The one piece takeaway is a fallacy.

When I say this, I am not referring to those golfers who have had great success keeping the club on plane and hitting the ball solid. Nor am I referring to all of the golfers who have a good, natural and tension free one piece takeaway. In other words, a true one piece takeaway

I am talking about the millions of golfers who are told to do this, have to contrive it, cause tension, a late handset and get the club out of position. This often causes the shoulders to turn too flat as a late handset and shoulders turning vertically is a nasty feeling move.

You all know what I think about shoulders turning too flat…and try hitting short pitches and knockdown shots with the hands not completely set. That is a big problem. It ends up as a swing that becomes too long, giving time for the hands to set, but then…the swing is too long to hit the shot you want.

A late handset in a full swing makes it very difficult not to narrow the arc on the way down. I know this is actually thought of as a good thing for creating lag…but you all know how I feel about that.

Widening the arc and low and slow are other beauties that create a late handset and the club getting out of position. I am finding that setting hands too late is something that is ingrained in my swing from all the years of garbage I listened to.

I was hitting balls and there was a guy with a homemade swing. He set his hands pretty quickly, but had a beautiful shoulder turn and was dead on plane. The noodnik with him starting talking one piece takeaway and low and slow. 5 minutes later he was whipping the club too far inside and hitting duck hooks with driver and shanks with irons. My head almost exploded before my own epiphany struck me.

Don’t take my word for it. Set your hands a little quicker than normal while turning your shoulders. You will find that your shoulders almost automatically turn 90* to your spine. Try setting your hands a little faster and turn too flat at the same time…or widening the arc, etc. From a feel standpoint, you almost get a sense when you are doing something bad.

Here is a video that talks about some of these things. Again, this should be a natural process, but some of the bad info we have been subjected to makes the need to retrain ourselves to do what is natural. That is the bane of the modern golfer. Purging all of the new swing fads that create unnatural motions…and we are forced to retrain our bodies to do what is natural.

Just like I showed in my audition video yesterday, the hands will set naturally and perfectly if you allow it to happen.

The second video is a great drill to promote a true, tension free one piece takeaway.




  1. banchiline

    This has to be my favorite post.
    The “1 piece takeaway” has been the single most detrimental advice to my approach swinging the golf club.( #2 being turn through the shot”), which has ingrained an upper body lateral move towards the target) taking away side bend through impact .

    Monte is spot on here.

  2. hackgolfer

    what does “one piece takeaway” mean? Pre-setting the hands and not letting the hands move during the back swing?

  3. s.

    I really like video 2, reminds me of Hogan.

    I think the “one piece” is supposed to mean that shoulders, chest, and arms act as a unit to swing the hands. The problem is using the wrong hinge point. If someone tries to turn from the zipper, hips, belt buckle, navel, or shoulders, they’re probably not going to do this drill right.

    To keep it from being shoulder dominant, Hogan puts his elbows at his side, and he is basically turning at that point, allowing everything above that to work as a unit. That way, after he begins swinging, his hands are in front of his chest at the 90º point, just like yours.


  4. Steve Bishop

    I have one thing here that I disagree with you on. I don’t think the “late hinge” of the wrists is what causes a flat shoulder turn. In fact I see it far more opposite. It’s the early forearm roll with an early wrist set that causes flatter shoulders. Bringing the hands slightly more inside while keeping the clubhead outside is an automatic shoulder steepener. Manuel de la Torre thinks so to. Where do you think I picked it up from. 😀

    I rarely ever try to teach people a “one piece takeaway” but rather focus on the club. Take THE WHOLE CLUB away from the ball. Not just the clubhead. This gets the point across without causing silly mechanics to make it happen. It also conveniently puts the club on plane without them realizing it.

  5. Chris

    I agree with Monty 100%. The one piece takeaway or float loading has been the biggest detriment to my game. It feels unnatural and completely manipulated. I never know when to begin hinging and it feels like the club is all over the place and never on plane. I also never know where the clubhead is in my back swing.
    The early natural wrist hinge has changed and saved my game. If its good enough for Sir Nick Faldo its absolutely and definitely good enough for me!


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