops…

and Ben Crenshaw, his putting loop is so big you can see it …
one of the best…

I am a big believer in having a loop in all golf shots… I feel a loop even when I putt…

A loop aids in your rhythm, and gives you the sensation that once you start your stroke, you are on a constant path toward the moment of truth… For me, I like the club flattening slightly on the downswing, so the idea of taking the club a bit outside, then dropping into the slot via a loop is very attractive to me… and so is pulling it inside because it traces the downswing 4:30 line better visually…

There is zero evidence that having an on plane backswing is necessary to strike the golf ball properly.

Hogan used extensor action, any golfer that has a straight left arm
at the top is using extensor action. The right arm keeps the left arm straight. TGM suggests applying extensor action at address. This is not mandatory, but I think a good idea. Hogan applied his extensor action on the way back… and that extensor action was pushed through past impact. As tight as Hogan was at the top, and as straight his left arm was, I can assure you he felt a ton of extensor action in his swing.

Once the left arm reaches about 45 degrees to the shoulder line,
it will bend unless extensor action is applied.

There is a duel purpose here, to keep the radius consistent,
and extended for maximum radius.

So Lag, what are your thoughts on Impact Fix for a hitter?

My thoughts are very simple regarding address…

It is much more likely you will evolve a proper address from learning how to release the club into impact… (Module #1)
It’s not likely any specific address will teach you a proper release and great impact dynamics.

Driving ranges across the globe are filled with pretty address positions and pretty backswings, that of course completely collapse prior to P3 or impact.

Module #1 #2 and #3 will get you feeling impact much more that starting at impact fix ever will in “400 Billion” Carl Sagan Cosmos driving range sessions.

Let’s work on firing our pivot, our hands and forearms from a fully cocked and loaded position before we worry about address…

let’s put a motor in the car before we paint it.

Haha excellent point, Lag!

A golfer has several options for the backswing loading

You can set the hands early,
set them gradually
set them late,
or even set them on the way down
these are talked about in TGM as sweep, snap, float and so forth…

Late loads will offer a more shut looking clubface on the way back
an early set should appear to the golfer as an open face going back.

The bottom line is I have seen all kinds of backswings play excellent golf, it’s not one of my big worries, I think where you have the clubshaft at the top is much more important than how it arrived there…

My personal preference is an early set for hitters and a late set for swingers… the reason would be as a hitter I limit my centripetal force
and drive load the shaft, where as a swinger should welcome more centripetal force, and this is helpful in the transfer to centrifugal (outward) force that is so paramount for the swinger using a longitudinal snapping delivery.

The backswing is not going to be the same visually on the downswing because of the compression of the shaft inward toward the body on the downswing via centripetal force (acceleration toward the center) so a golfer should feel some kind of looping motion, and this should also be seen visually to some varying degree.

To discuss the advantages of both looping actions.

The inside takeaway looping over to an on plane downswing
will give the player a better visual clubhead path leading to the inside quadrant of the ball. Because of the two circles drawn on top of the plane that we seen peripherally, the downswing circle is a tighter circle. So with an exaggerated inside takeaway one can “mimic” that visual delivery line. It is not good science, but it is good illusion.
If it helps the golfer trace his descent path there is an argument for it… Bobby Jones, Raymond Floyd, Moe Norman.

The outside to inside that you see with most good players aids in the natural plane shift to a flatter plane on the downswing. This can also be a source of power, because a laid off shaft on the downswing actually gives power accumulator #3 more room to rotate, or time to travel back to (on plane). Kind of like a spring, there can be a compression sensation with a laid off or over rotated forearm position.
As the hands reach the 3rd parallel, the shaft needs to be on plane, but if it is coming from an off plane situation (laid off) the hands and forearms can use this as a little bit of a springboard to generate a bit more speed.

I suppose this move might work better for the non automatic or “deliberate” hitters release, rather than the automatic centrifugal swingers release.

It also can add an extra “sense of rhythm in that you do have to kind of wait for the extra load… it is something you can really feel with a set of educated hands. This is one of Hogan’s many secrets…
You can see this alive and well at work in back views of Hogan’s downswing.

If the hands are lazy, and don’t rotate the shaft back on plane, expect fat shots or big uncontrolled hooks that “won’t listen” to your barks from the tee.

I would really suggest tracing a nice straight plain line down from the top before you tackle this advanced move.

Of the new players… Miguel and Sergio. Sergio in particular is the one modern guy that looks like he came out of the golden age. Great stuff.
I should really take a closer look at his action. My study of the golf swing ended around 1993 when I retired from competition… so most of the swings I reference are from the persimmon age… as they are the ones I studied most. I’m sure I’ll catch up at some point with all that has been going on. I do know however, that the laws of physics have not changed in my hiatus from the game!

Craig Parry. Craig is a classic example of the inside out looping motion that traces the plane line with visually equivalent circles (backswing to downswing)
Craig and I turned pro at the same time, I think within a month of each other, and we both went through the 1987 Q School together in Toronto. I came across a photo my caddy took of the leader board with Parry and I on the top in our rookie season at the Victoria Open.

My trip down to Australia in Sept of 1987 was a very exciting time for me, and I remember Craig winning the first tournament I played in “The Australian PGA” at the Lakes. The papers were painting this story of this kid from nowhere who was sleeping in his panel wagon and winning this great tournament. It was funny because I am sure he was not sleeping in the car as the media would have led the readers to believe, but it did make for a great story. I’ll never forget it!

The simple version is to play the ball off the inside of the left heel. Then, if I dropped a club from my armpit to the ground, I would mark that spot with a coin. Then take another club from that coin to the ball.
Then take one more club and place that perpendicular to the “coin-ball’ club. Where is that pointing? We’ll, that is where you should be aiming… at least until you get into more advanced concepts…

Having a perfect backswing plane is HIGHLY overrated.

I have seen all kinds of backswing planes make all kinds of money on tour, hardly any two are the same.

Let’s not forget the purpose of the backswing, to load the power accumulators the appropriate amount for the shot at hand.

What happens at the transition is the key setup…, and the downswing plane is everything!

The bigger the range of motion of the torso, flexibility is always better,
and a strong rotation, starting slow and gaining speed is all great and to be desired. If you posses these qualities, then there is no reason not to flatten your swing for many fine reasons. If you can’t rotate well, have major flexibility issues or injuries that confine your turning abilities, you don’t have much choice than to go with a more arms swing, and you would be wise to choose a more upright plane.

Based upon what you can do, and once you settle on a plane path,
then you can think about how to get it there on the way back, and if one method might help more than another. If you have great rotation, and can swing on a flatter plane, particularly on the way down, but you have trouble getting it flattened out through the transition, you would be best to use an out to in plane.

If you choose a more upright approach, you have more options,
you can just hoist it up, or you can sweep it in, then up… or take it
back on plane…

You also have to remember that there is a compression of the shaft inward toward the body, (centripetal action) that also can affect the plane. That action should naturally feel a bit loopish, and welcome that feeling, it’s much more important than having a model backswing.

I have just seen too many good players win tournaments with all kinds of crazy backswings, so it is NOT CORRECT to teach a
“it has to look like this” method…

I am not saying you shouldn’t have an on plane backswing, but it just has so little to do with hitting a golf ball properly. It’s just more of a cosmetic thing really.

When you go to the horse races and see the horses line up at the gate, the transition (race) starts when the gate opens and the horses take off toward impact (finish line) Worrying about how they got to the gate shouldn’t be much of a concern.

I have never meant to say that the backswing is not important… only the least of most golfers worries…

When I look up and down any driving range I have ever observed… even on tour… all I see is a lot of worry about backswing path… meaning the path of club, or the hands… or how upright the swing is…
or if the wrists are setting early or late… or where the club is at the top…
a caddy making comments about where the club is at the top… this sort of thing…

Personally I both use and promote as big and dynamic a torso rotation as is possible on the backswing (and finish)… I also promote minimal hand travel…

History shows us that the greatest ball strikers of all time follow this protocol more often than not.

The reason I don’t work on a student’s backswing until later in our module work is that for one… by increasing the horsepower of their strike… through supercharging their pivot thrust, and handspeed, this changes not only the look of their backswing, but also the shape, length and path without me saying a word. I like to see what has evolved naturally, because this will be more consistent with their basic swing DNA. It might not need to be changed at all. If it does then it will be changed. If change is needed, then whatever path we are going to take or work on will be flowing into something they already know how to do… They will know where the pot of gold is…

You can put me at the top of the backswing… align me perfect so I look like your favorite tour pro… and I can still come right OTT… hit it fat, throw the hands to early over accelerate, violate every law of body and pivot connection…

There is zero guarantee that a proper set up, proper backswing, or top of backswing position will produce a proper downswing.