Craig Skudder Golf

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Detailed Golf Swing Video Analysis

Here is a detailed golf swing analysis. The objective of this page is to help give you a basic understanding of the positions we are looking for in the various stages of the golf swing from start to finish. The golf swing can have many valid and effective variations - this is merely one of them - but it does serve as a good basis to work around with a lot of solid theory behind it.


The reasons for the positions are not stated, nor is the know-how to get into these positions and how to make them stick. This page is not designed to give you a great swing but to help you decide if you would like to have lessons to help you strive towards improving your golf game, or if you are already having lessons to serve as a reminder as to the positions you want to achieve.


The golf swing and the knowledge displayed below is a glimpse of the knowledge that has come from a variety of sources accumulated over my golfing career and golfing life, portrayed using my own words and perspective. Not that I'm done yet, I'm always open to learning, researching and experiencing new golfing techniques and theories.


All references below are made using a male right handed golfer using a mid-iron as the swing model. For left handed golfers, simply swap the rights for lefts and lefts for rights! And dtl stands for down the line.


Set-up front view

Set-up front view: At set-up we are looking for the feet to be set slightly wider than hip width apart, feet slightly turned out, left more than the right. The left ear is positioned over the ball, with the ball positioned around 3 inches inside the left instep - this is the same with every club except the driver. To achieve this position you will have a slight spine access tilt to the right, which falls inline with having the right hand positioned lower on the grip. For the grip, the v on the right hand points straight back up at the right shoulder, the v on the left hand runs parallel to it.



Set-up down the line view

Set-up dtl (down the line) view: From this angle, we are looking for the spine angle to be around 90-95 degrees from the shaft angle, closer to 90 being preferable. Your spine angle will therefore automatically increase or decrease (in relation to the ground) with the club being used as the longer the club - the flatter the shaft will sit. A straight back is preferable and achieved by bending from the hips not the waist, arms hang straight from the shoulders with the shorter clubs and may point slightly out with the longer clubs, achieving 2 - 5 inch gap between the butt of the club and your legs, this gap will be bigger with the longer clubs than the shorter clubs, clubface points down the target line, body and feet are parallel left to the target line.

Stage 1 front view
Stage 1 Front view: Club shaft is at horizontal, butt of the club lines up with the side of the right leg, half-way down between the hip and knee, left knee starts to flex forward at 90 degrees from the target line, left shoulder works down and across under the chin, right elbow is relaxed and folds under pressure from the wrist hinge while staying close to the side bending slightly, no lateral slide from either the lower or upper body. Position is largely achieved by a small amount of shoulder turn and wrist hinge, no arm lifting. Left arm is at 7 o'clock.
Stage 1 down the line view

Stage 1 dtl view: Club shaft is parallel to target line, there is no daylight between the hands and left leg, left arm from this view appears to be pointing toward the tip of the right knee cap, leading edge of the club runs parallel to the left arm. The club head, shaft and the hands hinge along the line/angle set by the shaft at address.

Stage 2 front view

Stage 2 Front view: Right elbow is still quite close to the side, left knee continues flexing at 90 degrees, club shaft is pointing down at the target line at a point opposite the left foot (where your swing will bottom out), left shoulder continues to turn towards and under the chin, still no lateral sway, weight will start to shift slightly more onto the right foot at this stage - around 55% weight should be on the right foot. Left arm is at 8 o'clock. The butt of the club is at belt height.

Stage 2 down the line view

Stage 2 dtl view: From this view the club shaft is pointing just inside the ball (where the hosel was sat at address) and is sitting on the line set by the shaft at address, spine angle is maintained, the butt of the club is in line with the front of the belt (where it was pointing at address), right elbow is not showing out the back and is quite tucked in, right knee stays flexed, left knee is becoming visible from this view.

Stage 3 front view

Stage 3 Front view: Left arm is at horizontal and the right arm continues to bend which brings the hands up above the original shaft plane line, club is around vertical, still no lateral sway, left knee still flexing at 90 degrees. Left arm is at 9 o'clock.

Stage 3 down the line view

Stage 3 dtl view: Shaft plane has started to steepen, so that the shaft now points between 2 and 5 inches inside the target line, the thumb and fore finger on the right hand are protruding out the back of the right arm around halfway between the elbow and shoulder. The steepening of the shaft plane from stage 2 to stage 3 helps set the rate of steepening through to the top of the swing to such a degree that if the shaft were to reach horizontal, the shaft would be parallel to the target line.

Stage 4 front view (top of backswing)

Stage 4 Front view: The arms now lift while the right elbow continues to flex and the shoulders continue to turn which takes us to the top of the backswing, the left knee ideally would still be bent at 90 degrees, but may be angled in towards the right knee a few degrees if it helps reach a 90 degree shoulder turn. We keep the knee at 90 degrees or close to it to help anchor the left hip and stop it sliding sideways to help maintain the original spine angle when combined with keeping the head still. If there is to be any lateral slide, the head and hips should slide in equal measure and only a small amount, this is to help maintain the spine tilt which in turn helps produce a neutral swing path and angle of approach. The left arm is still straight and pointing at between 10 and 11 o'clock depending on flexibility, club and/or preference. The right upper arm is mostly concealed behind the left arm. Due to momentum the shaft may be between 50 and 80 degrees from the left arm, depending on club (mid iron should be around 72 degrees), swing speed and preference. Weight is around 65% on the right leg now

Stage 4 down the line view (top of backswing)

Stage 4 dtl view: The shaft now makes its way round towards being parallel to the target line, a small triangle of daylight should appear above the upper right arm, the left arm obscures the right shoulder, the leading edge of the clubface is parallel to the left arm, the right forearm is pointing more downwards than sideways, spine angle is maintained. The right knee should straighten slightly to help the right glute stay on the tush line, and help maintain height, but by no more then an inch or 2 as the right knee is used as an anchor to ensure the weight shifts onto the right leg. There should be no or minimal daylight showing between the knees from this angle.

Stage 5 front view

Stage 5 Front view: This is the transition leading into the first half of the downswing, the left arm tracks down to horizontal, the shaft to left arm angle is as close to the angle you set at the top of the backswing as possible, perhaps even smaller due to relaxed wrists during the transition. Weight is shifting to the left hand side via the hips turning and sliding laterally, to the point where the left hip is directly above the left foot allowing the hip to turn correctly, whilst the head stays in the same position - increasing the spine access tilt and allowing the club to get back down nearer to the original shaft plane set at address more easily. The head may move towards the target roughly an inch or 2 in order to allow for a slight backwards tilting action which tends to happen during impact.

Stage 5 down the line view
Stage 5 dtl view: The shaft is shallowing back towards the original shaft plane, the hands are in front of the right hand side of the chest, the hips are turning back towards the ball but are not quite parallel to the target line yet, the overall height of the golfer may drop slightly as he squats into the left hand side to initiate the weight shift. The right elbow is back out in front of the body.
Stage 6 Front view: Stage 6 is a continuation of stage 5, when we get the shaft back pointing towards the ball, from this angle we are looking to have the butt of the club lined up with the side of the right leg whilst still retaining most - if not all of the wrist angle set at the top of the swing. It is from here that the club head speed will start to increase dramatically. The left hip will be fully positioned over the left ankle and the left knee will start straightening to aid hip rotation and club head speed.
Stage 6 down the line view

Stage 6 dtl view: From this view the shaft should be dissecting the right forearm, with the shaft parallel to the original shaft plain while the hands continue to drop back towards the original shaft plain line. You should still be on or close to the tush line set at address. The hips should be roughly parallel to the target line now, with the shoulders still closed.

Impact front view

Stage 7 Front view: Stage 7 is impact, all the stages so far have been designed to get us to this point in an efficient and more importantly effective way. At impact we are looking for the left hand side of the golfer to be all stacked up in a vertical line, on this line should be the left shoulder, elbow, wrists, left hip, knee and ankle. This is where the swing bottoms out, which is 3-4 inches past the ball position with all clubs except the driver which is bang on this mark.


Impact down the line view

Stage 7 dtl view: Ideally by this stage the hands will be back on the original shaft plane line, but few golfers manage it due to the force of momentum of the swinging clubhead pulling your hands upwards but the closer to this line the hands are the better. More importantly we want the club head to track the line into the ball from stage 6. The left foot will at this stage be rolling inwards rather than the heel lifting as this will help to keep back on the tush line. If your heel lifts the tendency is for the hips to push out towards the ball, making it harder to get the hands close to the initial shaft plane line. The right elbow is not completely straight at impact but is nearly there and is in the process of straightening.

Finish position front view

Stage 8 - The finish: The finish is more than just an indicator as to how the swing has gone, its a vital working part of the swing, just like an exhaust is to a car - its vital that its free flowing and clears out the way so that the engine/swing can work at full efficiency. Things to look out for are that the golfer is balanced on his left foot and is still in neutral joint alignment with very little weight on the right foot. The right foot is on tip toe and pointing straight down into the ground. The shaft should settle at a 90 degree angle to the spine angle. The golfer should be facing the target with the hips fully turned with the golfer standing almost upright. This standing up action past impact and during the follow-through is vital to allow extension of the arms and to allow the right hip to get through.