As I continue to experiment with the mechanics of the golf swing, I begin to realize more and more the importance of completing the backswing. There’s no cookie cutter formula for this, but there are some general guidelines. In addition to a one piece takeaway, which I’ve written about before, the hands and the club head should be slightly outside the swing plane going back. This is to prevent getting too far to the inside, which is a common fault that can lead to several other common faults (which I mercifully won’t mention). The hands should remain in front of the body as you raise them as high as you can to the top of the swing. The higher the hands, the more distance you’ll attain, with every club.
However, there is no standard for the height of the hands. It depends on how flexible you are. Don’t force it. Just feel what’s right for you. A 27 year old like Justin Thomas can go quite high. A 63 year old like Bernhard Langer not as high. Both often get the job done, which is enough distance with the driver, and hitting greens in regulation.
The final crucial aspect of the backswing is the cocking of the wrists. Some players bow the left wrist at the top like DJ. I’d leave that maneuver to DJ and other pros. Let the left wrist cup as you cock the wrists to your limit. Again don’t force it. Just let the cocking happen.
Now you’re in good position for the transition into the downswing. At this point, as gravity begins to take over, timing is crucial. Not too fast; not too slow. I’ve been using a training club, the Lag Shot, to improve timing and lag, along with my key downswing move. My accuracy and distance have improved.
Give it a try.
Congrats to 29 year old Carlos Ortiz from Mexico in holding off World Number One Dustin Johnson to win the Houston Open for his first PGA victory. He tamed his driver and sank some key putts on the final day. He is the third Mexican to win on tour, and the first in 42 years. His friend and mentor is Lorena Ochoa, the great LPGA player, now retired. She has obviously guided Carlos well. He lives in Houston with his wife Haley, and played in front of the first crowd in many months, a crowd that cheered this local player heartily.
And finally the Masters is at hand, played this year in the fall. It starts this Thursday at famed Augusta National. Who’s your choice? Given my previous player assessments, I’ll pick Matt Wolff. Should be great fun and great drama. Lee Elder, who became the first African-American to compete in the Masters, has been named a Masters Honorary Starter.
My heart goes out to Tim “Rosie” Rosaforte, the ace Golf Channel insider, who is now retired and struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s. Rosie is 65. I used to enjoy his highly informative and entertaining reports. He was really a master at what he did. Having worked with people with Alzheimer’s over the years as a social service professional, I know how devastating this illness can be for patients and their friends and family members.
Wishing Rosie well. He covered the Masters for many years, but, sadly, not this year.
A new day has dawned here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s icy cold with rain on the way for the next couple weeks. And just when my game is coming together!