Nail Your Takeaway to Fix the Over the Top Downswing

FaldoajGaulBy A.J. Gaul
Certified Instructor
Marriott Golf Academy in Palm Desert, California

One of the most common downswing flaws I see in amateur golfers is the “out to in” club path through impact.  This flaw causes many of the pulls or weak slices that many high handicappers commonly see as a shot shape.  On the practice tee, players will often refer to this as an “over the top” downswing.  Although this flaw is taking place during the downswing, nearer the impact area, the root cause is often much earlier in the swing.  In fact, one of the most common causes is an improper takeaway.  Although the takeaway effectively is a very small portion of the overall golf swing, it can go a long way in determining the success of the downswing.

Many players who possess an “out to in” club path are well aware of this fault and work very hard at trying to swing on an “in to out” path.  This however, can lead to an exaggeration of the “in” part of the backswing, in an effort to swing “in to out” on the downswing. FaldoNailBack50
FaldoNailBack51 This exaggeration on the takeaway will force a player to lift his/her arms very steeply in order to get the club to the top of the backswing, leading right back to the dreaded “out to in” downswing.
 In order to gain the ability to make an “in to out” downswing, a player must achieve a takeaway position in which the club head stays slightly outside the hands. FaldoNailBack52
FaldoNailBack53 This relationship between the club and hands encourages the arms club and body to move in unison to the top of the backswing, allowing the backswing to be completed by turning to the top, rather than lifting the arms to complete the backswing.
 The key movement in order to accomplish this position is to begin the takeaway movement with the butt of the club rather than the club head.  The more a player tries to swing the club head, the farther inside the club will travel on the takeaway. FaldoNailBack54
FaldoNailBack55 By beginning the takeaway with the butt of the club, a straighter takeaway path will be achieved.  This straighter takeaway will encourage the club to drop on the proper inside path during the initiation of the downswing.



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