How to Start the Backswing

Wed, 12/23/2015 - 14:00 -- Don Trahan

Many golfers insist on using a forward press before they start their takeaway and backswing. As with most things when it comes to golf, I'm on the opposite side of the road compared to other instructors on this subject.

So, today I want to go over exactly how I start my takeaway and backswing. After I determine my target and aiming lines, I'll walk into my setup. I make sure to set up with wide knees, outward pressure. I won't use full grip pressure, however, until I'm ready to start the swing. When I'm ready to start my takeaway, I'll increase my grip pressure to the full amount, activate my muscles to maintain my stability, then I start. The reason I wait to activate all my muscles is because otherwise they'll become fatigued before I even take the club back!

Check out the video above to get an up close and personal look at my own technique.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

Comments's picture

Submitted by on

Hi Surge
I enjoy reading your golf tips and have been doing so for many years now. But I have a problem, I can hit 6 shots with my driver or any driver ,( and I have plenty).
On average two will go left , two will go right, and two will go straight, I think I am doing the same swing every time, but the ball will hardly ever go in the same place twice.
I have tried different shafts and every other thing I can think of, but what ever I do does not make much difference. I do play of a 11 handicap and am in my seventies and you would think I would have this sorted by now, but no.
I do not have any problem with the rest of my clubs, and am almost at the point of throwing my drivers away. I dont know if you can help but would be interested in your comments.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Angus , I have a similar problem to you and decided some time ago that the 3 wood off the tee is more reliable than a driver. My take on the driver is that this club is the hardest in the bag to get any consistency because of its length and head size and it also makes you change some aspects of your swing which doesn't fit with other clubs. I have 4 fairway woods ( 3,5,7,9 ) which have all the same head size and weight, just different lengths which gives me a lot more consistency from 200m - 140M. This means that my 3W tee shot and fairway shots are executed by similar clubs and its only when i get down to 120M, I change to short irons which are usually very accurate.
Am playing off 14 and hoping to get down a couple more in 2016.

Would be very curious to know how Surge feels about with my comments

Regards NeilofOz.

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on


If you're making the same swing and getting different results, the problem is more likely with the arrow, not the indian as Doc would say. A driver (or drivers) that are ill-fit for you. 95% of drivers made for the retail market today are going to be too long for the average golfer and inconsistently assembled. You physically cannot get the same result from the swing every time if the club is not correctly assembled, and even a minor variation can throw everything off.'s picture

Submitted by on

Yes I think you are probably right, I really should go and get properly fitted as I do believe getting the right shaft could be the answer.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Angus, I know what you mean about having problems with drivers. Have you ever tried an offset driver? I have 2 different offset cobra drivers with senior shafts, butt cut down to about 44 inches. They are very forgiving clubs that I'm not afraid to make an aggressive swing with. I think that having an offset diver with a shorter shaft, makes it a lot easier for me to square the clubface when using a vertical swing.'s picture

Submitted by on

Hi Dave
Yes I have tried many offset drivers but for me they make things worse. I keep pulling every shot to the right. I am left handed. But thanks for your concern.
Angus's picture

Submitted by on

S. Surge,

I feel really good with the swing however today when I played and finished vertical up the tree I noticed some of my drives almost having a slight fade. If you finish high and vertical is it normal,to hit a slight fade? The fade is minor in distance but you can certainly see it in the balls flight. Any thoughts?

Mums's picture

Submitted by on

Hi Neil
What brand are the fairway woods you are using.


NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Angus, all my woods are Callaway and about 5 years old, but were re-shafted
when i went over to the states in 2013 which were a vast improvement from the
original and gave me 10-15M extra on each club. This validates the benefits of proper club fitting, but you would have to check out Callaway to see if they still have these in the new range.

Russty Kiwi's picture

Submitted by Russty Kiwi on

I am a Callaway fan also Neil. I have not used a driver for about 3 years now, but found the Xhot 3 deep just as good as any driver I've tried. I have only just up graded to the Bertha 1.5 mini & the thing is awesome. The X2hot 3,4,5 & 6 hybrids are my fairway clubs. Can still get to a par 5 in 2 shots on occasion. I'm finding golf more fun in the summer, rather than looking for suckered balls. MERRY XMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR to the Surge nation.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Rusty, don't have any fairway hybrids in my bag as these were fairly new to the market when I upgraded and as I invested in the re-shafted woods when I
went to the USA, am reluctant to change over to hybrids. In the next upgrade
will certainly check these clubs out, but I do have 3 hybrid irons ( 4,5&6 )
from Tom Wishon Golf and these fairly reliable as well. Good to see your
comments back on the blog and Merry Xmas to all in the land of the "Long White Cloud" and all Surgites worldwide.

Walburghian's picture

Submitted by Walburghian on

Very timely comment for me Surge, as I was thinking of posting on the same subject. I have been following you for some 4 years now and still playing to single figures, just, in my '70s. However, I had become somewhat erratic for me with the Driver and was at a loss to understand why. I knew that I was not releasing the Clubhead but could not understand why/how - block/push right with no power. Eventually, I tried to be softer with the Right elbow and "sweep" the Club away and not "take" the Club away in a rigid manner. Hey presto, smoother swing, more accuracy and my length has come back. I believe that I was focussing too much on a firm grip, which gave rise to tight muscles and no release. This may help other Posters on this topic. I was 2 over Gross for the last 12 holes yesterday, in a Stormy, wet UK.Keep up the good work Surge's picture

Submitted by cedric@brisnet.... on

I watched with interest your explanation of the take-away action. It was how I had learnt some 40 years ago at age 41.
Many trials as suggested by various professionals and non professionals all added to the confusion until it was difficult to do the correct thing. But thank you Don. Your instruction gave me back my game. Today on the course my game was much straighter and longer than for a long time. I concentrated on the smooth start and it felt much more natural and easier.
Thank your so much Don for your timely reminder. By the way, I still walk the 18 holes at age 81.