Over the next several weeks, Tom Stickney will be presenting a series called, “The Swing In Pictures” on GolfWRX.

Each Monday a different swing position will be coupled with thoughts you (as the player) should pay attention to based on your current handicap level.  I would suggest printing each of these articles out and place them in a binder, as the series will take you from address through the finish from the front and down the line views.

Click here to view Tom’s previous articles.


This article is meant to be used as a general reference for the most common swing model used in today’s game. As with any golf swing, there are personal idiosyncrasies that will alter the look and/or actions of the club shaft and body motions back and through so there will always be exceptions. Please keep this in mind as you read each section. As Homer Kelley identifies in ‘The Golfing Machine,’ there are 446 quad-trillion stroke patterns, or ways to swing the club. You only need to find the one that works best for you.

Tom Stickney

The Takeaway begins when the body and club shaft begin to move away from the ball. It is this position that truly sets up the whole chain of events leading up to the top. If you move either the body or the club shaft too far off track here you are only waiting for disaster!

For the Beginning Player:

  • The takeaway begins with a gentle rotational upper-body motion moving the club shaft back in a one-piece motion to belt high.
  • The weight is moving into the back foot slightly at this point.
  • At belt high, the club should be extended from your body but the rear arm is beginning to bend slightly.
  • There should be very little rotation, bend or cocking of the forward wrist at this point.
  • The shoulders are leading the hips in the race to belt high but are not too far behind.

For the Intermediate Player:

  • Maintain the side bending of the spine into your belt-high position so you will continue to load weight into your rear foot.
  • Monitor your rear knee’s actions to this position; it should not allow the weight to move into the outside of your rear foot to belt high.
  • The shoulders are turning while the hips are holding back slightly, like you are holding a beach ball between your knees.

For the Advanced Player:

  • Allow the shoulders to lead pulling the shoulders, arms, hands and club shaft into motion.
  • Monitor your grip pressure at this point so that the club shaft can begin to “set” or cock upwards — too much grip pressure will cause a lack of wrist hinge.
  • The greater the distance you can turn your shoulders without moving your hips, the greater amount of potential energy you are creating for the downswing.

For the Professional Player:

  • The choice must be made here as to what type of loading action that the wrists will have to the top, in other words, you must pre-determine how quickly the wrists cock during the takeaway — the body and arms must all arrive at the top together.
  • The amount of lateral head motion off the start of the backswing is controlled by the amount of side bending you carry into the belt high position.
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