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How to set up your feet to minimize the risk of injury

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Earlier this week, video surfaced of Tiger Woods swinging his driver during a practice round ahead of the Hero World Challenge. In taking a quick look at his swing, one thing in particular jumped out at me that I thought I would point out for you.

Notice that during his swing, his left foot spins out a bit by the time he gets to his finish.

This observation inspired me to write this article, which is a piece I’ve actually had in mind to do for quite a while.

In modern golf instruction, it’s fairly common to see setups being taught in which the feet are perpendicular to the target line. Geometrically, this sounds fine and dandy. The problem, however, is that most people in their present physical state don’t have the mobility in their hips to be able to accommodate this type of setup… even many pros.

This includes myself.

Often times, what you’ll see is that the player will have no problems in the backswing and downswing. Then at some point in the through swing and/or on into the finish, the lead foot spins out or comes off the ground because it physically is unable to stay in the same place due in part to insufficient hip mobility. This is what you see in Tiger in the above.

Were it actually to stay in the same place, it could cause problems with the shot outcome…or worse yet, potentially lead to injury.

One way of improving the mobility of your hip is through golf fitness, particularly with something to target internal hip rotation in the lead leg.

However, aside from golf fitness or just starting that lead foot out in the first place where it finishes in the follow-through, here’s a simple four-step at-home trick to get your feet better set up.

1. Face the target parallel to your target line.

Face-Target

2. Balance yourself on what would be your trail leg and then without forcing it, turn your lead foot in as far as you can comfortably and set it back down on the ground.

Turn-Foot-In

3. While keeping that lead foot in the same place, pivot back to where you would be standing perpendicular to the target line.

Pivot

4. Get into your personal golf posture.

Setup

Voila! You are all set up in a position that accommodates your own personal body’s hip rotational capabilities.

Here’s what the finishing foot position looks like face-on for me.

Setup-Face-On

Although the lead foot may appear to turned outward quite a bit when you set up, it’s not to the point that it should limit your backswing motion. Most people can turn their feet outward farther than they can inward. So most should still be able to complete their normal back swing even with the more “open” lead foot.

As for the rear foot, to me where you put that will depend on what’s comfortable for you and/or what you want to accomplish with your backswing. For example, if you want a shorter backswing, you might make that trail foot be perpendicular to the target line. If you want a longer backswing, you could turn it outward a bit. It just depends on the person.

Anyway, in my experience, there are several common benefits I’ve observed that come from incorporating this type of lead foot setup.

  1. You might get a better sense of the target with more of your body facing in that direction.
  2. You may be able to “clear through the ball” a bit easier. Sometimes this leads to more distance because your body won’t need to slow down in anticipation of running out of room to swing due to a mobility issue.
  3. Since you won’t be needing to make some compensatory move to avert injury, you might swing and finish with better balance. This could not only lead to more distance, but potentially additional consistency and accuracy as well.
  4. You’ll probably be putting yourself at less risk for long term injury.

Give it a try! Hopefully your game (and long-term health) will thank you!

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Jaacob Bowden is a Professional Golfer, PGA of America Class A Member, Top 100 Most Popular Teacher, Swing Speed Trainer, the original founder of Swing Man Golf, the creator of Sterling Irons® single length irons, and has caddied on the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS. Two of his articles for GolfWRX are the two most viewed of all time. Formerly an average-length hitting 14-handicap computer engineer, Jaacob quit his job, took his savings and moved from Kansas to California to pursue a golf career at age 27. He has since won the Pinnacle Distance Challenge with a televised 381-yard drive, won multiple qualifiers for the World Long Drive Championships including a 421-yard grid record drive, made cuts in numerous tournaments around the world with rounds in the 60s and 70s, and finished fifth at the Speed Golf World Championships at Bandon Dunes. Jaacob also shot the championship record for golf score with a 72 in 55 minutes and 42 seconds using only 6 clubs. The Swing Man Golf website has helped millions of golfers and focuses primarily on swing speed training. Typically, Jaacob’s amateur golfers and tour players pick up 12-16 mph of driver swing speed in the first 30 days of basic speed training. You can learn more about Jaacob, Swing Man Golf, and Sterling Irons® here: Websites – JaacobBowden.com & SwingManGolf.com & SterlingIrons.com; Twitter - @JaacobBowden & @SwingManGolf & @SterlingIrons; Facebook – Facebook.com/JaacobBowdenGolf & Facebook.com/SwingManGolf & <Facebook.com/SterlingIronsGolf; Instagram - Instagram.com/JaacobBowden YouTube – YouTube.com/SwingManGolf – Millions of views!!!

Instruction

Clement: Important video on grip! (dare we say “historic!”)

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We so much love being historically correct! Back when I started teaching 35 years ago, when I looked at what the top 5 coaches were teaching, I knew I had to forge my own way. Not only did it not make sense anatomically, it did not make any sense neurologically either! Fast forward to today and we talk about ground forces and how to let the hips turn in the backswing and grip? WHOA, DID THEY MISS THE BOAT THERE!!

This video really takes the cake and REMOVES ALL QUESTIONS AND DOUBT ABOUT GRIP; where to hold it, grip pressure and IN OUR OPINION, THE FIRST TIME IT HAS BEEN REVEALED IN IT’S FULL ANATOMICAL FUNCTIONALITY.

This will end all debates about the “weak grip vs strong grip” argument!

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Clement: Help your girlfriend or wife get some extra yards fast!

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Nothing beats playing golf with your life partner especially when things are going well! This video has a couple great tips on the art of getting through the ball and for most women, a strong grip is a great asset to that! Keep your eyes open for our new podcast premièring this upcoming Tuesday which will focus on golf instruction that gets you to your next level without any positional thoughts, golf fitness tips that will help you strengthen the parts of your kinetic chain needed to perform optimally and great tips to help your loved ones perform better without the mental fatigue and eyes rolling.

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Clement: How to easily stop early extension (and get deep lag)

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Lack of maintaining your golf posture is not a defect in your system at all! Where you apply your focus determines how your body moves through the swing.

If you deliver your action to the ball on purpose or by default, you SHOULD GET EARLY EXTENSION! But you will soon realize that the action through the ball with a solid posture that maintains the “tush line” and prevents the proverbial “humping” look through the ball is a direct result of a proper focus on a very simple brainless task.

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