Almost every good golf swing starts the same: with a proper address to the ball. Danny Caverly, the director of instruction at Willowbend, offers some insight into what goes into a solid setup:
“While teaching at the Golf Digest Schools in Orlando, Fla., I’ve concluded that, as teachers/coaches of the game, we need to stress the importance of the initial position to the ball. I tell students, ‘Don’t blame your swinging motion for inconsistent results. Let’s make sure your setup is not contributing to poor shots.’
“Focus on these tips:
“Ball flight is all about the grip: Let’s get this fundamental correct from the start. Both upside-down V’s (formed by the thumb and forefinger) should point to the right of the bellybutton (for a righthanded player). This gives the clubface a good chance of squaring up through the impact area and helps us get rid of those weak slices. But just as important, make sure that the handle of the club is under the heel pad of your left hand.
“All lines lead to the target: Let’s keep the aiming as simple as we can. First, we should always be standing behind the ball looking down our target line. Second, pick out something in the distance: tree, bunker, house that you can aim the clubface at. Third, as you look at your target getting the clubface straight at it, slide your feet into place, while also ensuring that your shoulders and hips are also parallel to your intended line of flight. Now we have the clubface perfect and your body lines perfect. We are ready to put the club in motion once we make sure our posture is such that our body can turn freely.
“Great posture equals a great turn: In front of a mirror, grab a 7-iron. Put your hands on the club properly as described above and hold the club in front of you.
“Now, lower the club to the ground while bending from the hips until the club touches the ground. Look in the mirror. You should see your butt out behind you, while your back is relatively straight. From this great posture comes the ability to make a great turn back and through.
“Putting these three fundamentals together so that they are remembered requires some effort and practice. One half-hour per week of working just on these three fundamentals should get your spring golf game going in the right direction. Build the foundation first, and the swinging motion comes second.”