We put a lot of emphasis on many parts of the golf swing but the Takeaway is the most overlooked. When having golf instructions, we focus on execution. Forgetting that the short window in which the player starts to swing is very crucial.
Little focus is usually awarded to the takeaway because it is not clear. The Takeaway will determine how successful your entire swing will be. If you start with a terrible takeaway, you will no doubt end up in a badly executed swing.
It easy to tell when the Takeaway starts but not when it ends because it leads into the backswing. The Takeaway, as the start of the golf swing, if well-executed, will lead to a desirable shot.
The good news is that the Takeaway can be practised to result in better golf swings in due time. There are several drills you can use to improve your takeaway and they include:
These are drills that you can use on the range. With constant practice, you can leverage them to produce the perfect takeaway. Following these steps, you will grasp the execution.
1) Go with a practice partner when you go to the range. Have your partner stand behind you. This should be in a position where they are in line with an imaginary golf ball and a target.
2) Move your club so that it is at belt height. Your practice partner should ‘catch’ the head of the club when it reaches this position.
3) Ask your practice partner to only catch the head of your club if it is in a position where it covers your glove. They must not catch it otherwise.
4) Go through this motion several times until you get a good feel of it before you go on to hit the ball.
Practicing this drill will help you to remain in control of the club on its way back. You must keep the club in the correct position as you swing back to begin your takeaway.
You can learn the initial golf move without having to go out onto the range. These will help you get ready for when you get onto the golf range.
The No Arm drill
1) Start this drill by crossing your arms on your chest.
2) Get in position at the address and take your swing by moving only your upper body.
3) Make sure that the movement feels like you are twisting around your spine.
Practicing this drill will help you achieve the correct body movement when you are in a position to start your takeaway.
You will learn the correct spine twist and how to keep your head in the correct position through the initial position. You can practice this drill without employing a golf club.
The forearm rotation drill
1) Place your palms so that they are facing each other and hold your hands flat against each other.
2) With your hands in this position, make an imitation of taking your swing as usual.
3) When your hands reach belt high, your dominant hand’s palm should be looking towards the target.
This drill will teach you how to make the correct rotation with your clubhead.
Having practiced using the correct drills, you may still wonder if you will get your takeaway correct. Here’s a checklist you can use to determine whether you are going to make a proper execution.
After figuring out how to position yourself and in what stance you have to be, do not forget your tempo. If your movement is too fast and uncertain so that it comes off as jerky, you will find difficulty in timing yourself for the rest of the swing.
You need to save up your speed for striking your golf ball. If speed is lost during the backswing, you will slow down and this will affect your impact. You want most of your speed in your downswing.
As your takeaway transitions into a backswing, make your movements low and slow as you swing back. If you are jerky and too fast, you will not have time to make a slight pause and your entire stance will be ruined. Your move towards impact, which is the most important part, will be affected.
2) Positioning of your head
Throughout the takeaway, your head should remain in the same position. It should be still throughout, do not look to follow the movement of that golf club backwards. You can monitor the positioning of your head by making a video.
Have a practice partner record your movements during the takeaway. Your head should be in the same position from address up to the point when the club is belt high. Continue to practice to keep your head in position as you note your progress using practice videos.
You have to keep in mind that any slight changes can make a big difference in your game. Repeat your movements continuously till you find it easy to maintain the position.
3) Club over hands
This is another crucial check on the list for sure. When someone is behind you, the golf club should shield your hands from their line of sight. Check this with a practice partner and continuously repeat the movement till you get it right.
Check for this positioning when your hands are belt high. You can also check this positioning by having a friend record with a camera or setting up a camera to record yourself. If your clubhead covers your hands, then you are in the correct position.
If the clubhead is too far outside or inside your hands, then you are in the wrong position. Practice until your placement of the golf club aligns without adjustments. If your club is too outside or inside, it will create a draw or a push. This will likely affect your impact.
4) Dominant palm positioning
For a right-handed player, the dominant palm is the right palm. Your dominant palm should be facing away from the body. In this position, the clubhead will be square to your lead forearms.
You can also check for this position by checking the toe of the golf face. In this position, the toe should be facing toward the sky. If this positioning is in order, you will make an impact more easily.
One of the most common mistakes during the takeaway is incorporating the wrist way too much. When you are just getting into the takeaway position, the shoulder muscles should be dominant. When you are turning, you should use the big muscles.
People make the mistake of exerting the wrists too soon in the game. Using the wrist too soon could cause your path to get so much inside, which can cause a draw or a hook. Applying the wrists can also cause your backswing to go back so much to the top, it can cause your entire swing to go off balance.
Over or Under rotation
One of the other common mistakes comes from rotation. The toe of the club should face upwards. If you over-rotate or under rotate, the toe of the golf club faces in front of you or behind you.
If the club toe is facing in the wrong direction, it will affect your shot. You will hit the ball to the left or the right away from the target which is in the wrong position as you will notice.
Another common mistake players make is to bring the golf club far inside the golf club. If the golf club is too inside, when you swing, it will be in a path that is so much on the inside. If you are too outside, you will swing in a line that is too far outside the line.
You thus lose control of the direction of the shot if you are off-line.
Like all things, there is no ultimate correct way when it comes to the takeaway. You know this if you have tried to learn the ideal way by watching the PGA tour. You know that different executions achieve great results.
Consequently, the right way is what works. However, perfect execution depends on how you grip the club, the speed you use when you swing and all the other set-up conditions. Practice with the drills you have learnt till you get your body in a comfortable position.
Stick with what gives you the best results and practice with that. Perfection comes from repeating the moves till you are one with them. Learning new techniques is not easy because the older learned habits are hard to break.
It comes down to practice, repeat the movements till you break the old cycle of what you were used to. If you are looking for drills, it means that whatever you were doing before was not working. It is therefore time to change it up.
Adapting to newer drills is difficult because your body is already tuned to the old moves that were of no help. You will constantly find yourself slipping into the old habits. That is why you must practice until you get it.