the takeawayFor all of us that play the game of golf we certainly can appreciate that it can be very demanding at times while out on the course and we are keeping tabs on ourselves on game improvement while playing which in many cases affects our ability to play well. One thing that some have asked is how can I take the club back because it just doesn’t feel right or smooth?

So this leads us to asking ourselves on what kind of golf swing takeaway drills could we do to improve when off the course at home. As mentioned golf is a demanding game but one of the key elements to a great golf game versus a mediocre one is first and foremost a good grip that starts a great foundation for a good golf swing. There are so many elements to playing great golf and today we are talking about our takeaway on our back swing and how this is so very important because how we start the back swing usually dictates what the outcome will be in everything else to follow.

When I watch someone who is crafted at their game it really gets my attention because every great golfer that has played always has some kind of little subtle move that initiates the sequence of all good things to follow in their back swings. Whether some consider this as compensations for not doing things right…well perhaps in some cases but in most this subtle move is what puts that kick start in motion for their back swing.

The takeaway – that subtle move that’s sets everything to follow

Why are you waggling your club like that before you shoot? Going back and forth with the club head before starting the back swing? Do you know anyone who has ever asked that question or have you ever seen this in anyone s pre shot routine?

Well, some may adopt this habit or technique before they shoot and certainly a lot of pros do this as well, but why? This is the ultimate question. The most important move that we can make on the start of the back swing takeaway is keeping the club face square for the first 2 feet before our rotation brings the club up in our back swing. A lot of amateurs make this mistake when starting their takeaway which causes their club face to open on the back swing, and by the time they reach the top the left wrist is cupped or in a supinated position which is almost impossible to get the club face back square at impact.

One very important drill or habit which gets us in the right position or kind of gives us a head start is this waggle. Without us even realizing it what we are doing is allowing our wrists and hands to feel the weight of the club and it relaxes our hands and wrists and helps to start our back swing takeaway properly.

In harmony with the waggle, the last move to make just before the takeaway, is the forward press. By starting our take away by subtly pressing our hands and wrists forward what we are actually doing is setting our lead hand wrist in a slightly pronated position, so that when we take our club back our club face is either square to our original target line or slightly closed.

If this is done correctly, by the time we get to the top of our back swing our lead hand should be in a straight line with our forearm or in a slightly pronated position. This is the perfect placement of the wrists and hands.

Let’s stay connected on our takeaway for proper position

Ben Hogan stressed the importance of having our hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders working as a unit together. When they work together it really helps in keeping the club on the proper plane and gives us a long swing arc which aids in promoting power, accuracy and consistency.

With the forward press as the start of our takeaway, and having our shoulders, arms, wrists and hands working in unison, we are able to stay connected. Our goal should be to maintain the “V” that is formed between our arms and hands throughout the swing.

Golf swing takeaway drill – towel in the armpit trick

So grab yourself a hand towel on your next linen closet trip and get ready for the towel in the armpit trick.

Just roll up the towel and place it under your left armpit for right-handed players and dont allow that towel to fall out to ground or floor when you try this one piece takeaway. We should keep our lead arm tight to our chest and do our best to keep that closeness so you do not drop the towel.

Practice this drill repeatedly to help this become as natural to you as anything really that will keep your takeaway connected, on plane, full of power, with accuracy and consistency.

The importance of your left shoulder in the takeaway

Carl Lohren, the head teaching professional in Long Island really went into detail about the left shoulder in his book ‘One move to better golf’ and how If properly done it sets the proper tone or ‘trigger’ in the back swing and takeaway.

Here is an excerpt from his book: “One Move to better golf”

Lohren discovered his “one move to better golf” by studying the swing of Hogan. Lohren still remembers to this day watching an 8-iron that Hogan hit from 150 yards at the 1964 Carling Open at Oakland Hills.

“I noticed that he started the upper body before his lower body on the takeaway, which restricted his hips on the back swing. I noticed that the golf club started back parallel to the shoulder line on the takeaway,” he wrote. “If his shoulders were parallel to the target line, Hogan’s club would swing straight back on the line, the club would swing back outside the target line…It amazed me that his lower body moved forward so early, but I could readily see that Hogan couldn’t ‘hit from the top’ with that action. There was no way the right side could be brought into play too early with that swing.”

Those observations set him on the right path to developing his swing philosophy to start your swing with the left shoulder. This forward move immediately starts the shoulders swinging around the spine, which acts like a fixed axis for your back swing, and makes the downswing happen naturally and correctly. From Carl Lohrens “one move to better golf”.

That trigger is what starts the back swing immediately following the forward press. This trigger start or move is turning your left shoulder out and back first thing while keeping your lead arm straight and staying connected. Do not move your arms independently from this first trigger or move, but rather let your shoulders naturally turn which causes this chain reaction that goes from yours shoulders then hips, then it’s time to allow club to naturally go up causing your hands to naturally cock with a slightly pronated left wrist.

The benefits of this method of takeaway are just right for everything in your takeaway and back swing to be in an excellent position for a great golf swing.

Here are the awesome benefits:

1) Proper shoulder turn putting your arm and club on plane for a swing that is very repeatable.

2) Longer swing arc which will produce more accuracy and distance.

3) Less tension in your lead arm on back swing because of complete shoulder and hip turn with the result of a very square club face going back.

4) Full wrist hinge at top of back swing that promotes most stored energy for full ability to release through the impact zone.

A great and proper takeaway with game changing results

This information in this article is my most important aspect of my personal golf game because it has the most beneficial effect on the overall control, accuracy, and consistency of my swing.

I wish that you can take to heart these drills and practice, practice, practice so that it becomes as natural for you to have a great on line, square in the slot, accurate and powerful swing with less effort.

These drills I share with you with the hopes of you having game improvement that will make you love this awesome sport even more!

Cheers to a lower handicap!

Please do leave a comment below and if you have any questions you can leave them at:

5 Responses

  1. Wow, this is interesting! I am being persuaded by this article to start playing golf because I really learned a lot from this piece. Most especially the towel in the armpit drill for accuracy and power and strength; I am looking on how it is going to be easy learning this drill at first. All the information provided here are very helpful. Thank you.

  2. Wow! Very nice contents you have here. The back swing has always been a thing of puzzle for me ever since I have been watching golf. Though I’ve never conduct a research on it to know the reason behind the swing but this is very informative for me. I have made attempts to learn golf but I’ve never got it right though I really respect the sport a lot. I might try to relearn going by the technique of putting a towel in the armpit. Maybe that would help simplify my learning to become a golfer. Thanks

    1. Thank-you RoDarrick!

      Im really glad you liked it! I’m happy that you respect the sport and I strongly suggest that you try the game because once your hooked your done! You’ll want to play all the time!

      My intent is to be as informative, real, and honest about learning golf and to spotlight how much fun it really can be!


  3. Hi Christopher!

    Golf can be lovely! I tried to play Golf when I was much younger. It was in Germany with some friends, after playing tennis. I was at the driving ranch and we were playing holes on the field as well. It was fun! Coming from the tennis world, I know how the stroke technique important is. In tennis, we call it “the proper kinetic chain in use!” There are so many other important elements included, like proper stands, balance, rotations of the individual body elements and the body itself, and so forth. The focus and concentration play a huge role in the execution of the proper swing patterns. The repeated exercise is so important, by implementing the right stroke and swing mechanics. 

    The skill can vary and also be tremendous! 

    Thanks for sharing valuable golf-swing tips.

    Best regards,

    1. Igor. Thank-you for your comments on my post, it means alot to me. I totally hear you and get it about tennis as well, I played on my high school tennis team and my specialty was the 2 handed backhander! I loved tennis I played quite regularly as well. It’s so true about all of the ‘elements’ be it tennis or golf or any other sport for that matter, that there is indeed much to learn!

      This is why my posts are a work in progress as regards to all the elements in playing golf.

      There’s alot more to come!


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