The Pro Position

If there is one swing position that I think is the key for the rest of the swing, this is it.

Over the years I have noticed one swing position common to almost all tour pros regardless of their size or build. If you study the swing sequences from month to month in Golf Digest or Golf Magazine, you too will notice this position.

I don’t believe that there is only one way to swing a golf club; however, over the years I have studied countless tour swings on video. After seeing this common thread among the best in the world, I have made it one of the main things I focus on when teaching the golf swing. I know from experience that if I get my golfers into the pro position in the backswing that they will have the ability to play confident, consistent, top-level golf.

Here are the facts: Most pros keep the clubhead outside the hands when the shaft is parallel to the ground during the backswing (as shown in the photo, right). This not only ensures the club is on a great path, it also creates tremendous width, which maximizes distance. That’s one of the reasons the pros hit it so far. Even the smaller guys like Ricky Fowler pound it! He really exaggerates this move.

Most amateurs take the clubhead inside the hands and feet by the time the shaft is parallel to the ground during the backswing. The problem with this faulty technique is that once the clubhead comes inside the hands you are more or less on a recovery mission for the rest of the swing. This leads to bad habits and shots being hit impressively and embarrassingly off-line, going in multiple directions. End result: shattered confidence.

When I get my golfers into the pro position, they no longer fear going left. Once that fear is eliminated, they can swing freely. Confidence replaces fear. Not only does my students’ accuracy dramatically improve, so does their distance.

The great thing about adapting to this swing adjustment is that it happens so early in the swing it is easy to incorporate without feeling too technical. Once you have made it to this position, the only thing left to do is commit to a full, firm swing.

For those of you who whip the clubhead inside during the takeaway, when you first start to work on getting into the pro position, it will probably feel awkward, as if you’re taking the club on an exagerated outside path. But as Butch Harmon says, “Feel and real are two different things.” If something feels awkward, I say great! It is easy to “feel” what awkward is. So embrace that awkward feeling until it feels natural. You’ll love the results!

I’ll explain more about this move in my next lesson.

If you have a topic you would like addressed please leave a comment and I’ll get to it. Thanks for following!


  • Hey Coach,

    Great points! Very true. Do you have any tips on trying to keep the hands in the proper place on the downswing, when you initially start it?

  • Matthew:
    I’ve got suspicions but I’d need to see your swing via email or in person to give you an educated answer. Perhaps we can get together for a lesson.

  • Great lesson! This one simple step can really benefit any player of any ability, from my own experiences and working with coach, my swing was always on a recovery mission before incorporating this in my back swing. Feeling awkward with a new take away is perfect for your body to know on the golf course/range that your doing right, if it doesn’t feel awkward at first your falling back into your same swing which will have no improvements for your future swing. After incorporating this into my swing, I have seen greater distance and I no longer fear going off to the right!

  • By getting my hands into a better or “pro” position, I have allowed myself to avoid getting the club stuck behind me on the downswing. This past break I noticed I had started taking the club outside and closed. By getting the club in a more square position I have been able to release the club naturally instead of having it drop behind me on the downswing.

  • I remember when I sent my swing video to you over the summer the first thing you told me to do was look at this post and work on the pro position. I am still trying to implement this move into my swing but it feels extremely awkward. In the long run though I definitely feel like making this adjustment will pay off.

  • I think this tip goes along with the tips you made about the loop in the next post. This position definitely feels awkward at first, but when you get it right for a few shots, it doesn’t feel awkward at all. It feels like the club just falls into place for a smoother swing and transition.

  • I really like this article. This is something I have been trying to emulate for a pretty long time now. I think it is super important to my swing and success. I have worked hard to get my club in this spot and complete the loop that is discussed in the next post. This has helped keep my driver more on line and limiting my misses in both directions.

  • I always notice this when I look at all the pros on TV. Now that I think about it, the inside move can definitely cause an over the top motion for compensation. There are so few pros who come over the top because it produces such little power and leads to an easy hook or slice if you’re not careful. The wrong, inside move gets people really stuck on the backswing and nothing looks natural about it. The clubhead outside of the hands leads to a really free-flowing look to one’s swing and it’s a major reason the pros have that effortless motion that everyone desires.

  • Brett I use to have your same problem. What I did was try and take the longest back swing possible. I even implemented it into my pre-shot routine, practicing a straight back take away keeping the club as square to the ball. Much like Johnny does, or Ricky Fowler (yeah, I just put them in a sentence together). Anyways this worked for me, you have such a minty move, a little two plane outside the hands back swing is what you need; join the club, all the cool kids are doing it (yeah, that was some sort of peer pressure, and not hazing).

  • Great points Coach. I like the point about getting your hands in the pro position so that you can swing freely because whenever I have a good smooth backswing I can just let the club do the work on the down downswing. If I let the club do the work it lets my hands turn over correctly causing my shots to be longer and more accurate.

  • I really like this article! This is something that I am constantly working on in my swing. I feel as that once I get into the “pro position” all I have to do is turn to the top of the backswing, and then fire. Not only do I hit the ball great but it builds my confidence as well.

  • Mitchell Campbell

    Feel is not real! That is something my old Coach told me all of the time! As for the pro position it sets you up for the rest of the swing. I have really worked hard on getting in this position. After I have hit that position I feel like I can swing naturally and confidently. The pros do it for a reason! Thanks for the point Coach.

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