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Get A Better Start To Your Golf Swing

Jason SuttonBy Jason Sutton,

Consistency in your golf shots and in your game is a common goal that all golfers aspire to achieve. If you are not getting the results that you are looking for, the first thing you need to check is the way you start your swing. Below are examples of errors in the takeaway.

Rolling the club to the inside

One of the most common reasons for a loss of distance and inconsistent ball striking is rolling the clubface open on the back swing. Most swing errors occur during the first few inches, when the club is moving away from the ball. If the takeaway is performed incorrectly, the rest of the swing is nothing more than a series of compensations.

Rolling the clubface is caused by manipulating the hands on the take away, requiring compensation on the down swing with the hands and wrists attempting to square the clubface at impact. The golf swing takes approximately 1.5 seconds to complete, which doesn't allow much time to consistently return to a square position.

The result in most cases is an attempt to square the club with the upper body, causing the club to get off plane on the down swing.

Typically, your shots could fly to the right or to the left. Note the illustration at the upper left, which shows an incorrect takeaway with a club rolled behind the body and the hands starting to move outside the toe line.

Possible causes of rolling the club to the inside

1. Lack of rotation with the shoulders on the takeaway.

2. Trying to keep the right elbow tucked close to your side on the backswing.

3. Trying to swing the club on the same plane as your shoulders on the backswing.

4. Swinging the club too far to the inside on takeaway in an attempt to swing inside out on the downswing.

5. A poor grip that is placed in the palm of the hand.

6. Trying to keep your left arm stiff or straight.

Fix: Take the club away properly

Start the takeaway by allowing the hand, arms and shoulders to move the club away together. The club head stays along the target line the first four-to-six inches until the shoulder rotation moves the club to inside. This will put the club in a position where the shaft of the club matches your toe line.

A proper takeaway should have the clubface positioned with the toepointing to the sky. This move requires no manipulation of the hands and wrists if done correctly. This gives you an excellent opportunity to complete your backswing with a clubface that is square throughout the swing.

Takeaway Drill

Most golfers don't understand the importance of drills and doing them correctly. Drills will make you a better golfer in a shorter amount of time than if you try to hit a large quantity of range balls. Without a trained eye watching your every swing, it becomes too difficult to feel the correct movement while swinging 80-90 miles per hour. Here is a drill that will help your swing get a better start:

Body and Arms Drill - Assuming your golf posture, place your hands on the shaft just below the grip of the club. Bend forward into your posture allowing the butt of the club to rest against your stomach. Practice your take away while the butt of the club continues to rest against your stomach. This drill will help your arms and body to work together on the take a way.

Identifying your tendencies and errors in your takeaway will give you a better indication of why your golf shots and your ball flight aren't as consistent as you would like them to be. Learning to incorporate more drills into your practice sessions and cutting back on hitting so many golf balls in an attempt to feel change, will help you to see more improvement in less time.

PGA Professional Jason Sutton is a Master Instructor at the Dana Rader Golf School in Charlotte, N.C. Jason has been honored as a leading teacher in the southeast by Golf Magazine. He teaches students ranging from beginners to top amateurs and tour-level players.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Article without iiustrations

    Alberto wrote on: Nov 8, 2004

    In Jason Sutton's article "Get A Better Start To Your Golf Swing" he suggests looking at the "illustration" which is not visible any where on the page.
    Why is the reader not allowed to see the illustrations?