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The Swing in Pictures: The Set-Up (Part 1)
Over the next several weeks, Tom Stickney will be presenting a series called, “The Swing In Pictures” on GolfWRX.
Each Monday a different swing position will be coupled with thoughts you (as the player) should pay attention to based on your current handicap level. I would suggest printing each of these articles out and place them in a binder, as the series will take you from address through the finish from the front and down the line views.
This article is meant to be used as a general reference for the most common swing model used in today’s game. As with any golf swing, there are personal idiosyncrasies that will alter the “look” and/or actions of the clubshaft and body motions back and through, so there will always be exceptions. Please keep this in mind as you read each section. As Homer identifies in the Golfing Machine, there are 446 quad-trillion stroke patterns, or ways to swing the club. You only need to find one that works best for you.
The set-up position readies your body and allows you to set yourself in a position where the body and clubshaft can be moved in conjunction with one another throughout the swing. It is here that you can make or break the golf swing. Jack Nicklaus said that 90 percent of all golf faults begin at the set-up. He could not be more correct!
For the Beginning Player:
- The shoulders, forearms, hips, knees, and feet are all parallel left of the ball’s target line, like you are standing on train tracks.
- The upperbody leans forward enough so that the arms will hang slightly out from vertical, allowing the clubshaft to point around the belt line.
- Your balance or center of gravity should be between your feet and in the middle of your shoes.
For the Intermediate Player:
- The amount of knee flex at address will control the amount of hip rotation throughout the backswing.
- Monitor and do not allow the “rounding or hunching” of your shoulders at address, as this inhibits shoulder rotation to the top.
- To audit the alignment of your shoulders, check how level your forearms are at the address position. If the rear forearm is higher or lower than the forward forearm, your shoulders are misaligned.
For the Advanced Player:
- The clubshaft plane line set at address by your posture of the body and the lie of the club can influence your overall backswing plane.
- Aligning your body independently of your ball’s targetline will allow the club to move on differing tracks through the ball, allowing you to alter the curvature of the golf ball.
- The proper amount of forward bending of the upperbody will allow the shoulders to drive the arms, hands, and clubshaft during the swing.
For the Professional Player:
- The forward bending of the spine is between 25 to 32 degrees forward, allowing the arms to have clearance from the body.
- The angle of the clubshaft and the forward wrist influences the actions of the clubshaft to the top; the more the forward arm and club shaft are in-line, the more the clubshaft will stay on one plane throughout the golf swing.