There has been lots of talk recently amongst the Tour player golf instructors and analysts about width in the golf swing. This feeling is important, as it’s one of the main components that helps with solid contact, trajectory and, of course, distance. The determination of one’s width is apparent at address. Width is defined as the distance between the hands and the chest at address. Ideally, width should be maintained from address, to impact and then into the finish.
A big key to maintaining width starts in the takeaway. The club, arms/hands and shoulders should move away from the ball together. As this movement starts, the head and body should stay centered. The width between the hands and chest should be maintained as the club moves back away from the ball. I like to see this movement away from the ball extend past the right leg for a right-handed golfer. By moving the takeaway just past the trail leg, it allows the maximum width without trying to stretch or pull your head laterally off the ball. Too often, I see the club not swinging past the trail leg. This can happen by the lack of turn or the hands picking the club up without any swing back. Or, I’ll see a golfer trying to create too much width, and they end up leaning off the ball with their upper body. Width can only be created by the distance between your hands and chest. Moving or swaying more off the ball is not a way to create more width.
An excellent drill to work on width in the takeaway is to place the butt end of a club in your stomach. Take hold of the club with your arms extended and hold the clubhead up about 2 feet above the ground. Practice turning your shoulders, letting your arms and hands swing back past your trail leg. Having the butt end of the club in your stomach helps control the width of the takeaway.
Simply put, maintaining the width between your hands and chest throughout the swing is a great way to synch up your swing. Getting started properly in the takeaway will help insure success in this area of the swing. Incorporate this feeling in your next practice session or round of golf and enjoy the difference in your ball flight and distance.
Tim Cusick is the Director of Instruction at the Four Seasons Resort and Club/Dallas at Las Colinas. The Northern Texas PGA named Cusick Teacher of the Year in 2005, 2009 and 2015, as well as the 2014 Horton Smith Award winner for education. He’s the author of ‘The Four Keys to Improve your Swing.’ Follow him on Twitter @timcusickgolf and visit his website: timcusickgolf.com.