How to make a perfect takeaway: Lee Trevino’s keys to starting your swing

The foundation of the swing is the backswing, and these tips from a World Golf Hall of Famer will help you make sure you nail your takeaway.

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The foundation of the swing is the backswing. The way you take the club to the top determines the path your clubface comes into the ball, so it’s important to nail this portion of your motion.

According to Hall of Famer and six-time major winner Lee Trevino, many recreational players either lift the club too early, causing the path to be too far outside, or suck the club into their body, making the path too far inside. The proper takeaway moves the clubhead directly behind the ball — picture it following the target line. 

Think of your left arm as an extension of the club to properly trace a power-rich and slice-free backswing.

The Merry Mex’s takeaway would make any golfer happy; it’s a perfect model to follow if you want to see what the correct moves look like. Trevino’s key swing thought was to start his takeaway by keeping his left shoulder and arm “connected” with the shaft. 

“It works from the left shoulder to the clubhead,” he says. “It works away from the ball all in one motion.” 

Trevino suggests imagining the shaft as an extension of your left arm. Your left arm acts as the rudder for your entire backswing — sending it in its eventual direction. When the relationship between your clubhead and lead arm disconnects, you lose control off the club. 

Keeping these components together makes it easier to produce a proper takeaway. If you want to hit a draw, close your stance a touch (and open it for a fade). Regardless of the shot you’re hitting, your left arm remains the key to it all, so pay attention to it


Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.