What Does a Good Golf Swing Look Like?

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 12:00 -- Don Trahan

Because vertical swingers are in the minority, many times other golfers will supply advice that doesn't conform to the teachings of the Peak Performance Golf Swing. To someone that has never heard of or seen the PPGS, your swing may have an unfinished look. So, they'll tell you that you need to turn more or swing to parallel to improve.

When someone says that your swing looks unfinished, just ask them what you should be doing instead. Once they start listing off all of the bad things I've warned you about (such as kicking in your front knee, flattening your swing plane, swinging around your body, and more) you'll be able to tell them you're not interested in any of those mechanics because you like to play golf the right way...pain free, solid, and straight!

Les Spradley had this happen to him. He was actually playing with a collegiate golf coach, so it's a safe assumption that the coach is a fairly decent player. Even the coach was telling him that his swing looked unfinished, which goes to show that we truly are part of a small club.


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 believed 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

I will warn you about one thing. You still have to be actively engaged in what you're doing. That means having a firm grip and engaged muscles. Our backswing is shorter than most, but that doesn't mean our power should be also. As long as you bump, let the club freefall, and swing up as fast as possible, you'll get the power you need. 

Don't believe the hype when it comes to rotational golf swings. Just tell your doubters to check out swingsurgeon.com!

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.


MikeM's picture

Submitted by MikeM on

Don, I was watching an Oakland A's game recently when their announcer and ex-great catcher Ray Fosse commented on someone's upright bat position. He mentioned that when Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was his teammate in the 60's Ray asked him why he held the bat so upright; Frank commented that pitchers like to hold a batter and after a while a layed-off bat gets heavy, while an upright bat stays light. His demonstration was very much like what you've shown many times on your dailies. Although that is from someone in a different sport, I found it both interesting and supportive of your theories.

ranny grady's picture

Submitted by ranny grady on

Dear Surge,

This is my third year working with the PPGS: I'll be seventy-four in July, and it is finally starting to become natural for me. It is the best golf swing for any golfer...especially old geezers like me, because it turns bad shots into playable ones, and good shots into great ones. I have made two changes in my game this year that are paying huge dividends: I'm clubbing up; and, I'm not worrying about how high I raise my hands. I'm six feet four so I'm sure my arc is doing okay; but by not trying to over-extend my reaching of hands, I have found it is easy to allow the club to free-fall. I'm making more solid contact with the ball and I'm maintaining my distance...or many times increasing my distance: 250-260 is my max...with decent roll. I'm playing the Senior tees for the first time and now I can compete with a majority of the younger golfers. I seldom miss a fairway with your golf system. My goal is to hit the ball straight out in front of me on every shot. The Peak Performance gives me a great opportunity to meet this goal.

Thanks for allowing me to continue to really enjoy Golf!!

Ranny Grady

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

I marvel at how high Surge gets his hands but I have less stress and a more balanced swing, when using less lift. It is important for me, to remember to lift the right elbow enough and not regress to the " Huggy Bear" style of the rotational swinger when doing the back swing.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Our first 18holes in a day short of 3weeks was expected to be so-so after the lay off. What a disappointment that was hahaha! Hit the ball off the tee much more consistently straight and longer and that was with my old Ping Zing blonde wooden driver. 12out of 15 very good drives and 3 so-so ones, but as Surge said even these were better than bad shots : - )
During my on the front driving range mat or grass swinging practices when the sun is out has stopped me over swinging except on the odd occasion. Seeing my shadow at the top of the backswing showed I was overswinging. From my shorter backswing to the top of the FUS and recoil it is much easier with better results. To 'rotational swingers' and the other members of the flat earth society-I care not one jot what my swing looks like! I am VERY Happy with it from play and body aspects.
The PPGS swing for me is the ONLY way and will always remain so. A staunch Surgite.
DH & DL in NZ

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Next time a rotational player comments about your backswing, just tell him/her
to check out Inbee Park's backswing which finishes abot 1.30, face on and this is with a full shoulder turn. Curently she is ranked at No.1 on the LPGA.


leftyjohncanada's picture

Submitted by leftyjohncanada on

Surge: I am a natural soutpaw, and have been troubled with a weak right/top hand during the backswing. The club gets loose at the top of the vertical, and my left/bottom hand dominates my swing down and through, causing either pulls over the top or wicked hooks to the right. My question is twofold: should I let the left hand dominate, and adjust the downswing, OR should I consider changing sides, learning the PPGS as a right hand golfer?? There is a pga pro who is a right hander, but plays golf lefty. I think his name is Phil.
Should I convert??

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Changing sides? Good question John. You could certainly give it a try. Off hand I don't know of any PPGS teachers who are switch hitters but you could send this question to Surge via customer service and he might answer it.

Stricted one arm club swing.
Otherwise one suggestion is that you could keep your same sided swing and build up the strength and coordination of the right (weak) hand in several ways. One would be to practice swinging a golf club with the right hand only. Force yourself to do this slowly at first and strictly with a 3/4 motion ala PPGS method finishing over the front shoulder in balance. Make it harder by starting in posture from a stand still just like you're playing. Don't just build momentum and and swing back and forth and back and forth. It needs to be one swing, stop, start over with perfect form and one hand only! Maybe 10 20 times to strat. Then add reps as you get stronger. Then you might progress to a weighted club. ONE ARM ONLY. Bet if you did this every day for a month your weak hand would begin to catch up. At first you'll feel as if it's not possible but with time and practice that arm and grip will get much stronger day by day.
Additionally, add some exercises to the left hand and arm. Get creative there are dozens. Do you have a 'grip squeezer'? (tennis or hand size rubber ball will do too).
Buy one at any quality sporting goods store and use your right hand ONLY. Keep it with you wherever you are most or wherever you go. Use it several times throughout the day and until failure each time. That right hand will get stronger faster than you could imagine regardless of your age.

Here's some other cool ideas


Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

You aren't coming over the top and hitting pull hooks because of too much bottom hand.

If you let the club drop into the slot for long enough you can hit the ball with all of the bottom hand you can muster (and then some) without hooking the ball, not to mention you can't come over the top if you let it drop.

Like Hogan said "I wish I had three right hands."

shortgamewizard's picture

Submitted by shortgamewizard on

Changing sides?

Hogan didn't. H did want to have three right hands to add force to the ball at impact.

Here is an explanation viewed from the right handed swing.

Left handed players playing right handed don't block the butt end of the club from going into the SBG. Right handed players tend to block the butt end of the club from turning back into the proper PPGS top of the swing position.

Simply speaking lefties playing righty turn too much and righties playing righty don't. Both go over the top and hit a lot of funky shots.

Robert echoes Hogan in doing reps suing the right or back hand only for lefties. They need to build up the strength with the non dominate hand. Righties need to swing reps with the left arm only to do the same. The more both sides of the body can work on the same page the more likely good shots are created.

Steve nails the head into the board. A bump can drop the arms into the optimal release position. His statement about the hitter dissecting the center of their head from the pitcher's view being the magical position for hitters is bang on. In golf the shaft dissecting the forearm is the grail of solid golf shots.

This slot does have three main release positions. The hip slot that mirrors the shaft at address, the torsion slot that is halfway between the hip slot and the shoulder slot and finally the shoulder slot. All three slots and all variations between them can have the magic position of the arm and shaft dissecting a plane where the ball is in its focus.

Back to the difference between right handers and left handers in a swing, righties are better in the hip slot and lefties better in the shoulder slot. In between are all those who may have ambidextrous tendencies. None are better or worse, just what is bio-mechanically best for each individual.

As to Mukul's problem the bump moves the hips towards the target enough to provide room for the arms to drop and the back arm's levers to release into a straight line impact like Surge advocates. Mukul what you are likely doing to produce the hooks if you are dropping the arms into a proper impact plane is to straighten the back or right wrist for righties. too early. The arm levers straighten up into impact, but the wrist lever doesn't until after the ball is gone.

The dreaded hooks then can come from the back wrist straightening at or before impact, or turning the front hip and shoulder back away from the aim line which impacts the ball with the club face square to the shoulders at impact and well left of the aim line. Like Steve says if you drop at the arms and club far enough you can't come over the top and hit dreaded hooks.

mukulrawat@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by mukulrawat@gmail.com on

Dear Surge,
My name is Mukul Rawat . I am 54 years old clubfitter based in India, 12 handicap male golfer and I have been following the PPGS system for well over 5 years now. Honestly I would be lying if I said I am a "100% Surgite" even though I have benefited a lot. Your daily videos are such a treat , thanks. I do have a few issues that I request you to address.

1. I have somehow missed your instructions and swing thoughts for the downswing. I understand the backswing thought and path "into the catcher's mitt" ( I have created and analogy in cricket idiom into the wicket keepers glove defining the position of the keeper's glove as in between off and middle stump) and "up the tree" and that works wonderfully well, however I have never had a similar guideline for the downswing , please explain and give a good surgism for how to begin downward path come down and approach the ball, besides the lateral bump and the follow through to the T-finish. The on-on-on needs a simpler visualisation and surgism.
Are you advising the return path like some Moe Normanites advocate. I guess not because your starting position is different from the impact position so there is a change in the swing plain.

2. I seem not be able to feel and get the power and distance even though I hit the ball purer than my semi vertical-rotational swing , where I do get a lot of power and more distance but sometime end up the dreaded hooks. I do feel a bit restricted in the PPGS swing and unable to unleash fully. May be there are small issues in the set up or is it that PPGS is restrictive controlled swing.

Please shed light on these issues for my and others benefit and I do not want to be travelling on 2 boats at the same time. Hoping to be a 100 % PPGS convert

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on


No matter what "swing" you are using you have to get to this position if you want to reach your potential.

Sure you can hit the ball with the shaft above plane at that point (I did it for years) and most people trying to follow the "directions" are going to be above plane.

It's sort of like in baseball. Batters can have the bat in all sorts of positions in their "stance". Vertical, laid off, hands high, hands low, and almost any position. Except that just before pulling the trigger every single Major League hitter (excluding pitchers who can't hit anyway) have the bat dissecting the center of their head from the pitcher's view. That's the "magic" position in baseball and the easiest way to spot the difference in a good hitter and a hitter that has no chance of reaching the highest levels.

In golf the "magic" position is after the arms drop down to the lower plane and instead of dissecting the head like in baseball the shaft dissects the right forearm. Also the easiest way to spot the difference between a good player and a player that has no chance of reaching the highest levels.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I haven't used that drill but it looks like it would be good for "dropping into the slot" (which cures a whole bucket full of ills). ;-)

I never had a problem coming over the top or out to in. In fact if anything my natural tendency was to come too much from the inside.

I did have a problem with having the shaft above plane at halfway down when I was attempting a "vertical" swing. I was so obsessed with trying to keep the club as vertical as possible (and figuring out a way to make it work) that I wasn't letting the shaft lay off on the way down.

Someone who is already a high level ball striker, like Surge or DJ, probably doesn't even realize how unlikely the rest of us are to get in the correct position unless we really work on it.

I've been working on it for 5 months. 1000s and 1000s of slow motion drills all winter long to "change the picture". With the new picture the first few times out I was shanking about every other shot and hooking, pulling, pushing, or fatting the ones I didn't shank. Took a lot of patience to stick with a change I knew I needed to make and ignore the results.

I can officially say the picture has changed and now I'm only dealing with the inevitable growing pains that come from hitting the ball from an entirely different position.

Those "growing pains" become less and less obvious everyday and when it's right it's really right.

Golfers that think they can change the picture by hitting balls in hopes that it will change on it's own, or just from trying a tip, are in for a long empty dead end road.

To truly change a swing takes many, many, many reps in slow motion until the desired motion becomes the new normal.

I hate to say it but many people are changing the picture but it's the wrong picture.

prsurbeck's picture

Submitted by prsurbeck on

Hi Don,
Having watched many daily blogs and read much in the PPGS library, I am having a problem getting the distance.
With no PPGS instructor in my area, and while home visiting the folks in Melbourne, AU I had a lesson with an instructor. He advised to keep a torsion during the backswing - I merely applied the 3/4 rotation to keep out of the "burial ground" and then "snapped the swing" by releasing the torsion in the swing. Control is a bit more difficult but the distance was significantly greater.

Is torsion involved in a true PPGS backswing?


Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Torsion or torque in golf normally refers to the club twisting or not, ie. the club face twisting off line when hit off center. Could you find different terminology for your question and supply us a bit more detail so we can answer your question better?

bgrim01@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by bgrim01@gmail.com on

This happened to me ONCE with my regular group shortly after I implemented the PPGS swing. I asked the "coach" for a $20 side bet with no strokes given and another $20 for most GIRs and FIRs. The $40 got my wife a nice gift and he never said another word, but his ego refuses to acknowledge the PPGS as superior to the "classic" swing. He continues to pay me as well except when the putter lets me down. :)