Many swing flaws occur within the first few inches, when the clubhead is moving away from the ball. A lot of players struggle with the clubhead deviating from square on the takeaway. Players either over-rotate it or under-rotate it. Over-rotating is the more common mistake. You don't want your hands to "roll over," and you don't want your hands over-involved in the swing.
Here's a drill that gives a player the proper sensation of the move away from the ball from the address position. Using your normal grip, choke way down on an 8-iron, on the metal part of the shaft, just 8 inches from the clubhead. The grip-end of the club will be touching your left hip.
Start the takeaway by allowing the hand, arms and shoulders to move the club away together. The clubhead stays along the target line the first 4 to 6 inches ("in one piece") until the shoulder rotation moves the club on an inside path. At the halfway juncture of the backswing, you see the grip end of the club pointing toward the ground. At the top of the backswing, look back and make sure the back of the left hand and the clubface match one another.
This move requires no manipulation of the hands and wrists if done correctly. If the back of the left hand and the clubface match up at the top of the backswing, you're in great position to keep the clubface square throughout the swing.
For Clover's video demonstration of this tip, go to www.buffalonews.com/golf. WNY PGA club pros will offer weekly tips in Wednesday's editions of The News. Next week's tip is from Jeff Mietus, assistant pro, Transit Valley Country Club.
Chip Clover, golf professional, Brookfield Country Club
Editor's note: This is the fourth in a 10-part series.