Swing rehearsal

By Hank Haney Photos by Dom Furore
January 30, 2008

If you aren't really paying attention to what you're doing before you swing, you're missing a great chance to rehearse and groove a solid takeaway.

Use your waggle to ingrain three things into your takeaway. You want the club to hinge up and move inside, and the clubface to rotate open relative to the target line (large photo). If you waggle the club in a shut position, like the small photo here, you'll tend to bring it back through impact closed or try to open it before you hit the ball -- and probably open it too much.

The main goal is to preview a takeaway where the clubface stays square to the arc of your swing -- not square to the target. That's a hard thing for many players to visualize, because they're so focused on putting the club in the right position at impact.

Get this takeaway move right, and the club will come back to impact in good position automatically, with no manipulation.


It takes more than one big season to become a great player


Every year, a player comes out early in the season and records a string of good finishes. Sometimes, he can sustain it through the season, like Zach Johnson (right) did by winning again a month after the Masters last year. Other times players fade, like Charles Howell III did after his fast start in 2007.

The truth is, every player on tour is capable of a hot week or a hot month. They've all done it at some point in their careers. The great players are the ones who do it year after year. Johnson proved a lot with those wins. Now he's got a chance to back it up with another good season and take his career to another level. Howell is looking to take the next step and be consistently good for an entire season.

Being competitive week in and week out is the final step in a player's development, and it's certainly the tallest step. There are only a few guys at that top level -- starting with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh. This is proof that it's hard to get to the top of the mountain and even harder to stay there.

Ranked No. 3 by his peers among Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, Haney owns six golf schools/practice facilities in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas. Click here for more tips from Haney.