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The Keys to Having the Perfect Takeaway Position/Why it's Important!!

When you come and see my for a lesson and the theme of the lesson is based on swing path, I will often talk about the first position of the golf swing. The first position of the golf swing is when the club reaches parallel to the ground during the backswing. This position is very important as it sets up the entire swing.

The key to obtaining the correct first position as seen in the third picture below, is firstly ensuring that when taking the club back, the distance from the hands to the body remain the same. The other important aspect is that the club slightly rotates so that when the club reaches parallel to the ground, the angle of the club is on the same angle as the spine. The last aspect is that you should be gradually hinging your wrists while slightly turning your body and when the club does reach parallel to the ground, the club and the hands are forming a straight line.

When I was younger I never knew how important this position was. It wasn't until I became quite a good player that I understood that what happened early on in the swing has a chain reaction to what happens during impact. Once I knew how important it was, I started incorporated it into my pre-shot routine. You will see me rehearse this position before every shot. You will also see other top tour players rehearse this position such as Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Justin Rose.

The reason why the first position is so important is that it keeps the arms in front of the chest. Therefore it is more likely the arms will stay in front of the chest throughout the entire swing. You will always see players on tour either having the club in a straight line at the first position or the clubhead slightly forward of the hands. Very rarely will you see the clubhead behind the hands for an elite ball striker. This is because if the clubhead moves behind the hands too early on the backswing, the body will tend to react and either swing 'over the top' or continue on it's flat plane right up until impact. Both will cause inconsistencies. in particular 'slicing' or large 'hooks'.

When you do establish the correct first position, it will enable the hands to move freely to the top of the swing, setting the club over the right shoulder. It will then cause a positive reaction on the downswing, by allowing the club to move slightly on the inside (along the right elbow in picture 4) and thus causing straight shots or draws. In a nutshell the better your takeaway is, the less the body reacts due to the arms and the body working together. Of course it is not always guaranteed that you will hit every position in the swing after perfecting the first position. This is primarily due to old swing habits or using too much upper half. Over time though, the body will start to respond and make it easier to hit the right positions during the downswing.

When extrapolating further you want your 'after impact' position when the club reaches hip height to be a mirror image of the first position. When the club reaches hip height after you hit the ball, the club should be on your heel line with the shaft pointing straight and the 'toe' of the club pointed to the sky. Of course when hitting the 'after impact' position, your body should also be facing the target.

When I have a student working on swing path I will often have them do '9-3' swings. (half swings). I will have them do these swings only thinking about the first position and the 'after impact' position. If you can perfect both these positions, then you will start dramatically improve your ball striking.

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