GO: The front of the alignment rod should move down towards the ball.
NO GO: The alignment rod should not move out or around. This causes the club to move inside on a flat swing plane forcing you to “come over the top” on the downswing.
The takeaway of your golf swing can say a lot about what the rest of your swing will look like. It is essential to move the club away from the golf ball properly using the right technique and the right muscles. A great initial checkpoint in your swing is in the takeaway when the club is approximately parallel to the ground. Getting your body and the club in the right position here will help you execute a great swing. But how do you know what the correct body positions for your golf swing are? The first step is seeing those positions, then learning to make the correct move to get into those positions. In order to do this you either need an instructor to show you in real time, or to take video of your golf swing. That is, unless you have a Swing Align golf swing training aid! While wearing a Swing Align it becomes easy to see your body positions, and as a result it becomes equally easy to practice getting into those positions. The orientation of Swing Align’s highly visual alignment rod helps you to understand something about every part of your swing. On the takeaway it tells you a lot about your spine angle and shoulder rotation, and how to get your body in the right position to make a great golf swing. Many golfers want to know, how do you take the club away properly? With Swing Align a good start is to pay attention to how the front end of the alignment rod moves as you take the club away. The front end of the rod should move down towards the ball, not up – or out and around. This move helps you maintain your spine angle and gets your shoulders correctly rotating down and around on an inclined plane. This move also keeps the club in front of your body as you rotate to the top of the swing. If the club is in the right position half way back in your swing, it is far more likely to be in a good position at the top of your swing as well, allowing you to deliver it back to the ball consistently with more power and more accuracy.
A common backswing tendency that many golfers have is to lose the posture they established at set-up and to rotate their lead shoulder out and around, creating a swing plane that is too flat. During the takeaway your lead shoulder should move down and your trailing shoulder should move up. If not, you risk your shoulders staying level, or your lead shoulder staying too high. This will cause you to pull your arms to the inside, moving the club to the inside along with them into a bad position behind your body. Once this happens most golfers come back to the ball with an “over the top” move causing a number of problems. These can range from a pulled shot, to a slice, or to a weak pull-slice shot which starts to the left of your target but quickly moves right (if you are a right handed golfer). How do you stop from swinging over the top? You must train yourself to move your front shoulder down to start the backswing and to move the golf club back with your shoulders and bigger muscles. This may seem like an intimidating challenge, but the entire process is actually quite simple once you can see and feel the correct takeaway. This is where the Swing Align swing trainer makes it easy. Check your takeaway by stopping when your clubhead reaches approximately hip high. The club should be pointing away from you and directly down your target line, not to the inside. Our own Golf Digest Top 100 instructor and Golf Channel Academy lead Devan Bonebrake has video demonstrating this concept. Check out the video here.