Straight back position

We have all heard the expression take the club straight back. This is often misinterpreted or misunderstood. The path of the clubface has a huge influence on the outcome of the direction of the ball.

Many golfers take the clubface back inside and then overcompensate on the downswing and come “over the top” or on an outside path and then slice or pull the ball.

Some golfers can also over-compensate the other way and take the club outside on the backswing. This also leads to some sort of compensation which invariably leads to inconsistency.

Two factors that can help with a better take away are, understanding what straight back really means and what really needs to be taken back. Straight back is a position more than a straight line.

The take away is actually on a slightly curved path to a point that is on line with your feet/shoulders (See Picture 1) this position mirrors to the follow through position as well. (See Picture 2) This is basically the hitting zone.


What needs to be taken back is the clubhead. There is a huge difference between taking the club back and taking the clubhead back. We use a hammer as an example. (See Picture 3) When hammering in a nail one would take the hammer head back and not the whole hammer.

So to in golf the take-away is the clubface first and the rest follows and not the whole club at once. If you took the club back one would struggle to find the correct path for the club head to travel on. (Either leading to an inside or outside take-away.)

So the take-away needs two vital components to help make a better backswing.


Firstly know what you are taking back and secondly the path of the clubhead going back will be a slight elliptical to a point at hip high that happens to be straight in line with your feet and shoulder line.

A good way to find this position in the backswing is to set up facing away from your intended target, lift the clubhead up so the shaft is parallel to the ground. (See Picture 4).

Then keeping your arms in the same position move you lower body around to face the ball.

This will give you a feeling of what straight back really means. (See Picture 5).

John Dickson

Head Teaching Professional at
Copperleaf Golf Estate
Contact: 082 990 7201

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