Knee Movement and Shoulder Position During Backswing and Impact

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 12:00 -- Don Trahan

If you don't keep your knees relatively level, you're going to fall out of dynamic balance and start hitting bad shots. The key to staying level is being in an athletically ready position and resisting the front knee from kicking in during your backswing. The knee can move slightly, but it cannot break.

Your shoulders also play a big role in the swing, so it's important to understand exactly how they should move from the start of your backswing to your finish position. The knees and how stable they are will have a direct effect on the movement of the shoulders as well. If your knees are breaking, it will most likely cause you to overturn. Because we utilize a limited turn vertical swing, over-rotation will only hurt your game.

Two questions.

1. I was under the impression that the knees were supposed to be still during the BUS. In the video your left knee appears to move forward a noticeable amount in your BUS. Should the knees remain still or is flexing expected?

2. Are the shoulders supposed to remain parallel to the aiming line until after impact or should they turn into the shot before impact? By this I mean that the shoulders rotate to face the target together with the swing prior to impact. Obviously the shoulders don't complete the turn to the target until after impact. Are they expected to be turned something like 20 degrees toward the target at impact?


I'll demonstrate a couple of different views of a correct Peak Performance Golf Swing. That way, you'll be able to see exactly how much my shoulders and knees move. It isn't very much, but there is some movement.

Check out the video to see if you're moving too much.

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.



rpmski's picture

Submitted by rpmski on


Who fixes your swing, when it has gone astray?

Bob Malachowski

Hal's picture

Submitted by Hal on

rp, he does. When he starts to hit bad shots, then he goes back to basics. he reviews his set up, his alignment, his bus and fus. I know. I have been there when this had happened. He starts over and finds out what happened. Just like when my swing goes awry. He has me start over and review all the basics.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Boy if there were only two elements that are key in this swing I would say the movement or amount of movement happening with the knees and shoulders. When I start over swinging it can easily be traced to the knees not staying quiet. Like Surge showed, allowing that front knee to bend in (or move too much) allows too deep of a back swing and the shoulders to turn too much. Moving off the ball and other issues can happen too. Then getting back square is not likely. Lately, I have gotten back to focusing on keeping those knees with the wide and outward pressure. This aids in limiting my turn and shoulders. All this aids in maintaining posture. I am always shocked at how far the ball goes if I stick to these basic reminders. One more thing that I was really reminded of while watching today's tip is where his shoulders were and how he is facing the ball at impact. You'll notice his back shoulder is NOT visible. This indicates he started the FUS with the lateral bump as the back right shoulder stayed back for a split second allowing for the slightly inside out swing that sets up the slight draw that Surge typically hits. That is one HUGE difference between better players and the rest. Many have the shoulders open at impact and are out and across (out to in path). Am I where I need to be? On occasion but not often enough. These are all part of the fundamentals I keep coming back to as I apply rule 5. That visual helps remind me of the positions I am working on.'s picture

Submitted by on

Any thoughts on what to do when you feel too much knee movement in the backswing. I usually just continue with the shot but occasionally can stop myself in mid swing and then start over.

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on

Golftime, you hit on something that has been an issue for me. I concentrate on wide knees outward pressure as Surge teaches, but from time to time my left knee collapses too much when I reach back for that little extra.

What I've found that corrects the problem for me is flaring my front foot an additional 10 degrees or so from what Surge suggests (30 degrees). It also helps me restrict my BUS. Experiment with the amount of flare and see if helps. Good luck.

I went out to the yard today and took a few practice swings with 3 or 4 different clubs after not having touched a club in over 3 months. Good old northeast winter. I was really surprised that just by concentrating on the basics I actually felt like I really lost anything. Now if someone can rid of this white stuff, I can find out for sure. :0))

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

I start almost every round with extra front knee flare for another reason. Because
I now deal with left hip sciatica and combined with low back issues and left calf pain. By flaring my front foot closer to 45 degrees, especially early in the round when I am stiffer, I can swing relatively pain free and I am pre-set to getting on my front leg in my FUS smoothly. Having it flared more allows fora lot less twisting. Interestingly, later in my round the knee stability becomes important because I am loosened up and start over swinging if I don't maintain the outward pressure along with the flare.
So basically from the first tee until the last the knees are the bees.'s picture

Submitted by on

Thanks for todays daily and clarifying the amount of knee movement. When I attended a clinic with you in the Netherlands my knee collapsed inward regulary. You corrected the "over" movement of the knees but afterwards I was kind of under the impression that I shoud try to limit the move of my knees to an absolute minimum. I manage to avoid the collapsing inwards but it still felt as I was bending the knee forward and I was not able to avoid that. After todays video seeing your left knee bending forward during backswng I think I am actually doing alright. Thanks again and best regards to the US, Holger