It is often said of professional golfers: “Look at that beautiful, full back swing”. In professional golfers, the backswing is a thing of effortless beauty. In the amateur golfer, however, the back swing is a source of all sorts of problems - both structural and technical. When an amateur player attempts to recreate the type of back swing he sees on t.v.’s coverage of the Tour, he is setting himself up for imminent failure. Here’s why:
The average amateur’s body is unable to perform those movements.
Now, I’ll elaborate, but that’s the long and short of it. When an amateur player attempts to make a “full” back swing, there is a problem; his body does not allow it. His thoracic spine (mid-back area) does not allow for that amount of rotation, so the player must make it up from other joints of the body, and it is seen in the lumbar spine (low-back area) and the shoulders. Ironically, these areas are the last areas in which the player should be gaining excessive motion. The joints of the shoulders and low-back are susceptible to injury when over-worked. Also, the further the player takes the club from the ball, the more margin for error is created technically. This can result in inconsistent shot results, especially when these motions are uncontrolled (such is the case when an amateur with little flexibility tries to create a “wide arc” or “full back swing”.
Here are two pieces of advice for most amateur golfers attempting to recreate Tiger’s back swing. Increase thoracic spine rotation and decrease the length of the back swing. These two keys will allow the player to make a powerful, controlled back swing that increases the chances for desired outcomes and decreases the chances for injury. Get with a local PGA professional to work on shortening your back swing (http://dyn.pga.com/searchtools/pgaofamerica/pgaprofessionals/) and get with a TPI certified health professional to work on increasing thoracic mobility (http://www.mytpi.com/find/default.aspx). All the best.