Set Up Like An Athlete
Golf is a sport, right? Those who say it isn’t a sport, have no idea how much athleticism it takes to swing a club over 100mph (120+ for the elite players), and hit a very small ball into a very small hole that is a quarter mile away. Oh yeah, there are numerous obstacles in the way as well.
So why do so many golfers set up to the ball in the most uncomfortable, un-athletic stances imaginable? Believe it or not, but there are many similarities between the correct golf stance to those found in other sports. Whether it is a linebacker’s stance in football, a defensive stance in basketball, goalie’s stance in hockey, getting ready to return a serve in tennis, leading off of first in baseball, etc., the idea is the same in golf. You need to be in a position that maximizes your flexibility and balance. Here are a few commonalities between good golf posture and what you’ll find in other sports, and tips for making your set up more athletic:
1. Weight left-to-right—make sure your weight is balanced between your feet at address. Can you imagine a hockey goalie leaning to one side or the other? No way—he’d be out of balance and have his mobility severely limited.
2. Weight heel-to-toe—you should tilt forward in your golf posture so that your weight is over the middle of your feet. If a basketball player is playing defense and his weight is back on his heels, he’s in big trouble.
3. Width of stance—Don’t get too wide or too narrow with your feet. A bit wider than shoulder width apart is a good guide for you golf stance. Too wide, and you have no mobility to make a weight shift, and too narrow, you have no balance. Think of returning a serve in tennis, you’ll see that the players’ feet are just a bit wider than shoulder width apart.
4. Spine angle—this could be the most important step. Make sure you spine is straight as you tilt forward in your stance. Most golfers slouch over and their spine is crooked. Bend at the hips, not at the waist. This will keep your spine straight, which maximizes your flexibility and balance, and make your swing easier on your back. You’ll never see a shortstop in baseball in a slouched position. They bend forward at the hips, by pushing their rear end back, keeping the spine straight.
You should be so balanced when you address the ball that someone can give you a slight push or bump in any direction, and you will not fall over. If a slight push topples you in one direction or the other, it’s easy to tell in which direction you’re leaning.
If you’ve played other sports in your life, you can carry some of those fundamentals over to your golf game, and use them to improve your posture and set up. For additional info on improving for set up and all aspects of your golf game, see your local PGA Professional or www.FixYourGame.com.
Brant Kasbohm, PGA
Director of Instruction