One of the most critical parts of the golf swing is what you do in the first few inches of the takeaway. Often, I see amateurs begin their takeaway by lifting the club upward, which then creates a very upright backswing that later becomes a reverse pivot. Yikes! This then leads to all sorts of trouble on the downswing and at impact.
The right way to start the backswing is to apply the "low and slow" approach. By staying low and slow, you'll activate a bigger, wider arc and body turn, resulting in a golf swing that's both more consistent and more powerful. A great way to practice a low and slow approach is to imagine swinging a wet mop on your backswing. Better yet, if you actually have a wet mop available, give this drill a try.
As you take the mop back, the weight and length of the mop will force you to stay low and slow. As you take the club farther back to the top of your backswing, make sure the wet end of the mop gets behind your body. If it hangs over your head at the top, you'll get drenched!
The goal behind this drill is to not only help you avoid lifting the club too early in the takeaway, but also help you round out your backswing for a bigger, fuller body turn. And if you can't find a mop nearby, then use a club, but imagine you're actually swinging a big, heavy, wet mop. You'll quickly begin to ingrain the proper takeaway motion and be on your way to hitting not only longer, but also straighter shots.
Wally Armstrong competed in more than 300 PGA Tour events, is a Lifetime Member of the PGA Tour and holds a bachelor's and master's degree in education from the University of Florida. For more information, visit wallyarmstronggolf.com.