I like to keep things simple with my students, and the triangle technique at the top of the backswing is one of the best – and simplest – teaching concepts
Making the golf swing simple is important in every lesson I give. Typically, I’ll start out giving the student a general feeling of what’s needed to improve. Being more general whenever possible simplifies things for my students, making it easier to grasp the concept I am teaching.
One of the best pictures I can give a student is where the club needs to be at the top of the backswing. The easiest way to describe the feeling is to swing the club up and over the right shoulder (for a right-handed golfer). At that point, your arms and hands make a triangle. The point of that triangle – where the both hands meet on the club – should be positioned directly over the right shoulder. This feeling is the same for every club, provided you’re making a full swing. By swinging over your right shoulder you have swung the club high enough up to be able to swing the club back down to the ball and make impact with the ball and ground.
If the triangle is below the right shoulder then the club has not swung up enough with your arms and would be deemed too flat. When the arms swing back too flat, they haven’t swung up enough; therefore, it will be difficult to get all the way back down to the ball. A thin shot is likely unless a compensation is created to overcome the flat backswing.
If the triangle is above the right shoulder and positioned more over the neck, then the arms have swung too straight up. This backswing is considered too upright. Again, unless compensation is created, the swing will be too steep on the downswing. Because of this, the club will dig into the ground too much at impact, resulting in a “fat” shot.
The position at the top of the backswing is going to be one of three ways: too flat, correct or too upright. By paying attention to your impact, you will get some clues as to whether you have the triangle in the proper place. Positioning a mirror down the target line (and behind you) will help you visualize and memorize the feeling at the top of the backswing. The correct general feeling at the top of the backswing can work wonders with the improvement of your ball striking. Keep it simple and reap the benefits of the triangle in the proper position at the top of the backswing.
Tim Cusick is the Director of Instruction at the Four Seasons Resort and Club/Dallas at Las Colinas. The Northern Texas PGA named Cusick Teacher of the Year in 2005 and 2009 as well as the 2014 Horton Smith Award winner for education. He’s the author of ‘The Four Keys to Improve your Swing.’ Follow him on Twitter @timcusickgolf and visit his website: timcusickgolf.com.