Full Extension Takeaway Details
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
If you lack distance with your driver, your problem may be a lack of width in your swing arc. You need a wide swing arc to give yourself room to build up clubhead speed—the prime factor behind distance. The wide swing demonstrated by our model starts with full extension of the club, including a good stretch of the lead arm at both address and during the takeaway. Here’s how it breaks down:
At address in Photo 1, her spine angle is set at a ninety-degree angle to the club shaft to allow her left arm to hang straight. As you can see by looking down the target line, her right arm is only slightly bent, just enough to accommodate for the fact that both her right hand and shoulder are set lower than her left shoulder. This is a beautiful picture of full extension at address.
Photo 2 demonstrates perfect extension at the end of her takeaway. Here are the five essentials of full extension: (1) her hands are waist high (2) her left arm and wrist are still straight (3) her right arm is still only slightly bent (4) her right elbow has moved away from her right side and (5) the club is parallel to the ground since it hasn’t been elevated by any wrist cock. Our model has followed the “law of parallels,” which states that whenever the club shaft is parallel to the ground, it should also be parallel to the intended line of flight.
To achieve full extension, she initiated her backswing with her left arm until it pulled on her shoulders and then her chest. At no time did she allow for any slack in her takeaway. By swinging the left arm to create maximum stretch, she has kept the tension on her muscles constant. Remember this key phrase – Slack in the takeaway breeds slap at impact. The more stretch, the wider the swing arc will be, which translates into more clubhead speed and power. Good technique is especially important for a petite woman such as this pro who stands only about five feet, two inches tall but can still generate enough clubhead speed to drive the ball ~ 240 yards. To work on your extension, get a mirror and mimic our model’s positions in the photos. Also, take some swings with the sun at your back so you can check the shadow of the shaft to see that you are following the recommendations.
If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.