by Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk
To hit the ball with solid contact and improve distance and accuracy it is imperative that you set up properly. You can have a fantastic swing but if you have a few flaws in your set up you will never be a good ball striker.
A key aspect of set up is how you distribute the weight over your feet . This is a simple fix to your swing but if it is not done properly it will lead to errant and poorly struck shots.
Some players set a lot of weight on their heels in address. By doing so their posture becomes more upright and almost looks like they are sitting in a chair. It is very difficult to turn around the spine in this position. Ideally the spine should be at about a 45 degree angle to make an effortless turn.
By placing the weight on the heels the ball position is also moved. Instead of lining up in the center of the club face it will often force you to line up of the toe creating a lot of slices.
The other issue is setting up with too much weight on your toes. It is difficult to feel balanced in this position and after impact players will often take a step and fall out of their stance. The ball tends to be lined up off the heel in this position and can lead to pulls and hosel rockets.
To set up properly you want to ensure you have the weight in the middle of your feet. I often like to bounce slightly up and down to ensure I have achieved this position. As I go through my swing I am cognizant of trying to keep my weight over my feet and not let it sneak out over my toes or lean back on my heels at impact.
Check your club face after you strike the ball to see where the ball impacted. If it was not a center of the face hit and instead off the toe or heel try feeling where you weight is over your feet at set up and throughout your swing. You can use impact tape available from most golf pros or even something as simple as duct tape to see the impact of the ball on the face of the club.
Ball position is also another key aspect of set up that if not done properly negates a good swing. There are mixed schools of thought here. Several instructors suggest that for a full swing wedge shots, 9 iron and 8 iron the ball should be directly in the center of your stance. When you play it behind the center of your stance you are delofting your club at impact.
Your 5, 6 and 7 iron should be played one ball width ahead of center and your 3, 4 iron, hybrids and fairway woods should be played 2 ball widths ahead of the center of your stance.
One thing I have noticed with hybrids is that players who complain of not hitting a hybrid well are often sweeping it. Ensure you are hitting down on your hybrid and compressing it like you would an iron. You must have a descending blow for a hybrid.
Sean Foley on the other hand is an instructor that recommends a consistent ball position and suggests merely changing the width of your stance and your distance from the ball as the clubs get longer. He recommends placing the ball under your lead pectoral muscle. He asserts that the club will bottom out under the joint of your lead shoulder so the ball position should be slightly behind that (under the pectoral muscle) for all shots for consistency and accuracy.
For driver the ball should be played just inside the heel of your lead foot. Too many golfers get the ball too far forward leading to inconsistency and poor distance.
I like to stand with my feet together and have the ball in the middle of my feet I simply move the back foot so that my feet are shoulder width apart or slightly wider. This ensures the ball will be inside my lead foot.
Hopefully these tips will help you start your season off with success!
Lisa is the 7-time Canadian Long Drive Champion for women, a golf entertainer and a motivational speaker. Lisa can be reached through Claudio at firstname.lastname@example.org