Early Hinge or One Piece Takeaway?

Okay, blogging community, I need some assistance.  I haven’t worked on my swing in a while but today it was nice and I hit the range for a 50-ball bucket.  My first five pitching wedges were perfect, but were followed by pure garbage (35 all over the place over the top toe hooks with an assortment of short and long irons), which were followed by 10 flawless 8-irons and partial wedge shots after I made a technique change.  I don’t know what compelled me to abandon my traditional one-piece takeaway in favor of a early wrist hinge, but the adjustment triggered the pure strikes and I can’t figure out why.

Like any internet sleuth,  I found this video by Sir Nick Faldo detailing the Pre Set Drill and how it has served him well for his ball striking.  This is very similar to what I implemented.

On the one hand, who’s to argue with Nick Faldo?  He was an awesomely consistent ball striker after he worked with David Leadbetter to change his swing.  Leadbetter advocated for Nick to use the Pre Set Drill.  On the other hand, he indicates this is very difficult to implement and must be done precisely to be effective.

My questions:  Has anyone used this drill for an extended period of time or changed their swing to an early hinge and experienced success?  I can recall only a couple of pros who had somewhat of an early hinge and were successful ball strikers (Raymond Floyd and Nancy Lopez).  Is this a WOOD band-aid I just stumbled upon or is it worth the effort to make a change in that direction?  I was hitting it pure and I’ve got all winter 🙂  Please advise.  Thanks!

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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18 Responses to Early Hinge or One Piece Takeaway?

  1. Brian

    I have played with the hinge take away as outlined by Nick Faldo in your video. I stopped using because I found the club head tended to be set inside of the proper swing plane (but level to the ground), when I turned my shoulders I found that the club was out of position at the top because I could not rotate my shoulders properly and I had a tendency to cast the club.

    I am a fan of the one-piece takeaway because it builds consistency in my entire swing. I never recommend the hinge take away to anyone.

    Cheers
    Jim

    • Brian Penn says:

      Jim,

      I appreciate the feedback. I have never played with an early hinge with the exception of bunker shots, where you want that vertical V-motion as much as possible. There was no denying it worked with the few shots I hit with my 58 yesterday, hence my intrigue. I can’t see using this with the long clubs at all, but may experiment over the next month with some wedge shots. The jury is still out.

      Play well!

      Brian

      • Brian

        Let me know what you come up with; I am always interested in hearing new ways to approach golf.

        Cheers
        Jim

        • Brian Penn says:

          Jim,

          I am playing today in what could be the last round of the year and am not planning on changing anything with my takeaway. Will try and use next month to experiment with this as a possible swing change for next year, but I am wary about making these changes over the winter after several misadventures in the past.

          Thanks!

          Brian

  2. The early hinge I think is better for the shorter shots and even the short irons because it will naturally lead for a little steeper angle of attack which works well for short shots and clubs. I think a slight early hinge is ok for the longer shots and driver but if you use the exaggerated early hinge on those shots then I think you lose power and have a tendency to slice the ball. I still maintain however, that the cocking of the wrists is still one of the most misunderstood elements of the game despite what some instructors say. Hey! A good subject for the next blog.

    • Brian Penn says:

      Vet,

      Can’t wait to read your post on the subject. I’m certain there was some benefit when I tried this yesterday with my 58 degree wedge but am very uncertain of how it would work with my driver. The thought of an early hinge with the big stick just feels wrong. Thanks for weighing in!

      Brian

  3. Brian,

    I once had an instructor who got me thinking a lot about wrist hinge, and liked an early set. Thinking about this and trying to do it ruined me for a while. Needless to say, I don’t see him anymore.

    I prefer a one piece takeaway as it feels more natural to me. Wrist hinge is never something I think about, it just kind of happens.

    Having said that, I’m not an expert on the swing and probably don’t fully understand the advantages for certain people to do it. I feel like wrist hinge should just happen when it feels comfortable, and if you have a good turn and good tempo it should all come together.

    Good luck!
    Josh

    • Brian Penn says:

      Josh,

      I’d be interested to know what your ball flight was when you attempted to implement and experienced your temporary ruin. Did you try with all clubs? Please advise. I’m not committing to anything before I get a full understanding of the costs and benefits.

      Thanks!

      Brian

      • Brian,

        At the time I seem to remember that I was coming too much from the inside, so I think he thought if I hinged early it would encourage the club head to the outside a bit. He tried to get me to hit cuts all the time to counter my “too far inside” move, so I was hitting more fades with that move. I’m not sure if that is a common correlation, or if it was just a trick to not get the club head inside too early…eventually I overdid it and it got me coming over the top and steep slightly so I just got rid of it haha

        Not sure if that helps, but hopefully it does!

        Cheers
        Josh

      • Oh and yes I was trying it through the bag, but it didn’t feel as “pronounced” with the driver and woods

        • Brian Penn says:

          Josh,

          Jim also said the early hinge prompted him to come over the top and that’s a red flag for me. Yet there is no denying that it was working the other day. I’m going to experiment with this in December while there’s no threat to do any damage on the golf course and see where it takes me. A little off-season tinkering may be what the doctor ordered 🙂

          Thanks!

          Brian

        • Brian – this is definitely the time to do it! Keep us posted, I’m curious how it will work out for you.

          Cheers
          Josh

  4. If you are practising this like in the video, I can only think it’ll be a good thing. As Faldo said, he practised till the cows came home. I have always had early hinging wrists and, while I don’t get into the same straight line positions as Faldo does in his video, I maintain consistent striking. In fact watching this video and reading your blog has given me some focus on drills I can implement this Winter. So thanks and good luck. Ross

    • Brian Penn says:

      Hi Ross,

      I’d be interested to know what lines you manage to obtain in your swing with the early wrist hinge, if you cannot achieve Faldo’s positions. And while you are striking it well, what your shot shape looks like. This would be a significant change for me and I’m trying to gather as much information before committing to a plan of action.

      Thanks!

      Brian

      • Like I said, my lines are actually quite poor. The early wrist hinge is unconscious, I don’t feel I am doing it. But the club points in different directions to my feet, which isn’t entirely lined up straight to start with!! Bear with me…

        When I analyse what I do with golf coaches like this who demonstrate the one piece versus the early hinge:

        I wonder how I ever actually hit the ball.

        Checkout my latest instagram post for a picture of what I mean (the full swing is in below it somewhere too).

        @rossdstarkey

        My shot shape is generally pretty straight, a strong iron shot will have a touch of draw. Recently I have been working on getting a steeper takeaway i.e. trying to take the club outside (or feel like it is outside) the line of the ball – as you can see I still look as though I take it back on the inside – hence the the club is pointing left.

        Hope this helps, I must say I try not to get too technical – never having had a lesson before I try to keep things as simple as possible for my simple golf brain to deal with.

        (oh as reference i play off 5 and hit this 7 iron about 176)

        Ross

        • Brian Penn says:

          Ross,

          Thanks for the video. It can get confusing when you watch this and the Faldo video which purports the exact opposite fundamentals. I’m going to do a bit of experimentation in December with this because there is no doubt something was clicking for me when I tried the earlier hinge. I’m not sold on it and will iterate the possible change through several practice sessions. Stay tuned!

          Thanks,

          Brian

  5. Mark says:

    THANK YOU! This was the first complete explanation that correlated the distance of the one-piece move (8 o’clock) with the beginning of the wrist hinge. NOW my swing feels natural, comfortable and athletic. This added 30-40 yards to my drives. (200 to 230 -40).

    Mark

  6. Brian Penn says:

    Mark,

    30-40 yards, wow! Enjoy the power surge and keep up the great play!

    Brian

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