Limited Backswing Explained

Tue, 11/19/2013 - 12:00 -- Don Trahan

Whenever someone who has never heard of the Peak Performance Golf Swing hears the term limited turn, 3/4 backswing, they are usually skeptical and even a little confused. They've been taught to swing to parallel for years, so the idea that you can actually gain more distance with a shorter backswing is something of a surprise.

I received an interesting story and question from Les Spradley. He was golfing with a local, collegiate golf coach who told him that it looked as though he wasn't finishing his backswing. Les wondered if the 3/4 backswing gave the impression of not finishing the backswing. What do you think?


As I have heard in so many of your letters you share online, I too feel like the PPGS has saved my golf game. I am 58 this year and could not imagine my golf game getting better and better. I truly believe I had started the unavoidable decline of older golfers (i.e less distance, less accuracy, no confidence). But, now you and the PPGS have brought the game back in a great way.

Now my question for you. I recently was playing with a local college golf coach and he said I wasn't finishing my back swing typically after a shot that I snap hooked or pulled hook. So, what does finishing your backswing mean in the PPGS? Does the 3/4 limited turn backswing give the impression of not finishing the backswing? 

Les Spradley

Because the man Les referred to is a college golf coach, I'm going to assume that he's been around the game a long time. He's probably a good player too, even though not all golf coaches are great golfers. Nevertheless, the fact that his suggestion to Les was that his backswing looked short indicates that he's a rotational player. Of course the PPGS is going to look like a limited backswing, because it is!

The part I'm going to focus on is that Les said he's hitting snap hooks. Believe it or not, this actually happens when golfers aim out to the right. They think they are lined up, but in actuality they are misaligned and end up having to flip the club at impact just to hit it towards the target. When this happens, you lose dynamic balance and if you flip the club, you'll start hooking the ball.

My prognosis is that Les is likely faced with a simple alignment issue. Correct that, and you shouldn't miss any more shots to the left, Les!

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.


MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

Great lesson on the back swing and reminder on alignment.'s picture

Submitted by charles.lerche@... on

Don makes the case here very convincingly. I would just mention, following on the exchange I had yesterday, that I think one could argue that for an "arms powered swing" the PPGS back swing is certainly complete. I don't think you would get any more power from your arms if you pulled them back any further. So, to put another way, since for PPGS the core is not the primary (but maybe the secondary) source of power, it seems logical to me that we don't try to build up a lot of torque there. Rather we build just enough to so we can fire the arms...and we do need some as Dave Seeman mentions in one of his videos.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I spent quite a while flying greens by ridiculous distances on what were supposed to be less than full shots until I figured out that limiting my backswing doesn't limit my distance.

Stopping my left arm at lower clock positions (like Dave Pelz) teaches just isn't a reliable distance control measure for me.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Aside from the " Sacred burial ground" issues, that extra torque would likely end up having to be released to soon, so the arm swing couldn't dominate. This swing is more about placing ( presetting ) the club in a position where it can be swung quickly with the arms. Too much tension in the arms and shoulders can slow down the arm swing, so I like to feel that the FUS is more of a slinging of the arms from the shoulders, rather than a muscling job.'s picture

Submitted by on

Hi Don
I have been using the PPGS for about two years now and have got my handicap down to 8 from an 18. Keep up the great work.
However I have a question which I have never been able to get an answer to, from any other golf professional. They all say there is no difference.
I am a right handed person who plays golf left handed and I know there are a number of left handed people who play golf right handed.
In my case my right arm is the dominant arm which means that it is the hand at the top of the club, being the strongest arm, it takes over and can create many problems from slices to hooks especially with a driver which I have struggled with all my life.
I am 73 yrs old now and have finally realised by using a two handed grip I can get more power into my left arm which seems to even out the swing.
I wondered what your thoughts were on this. Most professionals seem to think that it should not make any difference, but I have always been totally convinced that it does. Being a builder I have a fairly strong right arm which probably also doesn't help. I am sure there must be others out there with the same issues.
Playing golf right handed is totally foreign to me and definitely not an option.

Kind regards
Angus from NZ

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

The position at the top of the backswing in a rotational swing is the natural position for the forward arm. The position at the top of the backswing in a vertical swing is the natural position for the back arm.

Easy enough to check that. Just take your back arm back without a club to the "cactus" position and look at it. The palm will be just short of vertical and will match the spine angle. Then take the front arm back without the back arm and look at it. The palm will be past vertical and closer to horizontal than vertical.

The drop into the slot also mimics a sidearm throwing motion with the back arm with a limited turn vertical swing while the front arm simply falls virtually straight down.

Getting to the slot is closer to a Frisbee move with the front arm with the full turn rotational swing while the back arm can be more passive.

Both swing use both arms with equal force but the mechanics of a full turn lend themselves to the front arm controlling the motion and the mechanics of a vertical swing lend themselves to the back arm controlling the motion.

From that end of slot position both arms power through the ball with both swing styles.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Thanks for the very clear explanation, Steve. It makes a lot of sense, if my experience is anything to go by. I've made too may bad swings, trying to do the vertical backswing, with a left arm dominated Frisbee move for the FUS. I'm doing all that I can these days to make a right arm motion to get to the slot.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I was going to break down the differences all the way through impact but I got hungry when I got to the end of slot position. Ha ha!

The best thing about a PPGS is that it doesn't require much effort to get into the slot correctly. Like Surge says gravity pretty much takes care of it.

dweingra's picture

Submitted by dweingra on

Why do I slice my driver? Other clubs are going straighter than ever since I adopted the PPG swing.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Could be the arrow, not the indian.

shortgamewizard's picture

Submitted by shortgamewizard on

Check the length of your driver. Too much length means more strength to square up the club face through impact.'s picture

Submitted by on

Any idea how to eliminate my dipping on my down swing ?

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Buy or make something like this.

A driveway stake and a "Pool Noodle" will work just fine. Mine is just a piece of PVC pipe and a piece of pipe insulation that I had in the barn.

You can feel it if your head moves around very much during the swing.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Ha ha ha ha! I kept thinking at any minute the C clamp holding that piece of lumber was going to slip off as he was trying to get out from under it to have some semblance of a finish.

There are a couple of products on the market that do the same thing for those who would rather buy something than make something.

MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

I thought it was quite funny myself was waiting on it to fly apart.

Yours is a lot safer or they can get there spouse or some one to hold them by the head of the hair like Jack Grout use to do to Jack Nicklaus when he was young.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Great to see the creativity of this fellow. Looks like it works. The dog may be missing half of his water bowl though:)