The Way Back – An Easy Way to the Backswing

Lots of golfers are confused about the backswing.

With the plethora of (mis)information out there, sometimes I wonder how golfers are even able to begin their swing! Here is a list of things commonly taught.

  1. Take the club straight back.
  2. Take the club inside.
  3. Don’t use the hands, use the big muscles.
  4. Use the hands, the big muscles will follow.
  5. Fan the face open.
  6. Keep it square to the arc.

What really riles me is that these things are often taught with an air of pomp as though one were preaching the untenable truths of the universe. Worst still, the backswing is often taught as a fundamental.

A fundamental is defined as a basic principle, rule or law that forms the basis of a system. Logically, speaking, a backswing cannot be a fundamental since many good players have a “look” to the backswing, yet are able to play well. The reason for this is simple – you do not hit the ball on the backswing.

In the following pictures, we will showcase some of the different backswings employed on the PGA Tour and guide you to your own signature backswing.

Bubba Watson


Rory McIlroy


Jim Furyk


Todd Hamilton


Jason Day


Michelle Wie


In all of the swings above, two things are fairly evident:

1)    The shaft does not ever “go underneath” the right forearm (or left forearm in Bubba Watson’s case).

2)    The shaft seeks to bisect or be as close as possible to the right shoulder on the way to the completion of the backswing.

How about steepness of the swing and club face angle you say?

Why don’t you try these two swing keys first and see if the other “symptoms”  of a good takeaway appear, I say!

I can only point to two good players who swing the opposite of our models above, Matt Kuchar and Raymond Floyd. I would be interested to know if there are more good players who swing in this fashion.

While this is one way to arrive at the top of the backswing, most players lack the talent to apply compensatory moves to prevent an over-the-top move such a “rounded” swing produces.

As the saying goes, “what comes around, goes around.”


Matt Kuchar


Raymond Floyd


By remembering the two keys outlined above, hopefully you are able to create a backswing that puts you in position to pound it down the fairway like Tiger.


Frame 1:  Club shaft (RED) bisecting the angle of the right forearm (YELLOW).

Frame 2: Club shaft stays above the right forearm.

Frame 3: Club shaft still above the right forearm and bisecting the right shoulder. Shaft is also on plane since an extension of the grip end of the club shaft points to the line of flight.

Frame 4: Club shaft on plane since it is now parallel to the intended line of flight. Club is all set at the top and awaiting the machinations of the swing engine (the pivot) to propel it towards the ball.


About Justin Tang

Justin Tang has been teaching golf for over 6 years. In 2005 he became certified in Arizona by Chuck Evans (GSED) becoming the 1st authorized Medicus Instructor in Asia.

He holds an Honours degree from the University of London where he topped his cohort in Applied Psychology, winning the prestigious John Mann Award. He also holds a diploma in Engineering.

His involvement and association with Homer Kelley’s The Golfing Machine (TGM) began in 2000 after being frustrated with the lack of progress in his game and the amount of misinformation surrounding golf instruction.

In 2007, he was also certified by Mal Tongue, former coach to US Open champion, Michael Campbell, under the Cymicon Instructor’s program in New Zealand.

He has also spent time with world class PGA instructors the likes of Ben Doyle (GSED), Gregg McHatton (GSED), Lynn Blake (GSED), Dana Dahlquist, Dennis Alberts, Bob McDonald, Shane Scott, John Erickson and Norrie Wright (GSED).

He continues to be held in high regard as an expert in the philosophies of TGM and his blog can be found at

Justin has been conducting his “Secrets of The Golfing Machine” workshops since 2005 to select, often elite students both in Singapore as well as regionally and in the USA. These 5 day seminars combine the principles of TGM and the science of learning into a powerful yet simple to understand manner in a way that you can use immediately.

Its one thing knowing WHAT to do in the golf swing, another thing knowing HOW to do it and yet another DOING it all the time. After attending this seminar, you will be equipped with the tools to be your own best coach!

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