Your New Swing Starts Here : Eliminate your takeaway mistakes with the ‘Swing of the Future’

David Leadbetter

I’ve always felt that most players’ problems occur early in the swing–at address and in the takeaway. First off, most players have a lot of tension at address, because they’re starting from a static position and have too many thoughts. Second, they have to synchronize a lot of elements to make a good backswing–the club, the hands, the arms, the shoulders, the hips. That’s complicated. I knew that if they could eliminate the takeaway mistakes and get into a good position halfway into the backswing, all golfers would hit more consistent, straight and powerful shots. So I thought: What if we just eliminated the early part of the swing?

Well, that’s what this article is about: the no-takeaway swing–possibly the Swing of the Future. It starts with your body already partly turned back, your hands chest high, and the club cocked at 90 degrees to your left arm (opposite page). With the Swing of the Future, you look like a baseball player ready to hit. The short movement required from this halfway-back slot simplifies things and eliminates the wasted motion so common in many players. You start in a great position and then you just make a little turn, which completes a perfectly wound-up backswing–and a good backswing leads to a good downswing.

I use this no-takeaway swing as a drill with many of the players I teach, like pro phenom Charles Howell III, shown here (left) and in his swing sequence that follows this article. Try the Swing of the Future on the practice range. You may find it works so well that you’ll want to take it onto the course. You’ll get some funny looks, but you might just hit the ball better than ever.

Synchronize the parts

The beauty of the Swing of the Future is that from where it starts, all you need to do is complete your turn back and then swing through. That emphasizes the big muscles of your torso, abs and back–and that’s good. You don’t have to worry about whether all your body parts are in the right position–whether you’ve taken the club back too fast or too slow, whether your hips have turned too much, whether your arms have swung too early or too far, whether you’ve cocked your wrists at the right moment.

Synchronizing the arms and the body is the all-important ingredient in a good swing. That’s easy to do with the Swing of the Future, because your arms are already in a good position halfway back–that is, in front of your chest. You don’t have to consciously swing or lift them anymore from here. Just wind your torso back.

On this page, you see two common swing mistakes caused by the takeaway getting out of synch. Compare them to the good position on the opposite page. Check yourself in a mirror when you’re practicing.

Eliminate the off-plane swings

Synchronizing all your moving parts is only one problem in a traditional swing. You also need to make sure that your swing is more or less on plane. If it’s too steep or too flat, or if you fan the club open or keep it too shut going back, you’ll have to make compensations on the downswing, which lead to inconsistency. The Swing of the Future lets you check your shaft plane before you start. On this page, you see two common swing-plane mistakes. On the next page, you can see what a good swing plane looks like.

Put it all together

These three photos show the Swing of the Future in action. Before you begin, set up to the ball in the traditional way, to make sure you’re the right distance away. But then, instead of swinging the club back, simply bring it to the halfway position I’ve described. You can even stop and look, to check the club’s position. Then you’re ready to go.

Chip with the Swing of the Future

The concept of the Swing of the Future also can be applied to your short game. From a traditional setup, with the club right behind the ball, many players get tense and lose rhythm. They jerk the club away from the ball and then flip the hands at it as they try to scoop the ball into the air. Start with the club a short distance behind the ball, in a good position–nice and relaxed, minimal wrist cock, with your weight favoring the left foot. From here, move the clubhead back a few more inches with a little turn, and then turn back through toward the target, keeping your left wrist firm. The result wll be a solid clip of the ball off the turf–less hands and more consistency.

RELATED ARTICLE: Work on the Full-turn Drill

A key to the Swing of the Future is to complete your coil before you start the downswing. This classic drill helps. Focusing on your torso, turn so the shaft points behind the ball. Your shoulders should be turned at least twice as much as your hips, and your chest should be over your right leg. This drill also serves as a good stretch or warmup before you play.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘I tried it.’

Joe Tischer

Age 23, Hdcp 14

New Berlin, Wis.

When I tried starting my swing halfway back, at first I didn’t feel like I could get my timing or hit the ball with any power. The position of the club also felt funny. But after just a couple of swings, I started nailing the ball with a high draw.

Leadbetter comments: Joe had a flat, hurried swing, and he hit a lot of low, thin pulls. We got him started with a more upright swing plane. His baseball background helped. Like many players, he initially tended to make his swing too quick when starting from halfway back. He needs to keep it smooth, being sure to rhythmically finish his backswing coil.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Golf Digest Companies

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

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