Changing Knee Flexion and its Effects in the Backswing

Hope everyone is doing well!

I had a few minutes the other day to film a video on a topic that’s been of some discussion recently. There are some great threads online talking about the role of knee flexion and its effects in the backswing.  Therefore, from my own experience teaching, reading and talking with golfers I decided to share some basic thoughts on the topic.

Changing knee flexion can influence many different aspects of the golf swing but I focused on one primary one in the video here.

Since it has been on my mind, I have looked for this piece while watching golf.  As I see it, almost everyone loses some of their knee flexion of their trail leg during the backswing. However, I did note while watching the Transitions a few weeks ago that Jim Furyk’s looks like it almost increases in flexion.  You can see in the photo above that (1) Furyk’s trail knee is more bent, (2) his hips are less turned and more level and (3) his arms are less inward than Westwood’s.  Westwood’s (1) trail leg has straightened, (2) his hips have turned more and are tilted more towards the ground, and  (3) his arms have worked more inward on the backswing.  Furyk’s ability to consistently re-route the club during his downswing allows him to strike the ball as successfully as he does. Westwood has less re-routing to do and is a great ball striker on Tour. Repeatibility, low point control and the predictability of ball curvature is key – as we can see each motion works quite nicely for these top PGA Tour players.  Please share your thoughts as well.

Magnolia Lane is around the corner!

Have a great day,



5 thoughts on “Changing Knee Flexion and its Effects in the Backswing

  • During the Northeast Am. long driving contest a few years ago Chris Kirk, now on the PGA Tour , purposely flexed his knees in the opposite way while swinging. Had the whole crowds laughing.

  • Furyk’s action is quite unique, I don’t know anyone whose hips are more open to the target at impact than his or who stands as close to the ball as he does.

    For regular players, I don’t think they have the hip mobility to maintain right knee flex and still turn the hip and further turn the shoulders against the lower body. The adage of not straightening the rear leg I believe came about from golfers who were straightening the leg and reverse pivoting.

    BUT there are some great high level players who don’t straighten the rear leg very much at all on the backswing like Yani (women’s World #1) and Luke Donald (men’s World #1).

  • Sara, I like the tip and I think it makes a lot of sense for someone that comes over the top. Along with this change do you also have your students feel they are swinging out to the shortstop if you were left handed? I have used that feel to help me when I notice I am coming over the top.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *