The first part of the takeaway.

This was big when I was learning and no one talks about it much anymore because they are too busy with complicated swing theories.

In the first two feet of the swing, you want the butt end of the club to be pointed at your zipper, until your hands get past your right hip (left hip for left handed golfers).

(The 9 o’clock in next step is from a face on view of the golfer)

After the hands past the right hip, the butt end will transition to pointing at the golf ball when your left arm points at 9 on a clock.

All you have to do from here is rotate your body and not grab the club with your hands.

You don’t want to try and be too perfect on this and micromanage it. It is just a guide to see if you are using your arms and hands too much in the beginning of the takeaway.

If your arm swing or hands take over too much early in the takeaway, it is difficult to go up this path. In this era of widening the swing arc, late hand set and inside/out swinging, this basic fundamental has been lost.

This is really important in keeping the club and your hands out in front of your turn. This will help you not get stuck…and for even more of you, not get you too far inside early and be forced to come over the top.




  1. Brett Picotte

    I hadn’t heard that advice before. Thanks.

    When do you compete again?

    Brett “The worst caddie in the world” Picotte

  2. s.

    “this basic fundamental has been lost.”

    –I think you’re right. In the old days, they used to talk about the TAKEAWAY, although they weren’t very good at explaining what it was, or why.

    Then, video cameras on the target line became the rage (because it was easy for gurus), and everything was “spine angle,” which was really more of a result than a cause, and led to an overall theory that didn’t match up with other camera placements, or even with the downswing.

  3. Calvin D

    Look. You can stick it straight out in front of you with the butt pointed at zipper, you can just turn your hips with butt pointed at zipper, you can just turn your shoulders with butt pointed at zipper, you can just move your arms with butt pointed at zipper, you can just flex your wrists with butt pointed at zippe, or you can just swing it back and whack it. I liken this to the TGM thing about lining up the shaft with the trail forearm at the delivery point in the downswing. What? From what point of view???

    • Wuz

      I disagree with your post. Yes, you can manipulate any part of the swing sequence to look like it is “supposed” to. However, I think the essence of Monte’s post is entirely correct. Here’s why:
      When you are swinging the way you SHOULD be swinging, things happen automatically. You need not think about mechanics or manipulations at any point in your swing. I do find that the first few feet
      of my backswing does indeed verify wheteher or not I’m going to have a reasonable chance at hitting
      a reasonlable golf shot. For example, if I don’t get the life line of my trailing had over the thumb of
      my lead hand, I take the club too much inside. Sure, I may be able to save the shot, but only with
      a manipulation that probably will not be repeatable. By doing what the young man suggests, you
      have a chance of correcting the root cause of the fault before the ball dives into the adjacent fairway.


  4. JD


    Thanks for the post. The takeaway is something I’m working on improving, so I hoped you’d clarify this line: “In the first two feet of the swing, you want the butt end of the club to be pointed at your zipper, until your hands get past your right hip (left hip for left handed golfers).”

    –By “two feet,” do you mean the first two feet the clubhead travels or the first two feet that the hands travel?

    –And what does it mean to say that the end should point to the zipper until it’s past your right hip? By then, isn’t the butt-end, by definition, not pointing at the zipper?

  5. dasbill

    I just discovered this recently. Jim Suttie’s book helped me feel it. Here is how it goes. Take a 5 iron put the butt end in your belly button and take your normal grip on the shaft. Keeping the butt in your belly button until you get to 8 o”clock. Once at 8 o’clock push the club away from your belly button with your left arm and continue to rotate. Let me know if this works or if its way off course. It worked for me after years of taking it extremely outside.

    • dasbill

      When I said continue to rotate I meant to continue to rotate the shoulders. Just to clarify

  6. s.

    Today’s column helped out a lot, but maybe not in the way you intended. By slowly trying to assume the position you described, a light bulb went off.

    For me the idea of a TAKEAWAY is to clear my right side before I get too far into a shoulder swing and torso windup.

    Everyone probably knows that Bobby Jones talked about “clearing.” Well, for me clearing (turning) and swinging go hand-and-glove. I can’t swing without giving myself room to swing. Otherwise, my body is in the way.

    Your column helped me remember the sequence for getting my body out of the way as I swing, and it worked great at the range today–not by trying to apply what you wrote word-for-word, but by remembering what it was supposed to accomplish in my scheme of things.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      That is exactly the way I intended it to help. I try and throw out my view of the basic ideas in hope that others find a way that makes sense to them.

      • Chris Farabee

        Monte I caddied for you(can’t remember the year) at the Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield Mo.Sorry you didn’t make the cut but I enjoyed being on the bag.Good to see you’re still busy with the game

  7. ringerdaman

    I have always like Manuel de la Torre’s explanation of a proper takeaway.

    Take THE WHOLE CLUB away. Not just the clubhead.


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