What are the Golf Swing Path and the Takeaway?
The golf swing path is the arc the golf club head follows throughout the course of the golf swing. The path begins with the takeaway, arcing upward through the top of the swing, and then moves down through the ball and toward the target. A golfer's swing path can be broken down and analyzed by several factors: swing tempo, stance, the takeaway and posture. There are also three separate ways to define an individual's golf swing path: flat, upright and neutral.
The takeaway happens during the first couple feet of any swing and is only a short portion of the swing; however, it is a huge factor in a golfer's swing path. If the takeaway is on a flat path, then the swing will generally be flat and the same can be said for an upright path as well as a neutral one. No matter what golf swing path you may have, it can be corrected and perfected with the proper tutelage and continuous practice.
The Importance of Knowing Which Takeaway You Possess
Now it is time to identify which takeaway you have and how to improve on it. If you already possess a neutral takeaway, then you are ahead of the game; the only thing you need is repetition to golf at your best. However, if you have either a flat or upright takeaway, then there is much work to do.
Some typical causes for a flat takeaway are using too much hip turning and not enough shoulder follow-through, a weak grip on the club and a quick swing tempo. Any one or combination of these can lead to a golfer having a flat takeaway, which results in a flat golf swing path. Some common reasons for an upright takeaway are not enough hip movement and too much arm and shoulder use, having too strong of a grip on the golf club and overcompensation on thin shots.
Golfers with an upright takeaway have less work to do than those with a flat takeaway, but both sets of golfers still need to identify which group they fall into. Golfers must make the proper adjustments so they can play with a neutral takeaway, which will improve their overall game dramatically.
The Two Separate Golf Swing Paths
Every single golf swing contains two separate golf swing paths, one for the backswing and one for the downswing. It is essential that each part is executed well in order to accomplish a good, complete golf swing path. A golfer's height and the distance he stands from the ball should determine the proper angle of the path on his backswing. On the takeaway, keep the club head low and the hands as far away from your head as possible to create a long arc and gain maximum clubhead speed. Once the shoulders turn and the club head rises, it is crucial to keep the entire club on the same path. If the club remains on this golf swing path, then the club will be correctly aligned at the top of the swing and will be important once the transition into the downswing is made.
The proper way to begin your swing is to bump your hip (left if you're right-handed or right if you're left-handed) to place your club on the correct golf swing path. Once your shoulders begin to go backward, your golf swing path will instantly change slightly and will no longer remain directly in the target's path. It will be slightly off of the target's path; however, if you swing from the inside-out, then you will be able to compensate for the slight difference. Once you're on the correct golf swing path, then the unfortunate practice of top swinging which makes the distance that is received on a shot very inconsistent.