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.

The Takeaway (Rear View)

Tom Stickney

The Takeaway begins when the body and clubshaft 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 clubshaft too far off track here you are only waiting for disaster!

For the Beginning Player:

  • The clubshaft will be positioned directly over your toes and in line with the direction of your stance-line at belt high.
  • The forward wrist should be “relatively” flat with no bending or arching of the wrist.
  • The rear arm is beginning to “tuck and fold” into the body as it orbits the rib cage.
  • Maintain the triangle formed between your shoulders and arms into the belt high position.

For the Intermediate Player:

  • You takeaway should be driven by your shoulders, not your hands, take the time to monitor your wrist action to belt high by watching the actions of the watch dial on your forward arm.
  • At belt high the clubshaft should be positioned directly over your toes.
  • The clubface should be moving into a “toe up” position by this point but not all the way.
  • Maintain the flex of your right knee into the backswing.

For the Advanced Player:

  • The amount of forward forearm rotation to the belt high position will control the face angle of the clubhead, as well as if the club is in line with your hands or not.
  • Monitor your grip pressure so that you may begin to set the club into the correct position by chest high.
  • The shoulders should be dominating the hips in their race to belt high. Monitor the actions of the left knee to this point, if it is moving exaggeratedly out toward the ball at this point then your hips are over-rotating.

For the Professional Player:

  • The angle and articulations of the left wrist at this point should match up with the pivot speed of the body so everything is working together by this point.
  • The rotational amount of the forward forearm and the amount of wrist hinge you have to this point will determine if the clubhead travels in front of, on top of, or behind your hands to belt high.
  • The amount of forward bending you set at address will be holding constant into the belt high position.
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  1. Tyler–

    As long as the clubshaft is around the stance-line you should be fine. Remember golf is not about hitting all the perfect positions during the swing- it’s about functionality, thus, sometimes you will be in slightly different positions than the ones shown. Enjoy….

  2. Most people will tend to take the club away using their shoulders to drive the motion of the arms and hands; however, if you have takeaway flaws…such as a propensity to over-roll the left forearm off the start…moving the clubshaft too much to the inside…then you might feel more hand action during the takeaway to eliminate this faulty action as an example.

    • Tom,
      How do you feel about the pre-shot waggle in an attempt to rehearse the 9’oclock take-away? I have always reverted to it if I felt something wrong at the range, but never felt comfortable taking it to the course. It seemed like it left me standing over the ball too long. Just curious what you thought of incorporating that type of waggle into an on the course routine. Thanks,

      • Anything you can do to help position yourself on the way back is a good idea; some people can do this “long waggle” on the golf course while others cannot. It’s up to you.