Perfect The Start of Your Swing

Sam Greenwood
When the hands become active before the body, the clubhead is pulled too far inside.

Many golfers are confused about how to initiate the backswing and, therefore, need an image that will allow them to start everything back in the correct manner.

Done correctly, the club and body start back together, with the wrists cocking gradually as the clubhead gains momentum. When this occurs, the clubhead moves away from the ball on a good path, in a wide arc, and at a pace that allows the clubface, arms, and body to be synchronized (as shown in the photographs at left and bottom). When the motions are blended, the clubhead path will be correct. To visualize a good takeaway, watch Ernie Els, Davis Love III, or Tiger Woods: All three players perfectly blend body turn and wrist cock, without one or the other taking the lead.

When the swing goes off-track at the start, one of two types of golfer emerges. The "picker" lifts the club up with his hands and wrists and pulls it too far inside at the start of the swing (left inset photograph). The hands outpace the body, which usually produces a pull or a slice.

When the shoulders make a big turn before the wrists cock, the result is usually a slice.
The second type, the "overturner," works very hard to take the club back with a big torso turn but no wrist cock (right inset photograph). You can see that the shoulders have taken charge, which lifts the clubhead outside the target line and causes a push, pull, or snap hook.

Focus on getting the key parts in sync‹and moving at a controllable tempo‹by starting with a rhythmic motion in your preswing. Use a waggle to keep the body from freezing before the club starts back. As soon as you¹re ready to go, make your last waggle flow seamlessly into the takeaway. This action will keep your muscles relaxed and smooth out the transition from preswing to swing.

The following drills will ensure that your takeaway is a coordinated, smooth motion that sets the club on the proper path. Get it right from the start and you¹ll be well on your way to an effective swing.

CHECKPOINT DRILL

To assess your swing path in the takeaway, set a club on the ground with the grip against your left heel and the shaft against your right big toe (as shown). When the hands are opposite the right thigh, the shaft of the club you're swinging should be approximately parallel to the shaft on the ground. This will prevent you from pulling the club too far inside.

MOMENTUM DRILL

Feel the proper blending of the body, arms, and wrists swinging the club away from the ball by starting with the clubhead in front of the ball. From this position, swing the club back, letting your body, arms, and wrists move in response to the momentum of the club as it swings back. This discourages picking up the club with the hands or overrotating the shoulders to start the swing.


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