Updated on February 20th, 2023 at 03:30 pm
If you’re new to golfing you’ve been bombarded by a lot of things you need to learn. One of those things is the golf sequence. So now you’re wondering, what is a golf swing sequence?
The golf swing sequence is the order of events that occur throughout the golf swing. The setup and address will begin the golf swing sequence, which is then followed by the backswing, the top, and the downswing. Ultimately the swing will finish with the follow-through, once impact with the golf ball is made.
Seems simple, right? Just complete these steps in that order, and you will no longer hit those bad shots on the course – if only it were. However, the proper golf swing sequence is the first step towards hitting more consistent shots, correcting the path, improving your weight transfer, and optimizing the impact position.
Why is golf swing sequence important?
The golf swing sequence is important because the timing and events of a golf swing are just as important as the correct positioning of the club. With a proper golf swing sequence, the body and the club will work together and create effortless power, speed, and control.
Most golfers understand that the address position in golf would come before takeaway. However, some things must occur within each of these steps for this kinematic sequence to work properly. Bear in mind that a golf shot has a lot of moving parts, and they move quickly; a great sequence takes some time.
One of the great things about the sequence in golf is that even though you will have nuances that make your swing profile your own, the same basic steps are followed each time a golfer strikes a golf ball.
Step-by-step golf swing sequence
The golf sequence will get your body and your club into the proper position. However, depending on the club you wield and the associated golf swing plane, the steps could change slightly.
1. Setup and address
The first step in a proper sequence is the setup and address position. This setup will include proper ball position, a square club, feet in the correct position, weight balanced between the feet, and proper spine angle and tilt.
The setup position is not the most fun for beginner golfers to work on; however, if the club face angle, shoulder, or hip position is off to start with, the swing will never work correctly.
2. Takeaway (First move away from the ball)
The takeaway is the most crucial part of the golf swing. Only highly skilled players (Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Justin Rose, etc.) could have a terrible takeaway, get the club back on plane, and still have a proper angle of attack.
Amateur golfers need to have a solid foundation (the setup) and then follow it up with a takeaway that is repeatable, consistent, and gets the different body segments working together.
Keeping the golf posture in place and allowing the club shaft and clubhead to remain low on the takeaway is one of the best ways to get consistent contact and better results.
3. Golf backswing sequence
The backswing is the position between the takeaway and the top of the swing. The takeaway really lasts until the club is just shy of waist high, and then the backswing takes over for the rest of the swing. The backswing’s most important part is ensuring that the club remains on plane.
Golfers that are good at rotating their body (shoulders, hips) will have better weight transfer and develop higher levels of swing speed in the backswing.
4. Top or parallel positioning
Most backswings end in a position where the golf club is parallel to the ground at the top. A proper swing sequence is one where the club does not go past parallel. As many professionals and golf experts say, nothing great happens after parallel.
If your swing comes up just short of parallel from time to time, this likely won’t impact your game all that much. Although you may lose a little speed at impact, the control in your golf game may be much better.
5. The transition from backswing to downswing
One of the most common swing faults for amateur golfers is the sequencing of the transition from backswing to downswing. As we mentioned, in order to maximize club head speed and have an exceptional swing, this transition needs to be clean.
Most players do their best by allowing their hands and arms to take a slight pause at the top. This improves swing tempo and allows the body to start to rotate and the hands and arms to drop into place.
Without a proper transition, you will end up with a herky-jerky inefficient swing. A golf swing analyzer can give players instant feedback on whether their golf swing is efficient at the top.
6. Approach impact
Most players think that after the transition in a normal swing, you will have impact. However, we are learning so much more about the angle of approach and its value in an outstanding golf swing. The approach of impact should be coming from Inside the ball, with a path that allows a golfer to swing outwards. If the rest of the sequence has been followed, you will see fewer issues during this approach position.
However, for those golfers that skipped things like a perfect takeaway, this is where you will have to try and get things back on track. I highly recommend looking at golfers on the PGA Tour and studying what their approach to impact looks like.
7. Impact (hitting the golf ball)
Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for; impact. When you head to the driving range for your practice sessions, chances are you are working on impact alone. Hopefully, now you can see that there are more steps involved with getting to this impact position.
The swing arc and actual impact position are slightly different depending on the club you are hitting. In addition, if you are hitting chip shots or pitch shots, an effective golf swing may look different than a driver’s.
- Driver Shots: Golfers must hit driver shots as part of the upswing. Even great ball strikers will need to move the golf ball a little further up in the stance to create a perfect transition and weight transfer at impact.
- Fairway Shots: Fairway shots are different in that the impact should be more of a descending blow. The transition between backswing and downswing will likely result in a slightly steeper angle and a higher overall ball flight.
- Bunkers: Bunker shots require a golfer to hit some sand along with their golf ball. Striking the sand reduces errant shots, increases overall spin, and can make it much easier to get the ball close to the hole.
- Rough: Hitting out of the Rough requires swing balance, stability in your head movements, and a club with plenty of loft. Expect low spin out of the rough.
- Putting Green: Believe it or not, there is a golf sequence for putting. With putting, the impact should be a movement where the golf club is accelerating and heading toward the target on a straight and accurate path.
8. Golf swing follow through and finish
Now that you have made it to the impact position, you are almost finished. The key is you are not finished, just almost finished. All golfers must get to a complete follow-through where all weight is transferred to the left side (for a right-handed player), and the player is in balance looking at the target.
Extra weight on the back foot leads to swing issues and problems with both turf interaction and rhythm. Get to a fully balanced forward position and you will see positive results in your game.
What is the most important move in the golf swing?
The most important move in the golf swing is the takeaway. If you want the proper swing path and body movement, a great coach or teacher will tell you that it starts with the first move away from the ball. All other actions and steps that happen in golf occur after the takeaway.
My best advice for a perfect takeaway is to keep the club low and along the ground. Heavy training clubs can also teach you how to create extra power and improve tempo by moving the golf club away from the ball slowly.
A low and slow takeaway will get you quite far in creating a hitting swing that is repeatable and on plane.
Should your golf swing sequence change based on the club you are hitting?
A golf swing sequence will not change based on the club you have in your hand. Expect all swings to have the setup, takeaway, backswing, transition, downswing, approach to impact, and follow-through. However, the details of each of these parts of the sequence will change considerably based on the club that is in your hand.
If you are hitting a drive on the first tee box, expect a wider swing arc, more weight transfer, and overall higher power. If you hit a chip shot to the green, different muscles will be employed, and the club head will likely not travel quite as far or as fast.
Practice your swing sequence on the range, and you will quickly notice how it is slightly modified for each club in the bag.
Tips for mastery
To get your swing sequence down and create effortless power, there are a few things that you can do to speed up the process.
Develop muscle memory
A golfer that has muscle memory will have a repeatable motion. With a repeatable swing, consistency on the golf course is attainable. Have a stock shot where you know you are in the correct position, and work on repeating that over and over again.
It takes some time to learn these steps the right way. The last thing you want is to swing sloppy and have your upper body and lower body out of sync. When you head to the driving range, pay attention to the club head, make sure it’s in the right spot, and go through each of these steps until you are in the correct position for each. This will take quite a few practice sessions.
Use proper training aids
A golf swing plane training aid can be extremely beneficial when working on sequence. Having a swing tempo trainer as well as a trainer for speed and an impact golf swing training system makes all the difference. Many golfers can’t feel the positions they need to be in, and the proper golf swing plane trainers or weighted training tools can get them there.
With a proper golf swing sequence, even a new beginner golfer can really start to get a handle on what it takes to hit quality golf shots. Focus your time on each part of the sequence and when you feel as though you have mastered something, move on to the next area of weakness.
Address, takeaway, and follow-through should be the easiest to master. The backswing and downswing are where the game of golf gets tricky. Don’t hesitate to take some videos of your golf swing and make sure your sequence looks the way it should and compares to those that are experts in the game.