Golf – The All Important Takeaway

Important Takeaway

The takeaway is the first part of the backswing in golf. A good takeaway and backswing will allow you to coil your body so that you can unleash the power you need to achieve the distance you want in your golf shots. The key is to aim for consistency by practicing the backswing sequence and creating muscle memory so that the takeaway becomes second nature. Before you hit the ball, check your grip and verify that you have assumed the correct stance. Confirm that your foot placement and ball position are appropriate for the length of the club, and then go through your preshot routine and practice swing. Then you will be ready to begin your golf swing with a proper takeaway.

Checking your Grip and Stance

For a proper takeaway, make sure your grip, stance, foot placement and ball position are correct. Check your grip and make certain that you have a strong connection with the club, whether you use an overlapping, interlocking or 10-finger grip. Assume a balanced stance by bending slightly at the hips with your arms hanging down in a relaxed position. Your knees will be slightly bent and your butt will poke out a bit. Make sure your body is balanced over the balls of your feet.

Foot Placement and Ball Position

For longer clubs like the driver your feet will be shoulder distance apart, and for shorter clubs they will be a little closer. Position the ball in the middle of your golf stance for short irons like the 9-iron, and line the ball up with the heel of your front foot – that is, the left foot for right-handed players – for the driver. The rule of thumb is that the longer the club, the closer you line up the ball toward the heel of your front foot.

The Preshot Routine

Go through your preshot routine by focusing on the golf shot and mentally ticking off key points, which can include double checking the grip, stance, foot placement and ball position. Line up your shot by standing a few feet behind the ball and look at the target to establish a target line. Make sure your clubface is square to the target and that your body is in alignment with your feet, thighs, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line when you address the ball. Many players will then take a practice swing to loosen up.

Starting the Takeaway

Keep in mind that the takeaway is a sideways move. You will be using a sweeping motion to move the club to the side. The hands remain passive during the takeaway, but although there is no hand action, the hands are “alive” and feel the weight of the clubhead. Try to eliminate all tension in your body and let your arms hang down from your shoulders in a relaxed position. Tensing up can prevent you from taking a full, smooth swing and rob you of distance in your golf shot.

Stay in Synch with the Club

When you begin the takeaway, the club and your body move as one. The object is to groove the proper weight transfer and keep the club on the proper plane. The golf club will stay in synch with your body if you make sure that it stays in line with your sternum as you take the club away. Sometimes this is called keeping the club in front of you. Your arms, hands and the club will move together for a smooth takeaway. Use your upper body to take the club back by completing a shoulder turn with your front shoulder moving under your chin.

Steps for the Takeaway

Sweep the club back by keeping the clubhead low to the ground as if it were a putter. Your weight will shift slowly to the heel of the back foot, and your back leg will remain anchored. Rotate your front shoulder around your spine in order to build up a coil situation and add power to your swing. To achieve a long golf shot, turn your hips only as much as you need to in order to achieve a full shoulder turn. The more you maintain a difference between the shoulder turn and your hip turn, the further your ball will go.

Takeaway Swing Thoughts

When you begin your takeaway, keep some swing thoughts in mind to execute a consistent and powerful swing. Whether you use an early, late or gradual wrist hinge at the top of your backswing, be consistent to insure a proper swing tempo. Your hips will turn as your shoulders turn, but they must not sway during the backswing. Keeping your weight inside the back leg and anchoring the leg will help you maintain your correct posture and body position.