A golf swing is a complex sequence of movements and positions designed to consistently strike the golf ball.
It starts with your address and finishes with your follow-through. Your golf swing takeaway is the second step and critical to getting your swing off to the right start.
Unfortunately, golfers tend to get focused on their backswing or impact position and don’t realize it’s their golf swing takeaway that is hurting their game.
We can help. We believe that improving your golf swing takeaway will help you shoot lower scores and improve your golf handicap.
In this article, we’ll run you through what a golf swing takeaway is, where it can go wrong, and then give you 6 tips to solve it.
Let’s get started!
What Is Your Golf Swing takeaway?
Your golf swing takeaway is the first movement of the golf club. It is the very beginning of your backswing.
We define the golf swing takeaway as the first 12 inches the club moves away from the ball.
This may seem like a small distance, but the destiny of your shot can be decided during this component of your swing.
Golfers that struggle to break 100 often have a critical breakdown in their golf swing takeaway. Once you make a mistake here, it’s hard to come back from it.
Even worse, it can create bad habits in other parts of your golf swing. Let’s look at an example:
If you jerk the clubface to the inside during your golf swing takeaway, you will feel “stuck” and have to flip the clubface at impact to get it square to your target.
Unless your timing is perfect, this will cause you to duck hook the ball to the left or block it to the right.
It is very hard to play consistent golf if you have a “two-way miss”.
Try the six tips below to determine whether your takeaway is holding you back from playing your best golf, and how to fix it.
6 Tips To Improve Your Golf Swing Takeaway
These tips or swing thoughts are designed to help you hit the golf ball better.
The next time you visit the driving range to practice, test them out one at a time. If one doesn’t work, forget it and try the next one. Don’t try all 6 at once, or it will be difficult to isolate which actually help and which don’t.
The goal is to find the tip(s) that improve your ball striking and consistency, by making your swing easier to repeat.
#1: One Piece – Keep The Triangle
We would all love to have Tiger Woods’ golf swing. You may never be able to replicate it, but it is a great example to study.
Tiger does a great job with our first swing tip. You want to keep your triangle and make a one-piece golf swing takeaway.
Notice that when Tiger addresses the golf ball, there is a triangle made by his shoulders and his hands. Do you see it?
Now watch as he starts the club back. The triangle maintains its shape during his golf swing takeaway.
To accomplish this, you will need your shoulders, arms, and hands to move together. In other words, in one piece.
This move gives your golf swing a stable beginning. It gets you off on the “right foot”. Keep the triangle and hit more high-quality golf shots.
#2: Don’t Be A Jerk
For some golfers, it is easier to think about what they should do, but for others, it is simpler to focus on what they shouldn’t do.
With this in mind, we say “don’t be a jerk”. We aren’t just talking about your attitude – we’re also referring to your golf swing takeaway.
It is natural to feel some nerves when you are standing over an important shot. This can cause tension in your muscles and lead to jerky motions.
Unfortunately, a quick or jerky motion during your golf swing takeaway will cause poor shots.
Even under pressure, try to stay calm. Start your swing with a smooth motion. Take a deep breath and make a confident swing.
#3: Listen To Your Divot
Did you know that the divot you make is a great source of feedback?
In fact, you don’t need a personal golf coach if you really listen to your divot.
Your divot will immediately tell you about your swing path. If it points to the left, you are cutting across the ball. If it points to the right, you are hitting the ball from the inside out.
The perfect divot is pointing directly towards your target. Your golf swing takeaway could be why your divot is heading in the wrong direction.
A lot can happen in the first 12 inches of your golf swing. Your divot can tell you if you are getting started too far inside or outside.
Unlike the other tips on our list, this isn’t a swing thought, but it can help you learn about your game.
#4: Low And Slow
Just like your full swing, the tempo of your golf swing takeaway is important. You don’t need to be in a rush to take the club back.
A slow golf takeaway with the club low to the ground will simplify your golf swing.
There are two benefits to this swing tip. First, the slow tempo makes it easier to “keep your triangle” and keep your club on plane.
Second, dragging the club back low to the ground will increase the width of your golf swing. This creates more space in your swing and allows you generate more speed.
Could we interest you in better golf shots that also go farther? Low and slow can help you achieve these results.
Waggles are a pre-shot routine that most golfers do after addressing the golf ball, but before they start their golf swing takeaway.
The most common form of a waggle is shaking the club slightly with your wrists before starting your swing.
Waggles aren’t necessarily bad. They can help relieve tension and allow you to prepare to start your golf swing.
That being said, they can be overdone and even make it hard for you to start your swing. Major winner Sergio Garcia struggled with this early in his career.
It got so bad in 2002, that Sergio would often re-grip and raise his club 25+ times prior to each shot.
Not only can this impact your pace of play, but it can also mess up your golf swing takeaway.
You may not even be aware of your waggle. Ask a buddy to film your golf swing and see if you notice anything between your address and the start of your swing.
We think a small waggle is a good thing, but just be careful that it doesn’t impact the start of your swing.
#6: Firm Wrists
You may have noticed that a couple of our swing tips are similar. This is on purpose. Different swing thoughts/tips work for different golfers.
“One-piece takeaway”, “low and slow”, and “firm wrists” are very similar actions.
You don’t want to break your wrists during your golf swing takeaway. This can immediately get your clubhead and clubface in a bad position.
You do want to “set your wrist” during your backswing, but it shouldn’t be your first movement.
Start your golf swing with your shoulders – use your big muscles, not your little ones.