The Key Ingredient

For greater consistency and power, control that right knee

SetupLock & Load
Properly using the right knee as a rotational hub and as a support to accept the backswing weight shift to the right side is as easy as, well, maintaining flex in that knee until the swing unwinds through impact. Sounds easy enough, yet you’d be surprised how difficult it is for some players to retain flex. One reason for this is poor positioning at setup. Too many amateurs begin with not enough knee flex and too much bend from the waist. The proper posture at address is one that’s athletic, or ready for action. From your static position at address, you should feel as if you could move in any direction without hesitation, like a linebacker in football ready to pounce toward all sides of the field.

As far as maintaining flex, I advise my students to preset a solid, bent right knee. This preset goes beyond simply flexing the knee and holding it there. At address, and without lifting your right foot, bend in your right knee slightly, like you’re trying to point your kneecap at the golf ball. It’s just a slight kick in to the right. You should feel some tension in your right knee and sense some tension running up your right quadriceps and through your right hip. That bit of tension in your right knee and hip will both limit your lower body rotation (thus increasing coil) as well as stabilize your backswing. At the top, the tension created at address by kicking in the right knee should still reside in your right side. Use that tension to shift your weight through to your left as you bring the club into impact and beyond.

Use of this technique has allowed many of my students to better sense the physics of weight shift. It demystifies the swing, making it as simple as moving the club to the top and then back to the ball. There are many ways to turn a good swing into a bad one. So, too, are methods to make a bad swing decent. Presetting the right knee is just one of those techniques.

Instruction veteran Marshall Smith teaches at Peoria Ridge GC in Miami, Okla. Wardrobe was provided by Straight Down Clothing (


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