4 Square Drill for an On-Plane Golf Takeaway and Backswing

Rotary Golf Swing 4 Square Drill
Note the 4 quadrants or "boxes" shown here.

One of the most powerful visuals and swing drills I use when giving in-person golf lessons is a drill I call the "4 Square Drill."

You've seen me use this visual a LOT in the RotarySwing RoadShow videos because it's so effective to help fix a flat and deep takeaway and backswing.

Simply put, it divides the golf swing into 4 quadrants, or boxes, when viewed from above. This simple visual can be created with an alignment aid like seen in the picture to the left or by simply crossing two of our Tour Sticks. You can even just lay down two golf clubs if you don't mind your grips getting dirty.

Take a look at the image above to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. Your really just dividing your body into four pieces down the center.

Here's a lesson from the RoadShow where I work with the student to feel this new movement. It will start at the point where I start discussing the proper feeling of the takeaway using the 4 Square Drill, about 23 minutes into the golf lesson.

One of the things that I think isn't thought about enough with the golf swing today is how there's this idea that golf seems to be the only sport in the world that defies every other sport in the sense that there's no "right way" to swing the club.

Let's just assume I'm wrong for a minute, and that there is no wrong or right way (of course, I believe there is). So, to believe that, you must believe that every other sport in the world is different than golf.

Why? Because every other sport in the world has looked at the movements objectively from a biomechanical and anatomical point of view to determine the ideal movement sequence.

So, archery, gymnastics, weight lifting, baseball, basketball, etc. all have an ideal way to perform a movement. But golf? Just do whatever works for you! Come on, now! What makes golf so special? It's just a movement pattern like everything else.

I played a lot of basketball growing up and the first lesson I got when shooting free throws was to have my wrist, elbow and shoulder in a line. Second was to keep the ball in the finger tips. Third, use your legs.

That's most biomechanically efficient way to perform the shot. Sure, you can have your elbow way out to the side, but now you've complicated the movement by adding internal rotation to the shooting arm and the angle of the wrist in relation to the basket has changed.

It's not that you can't learn to shoot like this and eventually groove it, but why would you choose to do so?

Wouldn't it be much easier and much faster to learn the far simpler mechanical stroke?

Of course it would!

Well, I've got news for you - golf is NOT different than other sports and there IS a most efficient way to perform the movement.

And the movements of RotarySwing are just like those in the ideal free throw mechanics. Simple, efficient and with the fewest moving parts of any golf swing that still produces the ability to hit it over 300 yards.

I arrived at this point in teaching the golf swing the same way they figured out how to teach shooting a free throw - by objectively looking at the golf swing from a 30,000 foot view, looking down from outside and I asked myself "what are we REALLY trying to accomplish here with the golf swing."

Once I figured that out, it was simply a matter of coming up with a set of "specifications" for my new "requirements" that lead to the birth of RotarySwing Tour - the simplest, most powerful and efficient way to swing the golf club.

Avoid the "Bad" Box

I use the 4 Square Drill most frequently for working on the golf takeaway and backswing. The key to this is that I want most golfers to feel as if they never move the golf club into Box 3 during the takeaway.

This is because most golfers tend to overuse their hands and wrists during the first half of the backswing and move the golf club into Box 3 almost immediately, leading to countless golf swing problems.

By feeling that the club always stays in Box 2, the golfer is then required to learn to move the club with the rotation of the body, utilizing the big muscles and keep the wrists quiet. This helps keep the arms and hands more in front of the body during the golf takeaway, an important fundamental that most all amateurs struggle with.

Feel Is Not Real

Most golfers feel that when they visualize keeping the club always in Box 2 during the takeaway, that the golf club is moving well to the outside.

In actuality, it usually isn't, but that's because they're used to ripping the golf club well to the inside, creating the takeaway position you see below:

Bad golf swing takeaway to the inside
This is a very common bad takeaway position in the golf swing.

I can't tell you how many golfers I see in this type of position during the initial stages of the backswing, but when they begin using the 4 Square visual, always keeping the club in Box 2, they're amazed to see how the golf club actually works back on plane, even though it feels well above the plane and well to the outside.

If you feel that you only elevate your arms during the takeaway and use the big muscles to rotate your torso, the club stays in Box 2 during the takeaway and ends up in the perfect position you see here:

perfect golf swing takeaway
Here the club stays in Box 2 and is in the perfect position at the end of the takeaway.

From here, the 4 Square visual can then help you get to the top of your swing properly, as I discuss in the video.

You want to become keenly aware of just how little your hands move during the takeaway and how any excess movement will rip the club dramatically inside.

You'll want to go very slowly at first and ensure that you're practicing with a mirror so you can watch the club travel up the plane. It's very common, as I mentioned earlier, for you to feel that the club is working way to the outside and above the plane when you've been taking the club inside severely, so a mirror is mandatory to expedite the learning process.

Now Use the Drill to Perfect Your Backswing

The rest of the Premium video shows you exactly how to perform this golf swing plane drill and use the 4 Square to complete the backswing without getting deep.

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Chuck Quinton

Chuck Quinton

is the founder of the RotarySwing Tour online golf instruction learning system. He played golf professionally for 5 years and has been teaching golf since 1995 and has worked with more than 300 playing professionals who have played on the PGA, Web.com and other major tours around the world.