Thomas T Wartelle ™
Professional Golfer
Asteur-Louisiane LLC 

Thomas T Wartelle™
Golf Instruction


About Thomas

Academie de Golf


Book Thomas for an Event

Lesson Rates

Books / Material

Golf Tips


Thomas T Wartelle™
Playing Professional

Tournament Results & Schedule

What's in My Bag?

Sponsors & Recommended Products

Golf Club Talk

Press Releases

Thomas T Wartelle™
Golf Consulting

Marketing and Promotions 



Golf is a Walking Sport

Exclusive Lesson Rates

Know Your Turf!





Thomas T Wartelle ™
Academie de Golf 


















Back to Instructional Articles



First Move / Move Away (Takeaway)

The golf swing is a chain of events that happens in less than 2 seconds.  When we talk about positions, it must be noted that these are only reference points that the teacher can help diagnose a swing fault.  The swing is a chain reaction.  Therefore most swing faults are caused by some problem earlier in the swing progression, possibly even beginning in the set-up position.

The backswing is a series of motions that set the club in position for a proper downswing.  Golfers do not hit the ball with their backswing, but a good backswing is a simple, repeatable movement that starts the sequence of the swing to the moment of truth – impact. 

A good backswing sets the body into a coiled position ready to return to the clubhead squarely and powerfully at impact.

Most good players have a starting “trigger move” that signals the start of the backswing.  Common backswing starting trigger moves are:

bulletA gentle waggle movement back and forward with the club, hands and wrists, which can ease any tensions in the set-up, and encourage a smooth, rhythmic beginning of the backswing.

bulletA forward press by gently pushing the hands forward or kicking the non-target knee in slightly towards target direction. The recoiling movement that this creates making a smooth takeaway.

Some movement should be encouraged so as the swing does not begin from a static position.  The goal of the move away is to get the golf club swing properly.  This in turn will begin a chain reaction where the club will swing itself and the body into the proper positions.


Trigger Move initiates the backswing and the pivot into trailing leg begins.

After a slight “trigger move”, the backswing is initiated with a shifting of the body away from the target.  This shifting or “pivot” away from the target includes the head and shoulders.  Thus, the head is not kept perfectly still but actually pivots to a point somewhere over a line drawn following the inside of the back leg.

The body begins to shift and the clubhead swings back along the target line.  Some people refer to this as the “one piece takeaway”.   Many players initiate this with the hands.  However, the feeling is as if the hands, arms and shoulders are moving away as a unit.  No matter what the feeling is, the goal is to get the club initially moving on the target line. 

The back leg serves as the axis as the shoulders begin to turn.  The knee will remain comfortably flexed and the torso will have begun to turn.

The sensation is a feeling of loading the power into the back leg.  The clubhead is allowed to swing creating a natural cocking or setting of the wrists.  This is a gradual motion depending on centrifugal force, length of the shaft and weight of the club.

There is no need to force the wrist cock. The key to good golf is to get out of your own way and let the wrist do their work.  This can only be achieved by letting the wrist work naturally with no tension to hinder them.   Swing the clubhead!   Proper wrist action is one of the primary sources of power in the golf swing.   As the immortal Sam Snead said, “The wrists should feel oily”.

The club continues to swing back without any hindrance or manipulation.  This includes forced clubhead rotation.  When the club is waist high, the toe of the club should be in line with the spine angle and the shaft should be parallel to the target line.

This is a reference point for the proper position of the club.  Improper rotation of the hands results in the toe too open or closed in relation to the spine angle.  The shaft line position helps determine the student’s move away path.


In the waist high position, the clubface should be parallel to the spine angle.

From this point on, the clubhead continues to swing.  The body fully pivots and coils according to each golfers capabilities.  As the club reaches the top of the backswing, there should be a sensation of winding-up without giving way by lifting the head or loosing the flex in the knees. 

The body should remain in similar angels created in the address position.  The body is coiled and loaded.  Therefore the golfer is ready to initiate the downswing.


Studies have shown that the top players have 90%+ of their weight pivoted into the back leg as they reach the end of their backswing.


The body is coiled and the weight is on the inside of the trailing leg.

Length of swing is determined by the golfers ability and anatomy.  Not all golfers reach a parallel to the ground position of the club at the top.  It is not necessary.  The main goal is to be fully coiled and ready to initiate the downswing.


WGTF Top 100 Teaching Professionals


Callaway Professional Staff

Books by Thomas:


Golf Drills Book


On Teaching Golf




Thomas T Wartelle ™
Academie de Golf a division of:

Asteur-Louisiane LLC
1415 Grand Prairie Hwy
Washington, Louisiana 70789

© 2015 This material cannot be used without permission from Asteur-Louisiane LLC & Thomas T Wartelle.