Give your setup positions the attention they deserve


Putting the body in the correct position at the setup position is absolutely essential to providing an efficient golf swing.

The grip, body alignment, stance width, and ball position are all important to the setup position, but how the body should bend and tilt are often overlooked.

Players that have problems making the correct body pivot during their golf swings will encounter a multitude of problems.

The first common problem, due to a poor body pivot, is inconsistent contact. The player will have issues controlling their low point (where the club strikes the ground), causing both thin and fat shots.

The second problem will be a clubface-swing path relationship issue. In a perfect world, the player achieves a straight ball flight when the face is square to the path of the golf club through impact when the club is moving down the target line through impact.

What I often see is a poor body pivot in the backswing. This forces the player to make a compensation with the body in the downswing, and often the player is forced to back out of their spine angle and overuse the hands to help square the face. This move relies 100 percent on timing and is difficult to repeat.

The third and final problem will be a loss in power. If the body moves efficiently, it creates speed and allows the club to be in the proper positions for a center hit. If the body isn’t cooperating, the player will encounter slower swing speeds and less distance.

In the golf swing, there are two pivot points: the left and right legs.

From the setup position, I like to see the player pivot the torso over the right knee. This gives the player a full body turn around a relatively stable lower body.

From the top of the backswing, the player will feel a slight shift into the left side; beginning with the left knee, hip, and shoulder. The body will continue to rotate, allowing the player to get into a firm left side at impact.

The left knee will remain flexed while the right hip and shoulder will sit lower than the left. This allows the player to maintain spine angle for solid contact. Through impact, the weight is now beginning to fully load into the left leg, allowing the player to get into a balanced finish position.

In order for the body to have a chance of pivoting properly, the player must have the correct bend and tilt in both the hips and torso at setup. Bend is the amount of lowering or raising of the hips and torso. Tilt is the amount of left-to-right motion.

Getting the proper amount of both at setup is essential. ?At setup the player should feel the belt buckle pointing down toward the ball. This will provide both the proper hip and torso bend simultaneously.

The player’s backside should feel as if it’s sticking outward, and if done properly the player will be bending from the hip joints, allowing for a relatively straight back.

The proper bend makes it easier to maintain angles during the swing. ?Once the player has the correct bend, it’s imperative to make sure the player has the correct tilt of both the hips and torso.

The right hip should sit slightly lower than the left at setup. This allows the upper body to load over the right knee effectively at the top of the backswing.

If the body works efficiently in the backswing, it will help set up the proper sequencing in the downswing.

After the hips are tilted correctly, we must then make sure the shoulders are correctly tilted as well. The right shoulder will sit lower than the left due to how we hold the club.

Once the right shoulder is sitting lower than the left, the club will be able to move on the correct swing path in both the backswing and downswing.

One of the common mistakes I see with a player that slices the golf ball is improper shoulder tilt at setup. Although this can often be the case due to a weaker grip, the player should find a mirror and make sure the right shoulder is below the left (for the right-handed player).

This will give the player a better chance of delivering the club on an inside path at impact, allowing for a better ball flight.

The one constant I see out of tour players, on a weekly basis, is their preparation at setup.

Go to any local tour event and watch the players warm up before a round. You’ll find the players constantly checking their grips, posture, alignment and body positions. Many players will even do so in their pre-shot routine before they hit each shot during a round.

If the best players in the world devote so much attention to their fundamentals, it’s about time that you should too!

Take an online lesson with Bill Schmedes III.