Full Swing 207. Takeaway: Common Faults in the Golf Swing Takeaway
In order to fully understand the perfect golf swing takeaway, it is important discuss some of the common faults made by amateur golfers, and their consequences.
Understanding these faults will help you to better understand the correct golf swing mechanics. You will be able to identify problems with your own golf swing, to analyse them using pictures and video taken during your practice and drill sessions, and to more quickly correct them and make dramatic and lasting improvements to your golf swing.
With all of the faults described here, if you take the time to work through the takeaway drills presented in this section, can you grow the neural pathways that will make the proper movement automatic, and quickly eradicate these harmful faults forever.
The images below show each fault at the end of the takeaway, which is when the golf club shaft first reaches horizontal. This is the position you will use to check the quality of your takeaway.
Once again, apologies to the lefties out there, but for simplicity these instructions are given for a right-handed golfer.
The Correct Golf Swing Takeaway
Before we analyse the faults, let’s remind ourselves what the perfect takeaway looks like.
At the end of the takeaway, we should see the following:
- The golfer has stayed in posture, with the same spine angle and spine tilt that he had at address.
- His shoulders have remained down and back. His left shoulder has protracted (scapular abductionAbduction is a movement which draws a limb away from the median sagittal plane of the body.) just slightly as he reaches away from the target, but it has remained firmly depressed. Note how much space there appears to be between his right shoulder and right ear.
- His shoulders have turned 45 degrees, and his hands have stayed in front of his sternumThe sternum (or breastbone) is an elongated, flattened bony plate, forming the middle portion of the thorax (chest)..
- His hips have hardly moved.
- His weight has shifted, with 80% of it now on the inside of his right ankle.
- As his shoulders turned, they also flexedFlexion is a movement of a joint that results in decreased angle between two bones or body surfaces at a joint, for example the elbow is flexed when the hand is brought closer to the shoulder. to lift the hands, his wrists cocked (abductedWrist Abduction (Radial Deviation) - moving the thumb side of the hand toward the lateral side of the forearm, more commonly known as “cocking your wrist”., hinged upwards) and his forearms rotated (the left wrist pronatedPronating your left wrist will turn the palm of your hand clockwise. the left wrist, and the right wrist supinatedSupinating your right wrist will turn the palm of your hand clockwise.).
- His left wrist has begun to flatten, losing most of the natural cupping (wrist extensionWrist Extension (Dorsiflexion) - moving the back of the hand toward the back of the forearm, commonly called cupping.) that it had at address. His right wrist has remained flat.
- Both arms have stayed straight, and his right arm has maintained the external rotationFor your right arm, external rotation means rotating your upper arm clockwise. that was established at address.
- His hands are level with the trouser pocket, and level with his toes, in this down the line view.
- The club head is slightly outside his hands, and the club face has rotated so that it is still “toed in”, but it is a little more upright than the golfer’s spine.
- The club head has moved on a simple arc, staying on the perfect path that we saw in Full Swing 206.
The takeaway was one piece, though not in the way that this is often taught — each part of the movement listed above happened by the right amount, and all were performed simultaneously, smoothly and progressively.
Performing any part of the movement independently, by too much or too little, will result in one of the faults listed below.
It should be noted that the end of the takeaway is not a destination, it’s a position that we move through as part of the backswing. All of the movements listed above will continue through this position and into the backswing.
This position is useful, however, both in learning how to move as you perform the drills in this section, and as a checkpoint when you analyse your swing on video, to make sure that each part of the movement was performed correctly, by the right amount, to move the body and golf club through the position we see here as the club shaft reaches horizontal.
Common Faults in the Golf Swing Takeaway
Now that we’ve seen what the correct takeaway looks like, over the following pages we’ll examine the common mistakes made during the takeaway…