How to swing club back right
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Once you've correctly assumed the address position and are ready to begin the backswing, all you have to do for a correct takeaway is swing the left hand and arm backward and upward without any manipulation.
To learn to swing the club back in the correct manner, assume the address position without a club and let the arms hang naturally from the shoulders with the left arm extended naturally in a comfortable fashion with the thumb uppermost and the fingertips pointing to the ball.
Now, just take the left arm away from the ball without rolling its wrist so the vertical alignment of the palm is maintained with the left thumb staying constantly topmost. That is exactly what you need to do to correctly take the club away from the ball. After all, the left wrist will roll almost imperceptibly as the shoulders turn.
Of equal importance here is to let the left hand swing back along or a tad inside the hand line with the clubhead remaining outside the hand as long as possible. The clubhead needs to stay in the alley created between the hands and the ball for a considerable portion of the backswing. This prevents you from swinging the club too precipitately inside into a flat or laid-off position that breeds a come-over-the-top move.
If the left wrist rolls too much it is hard to take the club away from the ball on a correct path, ridding the shot of its accuracy and consistency. You need to be careful not to roll the wrist open or closed during the takeaway. It adversely alters the alignment of the clubface to the ball.
Overly rolling the left wrist clockwise causes the clubface to open and face the sky at the top; rolling it counterclockwise sees the clubface closed or looking at the ground. Either way the end result is an incorrect clubface angle at the top that leads to misalignment of the clubface at impact.
In a nutshell, the relationship of the left forearm, left hand and the clubface need to remain constant in a flat or square position at takeaway and at the top of the backswing. That way you don't have to exert an extra effort to square the clubface when it returns to the ball.
To accomplish this you'd better think of keeping the clubface remaining vertical as it was at address until the end of the takeaway. This done correctly, the leading edge of the clubhead will be parallel with the spine angle at the end of the takeaway. Your arms will rotate naturally in proportion to the shoulder turn.
Similarly, at the end of a good takeaway where the left hand is in front of the right thigh, the left arm remains straight and the right arm folds just a bit with the right forearm higher than the left. This indicates that the wrists did not roll immoderately and the clubface is staying square, or rather looking at the ball during the takeaway the way it does when you make a really long putt. After all, for a square alignment of the clubface at impact it's essential that the clubface remains looking at the ball all the way to the top.
Equally crucial to a correct takeaway is to avoid precipitating the rotations of the right shoulder and hip at the start of the backswing. You need to keep them still and just move the left hand and arm. That way you can swing the clubhead back along the proper arc with the clubface looking at the ball as it did at address.
To prevent too early a shoulder rotation it's essential to start the takeaway with the left shoulder moving slightly down towards the ground. This also encourages the swing center to stay still, which in turn presents more chances of producing solid ball strikes. Moving the swing centre, the top of the sternum, during the swing has the same effect as the ball moving.
In a good golf swing the right shoulder and hip start to turn at the end of the takeaway to assist the arms and hands in continuing to swing back freely along the natural arc all the way to the top of the backswing.
The correct takeaway path is neither straight back from the ball nor overly inside. It is an arc created by the natural swinging of the arms and hands without a superfluous, steering movement.
Taking the club back on a path that is overly inside the ball-target line forces you to cast the club outside the ball-target line at the initial stage of the downswing, causing pulls to the left or pull-slices, along with rare pushes to the right and push-slices if you are an experienced player.
Taking the club back too far straight along the ball-target line causes the left shoulder to drop immoderately, resulting in a hip sway to the right, a collapsed left side and an overly upright swing. These hideous movements make it hard to swing down in the correct sequence and on the proper path. Typically, an overly straight takeaway results in an over-the-top move that causes pulls to the left or pull-slices.
For a simpler takeaway, think of a short chip shot. For a chipping stroke you take the club away from the ball with your hands and arms only, keeping other parts of the body still. The same should be done with the full shot.
For a full swing you just add shoulder turn and movements of the other parts of the body at the end of the takeaway. The full shot is merely an extension of the chip shot with the shoulder and body rotations added to place the club in position at the top so it gets parallel to the ball-target line.
Another simple way for a correct takeaway is to move the navel and grip end of the club together, looking at the inside quadrant of the ball. That allows you to swing the club down and through the ball on an ideal in-to-out path.
Irrespective of how you take the club away from the ball, commit this critical element of a good backswing to memory: for the desired position at the top it's imperative to let the butt of the club handle point to the ball halfway back when the left arm is parallel to the ball-target line and horizontal to the ground, and have it continue to point to the ball at the top.
The imagined straight line formed between the butt of the club and the ball is the shortest path the left hand needs to take on the way down.