The golf swing has plenty of moving parts. Understanding the golf swing sequence and having a few tips to help make your swing better can help lower your scores.
For some golfers, simply figuring out what each sequence in the golf swing should look like will go a long way towards improving their overall swing. Others will need more work on specific areas of the swing.
Amateur golfers come in a variety of types from those seeking lots of information to those wanting a simple approach. This is part of the reason why there are so many golf theories out there and the golf swing can be taught in several different ways.
Let’s look closer at some golf swing sequence tips for each of the main seven sections of the golf swing.
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The Golf Swing Sequence Broken Down
The golf swing sequence includes seven basic sections:
- Top of the Backswing
- Follow-through or Finish
No matter how the golf swing is taught, it will likely include these seven sections.
Golf Swing Sequence Tips For Each Main Section
Your setup or approach can be broken down into three parts: Grip, Aim, and Setup or GAS. These three parts work together to create the right set up to support the rest of the golf swing.
In the golf swing sequence, your setup is the foundation. It sets the stage for the rest of the moving parts. Get your setup right and you’ll be in better shape throughout the golf swing.
A large percentage of issues for both high and low handicap golfers can be traced back to the setup. From a grip issue to a ball placement issue, many errant shots started with an issue in the setup.
The golf swing sequence starts with the grip. You want a grip that works for you and the way you golf. This may vary from one golfer to another, but typically, golfers prefer a strong grip.
It’s rather uncommon to see a good golfer playing with a weak grip. Typically, you’ll want the top hand to be positioned in a way where you can see two or three knuckles when addressing the golf ball. The V created by the thumb and index finger on both hands should point towards the back shoulder.
Get this part of the set up wrong and you can hit a great shot that doesn’t end up where you hoped. Amateur golfers may line up their feet correctly with their target and still miss horribly.
Aiming towards your target includes the feet, the shoulder, the hips, and the clubface. It’s best to start by aiming the clubface first and then set up like train tracks.
Imagine the clubface is one of the two tracks for the train and your feet, hips, and shoulders are the other. Your clubface should be pointed directly at the target, while your feet, hips, and shoulders run parallel to the target line.
Completing your setup with the correct posture and ball position will give you the right foundation for your golf swing sequence throughout. The ball position will depend on the club you are hitting with, but make sure you line up the ball position using your breast bone (middle of the chest) and not your feet.
In addition, you want your spine to feel like a pole is going through the top of your head, directly through a straight spine, and down into the ground. This will allow you to swing around your spine without bending it in an awkward way throwing off your golf swing sequence.
It’s also important to get your feet in the right position. Many golfers think their toes should point directly towards the ball, but this isn’t correct for either foot.
You actually want your front toes and back toe to be flared away from the ball a little bit. This provides more room to move your hips and arms properly. The feet should also be about shoulder-width apart with most clubs and a little bit wider with the driver.
The final part of the setup is the shoulders. You want the front shoulder to be slightly closed and parallel with the line created by your feet, which should be parallel with the target line.
The first few feet of the takeaway are the most important. In fact, you can screw up the rest of the golf swing sequence within just the first few inches.
One of the best golf swing sequence tips to get the takeaway right is placing a second golf ball behind your first golf ball. Put it about 12 inches behind the ball you plan to hit and roll it about one golf ball length further away from the ball you intend to hit. If you draw a line between the two balls, the line should be pointing backward and away.
Now, take the golf club back and roll this ball along the imaginary line you created to provide an outside path for the takeaway. Not only will this help put you on the right path, but it will also help to keep your swing plane shallow giving you a better angle of approach.
You want to start the takeaway with your big muscles, not your hands or arms. Think of your arms as the hands of a clock and keep them relatively straight as you take the club back.
Another golf swing sequence tip you can use is to make your first move with your shoulders. There should be a triangle created by the arms and shoulder, which you want to maintain.
If you think of yourself positioned in the middle of a clock with your head at 12 and the ball at 6, you want to have the correct takeaway position at 9. This position should have the toe of the club pointing towards the sky, while the lower body shouldn’t have moved much at all. The shoulder should be doing the majority of the work at this point.
3. Top of the Backswing
The next important position found in the golf swing sequence is the top of the backswing. If you get the takeaway correct, the top of the backswing should follow suit.
Once you reach 9 o’clock with the takeaway, the rest of the backswing is referred to as the top of the backswing. This is the part of the golf swing sequence where the wrists will begin to hinge a bit more, but you still want to use the big muscles, including your shoulders, to turn your body and arms around your spine. The smaller muscle will start to get involved here, too.
The key during the top of the backswing is to reach a position where the club is parallel with the ground, your arms are pointing at 11 o’clock or about 11:30. Your front shoulder should be pointing towards the ball and your back should be towards the target.
The clubface should be pointing towards the sky and the shaft of the club should be lined up parallel with the target.
It’s not easy to see this position on your own. One of the best things you can do to ensure you get the top of the backswing correct in the golf swing sequence is to record yourself swinging. You will likely need to use slow motion and even pause the video to see where you’re at when you reach the top of the backswing.
A golf swing sequence tip to keep in mind, you don’t have to be fully parallel with the club shaft at the top of the golf swing. If you have ever seen Jon Daly swing, you know he goes past parallel. This isn’t the best idea for most golfers.
It’s actually better to stop short of parallel than to go all the way to parallel or past parallel for amateur golfers. A shorter golf swing leaves less room for error in the next section of the golf swing sequence.
The transition is the part of the golf swing sequence where the club begins the downswing. Once you reach the top of the backswing, the next few moves you make are critical to hitting a good golf shot.
It’s recommended, especially when you’re practicing, that you take a slow backswing. This will help to ensure you get in the right position at the top of the backswing before the transition.
Keep in mind, your power doesn’t come from creating speed on the backswing since it has to stop and redirect. Your power comes from creating speed in the downswing and hitting the ball with the sweet spot of the clubface.
The transition should start with a bump of your hips forward towards the target. This bump and a slight rotation of the hips is the proper transition from the top of the backswing to the downswing.
You can practice this by taking the club back to the top of the backswing and bumping your hips forward towards the target a few times. This will help to teach our body the necessary muscle memory to start the transition properly.
The downswing starts with the transition and takes you all the way to the point of impact. Your hands will not follow the same path down as they did up and back.
Your hands should drop down with the bump of the hips and start on an inside path towards the ball.
The downswing will almost feel like you’re throwing your hands and the club towards the golf ball to make impact. One of the best golf swing sequence tips is simply to keep your back arm close to the body on the downswing.
Many amateur golfers tend to create a chicken wing with their arm on the way down. This causes the club to be cast outside like a fishing pole and leads to a slice or a fade. This type of downswing will cost you power and accuracy.
A good golf swing sequence tip you can use to avoid the chicken wing is the shoebox drill. Just put an empty shoebox outside the golf ball by about an inch. This creates a barrier to force you to swing more inside out.
During the downswing, you will also want to maintain the hinge created by your wrists as long as you possibly can. It’s common for amateurs to release this hinge too soon and lose power. Maintaining this hinge results in a large effect and gives you plenty of built-up power at the point of impact.
The point of impact will determine whether you hit a good golf shot or not. With an iron and most of your wedges, you want the point of impact to include the hands leading the clubface with a slightly closed clubface (except if you’re trying to put backspin on the ball with a wedge).
The driver is a bit different since you’ll actually hit the ball on the start of the upswing off of a tee. You want the impact to be slightly different with the clubhead on the way up just a bit when you hit the ball. This creates a launching type of effect allowing you to hit the ball further and cleaner.
Sand shots around the green are also a bit different as you actually want to hit the sand first. That’s an entirely different shot and the golf swing sequence is a bit different with a sand shot, however.
7. Follow-through or Finish
Once you’ve made impact, the follow-through or finish of the golf swing sequence will happen. For most good golfers, this happens naturally as the head follows through the swing, the weight moves to the front foot, the back foot’s heel rises into the air and the belt buckle turns to face the target.
The key to a good finish position is maintaining balance throughout the rest of the golf swing sequence. With good balance, your swing finish will happen naturally and you’ll look like a professional on TV.
Following these fundamentals and using these tips will help you create a better golf swing sequence. Of course, there are drills and things you can do with each of these parts of the golf swing sequence to improve.