Full Swing 206. Takeaway: The Perfect Golf Club Path
So far in this section we’ve concentrated on how your body should move in the golf swing takeaway, how to use your muscles and how to sense what the perfect takeaway feels like. Now we’ll describe how the golf club should move in the perfect takeaway.
Most amateur golfers become too fixated on the movement of the golf club, manipulating their hands and body in an effort to keep the club “on plane” as it swings around their body. This seems to make sense, the movement of the club is clearly the most important aspect of the golf swing — how the club strikes the ball will determine the success of the shot.
However, in order to strike the ball accurately, consistently, safely, and with the power needed for a great golf shot, you must move your body in the most efficient and effective way possible.
What’s more, if you move your body correctly, the golf club will automatically follow the correct path. Whilst the moment of impact is, in a sense, the only thing that matters in a golf shot, you could equally argue that it is almost incidental — it is simply a by-product of moving your body correctly.Hence, the Golf Loopy Perfect Swing concentrates on how to move your body. But in order to understand what we are trying to achieve and why, and to help determine if you are moving correctly, it is important to discuss the movement of the golf club.
Once again, apologies to the lefties out there, but for simplicity these instructions are given for a right-handed golfer.
How Should the Golf Club Move in the Takeaway?
In Full Swing 201 – Takeaway: The Perfect Golf Swing Takeaway, we discussed the characteristics of the perfect takeaway.
Most of those characteristics are achieved purely as a consequence of moving your body correctly, which you’ve been working on in the takeaway drills. These include a “one piece” takeaway (though not in the way that this is often taught), initiating a power-generating sequence through the separation of your body segments, shifting your weight, and generating width.
The key issue still remaining is setting the golf club on the correct path in order to initiate the perfect top of the backswing sequence.
In Full Swing 201, we described the golf club as a slow-moving weight on the end of a long stick. That weight has a lot of momentum, of leverage, and if it starts to move even slightly in the wrong direction then it will need a significant compensation to pull it back on track later in the golf swing. Such manipulations result in loss of power as energy transfer is disrupted, and they make timing the swing very difficult. The corrections themselves generate further unwanted momentum in the club head, and the golf swing quickly becomes far too complicated to ever be consistent.
You’ll notice that we don’t talk much of “planes” in the Golf Loopy Perfect Swing. Most instruction elsewhere is based on moving the golf club on a specific plane, or a set of planes. Whilst planes are a useful concept, we don’t agree with this analysis, and prefer to talk instead about the biomechanics and physics of the golf swing. Yes, the swing, and especially the movement of the golf club, should be as simple as reasonably possible. A plane is as simple as a movement can get in 3 dimensions. But we must also consider how the human body moves best, in order to most efficiently generate power, and transfer that power to the golf club through impact, in the form of club head speed. The human body is not designed to move, and to generate power most efficiently, on a simple plane. The “simplest” and most efficient way to swing a golf club is to move your body in the simplest and most efficient way possible, given the constraints of the golf club and ball. As you will see below, in the takeaway, while the club head moves on a simple arc, the club shaft doesn’t move on a simple plane, because the human body doesn’t work that way.