We’ve all been there. We play well for a few rounds or more, and then the wheels come off. It’s frustrating because you have no idea why, when, or what happened. Here’s the great news. Often, the answer lies in preparation. I refer to this as the “silent swing killer” because all too often it’s ignored and taken for granted.
Here are four common setup mistakes and how they can affect your swing.
1. Poor posture
Bend the knee a lot – When you have a lot of flex in your knees, the pressure in the setup moves away in the heel. This limits the body’s ability to rotate and forces the arms to control the swing more than necessary.
C-position – I call this the businessman position because it’s a lot like sitting in a chair. This position also limits the body’s ability to turn because the stress is usually on golfers toes. This results in wobbly and inconsistent strokes.
2. Bad alignment
When a player’s alignment breaks it can cause a host of problems as it changes the direction of the swing, which can cause hooks or slides. For example, when a right-handed golfer shoots too far to the left, he will sometimes swing too far to the right and close the club front, causing hooks. Other times, they’ll come over the top to offset their alignment and hit drag strips. Ensure square alignment is on the driving range by practicing with an alignment stick pointed at your target.
3. The position of the ball is incorrect
This is one of the most common mistakes and can affect all aspects of your golf swing and setup.
Too far from the ball – This forces the player to lean on their toes. Excess weight on the toes reduces the ability to turn. The typical result is inconsistent orientation and/or poor communication.
The ball is too far forward or backward – When the position of the ball changes, the golfer tends to adjust the alignment of the upper body. A ball too far forward causes the shoulders to open, and a back too far tends to close the shoulders. The alignment of the shoulders determines the club’s swing direction, and thus changes the curve of the ball.
4. Clubface closed or open
Club shape is the most important aspect of the swing that all golfers need to master. Poor face control disrupts distance and direction.
It is important how the golfer places their hands on the club. However, I find that many golfers start with a closed club face in the title, and usually make up for a chip. My problem with closing the face on setup is that it doesn’t allow the golfer to get better; It’s just first aid. I’m OK with going round, but not in the long run. A properly squared club surface occurs when the leading edge of the club head lines up with the shaft. This is best viewed by raising the club in front of you.
If you find that you’re not playing as well as you’ve been playing lately, take a moment to look at your setup in the mirror, or take a quick look at a pro. Even a 30-minute lesson in checking everything can prevent or help fix disaster.
Kevin Sprecher is a GOLF Top 100 teacher and Director of Instruction at Sleepy Hollow GC in Briarcliff Manor, New York.