The Importance of Setting the Backswing

By | on March 3, 2017 | 29 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

29 Responses to “The Importance of Setting the Backswing”

  1. April 7, 2013


    Hi Paul- thanks for this. Good timing!

  2. Great summary of many of your key tips. Thank you. Also great timing!!

  3. Paul,
    I am working on swing tempo. I am trying to maintain a 1.20 sec swing duration with a 3/1 ratio. So, if I slow my back swing, should I turn my hips faster to maintain the 1.20 sec swing duration? I will go back and review your tempo videos.

    • April 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      You are going to go back slow to help keep the arms turned off and build a great swing. Once you do you can then think about getting your 3/1 ratio again (something I do not care about or have ever thought about as well as the great majority of tour players). So keep going back slowly. Keep the arms turned off. Keep using the lower body to hit your shots. Also, keep focusing on doing perfect swing positions. Keep doing tons of practice swings setting these positions.

  4. Thanks

  5. You didn’t touch on four specific points :
    – do you hinge your wrists early in the backswing ,Cocking them at the very beginning ,or just let them hinge back by themselves during the backswing ?
    – do you try to keep the right elbow close to your torso going back or don’t you do anything about it ?
    – how do you control your Clubface is not open or closed at the top of the backswing ?
    -do you Roll “your wrists ” going back and “unroll ” them in the thruswing for more Power ?

  6. Hi paul is your swing a one plane or two plane? thanks

    • Carlos,

      My swing is 2 plane.

      Why do I teach a 2 plane swing:

      1. It is physically impossible to swing on a perfect 1 plane due to the angle between the left arm and clubshaft.

      2. The great majority of the best golfers of all time were 2 plane.

      3. I have yet to see a long driver doing a one-plane swing.

      4. You do not hit the ball going back so what does it matter if you are one plane?

      5. If you start your body first in the downswing and keep the arms powerless the clubshaft will flatten to 90 degrees to the axis (body).

      6. Everyone I have seen doing a one plane swing moves their head forward upwards of 6 inches as they go back (this is a know problem with this method).

      7. Most people using this swing blow it right or duck hook it.

      8. The people I see doing a 1 plane swing see-saw their shoulders as opposed to rotating them creating the torque necessary in the swing.

      9. The amateur players I have seen don’t seem to be able to work on this swing on their own.

      10. etc. etc.

      • Paul ,I couldn’t agr

        • Raymond,

          Everyone (even Moe) swings on 2 planes. It is physically impossible to swing on one plane. This is because there is an angle between the lead arm and the clubshaft that cannot be eliminated. Just draw a line up the shaft from the down the line view and you will see that it is not possible to swing on this plane.

          Moe hit over 4 million golf balls with that swing. If I did that I would be pretty good too!

  7. Paul
    I noticed my backswing is jittery as I’m taking the club back my right knee
    starts shaking a lil bit and right hand also, this just started with my powerless arms swings did this happen to you when you were making the swing change. thanks ****

    • Carlos,

      This did not happen with my swing. Focus on moving the club back with your shoulders. This does not mean your clubhead is going to get stuck in the grass and get flicked back. It should be smooth. If you still have problems reduce the downward pressure on the clubhead at setup and brush the grass going back. If you are pressing down to hard it may be getting stuck in the grass.

  8. Hi Paul My practise swings at the transition from top to start of downswing look fine , when i actually hit the ball on video i always have this vertical flip up of the club (shaft goes more towards 90 degrees and closer to across the line), the degree it does this varys . Not sure whats causing it even had lesson from club pro he couldnt stop it at the practise session. the resulting inconsistency mostly in woods and long iron, i saw one of your tips on why this flip occurs , cant find could you dirrect me to it. this flipping even occurs when i stop at top at top before coming down,

  9. Very good and sensible reminders ,Paul ,thank you.Three esentials to work on and get ingrained in your backswing .
    A long time ago ,there was a golf instructor who taught like you to move the clubhead back slow,as if “you were dragging back a wet mop to clean the ground “,so there was also some lag in the clubhead .
    This move was very much criticized by the other golf teachers .
    DAVID LEADBETTER taught to push back a heavy ball with the back of the clubhead to slow you down and stay on a more or less straight line
    Would you also disadvise doing these exercises (I do them sometimes to force me to slow down going backwards )

    • Raymond,

      I went to Leadbetter’s a long time ago. I push the piece of wood back with the clubhead and it never fixed my takeaway. I got it once I though about turning my arms off and taking it back with my shoulders not my hands. If you take it back with your body this will slow you down too. You only take it back fast because you are using arms. Body moves slow in life. Use this to take it back.

  10. Hi Paul

    I looked at your site a few years ago and then forgot about you… I have been taking lessons I am a female left handed golfer but do everything else right handed… Grew up with 4 brothers and they hit bat and clubs left so here I am…Anyway I felt I needed more explanation why things happened in the golf swing detail by detail and one day you popped up on my computer, so I bought your program for 137.00 dollars…Well I can golf, however I was struggling with taking the club back with my hands too much and leaning forward too much as well. So I watched about 20 minutes of your videos and wow I applied them indoors because we are in snow here in Canada and grip stance and ball position was easy no thought process no manipulating the club. I did not tell my instructor because they can get to negative about other teachers but he commented on how much better I was hitting the ball…
    He is trying to get me to hit the ball harder and faster to gain club head speed but through your videos I am sure if I use my lower body I can achieve that without powering the ball do you agree?

    Anyway I am so glad to see your tips every day and work indoor until may 1 on my swing Thanks Tammy

    • Tammy,

      Thank you for the kind words. Glad you started to work on my technique and are starting to see the results.

      Yes, teachers get upset etc. when working on others techniques. This is really because there is so much conflicting info out there that doesn’t mesh with what the person is trying to teach you. I have run (and still do) into this many times. I can be frustrating.

      Never hit the ball hard with arms. You hit it harder with your legs and hips. Aren’t the great majority of golfers already hitting harder with arms? So why isn’t everyone hitting it 250-300 yards? I am not hitting and I can do it? If so, I am doing it a different way. My legs are the power source. The less arms you use the looser your wrists will be thus creating a faster release (clubhead speed).

      Follow this tip:

      DRILL: How To Really Increase Power:

      So if you want to stick with him that’s fine. Just be aware that there may be conflicts. As you keep working on in indoors just work on my positions every night. If you do you will build a great looking swing by the time the season starts.

      You may not know this but I was the Director or Instruction at Angus Glen for 6 years. I started the golf school there.

  11. March 5, 2017


    Heard recently the Rickie Fowler hoovers his irons slightly instead of positioning them on the ground behind the ball. I tried this and it seemed to help my ball striking. Any thoughts on this? Previously I have heard of hoovering the driver but never the irons. Thanks.

    • Tom,

      I don’t mind it if you do it right. Some people get out of position or hover too high. Just have the club barely off the ground. The reason pros do this is to not move the ball as the address it. Just hover it very slightly in the air making sure you don’t come out of your setup. Give it a try and see if it works. It can help with the one-piece takeaway.

  12. hi paul,
    when pros go from good to bad, is it a result of two flaws not being in synch, or something else?
    – ter

  13. Avatar photo

    September 22, 2017


    Hi Paul , My scatter is actually 81-92 but other than that you just described my game and my swing !!! This explains why I can go 38/46 . I’m always shut at the top and always slide to make it work. If the timing is perfect it’s a thing of beauty. But it rarely is.
    Also Paul if you want me to do a testimonial on how important it is to do Skype lessons with Pete let me know. I just had a lesson with him on Sunday and it has been hugely beneficial. Watching tips is one thing but having you guys watch us critical.

    • Avatar photo

      September 22, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      You got it. That is a huge problem that will never allow you to be consistent unless you hit about 500 balls per day and even then you may never get it. Glad you see it. This is going to get you to the next level. You’ll see.

      I cannot believe how few people do swing analysis or skype lessons. If this service was available to me years ago I would have been all over it. Why keep guessing. For the small price we charge it is surely worth it.

      Yes, please send in a testimonial. Just email it to us if you can. I guess I have to do a better job letting people know we offer this service.

      For those wanting more info please go here:

      Skype Lessons –
      Swing Analysis –

  14. Hi Paul. I have a problem in my backswing with left arm breaking down and the club going way past parallel. Last week I tried to take the club back to where I felt my left arm was parallel to the ground and the butt of the club was pointing to the ground just like in your tip on pitching the ball and then from there focus on my downswing trigger which is turning my belt buckle left of my target and it seemed to help. Could I continue with feel to help shorten my backswing. Thanks for all your tips my short game is coming along very nicely

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