Get to this position at the top of the backswing to make better contact

brian manzella demonstrates swing positions

If you want to make consistently solid contact, you need the shaft to point between your elbows at the top of the swing.

Stephen Denton

Jack Nicklaus’ unmistakable top-of-backswing position (above, left) featured a “flying” right elbow with the club on plane and ready to motion powerfully through impact. Notice how the club shaft points between his (well, my) elbows? That’s where you want to be. 

Jack worked to keep the shaft between his elbows from address to follow-through. This allowed him to take advantage of his powerful body rotation while remaining neutral at impact. Unless you have the clubhead speed of Jon Rahm or Bubba Watson, you should strive to be neutral at impact too. 

Tthe best way to do that is to copy Jack’s shaft position. When you lay the club off at the top like Dustin Johnson does (above, middle) or over the target line like Matthew Wolff (above, right), there’s just too much manipulation and timing that must happen for you to get back to neutral. 

Stay on plane — like Jack — and you’ll make better, more consistent contact. 

Brian Manzella is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and the owner of the Studio in the Sky. He also teaches at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans, La.

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Brian Manzella