The Golf Takeaway: A Common Fault and Fix
One thing that Adam and I have been discussing recently is the concept of keeping the club head in front of your chest and using your big muscles to take the club back, rather than a quick wrist hinge which leads to the club getting behind you and into a bad position.
In Jimmy Ballard’s swing, your whole left shoulder and left lat are used to move the club back to initiate the takeaway. The triangle that is formed with your arms and your chest at setup stays intact to waist high, even as the right arm is starting to fold.
Annika Sorenstam, who was taught the Ballard method in the Swedish golf program, demonstrates this beautifully:
A couple of things to notice in these photos: the shape of the triangle that she keeps with her arms and chest, the way that the club head stays in the center of that triangle (in other words, no early wrist cock), and the way that her right arm stays above the left arm all the way to waist high.
The right arm staying above the left from this front view is key to keeping the club in front of your chest, and not getting the club behind you, where your only choices are to hit the ball way out to the right, or try to snap your wrists through impact which creates vicious hooks, or from the top of the swing, re- route the club back out and across the line for a pull fade or pull hook, depending on your hand and wrist rotation.
But if you can keep the triangle, and keep your right arm higher than your left to waist high, and then simply let the right arm fold up into the throwing motion, the club will be in a great position to push off your right foot- to initiate the downswing. And, if you stay connected with your left arm on your chest, and throw the club down the line with your right hand, you’ll see solid, straight ball flight.
You can easily stand in front of a mirror at home during the winter and practice these positions. It will then be much more automatic when you get to nice weather in the spring!