Takeaway dot To The Top dot Whole Backswing

Mickey Wright's Perfect Swing Ruled in the 1960's

A fundamentally perfect backswing makes it easy to execute a precise and powerful downswing through the ball.

  1. On the takeaway, Mickey takes the club back straight, low, and slow. She brings it back straight a long way, which creates a wide and long swing arc. The longer your swing arc, the farther you can hit the ball.
  2. On the backswing, her left knee works back toward her right knee; it does not pop out away from the body. This keeps her in perfect balance at the top of the backswing, with her weight shifted to the inside of the right foot. This makes it easy to start the downswing with a hard, smooth leg drive and deliver your most powerful swing to the ball.
  3. Throughout the backswing, Mickey keeps her right leg and right knee in perfect position. The right leg stays at the same angle it has at address, and the right knee stays pointed in. This gives her a very stable and balanced lower body and restricts her hip turn around to the right. Thus, the upper body and shoulders can rotate around to the right and create maximum coil in the upper body. The tighter this coil is stretched, the farther you can hit the ball when the coil unwinds through impact.
  4. Mickey keeps her left arm straight throughout the backswing. This produces the longest possible swing arc and allows the player to hit the ball as far as possible.
  5. At the top of the backswing, she swings the club shaft perfectly parallel to the ground. This makes it easy to control the club on the downswing, smoothly accelerating the clubhead to a square impact position.

The following Swing Key is from the Backswing chapter of Modern Golf Thoughts:


  1. On the takeaway, your shoulders and arms should pull the clubhead straight back. This produces a wider and longer swing arc. The longer your swing arc, the farther you can hit the ball. Guard against the mistake of bringing the clubhead back inside too early in the backswing.
  2. Take the clubhead back low to the ground. This produces a wider and longer swing arc, resulting in longer shots. It also promotes getting onto the correct backswing plane, one that is flat enough to keep your right elbow against your right rib cage during the backswing. When you pick the clubhead up in the air too early in the backswing, it is easy to swing back on too upright a backswing plane. This leads to a downswing where the clubhead travels outside-to-inside, causing a sliced shot.
  3. Take the clubhead back very slowly, inching it away from the ball. Imagine a 100-pound weight attached to your clubhead. The backswing and downswing should be a gradual build-up of clubhead speed, where the clubhead reaches maximum acceleration at impact.

This routine beginning for each shot lays the foundation for consistently great golf shots. It promotes a long swing arc, swinging on the correct backswing plane, smooth tempo, and an accelerating clubhead through impact.

The Backswing chapter of Modern Golf Thoughts has 27 swing keys in these sections--Takeaway / To The Top / Whole Backswing.

Some key backswing fundamentals include--your upper body pulling your hips around during the backswing so your lower body can pull your upper body back down during the downswing and your right elbow remaining tucked in against your right rib cage throughout the backswing to keep it on the correct plane. Swing your club shaft to parallel with the ground at the top of the backswing, and not past parallel, so you can make a controlled downswing, delivering a square clubface at impact.

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