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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Length Matters; But Not in Your Backswing

I'm one of those guys who can't seem to stop thinking about my swing. It's easy to tell yourself to focus on the strike, but it's much easier said than done if, like me, you've been spending time reading golf books, or watching videos. Teachers spend most of their time talking about the swing; so no wonder we often find ourselves swing-obsessed.

Henry Cotton's tire drill has helped me. It builds muscle in your hands and forearms. It provides excellent feedback as you strike the tire; first using only your left hand, then just your right hand, and finally using both hands. And, let's face it, it's just plain fun to whack a tire with a golf stick. It's a nice stress reliever.

One of the things I'm always thinking about is my backswing. Yes, I know you don't hit the ball with your backswing, but it's amazing how much we tend to think about and rehearse the backswing. I see the pros doing it all the time. It's not just me.

When you're whacking that tire you soon realize that you can generate some real zip without the need for a long backswing. I tend to worry about the length of my backswing. Because of my back--and my expanded front for that matter--I just have trouble getting the club back as far as I think I should. That old tire helps me understand that the length of your backswing is not really important, provided you are able to get the club in a position where you feel able and ready to strike the ball. Length matters, but not in your backswing.

There are lots of examples of modern-day pros with relatively short backswings, but the guy who really caught my interest this past week was JB Holmes. I mean, this guy absolutely kills it. And he does so with quite a short backswing. He reminds me of Jack the way he powers through the ball using his legs and hitting that power fade. What a great action he has.

So, length matters. But not the length of your backswing. Get yourself a tire to whack and you'll soon be convinced. Henry Cotton certainly knew what he was talking about.