What’s Your Takeaway?

By Matt Keel, PGA

How you begin your backswing is important because it determines how the rest of your swing will go.  The position of your right palm, for a right-handed golfer, when your club is halfway back in your swing is a good indicator of a proper take away.  The position of your right palm can determine whether your clubface is open or closed as well as your club position.
The most common flaw I see my students make is fanning their right palm facing up toward the sky halfway back in their swing.  Figure 1 illustrates a right palm facing upward.  When your palm faces upward halfway back in your swing, the clubface becomes open.  From this position, you will either try to close or square the face at impact or will end up with an open clubface causing the ball to slice.  The second effect of the right palm facing upward is swinging the club inside your target line.

The second flaw I see while teaching is the right palm facing down toward the ground.  Figure 2 shows a right palm facing downward halfway back in the swing.  When your right palm faces downward halfway back, the clubface becomes closed.  With a closed clubface at this position, the club will be outside your target line.

The correct position of your palm halfway back in your swing is to have your palm perpendicular to the ground in a “shaking hands” position.  Figure 3 shows a better position halfway back in your swing.  At this position the clubface is square, and the club is parallel to the target line.  It’s important to understand that the clubface should be tilted slightly down in this position matching your spine angle versus the common misperception that the toe of the club should be pointing up.  From this position you will be able to swing your club on the correct swing plane and have a much better chance of having a square clubface at impact.

Making a proper take away is essential to making a good swing.  Try some practice swings where you stop and check the position of you palm halfway back in your swing.  You can also use video to see the position of your palm halfway back in your swing to determine any corrections that may be needed.

Matt Keel is the Director of Instruction at Wildfire Golf Club located at the JW Marriott at Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.  For any questions or information about golf lessons or programs, email Matt at Mattkeel@pga.com or visit www.Mattkeelgolf.com.