Billy Horschel keeps the shaft in line with his lead forearm during the initial backswing. (Cohen/Getty Images)
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy
One of the more underrated golf swings on the PGA TOUR is Billy Horschel’s. This is the golf swing that has so many good components, from very sound body movements to an efficient use of his arms and hands. All year, Billy has treated us to not only some great swings but some solid golf, and this week at the Zurich Classic, he got that first PGA TOUR win.
One of the things that lead to great consistency and power during Horschel’s swing is how he keeps the club shaft in line with the lead forearm during the initial backswing. The initial backswing is measured from address to when the club shaft reaches parallel to the ground (halfway back). During this period of the backswing, Billy does a great job of keeping the club shaft in line with the lead forearm. This relationship is a key one that so many amateurs can learn from.
One of the most common errors during the initial backswing is this relationship quickly comes out of line. When this occurs, the lead hand goes into a bowed position allowing the hands to move away from the body and the club head to move quickly behind the hands. This very common mistake can be a major problem in the progression of golf swings because not only is the club shaft immediately off plane, but the body almost always doesn’t turn to its capability. As a result, the body, arms and hands are always trying to overcome this error on the downswing to manufacturer a descent impact position.
The benefit of keeping the club shaft in line with the lead forearm is it allows the hands to stay closer to the body and the club head to work up the plane. Often times when learning this, amateurs will feel as if the hands are “in” and the club head is more “out”. Although this can feel very different at first, it is the correct relationship and direction for so many golfers.
Once achieved, you will feel a more efficient shoulder turn during the backswing and the ability to get the club head back to the inside on the downswing. As a result, a good impact can be achieved more instinctively like Billy Horschel.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.