How Shallow Is Your Backswing?

Believe it or not, the topic of how shallow my club position during my back and downswing has never come up. I never really thought about it. After watching a video my Andrew Rice, I realized that I needed to look into this topic a bit deeper. The gist of the topic is ensuring the club shaft in is the correct position on my downswing to ensure I generate the maximum power possible. Rice explains that there is an active or passive approach to shallowing that escaped my attention in the past. Well, I am over that now and think it is something I need to investigate.

Passive or active shallowing basically descripts if a golfer moves the club into the proper position at the top of their golf swing. Jim Furyk is a perfect example of players who are using an active approach to shallowing. Tiger Woods, as Rice mentions, is a passive player. Regardless of which side of the fence you fall, ensuring your club is on the proper plane during your downswing is very important.

I went back and looked at some of my videos and I am a passive shallower. My club does not waver at the top of my back swing and the plane by which I swing is fairly consistent. The only thing I do not know is if my swing plane is optimum. For that I would needs some lessons and swing analysis. I realize there is ample opportunities to check this out virtually, but it definitely will have to wait until next spring…..if at all.

I am not closing the doors on making any major swing changes in 2022 (changing my club position on my downswing would be a major change), however I believe my golf game will be taking a different direction. I am not ready to fully discuss my plans because they are not fully decided. But, if things go the way I would like, I can see my golf game changing. How is that for a teaser 😉

Andrew Rice presents moving the club in to the proper position on our downswing as an active or passive action. Regardless, the main point is to ensure the shaft of the club is in the proper position to optimize your power. This is a good topic to investigate and you are interested, I recommend you talk to your local golf professional. I think this topic will need some professional advice.

I am a grateful golfer. See you on the links!


8 thoughts on “How Shallow Is Your Backswing?

  1. Timing is everything and this is no exception. The keys to a good swing demand we do things in proper order. The act of shallowing for the active shallower happens during transition, not “on” the downswing. By the time we are really in the downswing it’s too late. You simply can’t shallow out once centrifugal force comes into play.

    The passive shallower sets his club in at least a semi laid off position as part of a one piece back swing. There is no adjustments needed at transition with the angle of attack of the club. But that is the key thing happening with the active shallower. He is doing multiple things at the same time during the “pause” at the top. You will see the club being laid off and you will notice his hands lowering a little. That last is partly optical illusion because of things he’s doing with his lower body at the same time.

    It’s a ballet of movement. As he is laying off, his hip is being thrust toward the target, the knee on his trail leg bends as he prepares to push weight forward. Those two things drop his whole body lower to the ground making it look as if he is lowering his hands more than he really is.

    That’s the point where he is ready and the down swing actually begins as he releases the stored energy in his coiled body. The lead knee bends just a fraction more and moves left. Centrifugal force begins it’s work on the club head. Dragging it along behind the hands as the rotation back begins and the trail leg starts pushing weight towards the target. The club is just following the hands now. It’s too late to change it’s orientation.

    Then, as the hands get just below the belt line, your weight has already transferred fully on to the lead leg and it begins pushing up off the ground and that adds speed through the release as the hands are just being pulled back up along the arc of the swing which also is increasing clubhead speed. And your continued rotation brings the club through the impact zone.

    Timing is everything if you want to get the most from your swing. The club head is essentially the end of a pendulum (the club) working from a pendulum (your arms) and you have to have both in sync to get the most out of the process. And we do that by timing when we do what with our bodies.

    It’s essential to get that timing down right. Thinking about laying off on the down swing as you put it, will lead you to ruin rather than help. It can’t really be done.

    As for Jim Furyk, he’s actually a passive shallower. What he uses is an exaggerated swing path to get the job done. He goes straight up, then around behind and under to get on the inside out path to the ball. It’s still basically one piece, it’s just more round than it is back and through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      You dissected Andrew’s swing well. I am new to this shallowing technique and still have a challenge getting my mind around it. I like the concepts and is something that I will continue to investigate.

      Cheers Jim


    • Is it really possible for an old dog to learn new tricks ? Possibly, with video and lots of repetition. My own miss is usually traced to too steep of a swing plane, this is an interesting topic.


  2. Hey Jim:

    Nice article. My backswing was steep by design. Now, out of necessity, I sought out to flatten it right out. The results are encouraging. It’s allowing me to golf and be relatively pain-free. My back is so buggered up and the back was causing me to extend early which of course can lead to a chicken wing. Which it did. I felt it during one particular session and was immediately troubled by the feeling. It explained my less than adequate ball-striking.

    Flatter and more rotation have helped a lot.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Something I never took into consideration. I always thought most everything in the golf swing was active, thus making the entire swing and all its components active. I feel that is how Ben Hogan approached his swing while George Knudson felt that most of the swing was passive or natural. Definitely will be thinking through this as I have a strong tendency to be more vertical on my downswing and have been really trying to shallow it out. Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s