- When your wrists are fully cocked.
- When your back is turned to the ball.
The whole purpose of taking the club back is so that your wrists cock – naturally (do not force a wrist cock). And while there are TWO points where this can happen (Early wrist break and Normal wrist break), when this happens, your backswing should effectively be close to complete. You should be ready to start down (by pulling your hands towards the ball). The actual nature of the wrist hinge (lateral wrist hinge) in golf , is described here.
Does the club HAVE to reach parallel (to the ground)
As in Rory’s image below (and in most pros) , you will observe the shaft parallel to the ground – on the completion of the backswing. This is simply a NICE TO HAVE checkpoint – but is in no way a requisite for a complete backswing. Tiger, for example, does not always reach parallel. Well before parallel, Tiger has his back turned FULLY to the ball – and is ready to uncoil. Any further wrist hinge on his part would actually LOSE power – since he is already in the most powerful backswing position he can be in.
Your back should be turned to the target (or the ball) as you execute your backswing. This is true of the swing of any pro – and should be part of your backswing as well. This TURN is not just a ‘nice to have’, it is possible the most important fundamental of the golf swing. This post discusses the turn in some more detail.
Apart from providing power in your swing, the turn also has the tendency to SLOW down your tempo – and providing confidence on the first tee.
An incomplete backswing is powerless. And it will lack any sense of timing. To COMPLETE your backswing , use the two checkpoints above – a cocked wrist – and a back that is turned to the ball. Both of these checkpoints are described in detail in the posts referenced above. The downswing should be automatic – once your back is turned to the ball. However, often, a swing thought helps keep the downswing on track ( approach from the inside out). This swing thought is – pull your hands towards the ball.
Complete backswing – back turned to ball and wrists hinged