How to Not Get Stuck in the Golf Swing

By Mike Southern
Getting stuck begins with an incorrect takeaway.
Getting stuck begins with an incorrect takeaway.

"Getting stuck" is a problem many golfers face from time to time. It means that as the club head nears the ball at the bottom of the downswing, it and the hands are so far behind the player that they can't strike the ball properly. The shot (for right-handers) typically goes right because the face off the club is open, resulting in a push-slice. Some players manage to flip their wrists at contact, resulting in a big hook. Getting stuck can be prevented by eliminating a couple of excess movements in your swing.

Take your normal setup, making sure that your arms are relaxed and hanging down comfortably. Many players worry about remaining “connected” during the swing, but your upper arms should rest lightly against the sides of your chest at setup. This is all that is necessary.

Start your backswing by rotating your shoulders, also called “coiling your upper body.” Your arms should remain fairly straight as you swing the club away from the ball, even though they are relaxed. Many players fold their left arm across their chest, but that's not necessary to maintain the connected position you had at setup. By keeping your arms extended but relaxed, you will keep your hands more in front of your body.

Turn until your hands are near waist high. You have made what many teachers call a one-piece takeaway; both arms are still relatively straight and relaxed. If you have been having difficulty with getting stuck, this will probably feel as if your hands are moving up rather than back. That is a normal sensation.

Let your right elbow begin to fold. This will simultaneously cock your wrists and move your hands back and up above shoulder height. If you have been folding your left arm across your chest, this move to the top may feel as if it is vertical lift, although it is not. When you finish, your wrists will be fully cocked and your club shaft pointed toward the target.

Start your downswing by feeling that your right shoulder and right hip move toward the ball at the same time. Players who get stuck frequently push or slide their hips forward too fast, causing them to lean backward (a reverse-C) and further slow down the upper body. By feeling as if you start your shoulder and hip at the same time, you will keep both your upper and lower body in sync as the downswing starts. Because your shoulders are turned more than your hips, your lower body will still lead the swing, but by trying to start them together, you will turn your hips to the left rather than sliding forward too much. This will prevent you from leaning backward and actually make it possible for you to unwind faster.

Strike the ball and finish your swing. You will end up in a more balanced posture, with less stress on your back.

About the Author

North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.

Photo Credits

  • Young golfer preparing for a shot on the range image by Vanessa van Rensburg from Fotolia.com
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