A golf swing is one of the most important aspects of a golf player’s career. If you can’t get the swing sequence right, you may be struggling with your shots. No matter what kind of shot you are targeting, you need to correct your swing sequence first.
In this guide, we’re going to look at the ideal golf swing sequence. We’re going to cover everything starting from the address to the follow through of your shot. Let’s get started.
What Is A Golf Swing Sequence?
By swing sequence, we mean exactly what any other sequence would mean. It’s a series of actions that result in your golf shot. Starting from the address position, then the backswing, the top of the swing, the downswing, the impact, and the follow through make up an ideal golf swing.
To successfully hit the ball in the direction you want, it’s mandatory that you follow the proper steps throughout the swing. Only then, you’ll be able to control the club face angle, the speed, and the direction of the swing as you want.
Why is Golf Swing Sequence Important?
The improper swing sequence is the number one reason behind missed hits and lousy shots like duck hooks, slices, and shanks. You’ll be amazed to know how many new players get the sequence wrong in the first place.
When you learn about proper sequencing, you’ll learn how you can use the big muscles like your legs, shoulders, and hips. You’ll also achieve mastery over the small muscle group i.e. your wrists, forearms, and elbow movements.
Getting your swing perfected will make you a better golfer almost instantly. If you analyze the swing sequence of both high handicappers and low handicappers, you’ll notice a clear difference between the two.
So, without further ado, let’s break down each section of a proper golf swing. We’ll go over the ideal movements and postures on our post. So, if you see that you’re doing anything differently, that might be the culprit behind your missed hits.
The Ideal Golf Swing Sequence
A golf swing can be broken down into two main sections. The backswing and the downswing. While they might summarize your range of motion at the tee or at the fairway, there are actually a few more steps to a sequence.
The swing sequence we’re going to break down today has the following steps.
- Address Position
- Takeaway or backswing
- Top of the swing
- Weight transition
- Impact with the ball
- Follow through
Although you’re not making any sudden or powerful movements in this step, the address position of your ball is the beginning of your swing sequence.
Address in golf means the movement or the posture right before a player starts his backswing. It’s the motionless stance you take with your club to measure the distance between you and the ball. Then, you move forward to setting your club face on the ground.
You also want to make sure you are properly aligned at your target when you take your address position in your golf stance.
If you start with the wrong address, it means you’re starting on the wrong foot. And you dramatically decrease your chances of successfully finishing the swing by doing so.
An ideal address position is when you have your spine as straight as an arrow with a slight bend on your waist. Your legs should be at should width while you hold your club right in front of you.
At this point, your knees should be fairly straight. But you can bend it up to a point where you don’t feel any stress on the muscles. Many rookie golfers go wrong in this position because they introduce too much bend on the knees.
Once you have the spine and keens on point, you need to shift your focus to your arms. They should be hanging freely. And you need to grip your club. Some players go head and extend their arms to reach the ball. That’s one of the mistakes in a golf swing sequence.
Takeaway or the First Half of the Backswing
It’s obvious that you swing your club back first and bring it down later. Believe it or not, how you take your club to the top of your head has everything to do with how the swing plays out.
The takeaway is the second part of the golf swing sequence equation. You can call it the first half of your backswing if you want to. It’s the act of taking your hands from the address position to the height of your waist.
You need to start the transition with your large muscles first. By large muscles, we mean your shoulder and arms. You don’t want to introduce any bend to your small muscles like your wrists or ankles.
The club should move freely while you rotate your shoulder backward. When doing so, you need to keep an eye on the club face angle as well. The club face should rotate your shoulder in a way that when you’re at waist height, the toe of the club is facing the sky.
This is where you’ll notice the difference. For the majority of the players, the instinct is the keep the club face square to the ball at all times. But that’s not naturally possible. When you let the club face rotate and face down, only then it will return to the square position. It’s all related to the laws of physics.
Top of the Backswing
The second half of your backswing is considered the actual top of the backswing when it comes to the golf swing sequence. How your club travels from your waist height to the top of your head will determine how you’ll bring it down.
You need to continue the use of your big muscles like the shoulder and the arms. But if you notice carefully, you’ll see that your wrists will start to hinge gradually. Your instinct should be to keep your lead wrist as straight as possible while taking the bend on your trail wrist.
If you’re not sure what a lead wrist and the trail wrist is, your gloved hand is considered the lead wrist.
As you rotate your shoulders more and more, you need to include your hips in the motion. They should also turn with your upper body to compensate for the swing. At the top of the swing, you need to look at where your club is pointing. Even if you have to go out of your way to see what’s happening, you should.
For many new players, the club often points to the left or right of the target. They barely point to the target, which should be the case every time. When your club is pointing too much to the left or right at the top of the swing, it introduced too much space for movement. And that’s how you end up with over the top or fat shots.
If you’re having trouble keeping an eye on the club while you complete the backswing, you may use your phone to record yourself from directly behind. Or, you may ask a friend or another fellow golfer at the course to give you some pointers.
This is probably the most critical part of your entire golf swing sequence. The moment of transition between the backswing and the downswing.
Where the majority of the players go wrong is that they first rotate their upper body and then shift the weight.
But in reality, you need to start to shift the weight even before you move any of the big muscles. As you reach the top of the backswing, you should be pushing down on the ground with your lead foot.
It will shift the weight of your body toward the target. It will also introduce a little lateral slide to your hips. You’ll move toward the target when the club is still at its highest point.
You need to pause at the top of the backswing to perform this action. Many players move through the sequence as fast as they can. In their minds, they think the faster they complete a swing, the more distance they’ll get.
That’s not ever the case. At the top of the backswing, you need to pause and check whether your club is parallel to the ground or not. You also need to make sure that your club is pointing directly at the target.
With practice, you won’t have to consciously notice these things. But you need to pass through the initial barrier of attention. That’s why we recommend practicing their golf swing sequence at the driving range or at home where you can focus on your actions uninterrupted.
When you move your hips forward and shift the weight of your body to the left side, you can initiate the downswing. This is what you’ve been waiting for, right?
We’ve reached the attack portion of the golf swing sequence. If you’ve been following the same path for your hands to come down as you did when they were going up, you’re doing it wrong.
Rather, your hands should drop down on the inside of the ball. You need to hold your wrists steady so that you don’t introduce any new rotation during your downswing.
One of the best tips we can share with you, in this case, is that let gravity take care of your downswing. You just need to tweak little things here and there to guide it in the right direction.
Another great tip is to keep your trail elbow as close to your body as possible. For a right-handed player, the trail elbow is the right arm. You need to ensure that it’s not going over your lead elbow. That’s how you end up with over the top golf shots.
Make sure that you’re keeping your wrists as steady as possible. Continue to bring the club down as it went up in your wrists.
Last but not the least, you need to focus on the handle of your club. The handle should move ahead of the club. It means you should surpass the ball with your hands and they make the impact.
Your natural instinct will tell you to actively hit the ball from behind. But that’s what causes the fat shots. The club should travel parallel to the ground for as long as possible before it makes contact.
And finally, your heels. As you approach the ball with sheer force, you may be tempted to lift your back heel a little from the ground to get those extra yards. But resist the temptation. Instead, lift the heel after you hit the ball as part of the follow through.
What? Did you think the swing sequence ended as you hit the ball? Well, let us tell you, it didn’t. For the majority of the golf swings, the impact position is just as important as the top of the backswing or the downswing.
How you can manipulate the club face angle will determine how much distance you will get and how accurately.
We can break the impact even further by the shot types. Let’s find out what each type of shot should be presented with what type of impact position.
If you’re hitting from the fairway, chances are you’re hitting with a long iron. One rule of thumb when playing with irons is that you need to hit the ball down to get it up in the air. It might feel counterintuitive to the majority of you. But that’s how things unfold in golf.
So, you need to design your impact in a way that you’re hitting down on the ball. The handle of your iron should travel farther before you hit the ball. As the club faces on the irons often have a higher loft, you need to attack with a shallow angle to get the correct ball spin.
Also, you need to hit the ball from the inside so that you don’t send the ball flying to the left. When you hit it from the inside, you’ll create a natural curve on the flight and the ball will land near the target.
With a driver, you get a little more freedom to hit the ball brutally. Drivers are always more forgiving than irons which means you have a larger range of motion on your downswings and impacts.
You need to hit the ball from the inside as well. But you don’t want your handle of the club to farther way past the ball. As drivers have really shallow club faces, you can hit the ball fairly squarely.
Bunkers and Roughs
When you’re coming out of a bunker or a rough, chances are you’re using a rescue club. Also known as hybrid golf clubs, these are very easy to hit and quite forgiving to mis-hits.
The rule of thumb to hit the ball on the sand is to hit the sand first. It would be considered as a fat shot if you were on the green or the fairway, but that’s how you recover from the bunker.
The deeper the bunker, the earlier you need to hit the sand. The same principle applies to rough. The longer the grass, the earlier you need to hit them.
So, you’ve successfully made contact with the ball. As a result, we’ve reached the last part of the golf swing sequence. The follow through.
A follow through begins after you hit the ball. You can’t stop right there. The natural momentum of the club will force you to swing ahead of the ball’s previous position. But did you know that how you swing the club in front of your body can also change the course of the flight?
That’s why a follow through is so important. As the club flies through the air, you need to stay true to the course of the swing path without making any sudden changes.
The finishing position for your swing should be on your lead shoulder. The arms should be resting on the shoulder while the club will hang behind your body.
And that’s how you complete a successful golf swing sequence.
Helpful Tips to Master the Sequence
Now that you know exactly how an ideal swing sequence plays out, let us share some of the tips that helped many golfers over the years. They are quite obvious, but you’ll be amazed to see how easy they are to forget.
Develop Muscle Memory
You cannot just read our guide on swing sequence and expect to perform like a pro at the course. Everything takes practice. And practice develops muscle memory.
You need to practice the sequence over and over at the driving range or at your home to get your muscles acquainted with the movements.
Another very common mistake made by rookie golfers. When you start practicing the swing, you cannot go full speed. When you apply force to everything, it will naturally bring out your previous muscle memory.
In order to overwrite what you already know, you need to take the time to forget. You need to address each section of the sequence and practice them slowly. As you achieve mastery over individual movements, you need to combine them.
Only when you’re confident that you know each move by heart, you should increase your speed. This way, your muscles will remember exactly what to do and when to do it.
Learning the proper golf swing sequence should be part of the basics for every golf player. But we know many of them who skips on the lessons and suffers later without even realizing it. We don’t want it for you.
So, learn all of the sections of the sequence by heart. You’ll immediately notice a dramatic improvement in your gameplay.
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