I spend a lot of time working with people on the takeaway of their swing because, if it goes awry, you have to make a number of compensations with the rest of your swing to get back to the ball at impact efficiently.
I’m a firm believer that the most efficient swings are the ones with the fewest compensatory movements. These swings are repeatable, very efficient and that’s something to strive towards.
Obviously, there are exceptions to that rule. For example, look at Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk and how they take the club away. That being said, Fowler has been working a great deal on his takeaway with Butch Harmon over the last 18 months or so and his results last year would suggest that work is paying off.
Those guys hit balls for hours and hours which allows them to work with their compensatory movements, enabling them to still control their impact factors such as clubface, club path and angle of attack. Their dedication is impressive.
How it goes wrong
People who take the club away too much on the inside (above right) end up with a very flat golf swing, or a more rounded swing.
People who swing it more on the outside (above left) with their takeaway have a very steep backswing, or are too upright, which is not what you want.
From those two positions, you have then got to make a compensatory move to get to the ball and that’s a lot harder to do. The less you have to do, in my opinion, the better.
Here’s how it should be done. At this point, if you were looking down the line from the same angle as the waistline, the clubhead should be covering the hands, shaft down the feet line, and the toe of the clubhead pointing up into the sky.
But the biggest pointer you can take from here is that the shaft of the club is parallel to my feet. Rickie Fowler is probably the most notable player who rehearses his takeaway before he hits his shot. He now has this rehearsal as a consistent part of his pre-shot routine. That’s something he’s working on with Butch.
It’s well-known that Rory McIlroy works with Michael Bannon on his takeaway. He often gets the club too far outside his hands, then drops it inside on the way down. That’s how he can get into trouble, so he works on his takeaway quite a lot.
If you don’t get it right, you’ve got to make various moves within your swing. The less you have to do, the more repeatable your swing can be.
Gavin Abson is the Head PGA Professional at The Carrick. For lessons, call Gavin on 07967 206266. Follow him on Twitter @GavinAbsonGolf.