There are many ways to swing a golf club successfully. You certainly don’t have to be textbook perfect throughout the whole swing. However, there are three key moves that I consider make or break points in any swing. These are:
1. The takeaway
2. The transition (from top of the backswing into the forward swing)
Once a golfer has developed a sound set up position - with a good grip, alignment, posture and stance – these are the areas I focus on in any pupil's swing.
The most important point is no.3: impact; this determines what the ball does. However, get 1 and 2 right – the takeaway and transition – and a great impact position becomes much more likely. And, of course, the opposite is true – a bad takeaway and transition will nearly always result in a bad impact position.
Therefore, while impact is the most important point in the swing, I don’t think that is where golfers should focus their attention. A good impact position will be what shows up consistently (an important word) in your swing when you get the proceeding stages consistently right.
There is another big reason why I would encourage you to focus on your takeaway and transition – because they happen slowly. They are the two starts in your swing – starting back and starting forward. You’ve got a little bit of time to think as you make these starts. You can control them, to an extent, and you can work on improving them.
By contrast, you’ve got zero chance of consciously controlling impact. From the top of the backswing to impact happens in around 0.2 seconds, with the club head potentially travelling at over 100 mph. After you make the transition into the forward swing, gravity and momentum take over. You can’t pose or manipulate yourself into a good impact position.
So, if you’re looking to improve your swing, focus on the two starts – the takeaway and transition – and you’ll see the benefits with an improved impact position, which will produce consistently good shots.