It’s Over Before It Starts

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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Occasionally, I will hear a golfer say ‘I am having trouble getting the club started’. The mindset is already in the tank, so the swing is over before it is started. This is because too many golfers try to manipulate the golf club. The club is picked up or swung to the outside of the path line or way inside the path line. The player is clueless and stressed at this point.  

The backswing must be able to occur naturally and unforced. With this in mind, start working on the following routine and you will be able to get the club started back with an excellent rhythm that will lead into a complete swing.

First, it is important to feel the proper path that the golf club should take back and through. You can do this by standing straight up and hold the club directly in front of you parallel to the ground. From this point, rotate your lead shoulder so your back is to the target. Allow your arms to rotate and fold up into the proper position on the backswing. When making this take away happen, watch the path that the club is traveling on. It is going back around you. The club begins to briefly travel straight back for the first few inches and then the club begins to create the arc around you. Repeat this portion of the swing in this upright position several times until it is emblazoned in your memory and it becomes natural. You are basically only working on the first half of your swing. 

Once you have developed the smooth take away standing in the upright position, you should get into your normal set up position. This in itself could be a problem. A good key is to be tilted at the waistline enough so your arms hang directly below your shoulders. Now that you are in the proper position over the ball, draw the club back with your shoulder. The club should be on the ground in the take away for 8 to 24 inches depending on the length of the club.  

The feeling to accomplish is the club briefly going straight back and then naturally turning on your plane and path slightly inside your target line and your arms folding up. Did it feel the same as when you were standing upright? If not, stand upright again and get your muscle memory to kick in and feel the motion. Learn this motion and ingrain it into your pre-shot routine. It will make a difference.

Finally, one of my favorite swing thoughts is to remind golfers to work on the pace of the backswing so that they save all of their energy for the forward swing. These steps should be repeated many times and we have not made a forward swing yet.  The reason we have not swung forward yet is because if the club is not going back correctly on the backswing it is not going to come back to the ball on the proper forward swing.

Basically, you will reverse the process on the forward swing; however, the backswing must be proper first to achieve a forward swing.

Have fun and remember if you need help with this tip or any other, feel free to email Greg at  Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on ArizonaSports 98.7 or on the internet at for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.