Looking at the club backswing

5-06-2015 Picture Jamie Forbes.
5-06-2015 Picture Jamie Forbes.

If you were to ask a tour pro about the position of their club face at the top of the backswing, they would all know what it was like.

If you asked most amateur players the same question, they would not have a clue what position it was in. How important is it to have it in the correct position - very is the simple answer.

Take a look at the first picture and I will explain. As you will clearly see I am at the top of my backswing, with my eight iron, but as my left wrist is extremely bowed the face is sitting in a very closed/shut position.

One tell tale sign of this is, that I cannot see the time on my watch at this stage. If I were to return back down to the ball from this position, low shots well to the left of target, would be the result. Low because the face is being de-lofted, and left because the face is pointing there at impact.

This weak position also places a huge strain on the wrist joint, with tendonitis and Tennis elbow being all too common.

Now have a look at the second picture. This time things are looking a lot better. I can now tell the time on my watch, my left wrist is in a much more neutral position, with my club face sitting much more square/open. From here the face will arrive back to impact in the proper manner, sending the ball in the desired direction.

The great Ben Hogan had a slightly cupped left wrist position at the top of his backswing, then he added his famous twist to fractionally close the face on the way back to the ball. This is often referred to as being in flexion - then at the point of impact it is in extension. In real terms the face is going from slightly closed, to square at the moment of truth. In the modern era Graham Macdowell plays with a very bowed left wrist at the top, then simply holds it off on the way down, to prevent the ball from flying well left of target.

To play this way you require to be extremely strong in the wrists/forearms, as G Mac obviously is. So there we are, what position are you in at the top? If you are not sure, have it checked out soon to help avoid injury, and play better Golf. Next week: Shank.