The New Basics
Get setIn this article, we’ll take a look at what I like to call the “get set” position, or what’s more commonly referred to as the top of the backswing. Properly achieving this position supplies the power. Most amateurs make the mistake of never “getting set,” instead shifting into a reverse pivot or simply sliding laterally away from the target. Either of these moves will result in a great loss of power. In order to unload and properly return the club back through impact with balance and rhythm, you must have a good “get set” position.
If you follow the steps and perform the drills outlined in this article, you’ll find yourself set up to generate a stronger, more powerful golf swing.
At the top, the left shoulder should be turned under the chin and hover above the right knee. Allow the left arm to extend naturally and fully.
Your weight should be on your right side and on the inside of the right foot—over the arch, not the toes or heels. Point your left knee at or behind the golf ball.
Notice how I’ve maintained the spine angle I established at address. This is key, along with an extended left arm, a folded right arm and a shaft that lies above the right shoulder.
A solid, loaded “get set” position should feel very much like you’re about to skip a stone across a lake. Getting into this stance will allow you to deliver the club properly into the back of the ball.
Incorrect "Get Set" Positions
Unnaturally extending the left arm or overly bending the right can lead to big problems in trying to make solid contact. Trying to keep the left arm too straight will lead to lifting or spine angle changes on the way back. Over-folding the right arm invariably leads to an early casting of the club. Both moves sap power.
"Get Set" Drills
Not only must you make a good body turn during the “get set” phase of the swing, you must also make sure that the arms and hands swing properly and in harmony with your rotation. The arms and hands supply the radius of your swing and control on which planes it travels back and through.
Try the umbrella drill to check that your arms and hands are in the right positions throughout the swing.
Step 1: Place an umbrella in the ground on a 45-degree angle, or one that mirrors the shaft angle at address.
Step 2: Swing the club away, allowing your body to make a good turn. Once your left arm is parallel to the ground, the wrists will have cocked into position. What you should notice is that the clubshaft now parallels the angle of the umbrella, and that the butt of the grip points toward the target line.
If you’re successful in swinging the club into this position, you’ll find that the club will travel perfectly up the swing plane and help you more easily attain a solid, loaded at-the-top position.
Assume your regular address position. Place a club across your shoulders. Now, start to turn your shoulders back until your left shoulder is over your right knee. Notice that the hips have turned half as much as the shoulders, that the right knee is still flexed and that the left knee points behind the ball. That’s a good turn. Starting from the ground up, transfer your weight back to the left side as you uncoil toward the target. You should finish with your chest facing the target, your right toe supporting your balance and still with a slight tilt to your spine. Ingraining a solid turn is that easy.
Canadian PGA professional Jeremy Taylor is the head instructor at the Arnold Palmer-designed Whistler Golf Club, located at the world-class Whistler Resort in British Columbia, Canada.