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Maintaining optimal spine angle during the entire swing is critical.
Maintaining optimal spine angle during the entire swing is critical. (Courtesy of the USGA)

A good golf swing has three parts: the backswing, impact position and follow through

Les MillerBy Les Miller,

The golf swing has three equal parts: the backswing, impact position and follow through. To swing effectively, the proper spine angle must be maintained during these three positions.

The backswing: The backswing starts at address. To do this correctly, adjust the upper-body by arching your back slightly and sticking out your butt, (like you're about to sit on a chair). Maintain this position through the entire swing.

Here's a great practice drill Butch Harmon uses with students like Adam Scott. Starting from this position, swing the club away from the ball to waist high by only using your wrists; don't turn or move your lower body. Hold the club at waist high for a second or two. Then turn your shoulders so your hands reach the top of your backswing.

Impact position: From the top of your backswing start moving the club down toward the ball to at address, making sure to maintain the same upper body position you started with. As you swing through the impact zone your chin should point at the ball at impact. (This is where most average golfers' posture falls apart, leading to miss-hits). You need to return to address when striking the ball for consistent hits.

Follow through: During follow through, maintain the optimal spine angle; maintaining it during the entire swing is critical. The correct way to keep your spine angle is to rotate your upper body into the follow through position, giving you additional power and more consistent shots. (Most average golfers slow down or alter their upper body to make sure they hit the ball; this has them standing up, losing the spine angle and moving their head off-the-ball.) So keep your upper body moving to a full finish.

Les Miller was a longtime Golf Writers of America member who covered golf instruction for several newspapers and golf publications. His many years of experience as a golf professional, director of product development and tour relations for several major golf companies gave him a unique background and ability to help golfers increase their enjoyment of the game.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • follow through

    Jesus D. Macachor, M.D' wrote on: Apr 21, 2010

    The student has to understand the reason behind the follow through.
    With the follow through, the lower body continuous to add power for a longer time. Hitting at the ball without follow through causes the lower body to stop early.