Takeaway Golf Tips
If we’re talking about positions, and stopping the swing at certain points, then the takeaway is the movement between the start of the swing and roughly halfway back when the club is parallel to the ground. The takeaway and swing path are linked.
If you’ve got the club in a reasonable position at the end of the takeaway, it gives the rest of your golf swing a great chance of moving in the correct sequence.
Here are three common mistakes to avoid. If you start the takeaway by dragging your hands away from the ball, it’s likely you’re going to move your hands first on the downswing, too, to try to create some power, causing a poor knock-on effect on the rest of the swing.
Some people think they have to get the weight moving first. This often manifests itself as an unhelpful lateral hip movement away from the ball (a sway), which actually deprives people of the power they believe it will bring.
Another response is to strive for maximum width – this stems from Tiger’s heydey when commentators would marvel over the ‘width’ of his swing. In actual fact, width refers to the distance between the left hand and shoulder at the top of the backswing. The problem with striving for width and swaying away from the ball is that you increase the critical radius between your hands and sternum, and will inevitably ‘lose it’ somewhere during the ensuing swing, maybe getting the club moving first to try to generate some power. Remember that your arms and body need to work together.
The right sequence
One of the terms you often hear is the ‘one-piece takeaway’, which can be a bit misleading, I think, because if you took it to the extreme you could, in theory, keep the takeaway going far too long, throwing the rest of the swing out of sequence.
The reality is that the wrists need to start working and the arms need to start rotating so everything can blend into the backswing motion.
The right takeaway sequence is for the clubhead to move first, then the shaft, then the hands, then the arms – the video that accompanies this piece illustrates this point.
While you’re moving up that chain, everything else continues to move, but at a faster rate. A spoke in a wheel is a good image to have – everything is moving at the same time, but the things closer to the centre move at a slower rate.
Maintain the radius
It’s absolutely critical to maintain the radius between your upper hand and your sternum during the takeaway and, indeed, beyond.
If you can keep that radius constant throughout the takeaway, it bodes well for the rest of the swing, as everything will then be in the right position and ready to go.