Synch Up Your Sequence

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Ever played a round of golf and felt like your arms worked completely independent of your torso, or your legs felt like they had a mind of their own? If this is the case, there is a good chance your swing sequence was incorrect.

This month, I am going to explore the correct backswing sequence. This is not my opinion by the way. All you have to do is turn on the television and watch the players who lead the tours in greens in regulation. When watching these players, it appears as if the ball goes very far and straight without much effort. One of the main reasons has to do with the sequence of motion in their golf swings. Simply put, the torso, the arms and the legs all have to work correctly and in synch to produce effortless power.

BackswingThe Backswing
Step #1 – Having spent time with many great teachers and players alike, I have learned that the backswing should have a very specific sequence of events. The hands and arms should start the takeaway as the torso and the legs stay passive. This motion can be referred to as ‘assembling the hands’. Take a look at picture #1. This is truly the only way to start the club head and the shaft back on the proper plane. Many golfers are under the impression that turning during the backswing is the most important thing.  Turning the torso and shoulders is undoubtedly important, but this has to happen after the hands and arms have assembled properly. The only result when turning during Step #1 is a golf club that will move back low and underneath the correct plane. From here, the club will undoubtedly swing up steep in Step #2 resulting in a shaft that is across the line at the top of the backswing – no doubt a vulnerable position to be in.

AssembleStep #2 – After the hands assemble properly and the arms swing back as demonstrated in picture #1,  it is time for the torso to turn in order to flatten or round out the plane. Take a look at picture #2. As the shoulders turn, the lower body will react resulting in a weight shift to the inside of the back foot. Trust me when I say, “Your lower body will react to the turning of your shoulders.“

Synching the backswing properly results in an on plane golf club and a body that is ready to produce serious speed during the downswing. Work on these two steps and I will deliver the secrets to a properly synchronized downswing next month.
John is the PGA Head Instructor for the TOUR Academy at TPC Scottsdale, in Scottsdale, Arizona – Home of the FBR Open. To book a lesson or comment on this tip, email John at