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Golf Article - Nail Your Address to Improve Ballstriking

If your ballstriking is off, you may be thinking about changing your swing. Swing changes take time and work, so before doing it re-examine your swing one more time. For starters check your setup. It determines how well you swing the club. Setting up correctly increases your chances of hitting the ball solidly. Setting up incorrectly decreases your chances of hitting the ball solidly, leading to bad shots, poor scores, and a high golf handicap.

To ensure that you're setting up correctly, check your setup in a mirror without a club—something we encourage players at our golf lessons to do periodically. Seeing your address without a club eliminates the tendency to let the club's lie dictate your setup. When you do that, you tend to bend too far forward in your stance, making it hard to hit the ball solidly. Weak shots can add extra strokes to your scores. Over time, these extra strokes can add up, inflating your golf handicap. Below are golf tips for reviewing your setup.

Posture Is Key
Posture is the key thing to check when standing in front of the mirror. Poor posture leads to mis-hits. More specifically, you want to check your arm-hang and your knee flex. To check your arm-hang, stand in front of a mirror and bend over, as if you were going to grip a club. Let your arms hang straight down and look at your fingertips. They should point to the tips of your shoes. If they point inside the tips of your shoes, you're too upright. If they point outside the tips of your shoes, you're bent over too far.

The second thing to check is your knee-flex—a trouble spot common in the players we see in our golf instruction sessions. Start by looking at your kneecaps. They should be over the insteps of your feet. Many of us don't flex our knees enough when setting up to the ball. Instead, we slump our shoulders, which restricts our shoulder turn. To remedy this, flex your knees slightly. Keep your spine straight. And bend forward from the waist. Golf swing analyzers show that most Tour pros bend forward from 55 degrees to 60 degrees at address.

Another Exercise To Work On
If after looking at your setup in the mirror, you find that your armhang, knees, or other body parts are out of place, you need to change your setup to hit the ball solidly. We encourage golfers who take our golf instruction sessions to do the following exercise at home until the correct setup is ingrained.

Step 1: Stand erect with your arms at your side. Your feet should be about 18-20 inches apart. Look straight ahead.
Step 2: Place your hands on your hips. Wrap your thumbs and forefinger around the openings of your pockets
Step 3: Push your rear end out and tilt your spine forward. Flex your knees so they are in line with your shoulders.
Step 4: With your hands still on your hips, rock your eight back until your toes lift off the ground. Maintain your posture.
Step 5: Rock in the opposite direction, until both heels lift off the ground. Place all of your weight on your toes. Maintain good posture.
Step 6: Rock back to your normal address position. You're now in a perfect position to swing a club.

This exercise teaches you to not only assume the right spine angle, but also spread all of your weight over your feet—a must if you're going to hit solid shots down the middle of the fairway. Players from our golf lessons that have used this exercise have found it helpful.

Bad shots aren't always the result of bad swings—as we've pointed out in our golf tips newsletter. Sometimes, they're the result of a poor setup. So before changing your swing, check your setup. If it's incorrect, use the exercise above to guarantee you always assume a good setup when playing. Setting up to the ball correctly on every shot is a key to solid ballstriking.


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