2008-01-18 / Sports

Golf Instruction - The Start Of The Swing:Maintain A Proper Takeaway To Succeed

By Joel Garyn

The swing is started by a backward movement of the left hand and arm. The swing is started by a backward movement of the left hand and arm. (Garyn is a USGTF Golf Professional. You can contact him for lessons at 347-404-3751.)

A good takeaway with the clubhead from the back of the ball is smooth and unhurried, not a quick jerk of the club. It should be a unified, coordinated, "one piece" action, with all parts of the body - arms, upper body, legs - working together, not separately.

The backswing is the first part of the whole swing and is possibly the most important, because it sets up and defines everything to follow. If you have a poor backswing, everything else will fall apart, causing a poor shot. Do it right, and you will increase your chances of making a great shot.

One of the most important things to remember is to begin the backswing as a coordinated movement of your entire body and not just your arms and hands. Doing so will help you widen your swing arc, increase power and improve your odds of contacting the ball cleanly.

Set up to the ball with your left foot turned out slightly and your right foot perpendicular to the target line.

It is not enough merely to turn the shoulders. The RIGHT SIDE OF THE BODY, to the shoulder, must be fully cleared to the rear to achieve the full turn that we desire Right hip goes back. It MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO RISE UP. If it does, the righ leg straightens. Remember we said in Lesson 1 that the right leg remains flexed through the backswing. And the left shoulder must not be allowed to DROP OR DIP This is vital. It is not enough merely to turn the shoulders. The RIGHT SIDE OF THE BODY, to the shoulder, must be fully cleared to the rear to achieve the full turn that we desire Right hip goes back. It MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO RISE UP. If it does, the righ leg straightens. Remember we said in Lesson 1 that the right leg remains flexed through the backswing. And the left shoulder must not be allowed to DROP OR DIP This is vital. Bring the clubhead back slowly making sure your left shoulder is slightly higher than your right. Full extension of the left arm in the backswing is vital for producing maximum arc in the swing. You will never approach full extension if you allow the right hand to pick the club up too early in the takeaway. The way to avoid an early pick up is to make the clubhead stay on the grass/mat for the first foot or so going back. By just brushing the clubhead along the top of the grass instead of picking it up quickly, your swing will be longer and more consistent. Turn your chest. Think of turning the center of your chest away so that, at the top of the swing, the center of the chest faces away from the target. This image helps you make the full shoulder turn you should make a lot more easily.

One last thought - avoid dipping your left shoulder as you initiate the backswing. You want to turn away from the ball with your left shoulder, not drop it! To avoid dipping, pull around with the right shoulder. The left will follow without excessive dipping. This pulling action with the right shoulder will give you a fuller shoulder turn, eliminate excessive tilting of the shoulders and put the club on a slightly flatter plane, which will allow the club to extend through the line of flight.

Practice, practice makes permanent! Next week: the forward swing and follow through.

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