Of all the fundamentals in the golf swing, a proper golf swing setup is one of the most overlooked and underrated fundamentals. Without a proper golf stance, even a consistent golf swing will struggle to maintain regularity.
Below are a few of our best tips for making your setup the best it can possibly be. By the time you finish this article, you will have a firm grasp of the concepts and take these concepts to the practice tee and golf course immediately.
#1 For A Golf Setup Think Like An Athlete
Imagine you are playing some other physical sport: football, basketball, tennis, etc. What commonalities to these other games have in their setup that you can incorporate into your golf setup?
They’re positioned in a way that will allow them to move and react efficiently: Their feet and lower bodies are engaged, they are square to the target, and their arms are hanging freely and tension-free.
All of these elements (with the exception of facing the target) are important to implement into your golf swing if you want to have a solid, consistent setup and golf swing sequence.
#2 The Truth About A Proper Golf Stance Width
The width of your golf stance can often be confusing depending on the type of shot you’re playing. As a means to simplify things for all players, we have separated width of stance into three categories: wide, standard, and narrow.
Wide stances provide more stability and tend to produce a shallower swing plane, making it ideal for the driver and fairway woods. A slightly wider golf stance can also help you maintain your balance in the wind and around awkward lies. A wide stance should never be more than slightly beyond shoulder width since a wider stance can affect your ability to turn fully.
Standard Stance Width:
For almost every shot that doesn’t involve the golf ball teed more than an inch off the ground, your stance should be about as wide as your shoulders or slightly narrower. This will allow you to maintain your balance and the ability to rotate back and through with everything from fairway woods to short irons. The best way to find a standard golf stance that works best for you is to experiment on the driving range.
The only time you should really use a narrow stance is around the greens. Keeping your feet close together with bump-and-run and pitch shots will help you pivot easier and promote a steeper angle of attack. Now you’ll find it easier to make crisp contact with your wedge.
#3, 4, 5 Focus On The Golf Posture
While these next three tips are separate:
- Proper Knee Bend
- Hip Hinge
- Arm Hang
Each deal with correct posturing techniques as you can see in the photo shown below. Work on these parts of your setup and it will pay dividends to your swing and game.
#3 How To Properly Bend Your Knees
Knee bend in the golf swing is often misunderstood, especially by beginners. Similar to the lunge in our Golf Yoga Poses article, you never want the knee to bend beyond your ankle at address.
Instead, you want to feel as if your knees are right above your shins and your hips are moving back. Too much knee flex can cause a plethora of issues including improper balance and posture, robbing you of consistency. You’ll almost feel as if you’re sitting back, which is the perfect way to maintain hip stability and your setup angles at address.
#4 Hip Hinge
Another common mistake by beginners and recreational players is poor posture from the waist up. Many golfers will:
- Round their shoulders
- Keep their hips stiff at address
- Bend from the waist, producing a slumped back with no hip mobility
- A position that is almost impossible to overcome.
Instead, you want to feel like your hips are being pulled back and your spine and shoulders remain flat. By producing the proper body angles in your setup, you make swinging the golf club easier. A vital part of shooting lower scores.
#5 Arm Hang
One of the most critical elements to the golf swing is limiting tension whenever possible. The arms and shoulders are easily the most common culprits of added tension, and it all starts with the setup.
Many golfers, when trying to establish a strong, powerful setup, will reach their arms as far away from their bodies as possible. Unfortunately, this will put a strain on the neck and shoulders, limiting your ability to make a full shoulder turn. The reason golfers extend their arms is usually due to a poor hip hinge, as illustrated in the previous section.
Hinging correctly will not only create a powerful setup, but it will also give your arms ample room to swing and hang naturally right below your shoulders.
#6 All About Golf Alignment
Once you have polished your golf set up, the last thing to cover is easily the most important – your alignment to the target…
After all, even the best posture and setup means little if you’re not aligned properly.
Ideally, you want your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders aligned parallel to the target line. This is a real challenge for athletes who are used to playing other sports that allow you to see your target face-on, making a proper golf alignment so unique. The easiest way to establish a solid feel for alignment is on the driving range utilizing alignment aids.
Whether it’s two alignment rods or even a couple of golf clubs try this:
- Place one alignment stick along your target line
- The other stick parallel to it, near your toe line
- Take a few practice swings and get a feel for the adjustment as well as how your eyes “see” a parallel setup
Over time, this process will happen more naturally. But you always want to practice your alignment in order to develop the most consistent golf swing possible.
#7 Putting It All Together: Practicing Your Golf Setup & Alignment
The next time you head to the driving range, utilize this step-by-step practice guide. It will help you ingrain the proper golf setup and alignment each time you practice.
- Set your alignment tools towards your first target as illustrated in the last section. Then stand tall with your toes close to the alignment rod.
- After taking your grip, hinge from your hips, which will pull them back and allow your arms to hang freely.
- If there is tension in your knees, bend them just enough to free up your lower body. You’re now in a solid setup position.
- Practice this setup process until you start hitting consistent shots at or around the target. Once you feel confident in your setup, have a someone take a couple photos of you down your target line. This will serve as a reference for what your setup looks like when it’s perfect. From there you can make adjustments when necessary.
Proper setup can be a bit tedious at first but is a vital component to playing your best golf. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this list and hope even more that it helps your golf stance and swing.
Let us know in the comments below if this article helped you. And please share it if you think it’ll help others as well.