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How to Get Proper Swing Plane and Takeaway

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When it’s time to start the golf swing, it all begins with the takeaway. The golf swing has a long way to go after those first couple of feet, but if you start with a proper takeaway, you make the rest of the swing easier to execute. In this article we’ll be discussing how to get proper swing plane and takeaway, so continue reading and start improving today.

Check out this article for a different approach to golf swing mechanics.

Check out this article for everything you need to know about the golf swing.

Many Questions Are Asked

The average golfer has several questions regarding how the takeaway should begin. Some examples:

  • ​What actually initiates, or starts, the takeaway?
  • ​How do the hands play a role when the clubs starts back?
  • ​Does the body play a factor in the takeaway?
  • Are there certain triggers that help get the swing in motion?

All of these questions are valid, and by the end of this article, you should have a solid understanding of what constitutes a well-executed takeaway.

It’s All About the Rhythm

The main fundamental of a proper takeaway is the rhythm you begin with. If your takeaway is smooth, with everything working together, chances are your swing will be smooth all the way through.

Conversely, if the club jerks back, or gets lifted early, it can create a quick, choppy swing, which makes consistent contact difficult. Every piece of the takeaway, from the clubhead to the hands, arms, shoulders, hips, and feet must be in sequence. We will start with the clubhead and work our way up, and back down to your hips and feet.

The Clubhead

Why is the clubhead an important aspect of the takeaway? The most common inhibition of a smooth takeaway is caused by the club snagging into the ground, especially with the irons from the fairway. If the club snags, the tendency is for the hands to try and pick the club up quickly as a means to “catch up” with the rest of your body. This will lead to a mismatch in tempo between the club and hands versus the rest of your body.

Having the club hover just above the ground, right behind the ball, is the most effective way to ensure that the club starts back smoothly. Unfortunately, for most golfers, this can feel awkward and can create a sensation that the leading edge will catch the middle of the ball. If you’re not comfortable with having the club hover behind the ball, the next best, and probably most popular option, is a waggle and/or forward press to initiate the takeaway.

Get the Club in Motion

Waggling the golf club is something most good players do, and for good reason. Typically, a club in motion is less likely to get stuck than one that is static at address. Waggles can come in all shapes and sizes. Someone like Jason Dufner has a very handsy, pronounced waggle, while Henrik Stenson has a more subtle, quiet waggle. Either way, both are world-class players and illustrate how effective a waggle can be.

Forward presses are also very common, the most popular golfer in today’s game who initiates with a forward press is Jordan Spieth. While very static at address, that small move helps him be one of the most consistent ball strikers in the game. The best way to find which takeaway trigger works best for you is to experiment and find the one that fits you best. The important thing to remember is to give the club a chance to start back smoothly.

Hands On

In regards to the hands, their role varies greatly by the player, but generally you want the club, arms, hands, shoulders, and hips turning away as one unit. Much of the conventional wisdom says that the club starts with the hands and arms, then brings in the shoulders, with the hips starting last.

Sound complicated? It is, and our goal is to make the swing as simple as possible. In fact, you might find it easier to set the club in motion by giving your hips a slight turn towards the target along with your forward press before everything turns back to start the swing.

The idea of the hands not “placing” the club somewhere in the takeaway is also against the conventional wisdom. There are instructors, however, who agree with this idea of everything working together in the takeaway.

The best example of how the takeaway can be executed most effectively is described in the video below by Wisdom of Golf founder Shawn Clement. He takes all of the conventional wisdom and turns it on its head, making the takeaway easy to understand.

Swing Plane

Once the club gets started, one may be asking: How do I know if the club is “on plane”? Swing plane is a highly debated topic and has been dissected in golf literature for years. As typical, the more literature available, the more confusing the swing can become, which is difficult to discern between fact and fiction.

To make the swing plane as simple as possible to understand, the key is to understand what a swing plane entails, and how any player can take this understanding and improve their swings and their game.

A Little Trick

The best way to understand swing plane is to take a piece of string, or a shoe string, and attach a heavy weight (bolt, washer, etc.) to it. Make sure the weight is secured, as you will be swinging it, and don’t want to hurt the dog, break a window, or do anything that will probably get you yelled at. Once secured, start swinging it fast, causing the weight to orbit around your hand.

When doing this several forces are at work and can be observed, but for our purposes, the plane is what one should notice. Notice how the weight doesn’t stray from its orbit. If you were to take a club in either hand and start swinging your arm around from your shoulder, you would create a similar effect from the string and weight.

Also, notice how still the hand stays, relatively stationary, while the weight spins at a high velocity. If the club was modified so that it sat flush to the ground at your side, and you swung with one hand, you would have a perfect golf swing.

What does this have to do with swing plane? Take the string and weight and tilt your thumb up slightly. Now you have what looks like the plane of a golf club. It’s the setup of your body (or your hand in the string and weight example) that determines your swing plane.

By setting up properly, and allowing the club to swing with as little manipulation as possible, the swing plane takes care of itself. You can find everything you need to know about the proper setup in the article here.

The Takeaway

Getting the proper swing plane and takeaway differs from golfer to golfer as everyone is different. The above advice is only going to be eligible if you bring it with you on practice rounds and start implementing it to your game. Take this knowledge with you and start shooting lower scores today!

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