The golf swing is a bit of a paradox – it is both quite simple and very complex.
You take the club back and try to return it to the original position to strike a little white ball that is not moving and sitting on a tee. Should be easy, right?
There is so much more to it. How many different parts are there in the golf swing sequence? 2, 3, 4, or 5?
We have identified seven different pieces of the golf swing sequence. Each one is very important if you want to consistently hit high-quality golf shots.
What are the 7? Address, Takeaway, Backswing, Transition, Downswing, Impact, and Follow-Through.
Which steps in the golf swing sequence do you perform well? Where do you think your swing breaks down?
Below we will go through a golf swing breakdown to explain the importance of each and to provide some thoughts on how you can make sure your fundamentals are solid.
Think of this as building your swing one block at a time.
Let’s get in to these 7 key steps.
Step 1: Golf Swing Sequence: Address
The first step in your golf swing sequence may be the most complicated. Your address or setup includes several critical steps.
Your grip, your posture, your stance, and the ball position are all part of your address.
For your grip, you should use one of the 3 common techniques. Overlap, interlock, or 10-finger. Also, check your grip to make sure it isn’t too strong or too weak.
Gripping the club correctly is the first and most important step of your setup.
Next up, your posture. Bend at the waist and keep your back straight. Knees should be slightly flexed and let your arms hang down.
A couple of things to consider when reviewing your stance. First is the width. Your feet should be slightly wider than your shoulders. Too narrow and you will lose your balance, but too wide makes it hard to turn.
Second; where is your weight? Are you on your heels or toes? Hopefully, the answer is neither.
You want your weight on the balls of your feet when you take your stance.
Finally, ball position. Where is the ball in relation to your feet? Near your front foot (left foot for right-handed players) or in the middle of your stance?
The ball position should be slightly different depending on the club you are hitting.
Hitting driver or 3-wood? The ball should be near your front foot. Hitting a wedge shot? The ball should be in the middle of your stance.
While your address is the most complicated step in your golf swing sequence it is the easiest to check.
You can validate your grip, posture, stance, and ball position prior to starting your swing. Think of it as a checklist prior to takeoff.
Step 2: Golf Swing Sequence: Takeaway
Step 2 of your golf swing sequence is your takeaway. We define this as the very beginning of the swing. Getting the club started back.
In the overall motion of your swing, this is a very small part, but a lot can go wrong.
Common mistakes include hands being too far behind the ball, breaking your wrist early, and lifting the club.
It is important that your hands are slightly forward of the ball when you start your takeaway. An easy way to make sure this happens is to start your swing with a small “forward press” with your hands.
The other key to a solid takeaway is to avoid breaking down. Setting the wrist too early or picking the club up instead of turning. Both can ruin your swing right from the beginning.
The best solution – a one-piece takeaway. In other words, start your golf swing by moving your wrist, arms, and shoulders in one piece.
A one-piece takeaway keeps everything working together and is a great start to your swing.
If it helps, slow down your temp. Start step 2 of your golf swing sequence with a slow and smooth motion. There is no reason to be in a rush.
Step 3: Golf Swing Sequence: Backswing
Your setup was solid. Your takeaway was properly executed. The next step is your golf backswing sequence.
Two critical components to this piece. The plane of your golf club and shifting your weight to generate power.
If you bring the club inside of the appropriate plane you cause a hook. Outside can lead to a slice. Very few players have a perfect golf backswing sequence.
The goal is to create a small draw or fade that you can trust and hit every time. Wild shots hurt your scorecard and often start in your backswing.
Properly shifting your weight during your backswing is critical to stay on balance and create power.
During your backswing your lower body should be activated and your weight should transition to your right foot (right-handed player).
A common mistake by high handicappers is a “reverse pivot”. This means their weight stays on or moves to their left foot during their backswing.
Step 4: Golf Swing Sequence: Transition
The transition is the shortest piece of the golf swing sequence, but it is what often separates a scratch golfer from a 20-handicapper.
The transition is the pause at the top of your swing. It is the brief moment when your backswing ends and your downswing starts.
Why is this considered part of the golf swing sequence? It seems like a tiny piece of your swing.
It doesn’t last long, but if not executed correctly, it can ruin an otherwise good swing.
The most common mistake is getting too quick in your transition. You want a slight pause before you start your downswing.
If you struggle with your transition, try the “1 and 2” swing thought. While you swing, count 1 & 2 slowly.
The 1 is your backswing. The “and” is your transition (slight pause). The 2 is your downswing.
Step 5: Golf Swing Sequence – Downswing
Next up, your downswing. During this step of your golf swing sequence avoid re-routing the club and hold the angle.
Ideally, you will return the golf club to the ball on the same plane you used during your backswing. This will allow you to hit straight shots.
The downswing plane doesn’t have to be perfect – you simply don’t want your downswing to be drastically different.
The best way to check the route of your backswing and downswing is to have a friend take a slow-motion video of you hitting a shot.
Holding the angle creates lag and creates consistent contact and power. This means that you don’t release the club early.
The final piece of your downswing is shifting your weight back to the left side and driving towards impact.
Pretty amazing – we have already covered 5 of the 7 pieces of your golf swing sequence and we haven’t hit the ball yet.
Step 6: Golf Swing Sequence: Impact
There are many different ways to hit great golf shots. Compare Tiger’s swing to Matthew Wolff. Do you ever wonder how Jim Furyk’s swing has won majors?
The answer is the next piece of the golf swing sequence. They may do weird things before and after, but all great players have the same impact position.
By the time you strike the golf ball, you want your weight transferring to your left side and you want your hips cleared.
Your left wrist should be flat and your head should be looking at the back of the golf ball.
Working on your impact position can be tricky – we would recommend focusing on the first 5 pieces of your golf swing sequence. Improve them and improve your impact position.
The best way to check your impact position is with a slow-motion video.
Step 7: Golf Swing Sequence: Follow-Through
The final piece of your golf swing sequence is your follow-through. This may be the least important because the ball has already been struck, but it does indicate if you have made a good golf swing.
First, does your follow-through end with you on balance and posing or did you almost fall down?
After every swing, make a mental note of your balance and assess if there is something you did during your swing that made this a challenge.
The other thing to note about your follow-through is the extension. Do your arms fully extend out to the target after impact or do they collapse?
You want to strive for as much extension as possible. This will help you hit straighter, more powerful shots.
Should Your Golf Swing Sequence Change Based on the Club You Are Hitting?
The short answer is “no”. All golf shots (even putts) have address, takeaway, backswing, transition, downswing, impact, and follow-through.
That being said, your overall swing can change. For example, if you hit a punch shot out of the woods you will have an abbreviated backswing and follow-through.
Your golf swing sequence never changes, but the length of some of the steps/pieces may differ.
The importance of different pieces can also vary based on the shot you are hitting. Your transition is more important when hitting a driver than when you are chipping with a wedge.
Construct a great golf swing with one building block at a time.
Knowing Your Golf Swing Sequence Is No Use If You Have Bad Grip…
If this sounds like you, check out this article to level up your golf game: How To Grip A Golf Club Correctly: 8 Tips And Cues