The Minimalist Golf Swing - Part II

By: Kiran Kanwar

If you happened to read "The Minimalist Golf Swing - better Distance, Direction and Trajectory for Any Golfer" and wish to know more, here are some details of how and why it works.

How it Works - for the 'Just-do-it' type Golfer

Think of a good set-up as good "planning." Then make your backswing the perfect "investment." Finally, simply consider the downswing as a time to rake in maximum "dividends" from a sound investment!

Checkpoints for good "planning" and "investing" everything is the perfect stock (i.e., backswing!)

A mirror might help to check these positions. ("FO" or face-on means with the mirror facing the golfer and DTL or down-the-line means with the mirror placed behind the golfer, when looking down the target line).

The Minimalist Set-up

The elbows should be as close to one another as possible, with NO tension in the hands or shoulders.

The right shoulder, waist and the head should all be slightly behind (DTL) and below (FO) the left shoulder, so that the entire body feels it is slightly 'behind' the ball - leaning AWAY from the target instead of towards it.

The ball should be centered or just slightly left-of-center of a shoulder-width and square stance.

The Minimalist Backswing

The takeaway, or first part of the backswing, is made by pushing the entire left arm plus shaft in a straight line towards the right foot (towards the right heel for longer clubs).

During the takeaway, the right shoulder must remain below the left, and, when seen from the FO angle, no part of the right shoulder should be visible.

The arms then continue to the top - which is up to approximately 10 o'clock or shoulder/right-ear high along the same path, with both thumbs, especially the right thumb pointing away from the right ear. In other words, there should be no angle between the right thumb and right forearm.

There should also be no extra - that is, independent of what the arms cause - rotation of the body during any stage of the backswing.

The Minimalist Through-swing

The only downswing thought, if any, should be to simply slap the clubhead past the ball. The body - especially the nose, head, right shoulder and right leg, must face forward and not the target until well past impact, preferably with the right heel grounded until the momentum of the swing alone pulls it up.

Why it works - for the 'Explain-it-to-me-First' type Golfer

Once it is accepted as an incontrovertible truth that the club MUST arrive at the ball from an inside path and at a shallow angle, and, along with these two conditions, as fast as possible, and that NOTHING ELSE MATTERS (except a square clubface, which will happen as a result of using this swing) everything else merely follows on from these requirements (technically termed the Ball Flight Laws).

Concede gracefully to these LAWS, make sure the backswing is set up to ensure that these things cannot help but happen in the downswing, preferably without volition - and voila, instant success!

Consider the set-up plus backswing the cause for good impact, and the downswing merely the effect.

To make an efficient minimalist move, a golfer must set up for the inside path, and swing back correctly for the required weight-shift and shallow angle of approach to the ball.

The right shoulder, being set up slightly behind and below the left, establishes the golfer's body for an "inside" takeaway. The direction in which the left arm moves, with both wrists remaining as straight as possible, creates the width of backswing required for both weight-shift and a shallow angle.

The wrists remaining as straight as possible have other benefits too - one being that they keep the "inside" path of the club from becoming "behind" (or too "flat" as some term it), and it forces weight-shift as the right arm is kept at its maximum distance from the ball. Another benefit is that a square clubface is maintained at all times.

Many swing faults disappear simply by making the recommended backswing. These faults include an over-swing, a flying or chicken-wing right elbow, a reverse weight-shift and many incorrect clubface and shaft positions.

The Minimalist Golf Swing can also be called the "do-nothing" swing, for two reasons: Firstly, the less independent moves a golfer makes in the backswing (bending wrists, rotating forearms, buckling elbows and knees, and moving feet to name a few), the less movements are required to be undone, in precise sequential order in the downswing. Secondly, every time a golfer makes a good "Minimalist" swing, the feeling at impact is, "I did nothing to make that great shot" - the club did, and was allowed to do, what it was designed to!

So, golfers wishing to get better quickly, do nothing and achieve everything!

Kiran Kanwar has 20 years experience as a golf instructor. She currently teaches golf in St. Louis, Mo., and in Bombay, India. At the 2008 PGA Merchandise Show Kiran exhibited a research-based golf swing that quickly gave players of any skill level better distance, direction and trajectory. She also has expertise in dramatically and rapidly increasing a golfer's swing-efficiency to preclude swing-related injury. She's a Class A teaching professional with credentials from the LPGA, the PGA (UK), the PGA of India, and the National Golf Academy of India. Among other titles, Kanwar won the Ladies All-India Open Amateur Golf Championship in 1983. A columnist for Golf Digest India, Kiran is the author of an instructional e-book - sold on her website - titled "DIY (Do-It-Yourself) GOLF." For more information visit or email her at