In-Swing Fundamentals – The Take Away

by Derek Hooper

The first 18 inches of your take away set you up for either a smooth, athletic swing or a swing which is a series of corrections and recoveries in an attempt to get the club back on the ball at impact. We all recognize that the club must move away from the ball to start the backswing and the easiest way to do this is with the hands and forearms. This is the easiest way but not the most efficient when your goal is high club head speed and center of club face contact.

The object of any take away is to get the club moving away wide and on plane. Width will help in the production of club head speed and thus distance. An on plane swing will help to produce consistency in the centeredness of strike. So how can you make a good take away and avoid the pitfalls that so many golfers fall into when starting their backswing?

Drill 1: Club in Stomach

In your golf address position take a 7-iron and place the butt end of the club into your stomach. Take your golf- grip on the club with your arms hanging as they would in your normal address position. This will mean your hands are placed on the shaft of the club. In this position the club will be pointing at the target line.
From this position take the triangle you have created between your arms and chest and turn that all together into your take away. The club should remain on your stomach and perpendicular to your chest. In doing this the club head will stay in front of you and outside your hand line. When doing this drill the club should not reach horizontal and the club should always stay in front of your chest.

This is a great drill in that it gives you the correct feeling of the upper body and club working away together into the take away.

Drill 2: Mirror Drill

Take your set up with a mirror to your non-target side – right side for right hand players. Place a second club on the ground to represent your target line. Now slowly make your takeaway with arms and upper body together while watching your movements in the mirror. Your goal is to ensure the club you are holding is always either pointing at or parallel to the club on the ground. Continue the backswing until the club reaches hip high or horizontal. At this point the club should be parallel to the target line.

You will notice in doing this drill that the wrists cock the club away and the club head stays outside the hand line. This is the correct move in the take away – the upper body rotation moves the club away from the ball and the wrists cock to gradually lift the club up into the backswing.

Once you get the correct take away feeling from these drills, then you are ready to take it to the range and start working on your take away while hitting some balls.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 13 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or