Mastering Posture, Grip and Alignment will set you up for success.
Many have played winning golf with a bad swing because of their good mind. A few have played winning golf with good swings in spite of a bad mind. But no one has played winning golf with a bad setup.
The setup refers to how a golfer addresses the ball and prepares to play a shot. We call it the PGA of golf instruction: Posture, Grip, Alignment. If you want to play better golf, shoot lower scores and eliminate those “stinkers” that destroy your confidence, pay more attention to your PGA.
Your height at address should stay the same from takeaway to the top of the backswing and down to impact. Staying level makes it easier to return the clubhead to the ball as intended. Shortly after impact your golf swing will pull your head upward and toward the target making you several inches taller in the follow-through position.
Ben Hogan called it “the heartbeat of the golf swing,” and Sam Snead quipped, “If golfers held a fork and a knife like they hold a golf club, most would starve to death.” Your grip doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to allow you to control the clubface angle, feel where the club head is during your swing and return it to the ball. The most important aspect of the grip is “grip pressure.” Whether your preference is to hold the club lightly, firmly or somewhere in between, maintaining the same grip pressure from takeaway to impact is a necessity for consistent ball striking.
Golfers at every level often overlook getting properly aligned to the ball and target. Yet your alignment has more to do with where the ball goes than your swing does. Start by aiming your clubface down the target line and then align your feet, knees, hips and shoulders on a line parallel to your target line. Think railroad tracks with parallel rails: Your body is on the inside rail left of target, the golf ball outside rail on the target line.
When playing shots off the ground, position the ball near center of your stance, slightly closer to the left foot (for a right-handed player). When hitting driver, position the ball just inside your left heel or off big toe. Stance should be shoulder width or less for most shots, wider for the driver and narrower for short irons.
Dennis Murray PGA is a former PGA Tour player, Colorado Section PGA Player of the Year and Rocky Mountain PGA Section Champion. His Colorado students have been recognized as Junior, Men’s, Women’s, and Senior Players of the Year. He is founder and head coach of the Uncomplicated Golf School at Valley Country Club in Centennial. Reach him at [email protected] or 720-940-5007