Former Open champion Ernie Els says the one thing his father always told him was that a complete backswing is fundamental to striking the ball well. Here he explains why…
Completing the turn
Occasionally, when my ball striking is a little off, I look at my ball position. A weakness in my game is that my ball position can get a little too far forward. Getting your ball position right is essential – if you get it wrong you’ll push or pull your iron shots.
The problem with this is that I feel I can’t get to the end of my backswing. I end up overswinging and rush back into the ball. So for me, ball position is important because it helps me complete my turn, which then helps me make a nice, smooth transition into the downswing.
With the ball central in my stance, I know that I have completed my backswing when my left shoulder is behind the ball. I physically can’t go much further than that.
This is good because the resistance between my upper and lower body is what creates power through the downswing. This is a great position – you’re fully loaded and your transition is going to be nice and smooth, so you aren’t going to be rushing at the ball.
Improve my ball striking
Once you’ve completed your turn, with your left shoulder behind the ball (ensure you don’t sway away from the target to get into this position) and your back is fully stretched, you’re in a strong top-of-backswing position.
From here, you want to feel that the club is dropping down into the slot – this is how your create lag in the golf swing. That should happen naturally if the transition is smooth. Then all you need to do is complete your follow-through with a full extension of the arms through the ball.
These key moves should all happen as a natural chain reaction, sparked by a good transition. If you can get these moves right, you should be perfectly balanced in the finish.