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Yurgalevicz: Add more depth for draws

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I’ve taught thousands of golfers and given even more lessons, and I can assure you that there is an epidemic among average golfers who:

  1. Pronate their left forearm and roll their wrists during the takeaway, which moves the clubhead well inside their hands.
  2. Take the club “straight back and up” on the takeaway.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many ways to swing a golf club — and proof of this is seen every week on the PGA Tour — but I continually see amateur golfers misconstrue the importance of what I call “depth” in their backswings. That’s why I’m going to explain what depth is and how it can help many golfers play better golf and potentially start hitting the elusive draw.

Left: The pronation and rolling of the left forearm and wrist during the backswing that is common in so many golfers. Right: A backswing that is “straight back and up,” which is another common move among average players.

The problem with both positions above is that from the top of the backswing we tend to see an over-the-top move unless there is a dramatic move to reroute the club.

Tops of backswing

Both of these backswings have high hands and very little depth.

How To Check Your Depth

To create proper depth in the backswing, the hands and arms should be moving in and around the body throughout the backswing, but the clubhead should never be farther in than the hands before the clubhead reaches hip height.

A good way to check to see if you have proper depth is this:

  • From a down-the-line view, draw a line up from behind your heels.
  • Then take your swing to the top of the backswing.
  • If your hands are on the line or to the left of the line (for a right-handed golfer) you most likely have plenty of depth.
  • If the hands are high, above the shoulders and to the right of the line, however, you have a depth issue.
Correct Takeaway and Top

In the takeaway (left), the hands have moved in and around the body and the clubhead is in line with hands. At the top (right), the arms are across the shoulders and there is plenty of depth.

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but for most golfers with over-the-top moves this can be a very simple solution to a nagging slicing problem.

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Scott is a Certified Personal Coach at GolfTEC Main Line in Villanova, PA and also the Head Men's Golf Coach @ Division III Rosemont College. Each day he utilizes 3-D Motion Measurements, Foresight Launch Monitors, and high speed video to help each of his students achieve their specific goals. Past experience include owning and and operating the Yur Golf Swing Teaching Academy in Philadelphia. He started my golfing career at Radnor Valley Country Club in Villanova, Penn., and spent time at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. In his short 7 year instruction career he as taught over 5,000 golf lessons. He currently works with many of the top local Amateur golfers in the Philadelphia area, and many of the best Junior golfers. Teaching golf has always been my passion and with my civil engineering and philosophy background from Villanova University, I am able bring interesting perspective and effective techniques to my instruction.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Josh

    Mar 11, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    So if you have a backswing that lacks the “depth” you talk about in the article, would it be better to place a cut?

    I don’t know that I can get my swing to have anymore depth

  2. HawkeyeDan

    Feb 1, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Scott, does your grip affect how this all starts? I.e. Start the chain reaction?

  3. Roger

    Jan 31, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Good read. Hard to hit from the inside enough if you’re hand are way outside at the top. I will say however, when my swing goes off the rail I start missing right. The first thing I check (or need to be reminded by my coach), and what I think everyone who wants to move the ball left to right needs to fix first is the club face. If you’re open at the top and you’re open coming down, there’s a very good chance you’ll come over the top because your subconscious knows that ball is going hard right otherwise. For me this involves strengthening my grip until I’m hitting hard hooks, even snap hooks. Once I know the face is closing/rotating properly, then I can start swinging more and more from the inside until the flight goes from a hook to a draw.

  4. Mike

    Jan 31, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Not a very good read. I have a buddy who takes the club way outside on the take away and hits the most beautiful little draw time after time.

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Jan 31, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Mike, Thanks for the constructive feedback. As stated in the article and in my comment below…….”Don’t get me wrong. There are many ways to swing a golf club — and proof of this is seen every week on the PGA Tour — but I continually see amateur golfers misconstrue the importance of what I call “depth” in their backswings”

      Cheers,
      Scott Yurgalevicz

      • Mike

        Jan 31, 2015 at 11:01 pm

        No hard feelings! You are a really good writer. And yes this is one of the more common flaws for a beginner. I just disagree with some of the things said.

        -Mike

    • JR

      Jan 31, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Someone obviously didn’t read or comprehend the article.

  5. Todd H

    Jan 31, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    From this same view with the same lines, can’t we use this to evaluate how the weight is shifting or not shifting either towards the ball (toes) or away from the ball (heels)? I have a tendency to get on my toes and get off center contact, this view and having the line drawn up from the heels, showed me how I was moving my rear towards the ball on the downswing (sometimes resulting in a shank)…. Shouldnt the the weight stay centered in that regard?

    On a positive note, the move described in the article regarding depth was right on, and I had plenty of depth.

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Jan 31, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Todd, glad the article helps to at least check on your depth. Another good way to check for weight from heel to toe would be creating a box around your body in the down the line camera view the top right corner being your head and extending it down to the bottom left just beyond your heels and in line with your butt.

  6. Ponjo

    Jan 31, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Scott. Am I right in assuming that as you take the club away the left shoulder dips. This prevents the arms/hands climbing up. Thanks

    • Scott Yurgalevicz

      Jan 31, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I wouldn’t say the shoulder dips…..more of a tilting rather than dipping. Tilting on an axis should create an equal amount of depth and height in the backswing. Thanks Ponjo!

  7. Scott Yurgalevicz

    Jan 31, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Just as an FYI, There are a lot of ways to hit a draw but for the average golfer/slicer/fader, this CAN help. There are other things that need to be considered but this can def make a difference.

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