I teach my students to establish a “Template” as they prepare to setup to the ball. What I mean, is there are a few essentials to check just prior to approaching the ball. If you do this, you will eliminate many of the reasons your swing breaks down or is inconsistent.
1. Shaft in line with the front arm (not at your stomach) and keep it that way don’t let it change as you setup to the ball.
2. Elbows towards each other or close together (and keep them that way until you hit).
These (2) items are CRUCIAL TO BE CONSISTENT. This creates your “Radius”. You can not be sloppy with this or let it relax. You want to use this “Template” as a guide during your setup. Anyone that thinks great players have relaxed, loose elbows during the swing, have not looked closely. Some look loose but, just before they take the club back, they squeeze their elbows together to create this radius and tie into the upper body. This also makes the takeaway much easier because, with the elbows close together, the front shoulder pushes this “Template” back as one piece keeping the hands from taking over. If the elbows are relaxed, during the swing they will elongate and your radius will lengthen causing mishits. The elbows must tie in with the upper body to let the large muscles work together to control the swing.
Okay, now that we have our “Template”, maintain it as your use your “FEET” to finish the setup. Like this:
1. I have my template ready.
2. Pick my spot about a foot in front of the ball to align the club face to.
3. Walk up, and turn to face the ball watching that spot (not the target).
4. Now, use you feet to establish the correct distance to the ball with the “Template” as your guide. DO NOT REACH OUT OR BEND TO THE BALL or you will DISCONNECT THE WHOLE THING!
5. SIT DOWN TO THE SHOT while maintaining your “Template”
6. Use your front shoulder to push the “Template” back (takeaway)
7. Use your hips to start and unwind the (downswing) from ground up all the way to the finish. Keep turning!.
You hear me talk about an athletic setup. This position is like any other athlete who is ready (quarterback, guard in basketball, wrestler) balanced, centered with lower body ready. The easiest way to check to see if you are setup athletically is, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO EASILY HOVER THE CLUB SLIGHTLY OFF THE GROUND WITHOUT SHIFTING YOUR WEIGHT. In other words … if you had to shift your weight to get the club off the ground, you were not athletic and were out of balance. The easiest way to get into this natural position is, to SIT DOWN TO EACH SHOT (DO NOT BEND AT THE WAIST AND LET YOUR CHEST DROP). That “lean or reach out to the ball” bad position is Out of Balance and restricts your shoulder turn. Also, if you setup out of balance, during the swing your body will try to center itself and you will be moving all over. So, if you setup in balance, you will swing in balance with no need for correction. Next time you practice, when you are ready to go down to the ball at setup, let everything drop straight down (sit down). If you practice this, you will stay centered and balanced and your golf swing will improve a lot… and stay improved (as long as you don’t forget to check your new athletic setup each time until it becomes muscle memory).
I see many new students that are learning how to turn athletically through impact to the finish, keep their BACK HEEL planted as they are trying to turn. This restricts the lower body from turning and then the hands, arms and club pass the body (not good – loss of power and the ball gets pulled or hooks).
What should happen!! The back heel works together with the back hip in that, as you are unwinding your hips, the back heel must leave the ground and rotate with the back foot onto the toe. You will know if you achieved this when you are finished with your stomach facing the target and your knees touching. If your knees are apart, you didn’t release your hips completely. OR … if your knees are apart at the finish, you stopped unwinding your hips too soon and the hands and club took over and passed the body rotation. KEEP TURNING THOSE HIPS NON-STOP TO THE FINISH. The better you get at this move, the more athletic and powerful your ball striking will be.