Two Setup Tips

The motto of this blog is, Little Things That Make a Big Difference. Here are two tips for your setup that do just that.

First, your arms. They must be at full extension and stay that way throughout the swing. But they cannot be that way throughout the swing if they are not that way at the start.

Hold a club in one hand, with the clubhead resting in the air just off the ground. Notice that your arm feels to be pulled a bit, straightening it. Not a lot, not so the arm is rigidly straight, but straighter than it is when you are not holding the club (try it).

That is full extension. Address the ball with this feeling in both arms and maintain it throughout the swing. Why?

The momentum of the forward swing will by its force lengthen your arms as they swing the club through the ball if they are not already at full length. The rest is hitting fat.

Also, keeping your arms at full extension helps keep the clubface square. Don’t take my word for it, listen to Mickey Wright and Ben Hogan. They both regarded this as a key fundamental of their swing.

When you try this, your arms should still feel relaxed, never stiff to any degree.

Second, the line across your shoulders is the line you will take the club back along. It is the easiest way to move your body and it will want to do that. If you try to swing the club back on a different line your shoulders will fight you and your swing will be a struggle.

So if you want to hit the ball straight, start with your shoulders parallel to the target line. You will find it very easy to take the club away straight and on a plane that is aligned with your target line. That will also prepare you to swing the club back through the ball along the target line.

If you want to fade the ball, open your shoulder line a bit (aim it to the left of your target line) and swing back along that line, which will be the way your shoulders want to guide your arms. If you want to draw, do the opposite. Aim the shoulder line to the right of the target line.

But whatever, pay attention to this detail. It is easy to forget about as the round goes on.

Oh, yes. Happy New Year!

One thought on “Two Setup Tips”

  1. Yeah, Bob — there’s a bit of an art to the “straightening” of the left arm (for a right–sided golfer). Kinda like the porridge of the 3 bears: “just right” — not too stiff — not too soft (bent) — straight-ish.

    Every now and then I think of Jack Nicklaus. His signature move was to straighten his left arm, and cock his head to the right, just before his takeaway.

    Jack was pretty good, so maybe we should follow his example, I’m thinkin.’

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