If there’s one thing a seasoned golf instructor can do, it’s spot a solid setup, even from 50 yards away. One look is all it takes for an experienced teacher to recognize athleticism and balance. The reason why? Any instructor worth his or her salt will stress the fundamentals of a solid setup if solid results are what the student seeks.
A proper setup requires a number of things. I’m sure you’ve been taught them all. Over my many years of teaching, however, I’ve learned that there are only four that truly matter. These magical setup elements are comprised of four different angles. If you can learn and attain these four angles at address, you’ll positively affect your contact and shotmaking skills.
The four angles are: Spine bend, spine tilt, hip bend and knee flex. Each angle plays an equal and important role in helping you create an athletic and balanced address position and enables you to swing the club with precision and power. You’ll also find that if you focus on the four angles, the remaining setup elements take care of themselves.
1. Spine Bend
Your body’s forward bend toward the ball is crucial. More important, however, is the amount of bend. Most amateurs bend over far too much; my recommendation is to err on the tall side. If a number must be assigned to the amount of forward bend, I’d use 25 degrees from vertical. This will vary between taller and shorter players but, nevertheless, it’s a decent average.
When you’re bent forward correctly (left), your shoulders, knees and feet should line up vertically. I call this being stacked. Too much forward bend will typically put your shoulders too far forward and not stacked up well over your knees. During the swing, our subconscious mind senses the bend is too drastic and will intuitively protect the body–whether we like it or not–and decrease the amount of bend. In other words, stand up. A too-deep bend places so much strain on the lower back region that the auto response is to rectify that and stand out of posture._Ê Furthermore, an improper forward bend restricts the turn, which by itself can destroy the desired path and power delivery system into the forwardswing and beyond.