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Golf teaching and playing articles > Proper setup is a complicated matter

16 Sep 2004

The principle I am going to talk about today is the setup. This includes posture, stance, weight distribution, ball position, torso tilt and muscular readiness.

I bet you did not know there was this much involved in getting ready to hit a golf ball.

Posture is the forward bend of the body. The proper bend is from the hips, but many golfers bend at the waist, causing a rounding of the spine as they try to get down to the golf ball. You want the spine to stay in a flat or straight position, which can only be achieved if you bend at the hips. This can cause the buttocks to extend beyond the back of the feet - you might feel as if your buttocks stick out.

Bad advice, such as people telling you you should feel as if you are going to sit on a chair, contributes to poor posture. When you bend your knees and tuck your buttocks under as if reaching for a chair, the only way you can bend down is to fold at the tummy and round the spine. This causes the head to round forward, dropping the chin into the chest.

You cannot rotate your body properly from this posture, and rotation is crucial to a sound golf swing.

You have a natural curve in the lower spine and a natural roundness in the upper spine. This is the neutral position. The goal is to maintain this neutral position as you fold forward at the hips.

To find your neutral spine, get down on your hands and knees. Rotate your pelvic bones skyward, and you will feel an arch in your low back. Rotate your pelvic bones toward the ground, and your back will round. Come back to a position in between the two, and you will be in your neutral back position.

Stance includes the width of the feet, toe position and weight distribution.

I generally recommend the inside of the feet be no wider than the hips or shoulders. This can be narrowed if you are hitting a short club or widened for a driver.

Your toes should be slightly flared out from the body, and the weight should be distributed evenly from heel to toe. The distribution from front to rear leg also