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The takeaway is the first part of the backswing that starts from address and lasts until the club is parallel to the ground. Like the address, the backswing and downswing, it’s an essential component of the golf swing.
You will likely find little to no success or consistency if you don’t put yourself in the proper positions with the correct takeaway. Often times, just adjusting your takeaway and then making the same swing can do wonders for your game.
If you feel that your takeaway could use some work, this article is for you. I’ll give you some of the most valuable drills I know of to help improve your takeaway, and I’ll also provide some of my best tips that stand a great chance of getting your golf swing off on the right foot.
Drills To Get You On Track
1. The “Kink” Drill
This drill is for golfers who want to develop a proper takeaway with the driver and avoid any detrimental movements that can set you up for failure.
Take your normal stance without a ball, and take your non-lead hand off the club. Holding onto the driver with just your lead hand, kink your wrist slightly so that the clubhead comes up off the ground a few inches.
Then, rotate your shoulders to start the backswing. Try to move all of your body parts as one unit and do not hinge your wrist. Maintain the kink in your wrist and keep the clubface parallel to your spine angle.
Once your hand gets to about hip height and the club is parallel to the ground, swing down and through, all while keeping the clubface in line with your spine.
This drill is meant to do the same thing as most takeaway drills, namely keep you on plane and squared up throughout the swing, but with the driver specifically.
The goal is to repeat the motion of taking the driver back halfway and swinging through to the halfway point in front of you.
Start doing this initially with just the lead hand gripping the club, and then grip the club with both hands. Progress to a full swing while maintaining the feeling of keeping the face parallel to your spine angle.
The best way to understand this drill is to watch golf coach Danny Maude demonstrate it here:
2. The “Wrist Cup” Drill
This drill is best for golfers who struggle with an inside takeaway and want a swing that is more on-plane.
Set up over the ball as normal and observe a slight cup in your left wrist (or right wrist for a left-handed golfer). This is a position you want at address.
Now focus on maintaining that cup in your wrist throughout your takeaway, all while using your core and torso to rotate. The left wrist will gradually flatten out as you get to the top of the backswing.
What this drill does is help you keep your club on plane in the backswing and therefore allow for straighter and more consistent shots.
If you do this drill enough, the maneuver will start to feel natural and your swing will consistently be on plane.
See the demonstration of this below from golf instructor Clay Ballard:
3. The “One-Piece” Takeaway
This drill is for golfers who tend to have an inside or outside takeaway and want a more on-plane swing.
Set up over the ball as normal, with a mirror about 15 feet away and perpendicular to the target line.
When making your backswing, focus on “winding” your left shoulder (or right for a left-handed golfer) around and under your chin.
With this in mind, take the club back until you reach roughly the halfway point, and look in the mirror while holding this position.
A swing that is on plane should see your clubhead blocking the view of your hands. If you don’t see this, your takeaway is either too far inside or outside.
Performing this drill will help you develop the feeling for taking the club away on plane and hence allow you to be more consistent.
See PGA pro Pete Styles demonstrate this drill:
Tips For A Better Takeaway
Ultimately, the takeaway that is best for you is the one that produces the best results. You certainly don’t have to have a “stock” takeaway to be successful — consider that some of the best players in the world like Matthew Wolff and Jim Furyk have very unorthodox takeaways and backswings.
If you are looking for the “ideal” takeaway that is generally considered to be correct and proper, however, these tips should help you out:
- start the motion of the takeaway by rotating the shoulders so that the lead shoulder (left for a right-handed golfer) goes under your chin.
- during the takeaway, the movement of the lower body, hands and arms should be minimal.
- at the point where the takeaway ends and the club is parallel to the ground, the butt end of the club should be pointing down the target line (or where you’re aiming based on your alignment).
- at the end of the takeaway, the clubhead should be pointing directly behind you, and it should also be approximately parallel to your spine angle.
If, at the parallel point in the takeaway, the butt end of the club is pointing towards you, this will likely lead to an over-the-top (outside-in) swing. If the butt end is pointing away from you, you’ve come too far to the inside. Both situations can be problematic.
When it comes to the takeaway, remember to have a good posture, and try to get the club shaft parallel to the toe line halfway into the backswing. This will put you in good position for the rest of the swing.
Also remember that having quality equipment (clubs, training aids, etc.) will help lift up your entire game including your takeaway.
Thanks for reading. Are you struggling with the takeaway in your swing? Feel free to drop any questions or feedback in the comment section below.