Drills for the Start of Your Golf Swing
The golf takeaway is the first sequence of the golf swing, taking place after you are done with your pre-shot routine and setting up to the ball at address. In order for the rest of the swing to proceed successfully you need to make sure no mistakes are committed during the takeaway, or else your errors can compound from there all the way through impact with the ball. Follow these drills to make sure you are taking the club back on the right path and that your hands are behaving as they should.
One-Piece Takeaway Drill
This drill will train you to perform your takeaway using the “one-piece takeaway” technique. Specifically, it will train you to start your golf swing using your shoulders, trunk, arms and wrists all moving as one big block. This is in contrast to quickly hinging your hands at the start of the swing, or moving your clubs back using only your arms, without rotating your shoulders and trunk in the classic all arms swing error. Follow these steps to train yourself to take your club back the proper way:
- Set up normally over the ball but slide your hands way down the shaft of the club instead of holding it by the grip as you normally would.
- Begin a mock swing but focus on doing so through the rotation of your trunk, bringing your shoulders, arms and wrists along all at the same time.
- If you are successful the butt end of the club will remain pointed towards your belly during the takeaway. Inversely, if the club is no longer pointing at your belly, it indicates that your upper body didn’t move all in one block.
- Only allow your wrists to start hinging when your hands are about the height of your hips. From that point on the wrists should gradually hinge until their fully hinged position, at the very top of the golf swing.
Keep Your Wrists Calm Early
At the start of the swing your wrists should be relatively quiet. Yes, they will gradually hinge before you reach the top of the swing but that process should begin after the takeaway, past the halfway back position in the backswing. Indeed, wrists should become active as soon as the club shaft reaches past the point of being parallel to the ground. Initiating this movement too early will rob you of distance and can lead to mistiming issues on the downswing.
Square Takeaway Drill
This drill will help you practice bringing the club back in the proper way. Specifically, it will help shield you from taking the club too far inside, i.e., through rolling your hands, or taking the club too far outside. Rolling your hands inside will take your club on an aggressive inside-out club path. Likewise, bringing your club outside will set you up from an outside-in club path, exposing you to the over the top swing error. Follow this drill to make sure you are bringing the club straight back.
- Hold a practice range basket – or any similarly sized bucket – with your hands on each side.
- Position yourself as you normally would, setting yourself up for a golf swing.
- Begin your takeaway by bringing the basket back as if it were your golf club and stop when the basket is about hips height from the ground.
- If you took this imaginary club back square and correctly – in this case through the backet – the opening should point directly back away from the target. If you rolled your hands too far inside you will see how the opening of the basket points behind you instead of straight away from the target. And finally if you took the basket too far outside then the opening of the basket will point slightly in front of you instead of straight back.
- Practice this motion and make sure you become comfortable with taking the club back square before moving on and practicing with your club and live golf balls.
Don’t Roll your Hands
Unless you are not striving for a typical square club path you should really focus on bringing the club back square. Doing so will put you on the right path so that you can come down square through impact as well. Note that you can disregard this drill if you want to swing using an inside-out club path (in order to produce a draw) or an outside-in club path (in order to produce a fade.)