More On A Sound Set-Up
Sorry I missed on Tuesday, but here is the last installment on building a sound set up and routine. We’ve had some good comments from you all in this series, and I hope many of you “quiet” ones are experimenting with my principles to build a good set up posture and starting point.

While there is not much golf left on TV, if you do watch, or when you page through the golf magazines, pay particularly close attention to the set up posture of the players, especially when the cameraman is directly behind the golfer, looking down the target line. You’ll see some degree of “personalization” of address posture, but not nearly as much as you notice at your local course or even in your own group. The basic fundamentals of a good starting position are not really all that flexible. To get your body in position to execute a powerful and repeating golf swing, certain things are just not negotiable:
1. Your legs have to be flexed at the knees, so that you are in an athletic position which allows your body to move properly.

2. Your upper torso should be bent over at the hips, not the waist, so that your spine is relatively straight. That allows your shoulders and hips to turn on the same plane, back and through.

3. Your head should be up, so that your left shoulder can turn under your chin without getting trapped.

4. And most importantly, your left arm should be in an almost vertical position, hanging naturally from your shoulders. This positions your hands almost directly under your shoulders, and creates a definite angle formed by the left arm and the shaft of the club.
The most common error I see in golfers at address is that their hands are too far from their body, reaching toward the ball so that their left arm and the shaft form almost a straight line. If you start in such a position, your body really has no frame of reference to it, so it is practically impossible to return the hands through this position consistently. And that is not a power position at all. With the hands starting in a very natural “low & close” position at address, they can more easily “find” that position as they pass through the impact zone. And only from this position can you accurately achieve the rotational release through impact that I’ve talked about in previous articles.

The real “secret” to playing good golf, I’m convinced, is the understanding that the release through impact is not an unhinging of the wrists, but rather a rotation of the arms and hands that produces a tremendous magnification of clubhead speed as a multiple of arm speed. And that’s what we are all after.

What you are trying to achieve in your set-up is to get in the right athletic position to execute a sound and powerful golf swing. And what your routine is designed to do is to get you in exactly that same position each and every time you take a shot.

For many of you, golf days this season are numbered, but this is a practice routine and drill you can learn over the winter months. It’s something you can practice daily for a few minutes so that you can hit the links next spring with a consistency you’ve never experienced.

I’ve gotten some good questions the past week or two, so I’m going to make up for lost ground on Tuesday and pick TWO winners and address two questions.

See you then. Have a great weekend!!!

photo source
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[ comments ]
cvargo says:
as a new golfer and taking a few lessons i think the hardest is bending at the hips instead of the waist. This seems to be very important, because personally when i make sure i am doing it right i get a great shot, if not i can usually point it to that
Banker85 says:
The hard part for most amatuers (me) is sticking to a routine... with that being said i love the article and especially about the free hanging left arm. If you watch Jim Furyk for instance he keeps his hands real close to his body and gets the nice Draw a lot of us are looking for. I think when the hands are to far out thats were we come over the top and hit the big slice, where when you keep your hands and arms tight to your body you swing "within" yourself and keeps the club on a better plane allowing it to return to address position making better contact.
ksu_FAN says:
The left hand comment is a great one. One set-up hint I've heard about is that after addressing the ball, you should be able to release your left hand from the club and swing it straight out and then naturally let if fall back to the club. It should end up in the same place you started if you are truly letting your left arm/hand hang from your shoulder and are not "reaching" for the ball. I find this much easier to do with irons than the driver or fairway woods. B/c of the longer shaft, I think most people tend to reach more with those clubs. And the "athletic" posture, knees and hips bent, is a great tip but it seems to be much easier said than done. I suppose that could have something to do with getting older though. :)
acoyne9 says:
i really think that the grip is one of the most iportant keys to a sound set-up
pros are always talking about having a weak grip...but sometimes i just don't see the benefits i have a very strong grip and hit a nice high draw and when i grip it weak or neutral i just dont get the same result.
Banker85 says:
For me having a strong grip with my left hand and a weaker with my right allows for straighter more powerful shots. But really it should not be too light or too strong... CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!
acoyne9 says:
yeah, but what are the benefits from having a relatively weak grip rather than neutral? and i also like to have a little stronger grip with the left and a little weaker grip with the right, i think it helps me release the club better.
onedollarwed says:
Thanks for keeping it simple and "firm but flexible." With all the physical anomalies out there you can't proscibe exact postures. There are some guys with really long arms and necks, and some of us with short arms and large shoulders. Given the variety of physiques, you guidelines are at the right level of specificity. Most guys I see on the course generate very little power of accuracy. They can probably benefit from watching small, whispy figures crush the ball. I would like this or any column address physiological issues with getting the right parts of the body flexible and or strengthened. Is yoga the answer? I'm not saying you have to be very flexible, just in certain key spots. You don't have to be strong either, but there must be some PT to rehabilitate particular muscles. I'm thinking the legs must be a pririty for s&c. Are there standard golf workouts?
SteveS says:
what onedollar said. The fact of the matter is that there are some basic "positions" that need to be done, but everyone has some uniqueness that needs to be worked out on an individual basis; i.e physical issues, felxibility, etc. You need to work these out and then stick to them. Such as chipping; I've tried every setup that I think there is : open stance, closed stance, peltz method, utley method, ball forward , ball back, ball middle-etc,etc,etc. One needs to find their best setup then practice,practice, practice. For instance - my chipping is square to target, fold right elbow, turn core, release club on follow thru for a low trajectory, running chip; hold the club off for a higher trajectory, quicker stopping chip.
onedollarwed says:
I know a guy who has some really bad chipping phobias and gremlins. I can't seem to help him at all. Most of my chipping is very intuitive/ unconcious. He is trying some very mechanical things kind of like what Steve says. He becomes very afraid of hitting the ball, and perhaps making solid contact (and forgetting about where the ball goes, more like baseball) is a place to start for him. The solid set-up is your foundation. You can build some wonderful things with poorly built foundations, but with time and age I think it will all come crumbling down.
It seems a lot of golf instruction has a kind of paradox - you can be doing most everything right (stance, set-up, nutrition, stretching, mental prep, etc.), but if the club does not contact the ball precisely then there is nothing to show for all the things you did right. Classic lesson quip from teacher: "that's it, you finally did it!" (student whiffed, of course)
mmontisano says:
neutral grip was Hogan's way of getting rid of his hook.
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