Drill for Skills: The Push Back
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi
Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
If the first move you make in your golf swing is wrong, then you’re playing whack-a-mole for the rest of your swing. Several common mistakes are possible on the first move:
You can reverse pivot — an error where you transfer weight to your front foot instead of your back foot. You can roll your arms too much, turning your lead forearm over the trail forearm. You can experience arm “runoff,” where you move your arms first, with little or no shoulder movement. Or you can lift the clubhead too soon, using your arms and hands exclusively with no body coil.
This is why I like the “push back drill” — it cures all of the above. Here’s how it works:
Tee up a ball and place a two-by-four on the target line directly behind the ball, leaving just enough room for the clubhead. Then take your normal stance with a 9-iron, making sure that your lead arm and the club form a straight line from your shoulder all the way down to the clubhead.
Now, as you begin your backswing, push the board back until it is outside your back foot before allowing the clubhead to elevate. In order to push it back that far, you will have to move your chest, which is the “master mover,” i.e., when you move your chest, your arms and shoulders move.
Use a board and a mirror to practice this first move (also called the “takeaway”) until you own it. It is a fundamental building block of a sound, consistent swing.
In the push back drill, your chest must move from its original position in the first photo straight back until it is over your back instep in the second photo. You should notice these key points when done properly: Your lead shoulder has moved back the same amount as the center of your chest while moving out toward the camera about 2 inches and dropping 6 inches. Also, your trail arm is still higher than your lead arm, forming a window.
If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.