Shaft at Setup vs. Impact – It Changes!

Test for yourself:
Stand with a golf club straight out in front of you with your wrists a little bent like your setup. Now, walk over to the wall until the club just touches (wrists still bent). Now, release your wrists to try to bow them up and see how you can’t because the radius gets longer and the wall stops you or pushes you away. Well, the wall is the ground!

Most golfers setup with a pronounced angle (20 degrees or more) between the wrists and shaft. They might have this angle from resting the club on the ground and letting their arms hang, then grabbing the grip and setting up this way. Or, strong grip pressure lifts the club head and creates this angle to keep the club head from hanging down. So, what does this kind of bent wrist setup cause later in the swing??

If you were to look at video of the shaft and wrists at impact, the inertia of the club head, out at the end of our arms pulls the club head down and causes that angle that we started with to be non existent or even reverse some. This means our radius lengthened. The wrists instead of being bent are now bowed up, and the position of where the club head was at setup and where it is at impact has changed dramatically.

Okay… so if it changed, how did our bodies compensate for the difference? Essentially, if the angle is gone, that means the club head dropped down but we started at ground level. How can this be? Well, some of us go UP to compensate right at impact, so we don’t hit the ground. Some of us throw the club head through ahead of our turn, so we don’t hit the ground. Some slide forward and block the shot or close the club face with our hands to save the shot. Or we just CHUNK or hit FAT and don’t know why.

Hummm… very interesting. The reason I am mentioning this is my instruction Move Less … Get Good! is about removing non-productive or unreliable setup and/or movements during the swing. Well, we have something that is changing during the swing so how can we remove it? A setup with the shaft already in line with the front arm and very little angle, elbows close together and let that all hang from your shoulders. This setup reduces the amount of length differential during the swing and allows the Large Muscles (shoulders) to take over and control the swing.

2 thoughts on “Shaft at Setup vs. Impact – It Changes!”

  1. Ross,
    When you say a very small angle i.e. the angle looking down the target line, in the shots I have seen you still have about a 20 degree angle?

    1. Dave
      This is difficult to explain and can also vary depending on if your grip is weak or strong. You want to put your wrist angle on the club about how it is when it hangs naturally by your side. This might also change a bit from club to club because of length of club and the club head pulling down. You want to avoid too lose, causing the hyper extended or raised up wrist angle, but also avoid raising the club head up too far. This is a tough subject but for the most part the wrists should just have the club head end up a bit to be in control of it.

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