While the impact of the golf clubface with the golf ball is the moment of truth that determines the ultimate success of your golf shot, consistently arriving at that impact point in the correct position is a never-ending challenge for golfers. Success or failure frequently starts with the first few feet of the backswing as the club moves away from the ball — better known as the takeaway. A proper takeaway sets the stage for a solid backswing, leading to a consistent downswing and solid contact. An improper takeaway sets in motion a chain of incorrect movements, awkward compensations and bad habits that rapidly dismantle a proper golf swing before it ever has a chance to develop.
Corey Fields, a PGA Class A Professional based in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., offers his assistance in achieving a proper takeaway that will improve your overall swing and more consistent ball-striking.
The thing I see most my students struggle with is the takeaway in the golf swing from the address position. Most golfers who struggle with consistent impact and consistent ball flight have a poor takeaway.
So let’s clarify some of the common takeaway issues.
- Picking the club up to the outside – When you take the club too far out and up away from your body, you will likely be above the proper swing plane and too far “laid off” at the top of the golf swing.
- Taking the club too far to the inside – This will cause you to be under the proper swing plane and you will have to manipulate your downswing to get the club to the proper impact position.
- Fanning the clubface – This is the most common mistake I see my students make. Fanning the clubface is when you open the toe of the golf club too much causing an open clubface position which usually leads to a slice or push shot. Rolling your wrist away from the ball is the biggest fault that causes this.
So what is a proper takeaway and how do we practice it?
I have always believed that a good takeaway is moving the club head away from the golf ball in a slightly closed position. The club face needs to “mirror’ the golf ball longer in the takeaway and be slightly closed at a 10-15 degree angle to the golf ball. This is a proper one-piece takeaway.
The arms and club move away from the ball as a single unit. This will create a triangle shape with your arms. The goal is to move the triangle away from the ball all together. If you do this correctly you will not roll your wrists or the clubface and get the club into the proper parallel position at waist high with the shaft directly over your toe line completing a proper one-piece takeaway.
I am sure you have noticed players such as Rickie Fowler on the PGA Tour doing a pre-swing rehearsal of the takeaway right before they hit the shot. If you do this correctly, your chances of hitting a solid shot will greatly increase.
Here are a couple of drills to work on to get that great one-piece takeaway.
Triangle Drill – Take the club and place the butt end into your sternum. Take your normal grip and maintain the triangle in your backswing. This will give you the proper feeling of keeping the triangle in tact.
Towel Drill – Take a towel and put it across your chest underneath both your armpits. Keep the towel connected to your body on your takeaway and you will feel the triangle move away from the ball and the proper connection.
Reverse hand drill – For a right handed player get into your address position without a club. Take your right hand and place it in front of your left hand at the wrist with a straight left arm. You will feel the pressure of the top of your right hand against the back of your left wrist at the address position. Simply pull back with your right hand against your left wrist and you will get a good feel of the proper movement in the one-piece takeaway.