Proper Golf Backswing Takeaway Tips

The takeaway of your golf swing says a lot about what the rest of your swing will look like. If the club gets out of position early you must make a compensating move later in your swing, which for most golfers is very challenging.  One of the bigger pitfalls in the golf swing takeaway is letting the small muscles get too involved. Movement of the golf club should be initiated by the shoulders and torso, not the hands and arms. Most golf instructors feel the proper golf takeaway should feel like you are moving in one piece, keeping the arms and body connected in a triangle. 

This article will address key questions about the golf takeaway.  What does the proper golf swing takeaway look like? How does a correct golf takeaway path encourage the proper swing plane?  What are the body positions to strive for in my golf swing takeaway sequence? How do I stop coming over the top? Check out the following topics below.

One Piece Takeaway

A desired one piece takeaway is defined by the triangle formed by the shoulders and arms at address. Maintaining this triangle as you start back is vital. The triangle established during your set-up should move as a single unit. The secret is to move your lead should down and under your chin. When wearing a Swing Align device it is very easy to look down and see if you maintain the triangle and if your shoulders are turning down and under. These are crucial visual checkpoints on the way to a proper takeaway.

Golf Swing Takeaway Maintain Triangle

GO: As you move the club from the ball to waist high maintain the triangle between your arms and shoulder line.

Golf Club Takeaway Over Active Arms Lead To Collapsed Triangle

NO GO: If you pull the club away with your hands or if your arms get too active the triangle between your arms and shoulders will narrow leading to an armsy swing and poor swing path.  Also, if your shoulder leader moves out instead of down your swing will be too flat and you'll have to lift the club to the top.

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Golf Swing Takeaway Path

A critical checkpoint in your golf swing takeaway is when the club is parallel to the ground. Getting your body and the club in the right position here will help you execute a great swing.

Golf Swing At waist high your club should point down the line of your stance

GO: At waist high your club should point down the line of your stance.  Use an alignment rod on the ground to help check your position. The face of your club should be angled parallel to your spine and facing back towards the ball.

Golf Swing Takeaway Club Inside Leads To Hook

NO GO: Don’t pull the clubhead too far to the inside as this can lead to a quick hook or the dreaded “coming over the top” resulting in a weak slice.  Don't roll the clubface open with your arms or hands to where the toe is pointing up or behind you.  This too will cause a slice.  While not as bad as yanking the club to the inside, don’t push the clubhead too far outside of your target line either as this will create an outside to in swing path.

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Golf Swing Plane

Unfortunately many golfers turn their shoulders on the wrong swing plane or come out of their posture because of a bad takeaway.  It is very difficult to recover from these damaging moves. To stay on the correct swing plane your lead shoulder must rotate down and under and your spine angle should not change from your set-up position. When wearing a Swing Align device pay attention to how the front end of the alignment rod moves as you take the club away. The rod must move down towards the ball, not up or out. This move down and around your spine angle will keep you on the right swing plane as you swing to the top. The key to making this move is a well connected one-piece takeaway!

Practicing the Takeaway Using Swing Align

  1. Set up to the ball wearing a Swing Align device with an alignment rod on the ground on the line of your stance.  Our Swing Align Bundle has everything you need for this configuration.
  2. Notice the triangle formed at set-up by the alignment rod across your chest and your arms hanging down to grip the club.  
  3. Rehearse your golf takeaway by concentrating on turning your lead shoulder down and under while maintaining the triangle as you swing from the club from the ball to waist high
  4. At waist high make sure the rod points down towards the ball (not out)
  5. At waist high make sure the club points along the line of your stance as indicated by the alignment rod on the ground

From there, you are ready to make a great backswing!

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Improve Your Takeaway with Swing Align!

Check out our own Golf Digest Top 100 and Golf Channel Academy Lead instructor Devan Bonebrake as he demonstrates the proper golf takeaway. Check out the video here.

Find out what Swing Align device is right for you and start training today! Visit our shop for more details.




Back to Instruction

The Swing Align Golf Instruction Blog is a great resource for a variety of golf swing tips and golf drills to help you improve your game. You’ll find lessons on how to hit a draw, how to eliminate a golf slice, golf chipping tips and more! Any golfer will find these golf swing lessons useful, even if you don’t own a Swing Align golf training aid. But if you do own a Swing Align, you’ll learn how to use it to improve key fundamentals including alignment, posture, rotation, swing plane and connection. The red button at the top of the page will take you to the Swing Align YouTube channel where you’ll find even more golf swing instruction.