Imagine deciding to take a trip, loading your car, turning the key, and then realizing you don’t know where you’re going. Failing to make a proper follow-through in the golf swing isn’t much different.

Too often, I see players spending most of their time working on their backswing and giving little, if any, attention to their follow-through. As the latter part of the golf swing, the follow-through often becomes an afterthought. Players presume if they get their backswing on track, the follow-through will naturally … well, follow.

It doesn’t work that way, however. The great golfer and instructor Harvey Penick once said the follow-through is one of the most important aspects of the golf swing because it represents what has gone on in the swing up to that point. Finishing in a good, balanced follow-through position increases the likelihood of the player making a correct, repeating golf swing.

I’ve experienced and witnessed this personally. Spend a moment watching the PGA Tour pros. From the biggest, smallest, to the widest guy on tour, their swings are as smooth as glass. They don’t have to think about swinging the club through impact and where it’s going to end up. This is because their follow-through allows the club to pick up speed through impact and de-accelerate as it comes to a finish without disrupting the flow of the golf swing.

Many amateurs and high-handicappers spend all their time working on the backswing, trying to find the correct positions and attempting to build speed so they can hit the ball farther. But all this backswing work is for naught because through impact and follow-through, their muscles don’t know what to do. The swing ends up falling off balance, or they end up with the chicken-wing look.

The bottom line: If you spend an hour working on your backswing, spend two hours on your follow-through. If you don’t put in the practice to develop a consistent, smooth follow-through, your body will become taut through impact, causing your swing to go astray.

Only when you practice the follow-through does releasing the club become a natural motion. You develop in your mind’s eye an idea of where you’re trying to finish the club. It’s like picking a target on the course, a basketball player shooting to the hoop, a football player throwing to a receiver, or baseball player throwing to the catcher’s mitt.