Official website of Boulder, Colorado PGA Teaching Pro RJ Wiegand / (303) 808-9355 / Contact

Full Swing


By RJ Wiegand, PGA

Overall Picture

  • Did the student make a balanced swing?  If not, what was unbalanced? Did they hang back on their right side or did they fall backwards after the downswing?
  • How was the overall swing tempo?  The average tour swing is 1.1 seconds from initiation of the backswing until impact.  Is this swing within that range or is the swing too quick or too slow.
  • Does this person have any athletic ability?  Did the student make an athletic move at the ball?  This relates to hand-eye coordination.  Can they make contact with the golf ball consistently and get the ball airborne or do they barely hit the golf ball.  Does this person have flexibility limitations or do they rotate their shoulders and hips too much?

Club Performance (at impact)

  • Was the club traveling on an inside-to-out path (acceptable range is approximately 0-4 degrees inside-to-out swing path.  If not, where was the club coming from (slightly outside-to-in is ok) or (straight down-the-line which would be ideal).
  • What was the clubface angle at impact?  Was the clubface open, closed or square to the path?  Zero to three degrees variance between face to path would be playable.
  • What was the club’s angle of approach or attack angle?  Recent PGA Tour data from TrackMan shows the average degree of downward hit for a 3 wood is 2.9 degrees, 4.1 for the 6 iron and 5.0 for the pitching wedge. Too steep, too shallow or was the angle of approach reasonable for the club being hit.
  • What is the vertical launch angle in relation to spin rate?  Average 2010 PGA Tour vertical launch angle for the driver is 11.2 degrees with 2685 rpm spin rate.  Generally speaking we are looking for higher launch with lower spin depending on club head speed.
  • Centeredness of hit describes where the ball made contact on the clubface.  We want the ball to contact 100% in the middle of the clubface.  Was contact on the heel (toward the hosel) or was contact toward the toe of the club and is lie angle an issue?
  • What type of club head speed was generated?  The average male should approach 80 mph when hitting a 6 iron; TrackMan PGA Tour average is 92 mph for a 6 iron.  A lack of speed or excessive speed would suggest a lack of efficient rotation in either the shoulders or hips.
  • Pre-determined trajectory of the shot.  Was the student trying to hit a knock-down shot (de-lofting the club) or perhaps a high, soft landing shot.  TrackMan Tour data shows the average max height for shots ranging from the driver to pitching wedge are anywhere from 27 to 31 yards.

Set Up

Grip type is either overlap, interlock or ten-finger (baseball).  The ten-      finger grip is usually seen in young children as their hands are quite small       and not very strong.  The ten-finger grip provides for more support on  the golf club at a young age.  The interlocking grip (Nicklaus, Woods) is       considered a bit stronger than the overlapping grip.  Stronger meaning people with smaller hands may wish to use the interlocking grip as     opposed to the overlapping grip.  We hold the golf club in our fingers     and not in our hands.

Grip (the 3 p’s)

Placement – interlock, overlap, ten-finger -where are the hands on the       club

Positioning – neutral grip with palms facing one another (V’s of the       thumbs and index fingers pointing toward the right armpit) – rotational       position of hands on club)

Pressure – medium to light grip pressure (3 out of 10)

The grip is essential as it is the only part of your body that touches the  golf  club.  Your hand positions on the golf club are considered neutral, strong or weak.  Generally speaking we teach a neutral grip.  Neutral hand positions on the club mean that when you place your left hand on the club (for right-handed players) the crease between your thumb and index finger point in the direction of your right armpit.  Likewise, after placing your right hand on the club, the crease between your right thumb and right index finger should point toward your right armpit as well.  The creases between the thumb and index fingers should point toward the left armpit for the left-handed golfer.

From this neutral grip position, the more right-handed players rotate their hands to the right on the golf club, the stronger the grip becomes.  A strong grip generally promotes a closed clubface resulting in a right to left ball flight.  Signs of a strong grip are a cupped left wrist at set up or a right hand that appears to be almost under the golf club at set up.  A weak grip is the opposite of a strong grip.  The more the hands rotate to the left on the club (for righties) the weaker the grip becomes.  A weak grip will tend to keep the clubface open longer through the hitting zone resulting in a left-to-right ball flight.  These comments are simply guidelines to follow.  A strong grip does not equal a closed clubface or draw ball flight.  With a strong grip the golfer must compensate somehow in order not to hit the ball left and vice versa the weak gripped player will compensate in order not to hit a slicing golf ball.  This is precisely why we teach a neutral golf grip.  The less compensating movements we require in our golf swing the more consistent our ball-striking will become.

Set Up  – Front View

feet close to shoulder width apart

hips are evenly balanced

slight spine tilt to the right (for right-handed players)

hands even to slightly forward of the golf ball

Set Up – Side View

athletic knee flex

proud spine (stick out rear end)

bent forward from the hips

arms hang down and slightly out from the chest (can see space between hands and thighs, hands should be even with toes,                         shaft plane intersecting the belt buckle)

chin up

aim – place a club behind the feet so as to touching the heels of  the feet.  The club should aim parallel left of the target line.  If the                                                 club points right of the target line the stance is closed or if the  club points left of the target line the stance is open.


(Coil = shoulders, core move together first followed by the legs)

Front View

  • Torso (shoulders) rotate above a stable lower body to maximize the difference between shoulder and hip rotation measurements (X-factor).   Shoulders have the largest range of motion (rotation) while moving around 90 degrees to the spine.
  • Does the left leg dip excessively toward the right knee or does the  student sway over to their right side as opposed to rotating their hips.  I                                     am looking to see if their hips remain within the boundaries of their feet    during the backswing.
  • Weight shift (with adequate coil) creates the space for arm extension and     width in the backswing vs. reverse pivot.
  • Efficient back swing body motion helps create the connective tension  necessary to drive the down swing movements in sequence.
  • At the top of the backswing, draw a circle around the student’s head and draw a line from the chin down to the ground.  I am looking to see if they   have made a reasonable weight shift or if they reverse pivot.  The line should intersect the ground behind the golf ball, however, inside of the right foot.  The head does move slightly from left to right during the backswing in order to make a proper weight shift onto the right side.

Side View

  • Do the upper body and core initiate the backswing by rotating together?                          Is it a one piece take-a-way?  Where is the club in relation to the swing                                     plane by the time the club reaches hip height?  Is the club too far inside                                     suggesting an over rotation of the arms around the body.  The arms need                         to remain in front of the body at this point in the backswing.  At hip                                     height, is the clubface open, closed or square to path?
  • The upper body (shoulders) rotate or coil over the right hip creating a                   powerful weight shift during the backswing (for righties). Your weight                   should be firmly in the heel of your right foot at the top of the backswing.
  • Quiet lower body (legs) on the backswing.  Do the hips rotate approx. 45                                     degrees keeping the right knee stationary but flexed (weight on the inside                         of the right foot and heel) or does the right leg straighten allowing the                                     lower body to sway off the ball?  How active is the left leg?  On average,                                     the left knee moves 2 inches toward the right knee during the backswing.                          Does the left leg collapse leading to excessive hip tilt or is there an                                     appropriate amount of space between the knees at the top of the                                                 backswing?
  • Are the arms lifting excessively reducing shoulder tilt and altering your spine angle?  During the coil, the original spine angle is maintained (shoulder tilt is around 36 degrees at the top – left shoulder is lower than the right shoulder for righties vs. lifting up where the shoulders become more level.


(Using the ground for leverage, uncoil from the ground up – knees and hips driving toward left side first, core rotation including shoulders followed by the arms last.  Finish the turn standing tall firmly on your left side with your belt buckle and chest facing your target).

Front View

  • Does the lower body slide or sway excessively?  If so, not good.  We                   want to post-up (straight left leg) at impact.
  • The hands should lead the club thru the hitting zone.  Straight left arm – an extension of the golf club at impact.
  • The head should be slightly behind the golf ball at impact.
  • Balanced weight shift entirely onto the left leg at finish.

Side View

  • Is the core over rotating?  I should see the right side obliques at impact as opposed to the lower back.
  • Are the arms over active chopping down at the ball, casting the club                                     releasing all wrist hinge too early?
  • Is the heel of the right foot too up in the air at impact suggesting over rotation of the hips and legs and a possible loss of spine angle?  The right foot should be slightly raised off the ground but not on the toes at impact.
  • Are the arms stuck behind the body just prior to impact or are the arms more in front of the body as they should be allowing for a proper release of the golf club.

Overall Picture

  • How bad or good is it?  Determine length of time to accomplish stated goals.
  • Start with set up corrections if any are needed and give the student homework regarding their set up adjustments.