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birlyshirly

backswing length

18 posts in this topic

Thought on this generally? And how it fits in to the 5sk view of things? Specifically, I can think of several, well-regarded schools of thought for which a shorter aka wider aka better synchronized armswing is a bedrock fundamental. Not so sure I see it discussed so much here. Important for ball-striking and or consistency? Or not such a big deal? Thanks
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Originally Posted by birlyshirly

Thought on this generally? And how it fits in to the 5sk view of things?

Simple answer: it's not a commonality of the game's best players. So… it only matters when it starts to affect Keys #4 and #5. :) Or #2/#3.

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

Specifically, I can think of several, well-regarded schools of thought for which a shorter aka wider aka better synchronized armswing is a bedrock fundamental. Not so sure I see it discussed so much here.

Important for ball-striking and or consistency? Or not such a big deal?

Phil and Bubba have pretty good length backswings, right?

Their sequencing on the downswing works for them, though.

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Self evidently true - but what I thought would make for an interesting thread is a discussion of HOW 5sk views backswing length, or the synchronisation of arm swing and body turn, impacting on keys 4 and 5.

Phil's actually one of the guys I had in mind when I first posted - given that Butch claims to have worked hard with Phil on shortening his arm swing, at least with the irons.

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Originally Posted by birlyshirly

Self evidently true - but what I thought would make for an interesting thread is a discussion of HOW 5sk views backswing length, or the synchronisation of arm swing and body turn, impacting on keys 4 and 5.

Can you be more specific?

For example, if we had a model (and we don't), we'd likely be more concerned with things like how far the torso turns than how long the arm swing is (so long as #4 is not disrupted).

But again, generally speaking, if Keys #2, #4, and #5 are good (i.e. you're striking the ball solidly and with predictable and controllable shape), make as big a turn as you'd like. :)

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FWIW, I thought that was a terrific answer.

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OK. I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth or impose a particular terminology on the discussion - but what I'm thinking of is what is often talked about as swinging the arms past the shoulder turn at the top.

Phil and Bubba have long swings - but at least match it up with a full turn.

Here, I'm thinking of where the shoulder turn stops (probably short of a 90* turn) but the arms continue swinging to the top. Some people refer to a "false" backswing. Others refer to "losing width" (although I'm not sure I've ever seen a good explanation of the function or benefit of "width" in that sense) as either the left arm bends or the right arm gets much narrower than 90* at the top.

My gut feeling is that you can probably do this without disrupting the usual alignments used to measure clubface and plane on the backswing - but there could be consequences for sequencing on the way down.

I agree that you're really focussing on the effects on keys 4 and 5. I'm less sure whether this sort of "overswing" shows up as directly as mismatched alignments - or if you're just making it harder to time the downswing and consistency suffers.

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Originally Posted by birlyshirly

OK. I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth or impose a particular terminology on the discussion - but what I'm thinking of is what is often talked about as swinging the arms past the shoulder turn at the top.

Phil and Bubba have long swings - but at least match it up with a full turn.

Here, I'm thinking of where the shoulder turn stops (probably short of a 90* turn) but the arms continue swinging to the top. Some people refer to a "false" backswing. Others refer to "losing width" (although I'm not sure I've ever seen a good explanation of the function or benefit of "width" in that sense) as either the left arm bends or the right arm gets much narrower than 90* at the top.

My gut feeling is that you can probably do this without disrupting the usual alignments used to measure clubface and plane on the backswing - but there could be consequences for sequencing on the way down.

I agree that you're really focussing on the effects on keys 4 and 5. I'm less sure whether this sort of "overswing" shows up as directly as mismatched alignments - or if you're just making it harder to time the downswing and consistency suffers.

typically the arms would stop with the shoulder turn. You can continue with the arms, as long as your not getting your swing out of sync.

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Originally Posted by saevel25

[...] as long as your not getting your swing out of sync.

So, what does that actually mean?

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Well lets say you take your backswing, your hips stop rotating, your shoulders stop, and your arms keep going. You start the downswing, what if because your arms move more than intended, now you got to catch up. What happens, well, you might thrash at the ball. increase hand speed, you might flip the club. If your doing something that is causing something to go bad in your swing, don't do it. Some people can, some people can't. For me, an extra long swing cause a pull cut. I hit more draws with a shorter swing than i do with a long swing. Taking such a long swing makes it hard for me to get the club inside.

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So, what does that actually mean?

If the arm swing keeps going after the shoulder turn has finished, the arms can get stuck behind the body during the downswing. This guy is guilty of that. I'm working on lessening my right arm bend to keep the arm swing shorter.

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burly, I want to answer your question, but I also want to avoid saying something that applies to a chunk but not all golfers, because these types of backswing length issues are varied and apply differently to different golfers.

This is a relatively good answer for a lot of golfers:

Originally Posted by shortstop20

If the arm swing keeps going after the shoulder turn has finished, the arms can get stuck behind the body during the downswing. This guy is guilty of that. I'm working on lessening my right arm bend to keep the arm swing shorter.

Basically, if your torso turn stops but your arms continue, several things can happen. Your right elbow can over-fold. It can move too far behind you. It can lag behind your torso unwinding on the downswing, or kick out the elbow flex prematurely. It can cause the pressure points to sense the sweetspot in the wrong place at the wrong time and steepen or shallow more to get off-plane. Some people will re-grip the club at the top when they "over-swing."

So while I'd like to answer your question with details and specifics, it's difficult because "overswinging" is so vague. Phil and Bubba don't over-swing because they're able to get their arms down fast enough (and their torsos turn quite a bit, too, so their true amount of "overswinging" is pretty minimal).

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Just to add my me-specific $0.02 as an example.  For me, too long a back swing usually means some combo of bending the lead arm and letting my lead wrist go from straight to a pretty extreme cup.  But I don't come into impact Lee Westwood style, so that means my hands are stuck too far behind (even if my lead elbow isn't!), and one of two things tends to happen:

1) Not enough weight forward cause I try to rescue the hands being behind by rotating around and not driving the weight forward, resulting in an OOT move.

2) More deliberately getting my hands down to keep coming from the inside, but then I have to very deliberately perfectly time an armsy motion to the get the club coming from the inside and a perfect timing with un-cupping the lead wrist.  Usually this results in a push-cut with the path straight-ish but the wrist never getting back to square and an open face.  Sometimes a more deliberate roll/pull-across leading either to bombed pulls or even bigger slices.

If I both keep my lead arm straight and my lead wrist flat at the top, I feel like I'm taking like a 1/2 swing but video proves I'm usually past parallel at the top even then, and I'm much more able to hit straight shots or even slight draws that way.  Still something I'm able to achieve on the course pretty rarely.

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Thanks to everyone who contributed their thoughts. Lots for me to think about here, from the point of view of trying to understand the swing generally.

Closer to home - after a session at the range, I'm not convinced that a shorter armswing is "low hanging fruit" for me.

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Originally Posted by birlyshirly

Closer to home - after a session at the range, I'm not convinced that a shorter armswing is "low hanging fruit" for me.

Just make sure that it's not achieved by a shorter torso turn.

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Wouldn't a good rule of thumb be to keep the right arm at an angle greater than 90? I know this is not a fit all, but a generic rule of thumb? What has worked for me is to think about getting the hips turned as far and as vertical as I can as early in the backswing as I can. So I think about starting back and getting the hips as far along as I can. I will practice the backswing with an alignment stick in my belt loop and getting the left side point to the ball as quickly as I can. I have also used the swing extender from time to time to keep an eye on this.
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Originally Posted by mchepp

Wouldn't a good rule of thumb be to keep the right arm at an angle greater than 90? I know this is not a fit all, but a generic rule of thumb?

Yes, with the caveat that you also want to monitor how far around your body the shoulder will rotate (thus moving your elbow around your body). That's not to say everyone needs an elbow position like Jason Dufner. A lot of good golfers get the elbow around a bit more than the average.

Originally Posted by mchepp

I have also used the swing extender from time to time to keep an eye on this.

Yeah, with the caveat above, I agree. I like that.

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Originally Posted by mchepp

Wouldn't a good rule of thumb be to keep the right arm at an angle greater than 90? I know this is not a fit all, but a generic rule of thumb?

What has worked for me is to think about getting the hips turned as far and as vertical as I can as early in the backswing as I can. So I think about starting back and getting the hips as far along as I can. I will practice the backswing with an alignment stick in my belt loop and getting the left side point to the ball as quickly as I can.

I have also used the swing extender from time to time to keep an eye on this.

Well if you look at in terms of constraints, meaning the distance between your shoulder will stay the same. The distance from your hands to your shoulders has a max length. If you rotate your torso around your spine on an incline plane, and keep it there. Then the only way to lengthen your swing is to break down your left arm at the elbow. Because if not, then your shoulder would be coming out of its socket. So, if you just keep your left arms straight, your right elbow can not fold to much because they are linked at the club..

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True. But, and of course this is somewhat subjective, there's a fine line between 'left arm straight' and 'left arm stiff'.

I had a very productive session at the range today working on keeping the right/trail arm straighter - which is an easier swing thought for me to implement. I'm looking forward to seeing the results on video. I'm sure my backswing plane is going to be steeper (in a good way) - but will be interested too to see if it's also a bit shorter. Would be happy if it is.

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