Posture, Stance, & Grip
The correct posture and stance at set-up are critical to improve your swing. The following key pieces make for a great set-up.
- Weight should be 55/45 on lead foot (a slight hip bump achieves this)
- Foot Flare, both feet should be flared approx. 20 degrees. The toe line can be square, but the feet must be flared. Width of stance approx. shoulder width.
- Forward bend. We bend forward from the hips and shoulders (not the knees), as you bend forward your butt will move down and behind your heels and angle your thighs slightly backward. You must be careful to not arch your back “S” curve, or round your back “C” curve. We want your lower back fairly straight and your upper back slightly rounded. All Tour players have been measured and their forward shoulder bend at address is between 33 & 46 degrees forward. The hips are about ½ that and measure between 12 to 26 degrees’ forward bend.
- Side bend. Your lead shoulder is always higher than your back shoulder because your rear hand is lower on the club. Do not exaggerate this side bend, it should be no more than 5 to 12 degrees.
- Neck tilts. We want Foveal vision. Foveal vision is the central vision of your eyes and we want the center of your eyes looking directly at the ball. Do not hold your chin up as has been prescribed by many. This causes you to look at the ball with peripheral vision and causes you to turn your shoulders too flat.
- Arms straight. We want both arms straight with a squeezing sensation putting our elbows as close together as possible.
- Handle forward. Every golf club is built to place the handle forward of the face (shaft lean toward the target). Many people have been told that set-up and impact are similar. Not even close, at impact your hips and weight will be almost entirely on your lead foot and the handle is even more forward then it was at address. This is one of the biggest reasons PGA Tour players hit it so far. It creates a downward attack angle, compresses the ball, and de-lofts the clubface.
A DTL (down the line) view of an “S” Curve, “C” Curve and proper set up.
A DTL (down the line) view of PGA Tour Players and a Caddie view (face on) of Flared feet, weight 55/45 left and handle forward.
THE GRIP — Although we consider The Grip to be important, we do not consider it a Fundamental. We consider it an attachment. If it was a fundamental every player would have the same grip. For descriptive purposes, we will describe the grip of a right-hand player, where the left hand is placed on the club first, followed by the right hand.
There are three types of grips: The Overlapping, where the pinky finger of the right hand rests on top of the index finger of the left or in the groove between the index & middle finger, an Interlocking grip where the index finger of the first hand is coupled (interlocked) with the pinky finger of the bottom hand and finally the 10-finger or what is referred to as the “baseball grip”, because both thumbs and all fingers are placed on the club. All 3 grip types have been used by the greatest players of all time, although the 80% of PGA tour players have used the Vardon overlap grip.
The key element is not which style you employ but rather how the hands are placed on the club. We can have what’s called a strong grip, a weak grip or a neutral grip. We are going to describe the neutral grip. The thing most people get wrong is they do not get the lead hand correct. The left-hand grip is a combination of finger/palm. The club lies diagonally across the left hand at the base of the palm, where the fingers join the palm (see picture). The heel pad of your left hand must be on top of the club. The heel pad is the fleshy part of the Palm to the rear, it is NOT the thumb pad. Once you have placed this correctly be sure the left thumb sits on the right center of the shaft, there are 2 knuckles visible on the left hand as you look down, and the “V’ formed by your left thumb and forefinger of the left-hand point slightly right of your chin. There should be pressure in the last 3 fingers of the left hand.
The right-hand grip is more of a finger grip, with the left thumb sitting under the lifeline of your right hand. There should be a downward pressure against the left thumb, so the main pressure you feel would be with your two middle fingers. Lastly there should be a side pressure (toward the target) from the right index finger above the last knuckle against the side of the shaft. These 3 pressure points are the key to a great grip.
The pictures below will show the correct placement of the club in the left hand and right hand. These are the perfect grips of two of the greatest players in the history of golf, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. There are also small reprints from the summary section of Hogan’s iconic book 5 Lessons.
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