The Takeaway. The waggle can be an excellent opportunity to rehearse your takeaway

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1 The Takeaway Your approach to the ball is the final step over which you have total control. Once you actually start the swing, you need to depend on rhythm, tempo and balance to see you through the swing. The waggle can be an excellent opportunity to rehearse your takeaway When does the approach begin? I believe it begins the moment you make that first step toward the set-up position. Watch touring pros and notice characteristics of each professional as they approach their set-up position. Notice the rhythm of Nick Faldo s shuffle. Once at the set-up position, most players begin a waggle sequence. In earlier years, the waggle was considered a way to keep loose and maintain rhythm. Today s waggle mirrors the takeaway that you are trying to produce in your real swing. Starting the golf club off in the proper path is key to consistent ball striking and consistency in general. A consistent waggle can help maintain path, swing tempo and balance. 1

2 The Takeaway Common Faults & Remedies Faulty Position Taking the Golf Club Too Inside Typical Cause: Moving the arms around with the body rather than up. Remedy: Begin your swing by turning the upper body rather than pulling the golf club back and in. Video Drills: takeaway drill Taking the Golf Club Too High and Outside Typical Cause: Early hinging of the hands. Remedy: Begin your swing by turning the upper body and begin hinging about 2 o clock. Video Drills: takeaway drill 2

3 The Turn, Coil or Backswing: Think circular, not lateral. In the beginning of the swing, try to maintain the arms/torso position established in the setup. Do not let the arms and hands move back further than the center of the chest. The arms and hands simply hinge and rise in the swing as the body rotates. This is the best example of loading the upper body while resisting with the lower body. I believe the easiest swing to repeat will be the one that uses the least amount of movement in the lower body during the back swing. This may not be the case for you. You may not have a lot of flexibility. You may need to lift the left heel on the back swing in order to get a full turn. You may also need to move your lower body as part of the rhythm of your golf swing. However, the additional movements may be more difficult to repeat. We will refer to one part of the back swing as loading, because it is essentially a preparation to hit the ball. It is also the point at which we begin loading power or energy, which will be released in the swing. It is equivalent to a pitcher s wind up, where he turns away from the target to develop the power that will be delivered in the pitch. During this portion of the swing, it is important to hold the center stable. In other words, you should try to pivot your torso around your spine. 3

4 With a proper turn (with the center of your golf swing being the base of the spine), you will notice that the weight transfer occurs involuntarily. The weight shift should be the result of horizontal rotation, not of the abdomen moving back laterally (or sliding). As the rear leg is accepting the weight transfer created by the turn, you will notice increased tension in the thigh and buttocks. Do not let the rear leg straighten. Allow the rear knee to remain flexed. Because it is preparation for the forward motion to come, the weight should be transferred to the inside of the rear foot. This is perfectly natural. The center of your golf swing is the base of your spine. Imagine how you would distribute weight if you wanted to step or jump directly to your left. You would flex the right knee, creating tension in the thigh and right buttock, transfer weight to the inside of the right foot, and then release the tension as you spring to the left. This is similar to the movement in a golf swing. One important difference is that, in the golf swing, the movement is horizontal and not vertical as it is in a jump. The flex occurring in the rear knee during a golf swing can be found in many sports. A tennis player pushes off the back foot when stepping into the ground stroke. A boxer delivering a power blow uses the back foot as a fulcrum to transfer body weight and energy to the target. A batter pushes with the medial side of the back foot, putting his full weight into the ball. In each case, the athlete is concentrating on the forward movement and the simultaneous movement of the body. During this loading process, the left knee will naturally flex to accommodate the turning hips. The degree of bend will depend on your flexibility. We would prefer for the heel to remain on the ground because this increases torque, or tension, in the back swing, which enhances power. It also helps with control and restricts sliding in the lower portion of the body. If flexibility is limited, then a very slight lifting of the heel may be necessary for a complete turn. 4

5 The Center of the Golf Swing The tempo may vary from person to person but it is important not to make the transition too jerky. Where is the center of the golf swing? It is somewhere between the bottom of your spine and your navel. It is not your head, although the fallacy about controlling head movement persists. Don t think about your head. It serves only two purposes during the swing: a) It holds the brain that sends messages to muscles, b) It holds the eyes that see the ball. The swing s stabilizing force is in the abdomen. This, not your head, is the axis around which to rotate. Ideal rotation should allow for the back to be facing the target, or the chest facing straight back away from the target. It is not important that the club get to parallel. If the back is facing the target and the hands are still basically in front of the center of the chest, you have more than enough power stored for the downswing. 5

6 Common Faults & Remedies Faulty Positions The Reverse Pivot Typical Cause: Attempting to maintain your head over the top of the golf ball. Remedy: Begin your set up with the head behind the ball and start your swing with your left shoulder. Video Drills: shoulder rotation drill, elbow drill, turning chest drill The Sway Typical Cause: Using the lower body to create weight shift. Remedy: Turn the hips; don t slide. Video Drills: hip drill, shoulder rotation drill, elbow drill, turning chest drill 6

7 Common Faults & Remedies The Top of YOUR Back Swing Position Place your frontal view here Place your down line view here 7

8 Top of the Swing At the Top of the Swing: The left wrist should be flat. The left arm can be slightly bent (the left arm does not have to be stiff), and the club face angle should match the angle of the left forearm and shaft. This ensures that the club face is square to the swing plane and in a position to be easily returned to a square position at impact. The right arm should be generally straight up and down. A good analogy is to think of carrying a tray on your right hand. Keep in mind that this is what one might call an ideal position. There have been touring pros that swing from a position other than ideal. However, most have come from a closed rather than open position. 8

9 Top of the Swing Common Faults & Remedies Faulty Positions Open Club Face Typical Cause: Rolling the club face open on the takeaway, over-hinging of the wrists. Remedy: Keep the club face square to the path on the takeaway. Typical Cause: Limited shoulder turn. Remedy: Turn the shoulders and make sure the club face faces the path. Video Drills: Takeaway drill Closed Club Face Typical Cause: Too strong a grip position, starting the takeaway with the left wrist. Remedy: Improve your grip, begin hinging the golf club with the right hand at 2 o clock. Video Drills: Takeaway drill 9

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