The Golf Swing by Gerald - Address
By Gerald Haynes
ROK Golf Director of Instruction
Hello fellow ROK Golfer's! Over the course of the next few weeks I will be doing a weekly post on the golf swing. This will be the introduction to that series and my introduction to all of you. I know most of you see me at the Brodie Oaks location, but probably don't know my background or history with this game we love so much. Here is a link to my profile if you want to take a look at it: http://www.rokgolf.com/gerald-haynes.html
Over the course of my teaching career I've done extensive work with high speed video, body motion sensors, and have worked with a lot of elite golfers, and even more stuggling golfers that were either not improving or getting worse. I believe every person that plays golf has the ability to be a good player, if they allow themselves to do so. There is nothing more satisfying, as a coach, than seeing someone go from a 20+ handicap to breaking 80 for the first time.
Let's get this started and hopefully you can learn something along the way. I will cover the things I see a lot and the things you should be doing to help you improve. This week we are starting at the beginning!
This week will be all about the address position! I know some of you are thinking, "What does setting up to the ball have to do with how I play?"
My answer would be - EVERYTHING!
If you setup incorrectly, you have to use the rest of your golf swing to make up for the improper setup!
Bad results will more often come from a bad address than a bad swing. If your address position is bad and has been bad for a long time your swing will reflect that bad address.
The address position is the only static position in the golf swing, so everyone that is able, should theoretically be able to get in the correct position withdout much effort. Here are some things that I see people doing consistently.
The Desk Jockey!
The following image is what I call the desk jockey! This is what we see a lot of, a golfer that spends more time on a phone or computer than with a club in their hands, and has really become what we see a lot in modern golfers. This golfer likes to hit low, weak fades, because they really don't have a lot of core muscles used in their swing. I see this guy a lot, they always want to hit it further, they always want to hit a draw, and they concentrate so hard on keeping their head down they can never turn their shoulders, and end up having a very handsy swing.
When you look at the front view on the right, you can see the lines for the grip, each hand points to the outside of the corresponding shoulder. Also, the upper body leans to the left, something I see a lot! Both of the things in this view lead to fat shots and slices. The shoulders and hips also point left, which leads to a more out-to-in swing path.
If you want to hit it short, hit a lot of fat shots, and hit nothing but snap hooks and fades, you should setup like this! I actually don't mind if someone has low hands and are slouchy with their back - if their upper body leans to the right at address, and they have a good grip, a-la Jack Nicklaus. This golfer is so relaxed that they can sometimes they can produce tremendous club speed. I don't recommend trying it, this exact setup will not generate many good results.
The Too Good Golfer!
I love this guy! He probably took a Stack and Tilt lesson somewhere, or read something in Golf Digest about having good posture and keeping your weight on the left leg at address. He is trying to be perfect, but has over-perfected it!
The big things I want you to see here are the hips on the left and the lean/feet on the right. When you get your belt buckle pointed toward the ball, like the left picture, it causes a lot of tension in your back. Think about guys on tour with back problems, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day, Si-Woo Kim, all of these players have or have had that hip position at address and all have suffered from back problems because of it.
Things that we see with this setup are, a big hip sway or a lot of excessive leg movement to try and generate turn in the backswing. The person trying this setup is trying to be athletic, but it becomes the opposite of athletic because of the tension caused in the lower back. They will also hit a lot of fat shots, and typically hit it short, the pros figure out how to hit it far, but the rest of us don't hit enough balls to figure it out from here.
Strong grip, wide stance, can either be a combination of the first two pictures. This golfer wants to hit it far! They tend to have a really strong grip, and they are trying to generate power with that big, wide stance. They also tend to get a lot of weight on their heels and have a similar lower back to The Too Good Golfer.
Because of the stance width this player will have issues driving through the ball and shifting through impact, because of the width of their stance. They can typically rotate really well because of the base, but might run into some back issues as well because of the posture. Look for some big hooks and a really high ball flight from this player.
This one is almost athletic and can probably hit it relatively far most of the time, but will usually not know where it's going. This golfer is usually very good at flop shots as well!
We could go through different setup's all day and show good and bad of each of them. The examples I've shown so far are the three things I see the most.
The ideal or professional setup is what we see below. Weight over the ankles, chin up, back straight/but not tense, hips neutral, both V's from your hands pointing to the right shoulder, feet hips width apart, slight lean right with the upper body, hips and shoulders square or slightly closed to the target, and probably most important that you can not see in a picture, is relaxed.
From this position I can do whatever I want! I can hit fades and draws, high or low, long or short. This is also a very balanced position, not putting too much stress on one body part, but allowing everything to work together.
Having the upper body tilted slightly behind the ball creates space in front of the ball to push the handle through impact and allows me to drive through the ball, out to my target. I can also just rotate my head to see my target without losing my posture. With the first two picture you would have to come completely out of your posture to see your target, which is why golfers that setup that way tend not to look and see where they want to go.
During a lesson I almost always have a key at setup for someone to work on, because it is a static position. The problem we run into as coaches, is that golfers could care less about address and think it doesn't affect their game, so we end up giving the student what they want and working on the swing. We need to do a better job of working on address and explaining to the student that address affects everything else.
Address is the easiest position to practice in a golf swing. I think every golf should practice getting into an address position 50-100 times a day, using a phone or a mirror. You don't even need a club, you can practice with your hands together or holding a pen.
If you get in the proper posture over and over again it becomes natural and you don't have to think about it on the course. It takes about 10 minutes to get into the correct posture 50 times. The first couple times really pay attention to the posture, stay there for 10-15 seconds so you can feel where your weight is, what muscles you're using and check it in the mirror. Close your eyes after to get in the correct spot so you can really feel the spot.
After the first 5 deliberate setups, do it faster and faster as your body adjusts. If your setup is good, it is a lot easier to fix the rest! Learn the proper address, and next week we will start the swing! If you need to book a lesson or just need a little tune up send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org.