Should You Splay Your Feet At Setup

In a perfect golf setup, should your feet point out or be square to the target? This premium video answers the question and tells you why. I'll discuss certain ways to make adjustments for those of you that struggle with mobility of the hips or struggle with pain.

  • Keep the trail foot perpendicular to the target
  • Allow the lead foot to turn outward ONLY if you have mobility issues or you tend to over rotate in the backswing. 

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Gary C
Is it okay to let the trail foot splay slightly if it facilitates a full shoulder turn? I can’t quite make it to 90 degrees if my right foot stays perpendicular to the target line. Also, curious about the natural tendency for my feet to naturally splay slightly when relaxed and balanced. It feels less natural to have one or both feet perfectly straight and square forward when just standing normally in NJA.
December 4, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gary. You may splay the trail a hair. But, we tend to see players over rotate, or not shift correctly. Film and mirror work to not fall into any bad habits. The feet shouldn't require splay from an anatomical standpoint. But, slightly splaying isn't going to hurt your performance.
December 4, 2020
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Jim
And left foot out to left helps avoid a reverse pivot on the backswing?
August 30, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jim. The lead foot out may help with staying away from RP. However, if the foot splay restricts the hip turn back too much and player may slide the lead hip leading the the RP.
August 30, 2020
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Jim
I wonder if a slightly turned out left foot helps the transition, allowing not just a lateral move but unconsciously a rotation....making a post up more natural without thought..???
August 30, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jim. This can help. But, some players with the foot splayed too much will skip weight transfer all together and just rotate. You still have to make sure you shift the weight.
August 30, 2020
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Kevin
This is for RJ. On my last swing review you pointed out my lead foot rolling to the outside on follow through. Is this because I was pushing from right side, or stance width issue, or foot splay? Just trying to narrow my focus. Thanks!
May 27, 2020
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
See how your right foot is leaning forward? typically, when you roll up on the tip of your toe and your weight is balanced, the foot will be perpendicular to the ground, toe to heel. I have a feeling that you're continuing to shift your weight all the way through your postup, because there is no noticeable pushing from the right side from your step 2, moving into step 3.
May 27, 2020
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Kevin
If we tend to over rotate the hips / straighten the right leg in the backswing - would you suggest applying the left foot like Chuck mentions in this video to help restrict the hips going back. I have a tendency to left the right leg straighten but also can reverse hip shift so I need to consider that too
May 24, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. A slight splay is fine. I know you have the tendency to reverse hip shift. So, when adding the splay feeling the proper glute load in the backswing will be crucial.
May 25, 2020
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Fred
On this site I have read and seen you mention how you have a team of doctors. I'm not looking for sympathy but I've had three knee surgeries on my lead leg or post up leg. When doing the drills I can easily post up. It is an instinct of mine to keep as much weight off that knee as possible. My in swing thought is to get that weight on my knee. Do you recommend any other thought other than getting more reps? Thank you
July 16, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Fred. Make sure when you sit into the lead side you stay over the ankle joint. The more you get out towards your toes you will put stress on the knee. Also, if you post up with the weight out on the toes/ball of the foot. You will make your knee the primary balancing joint which will cause further issues.
July 16, 2019
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Dan
Hello, I have been watching a lot of Mac O’Grady and he seems to promote flaring both feet, front more than the back. Was wondering if you have analyzed his method and been able to compare/contrast against the rotary swing method? It’s seems there are some similarities but wanted your expert opinion. Thank you, Dan
June 12, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. There are a few differences in our theory vs Mac O'Grady. I haven't researched him in a long time. However, I have worked with a lot of his former students and his theories with them on float loading, etc. Mac doesn't follow some of the basic anatomical absolutes we preach and his method can be a little more timing dependent.
June 12, 2019
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Dan
Thanks so much. Appreciate the fast response. I have a golf coach that likes a lot of what he does but basically teaches a rotary style. I kind of feel like there is almost a blend of stack and tilt, mac, and RS. I haven’t submitted my video reviews but should do that soon.
June 12, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. NO STACK AND TILT! However, I can see a few of the other references. I agree. Let one of our instructors see your move. We would be happy to put a game plan together for you.
June 12, 2019
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Paul
Hi, at address, but not in posture, I tried moving my right heel away from target but kept toes on the the ground.I moved the heel by rotating the whole leg at the hip socked. Now my right leg feels solid on backswing .It makes it easier, to not overrotate the hips,keep right knee flexed, knees quieter and feel my right glute. Am I on the right track here. What was I doing wrong at address? Thanks .
April 29, 2019
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Paul
May have figured it out. At address my feet are together, but when i take my stance my feet splay a little. Never picked this up on camera as its a small amount each foot. Whenn I take my stance now will focus on this,My legs feel totally different now. Thanks.
April 29, 2019
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Martin
Hi. I’m getting pain in inside of my left shin area. Will splaying my Left foot help? Thanks
January 30, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Martin. Splay may help. I would check that you aren't shifting too much towards your toes in the initial downswing move. Also, that your post up isn't too aggressive.
January 30, 2019
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EUGENE
I am bow legged and I have learn that squaring both legs helps me stay balanced and not over sway or turn too much.
June 7, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eugene. Use the Anchor to the Ground Video to the best of your ability. And, yes keeping square for your issue I can see would help with the sway/over turn problem.
June 7, 2018
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Greg
I like this video, it's right in line with how Ben Hogan taught to line up your feet, with the lead foot having a slight turn towards the target. I find that when I do this, I'm somehow over rotating through the follow through and my ball is going left in a hurry. May have something to do with my strong right hand pushing through. Is this something you would see happen with a splayed lead foot?
June 7, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Greg. Typically, if the ball is going left you are over rotating the hands with spinning shoulders. Some players with a splayed foot start feeling more open to adding trail side push.
June 7, 2018
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Kevin
I've struggled with a reverse pivot tendency. Basically, I tend to slide my hips back laterally which then leads to my upper body moving toward the target at the top of the swing. I just discovered by splaying my left foot out a bit more, I feel much less of an "urge" to sway my hips laterally. I feel more stable on the back swing I am better able to maintain my spine angle.
February 1, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. I haven't seen much of the lead splay helping in that manner. But, if it gives you a little better mobility to take away the slide or hit instinct to start the downswing. I don't mind you experimenting with it.
February 1, 2018
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Trevor
I've discovered through Physical Therapy that I have very poor internal hip rotation (genetics). Normal range of motion is 40 degrees or so, I have about 10. So splaying my left foot out helps me get through the downswing, should I still keep my right foot straight (neutral) ?
July 6, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Trevor, yes, that is a good idea. This will allow the lead hip to open up as much as you will need into impact. You won't need any more than 35-45 degrees of open hips at impact.
July 6, 2017
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Karl
Heres a challenge for you. When I was young I crashed my hanglider and I broke both legs. The doctors for variouos reasons couldnt put my left lefg back on straight, so I have a left foot that is splayed outwards. Its a real bugger. My right is ok and normal. So, what do you reckon I should do with my left? Turn it in and be a bit uncomfortable, leave it nuetrally splayed or turn it out? Note: I tend to cut the ball and Im hcap 12
April 22, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Karl. Ideally, the lead foot would be turned in. However, you would be fighting your "new" genetics when the leg was put back together. For right now, I would leave a little of the splay for comfort and work to slow the hips. Use the Squat to Square and the Belt Buckle Drill to help stabilize so that you can release without opening or spinning too much leading to the slice.
April 22, 2017
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Lance
Recently saw Clay on his website explain lifting the front heal during the takeaway for more hip turn. Although I tend to restrict initial hip turn using the shoulder blade glide in the takeaway I am curious if you might advise the front heal coming off the ground a little for sake of solid weight shift into both take away to trailside and initial weight shift at the beginning of the transition????
April 20, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Lance. Preferably, you don't want the lead heel/foot raising too much in the backswing. However, the goal is to allow for proper hip turn and weight shift. If you have to let a little movement or rise for it to happen due to flexibility there is a little leeway.
April 20, 2017
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Leon
My question is which is more important, (1) developing torque between the hips and shoulders or (2) turning the shoulders 90 degrees. I know the right answer is both, but at age 81 if I restrict my hips by keeping my right foot straight out, then my shoulder turn will not get to 90 degrees. If I splay my right foot I can then increase my should turn. So what would you suggest? Straight or splayed?
April 17, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Leon. You have two options. 1) Shorter swing and allow for more elevation which would provide more leverage to help make up the difference. 2) Allow for hip rotation, but be very conscious to not rush the transition and make a smooth shift back to the lead side. I would experiment with both. But, fear no if you allow for more trail hip rotation. Pro's allow for more trail hip rotation than it appears on TV.
April 17, 2017
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Paul
My issue is similar to Lean's, but not for shoulder rotation but for balance. If I splay my right foot about 30 degrees, it allows me to keep better joint alignment and remain balanced over my right ankle (knee still pointing inside of foot). If I square my right foot, I can still get to 90 shoulder 45 hips...but I cannot stay centered over my ankle and end up on my balls/toes of my right foot...causing my weight shift to the left to also move out to balls/toes and I lose both balance and joint alignment. I still have plenty of glut/back torque... Any thoughts/comments? Thanks.
October 3, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. Ideally, you don't want too much trail foot splay. With that said, if it allows for better rotation, alignments and you can still get separation between the upper/lower half. Then, search to find the absolute minimum you have to splay. Also, if keeping it square you are able to get the 90/45, but not centered. You might need a better anchor to the ground and check your shifting. Anchor to the Ground Video and Weight Shift Video Part 2.
October 3, 2018
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Michael
Mike, When my left (front) foot is square and I rotate my hips through my swing, I always turn my right foot towards the target line. I notice in the videos, the front foot stays square at completion. What is causing my front foot to turn/pivot? And how does it affect my swing?
January 30, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. The trail foot turning through the shot usually means there wasn't enough weight transferred to the lead side in the transition or in the downswing.
January 31, 2017
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Brandon
when should we stop splaying our lead foot at address? Would too much lateral shift or a closed hip slide into address be the outcome of a too splayed out front foot?
November 7, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. Leaving the lead foot open too much would typically cause more hip spin or lack of weight transfer.
November 7, 2016
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T David
I tried keeping my trailing foot perpendicular to the target line (no splay), and kept this practice for a couple weeks. It helped me keep my knee in line and prevented too much hip turn. However, I noticed that hip line tended to break as my hip wanted to move straight back (rather than move back on the takeaway (weight shift part 2). So, all things being equal... I think I could live with the splay and ensure the knee stays constant (laser beam drill). It seems to me that the proper weight shift is the most important piece of the swing. Does this make sense, or am I over-thinking this?
October 24, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. You may splay just a tad. You definitely don't want the hip to not turn at all. I would rather see a little more turn, than zero or too much restriction.
October 25, 2016
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T David
Thanks for insights, Craig. I appreciate it.
October 26, 2016
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Mike
My left femur was broken in half when I was 13 and it healed in such a way that from the break down, the lower leg is permanently splayed /rotated outward about 20-25 degrees. I'm now 56 and ever since, I've always favored and stood with my weight on my right side so I am working very hard on the weight transfer drills. At address, I've been standing in neutral alignment (for my geometry) with my left foot and knee naturally splayed outward. Any thoughts you may have on this would be appreciated. Thank you.
September 8, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Mike, You are perfectly okay with this adjustment to your lead side based on your previous injury. Just make sure when you are working back to the lead side in the downswing, that you are not getting too much push from the trail side and you are working to make sure the weight is under your ankle/heel at impact to alleviate any stress on the knee or hip girdle.
September 12, 2016
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Mike
Thank you Chris....I have been pushing from the trail side and the weight transfer drills are helpful and are increasing my awareness of how much I actually do favor my right side. I'm up to a thousand weight transfer drill reps and it is beginning to make a difference. Steven Maes conducted my first video analysis and his insight and suggestions have made a big difference. Thank you!
September 12, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Awesome Mike! You are in good hands and we will help you all that we can during the process.
September 12, 2016
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Robert
If one's mobility is restricted, which is more important: A 90 degree shoulder turn with more elevation by allowing just a little more hip turn OR focusing on the x-factor not worrying about a full 90 degree shoulder turn or attaining more elevation?
May 21, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Rob. I would allow for more hip turn, than X-factor for mobility restriction.
May 22, 2016
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THOMAS
Hi Craig Why am I spinning my left foot toward the target at impact? I set my feet square at set up. Also I Don't do it on practice swings only real swings. Chris
April 18, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Thomas/Chris . Usually due to lack of weight shift and not being anchored to the ground. Take a look at the Anchor to the Ground Video and make sure you plant into the lead foot with weight transfer (Fixing Your Weight Transfer Video).
April 19, 2016
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Paul
Hello, Im a little concerned about the load up in the back leg. I feel unless youre locked in with your tempo that day, it will be really hard to strike the ball on the follow through causing fat shots or thin shots. Any comments i would greatly appreciate it.
January 27, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. Weight transfer should help with your rhythm and tempo. Imagine trying to dance with moving some body weight . If you are concerned about having a max load recking your tempo. Just focus on transfer of weight and glute engagement. It doesn't have to be max load to achieve good positions and proper speed.
January 27, 2016
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Paul
Hello Craig, thank you much for your reply.
January 27, 2016
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Brian
At 3:15 of the video, I assumed the instructor tried to say "if you have no problem turning inward 45 degrees, then ur left foot can set perpendicular to the target line", ie. 0 degree. But at 3:20, instead, he said "you can set it open". Just wanna make sure.
November 13, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brian. Yes, it can be set perpendicular or just a tad open. Not as open as if you couldn't rotate the lead foot inward.
November 13, 2015
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jim
Craig, This is Jim Wright, PGA Golf Professional and Director of Instruction at the Golfer's Grail Indoor Golf and Tap in Tampa, FL. I asked you about a young student of mine that had too much shoulder tilt at impact and his hips spun out of the shot, therefore getting stuck, hitting fat shots, pushes, and thin shots with the longer clubs. Your drills helped, I had him to the belt buckle drill. I also have a drill of my own, he is from China and doesn't play baseball, so I just have him extend his arms out from his body and do trunk rotations, keeping his head still, then while he is doing this to just bend from the hip joints into his golf posture and his shoulders and hips are perfect. He has been working on this drill for about a week now because of all the rain and we went to the range and I was amazed at how he transformed his swing. Thanks for the drills. I am just getting back to playing again after a total right revision, out with the old hardware and in with the new. I saw my swing on video and almost through up. I have a lot of work to do, however, I have been improvising for the last 6 or 7 years because of my right hip and also my left hip, it will take about a year to change, maybe more. I am 62 years old and still a very competitive tournament player, however, I am watching your videos and incorporating some aspects into my swing already. Not good for playing tournaments, however, might as well start sometime, the sooner the better. I like the way Rotary Golf teaches, they have the same concepts that I have been teaching for years. Thanks and I plan on being a premium member for a while. Thanks for the drills also. JIM WRIGHT, PGA Certified PGA Professional Director of Instruction Golfer's Grail Tampa, FL
July 27, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Jim. Great. Thanks for the compliments of our teaching methods and drills. Happy to hear your student has made some good progress. I hope you are feeling back healthy again. Nobody likes to get operated on (me especially). Anything, I/we can do to help get your progress started please let us know. You can upload a swing for review and I would be happy to lay out a little ground work for your re-build. Playing is tough when making a swing change. Short term for long term though. Also, I do recommend to a lot of my students that are playing competitively in the summer to leave the big changes till the off-season. Keep us updated on the progress and thanks again!
July 27, 2015
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jim
Craig, I will. Just shot 74 at Southern Hills in the mud, didn't make a putt, actually 3 putted twice. Driver was all over the place. I reshafted my irons with Project X 5.5 and am hitting the ball farther, just don't know how far. You are correct, making changes in the season is tough, but, I feel I have to make some to get back to shooting some low scores again. The NFPGA Sr PNC is coming up at Southern Dunes, in 2013 at Reunion I shot 70-67 on a course I had never played. So I have a lot of work to do inbetween teaching and working. Thanks for the advice and I will take you up on the video (if you don't throw up) and we will start to make major changes. Thanks again.
July 27, 2015
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William
Chuck, I have no hip issues but my tendency is to spin the hips at the start of the downswing. Would having the left foot square to the target line help that rather than having the foot splayed about 10 degrees as I do? Bill
July 18, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bill. Yes, for hip spinning making sure the foot isn't splayed out too much will help.
July 18, 2015
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jim
I am a PGA Golf Professional and am a full time instructor. I really like the ideas you have. I used to work for a Large company out of Denver that started to teach Stack and Tilt, I am not a fan of that, I had to have hip surgery anyway and the franchise was being purchased by the company so I left and went out on my own. I have built a good business so far. However, I am coaching a Chinese boy, 13 years old, just been playing since February of this year and I have built him a good swing already. He can hit the ball pretty far for a little guy, his putting is getting better along with his chipping. However, the biggest fault I have with him is that he moves his hips way too fast and his arms get stuck behind him. I have put him on down slopes to swing to get the feel of the hips, I have had him hit cut shots to get his hands out in front of him. He does well swinging easy, but, when he starts to swing faster, back to the same. I need some help in getting his lower body married up with his arm swing and he swings more down the line. He is way too far inside out because he drops his right shoulder and hits a lot of fat, thin and shots to the right. Any suggestions. Thanks. JIM WRIGHT, PGA Certified PGA Professional Director of Instruction Golfer's Grail Tampa, FL
July 18, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jim. A few different videos for you to check out. Belt Buckle Drill, Squat to Square, Level Shoulders, Drills to Avoid Being Stuck and the Trace the Plane Line Video all in the Advanced Downswing Section.
July 18, 2015
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Donald
Thanks, Craig!
July 17, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
No problem!
July 17, 2015
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Donald
When making the backswing my left heel wants to come off the ground and with that my left knee wants to move to the right. Should I concentrate on keeping my left heel on the ground throughout the backswing and what movement of the left knee is OK. I'm thinking that both of these moves (left heel up and left knee right) destroy my swing as my spine angle changes. Your thoughts please. Thanks.
July 17, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Donal. Ideally, you want the lead knee to stay pretty stable. Some players due to lack of mobility have to allow it to move, but you want to keep in check the amount. Take a look at the Left Knee Laser Beam Drill in the Advanced Backswing Section.
July 17, 2015
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gerald
When I go to a pro tournament I notice the pros have their feet at right angles to the line .Both feet are square. Any comment about that?
July 17, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gerald. It is to maximize deceleration and torque build. The pros work hard to have separation between the upper half and lower half to build torque. Therefore, they can create a little more stretch in the muscles for club head speed. Also, it allows for maximum deceleration of the body into impact to create a good snap or whip effect in the release.
July 17, 2015
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gerald
thank you very much for the answer. So if I understand you right deceleration of the body into impact is a real thing? I asked one of the top teachers in the nation and he told me not to try and have any deceleration. When I am able to accomplish this deceleration at the right time I hit the ball very nice.
July 17, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gerald. Deceleration definitely occurs. The body has to slow to enable snap to happen. You can see a real good explanation of it in the Acceleration Profile Sequence Video in the Downswing Advanced Section. Think of a whip. If you didn't slow your arm you could never get the end to crack.
July 17, 2015
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doug
Great that you are addressing a point that is often taken for granted by instructors! My follow up question is this... What is the biomechanically correct way for a right handed golfer to address the ball if the golfer only has 10 to 15 degrees of internal hip rotation in his right hip? Too much splay and the pelvis will counter shift toward the target on the backswing. No splay and the golfer can only get 15 degrees of hip rotation without losing structure in the right knee and ankle? Your suggestion?
July 16, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Doug. The key is to maintain the load in the trail glute. Agreed too much splay could get the pelvis/weight shifting back towards the target too soon in the backswing. Take a look at How to Swing from the Ground Up in the Introduction Section and the Load the Right Glute for Stability in the Backswing Section. Allow for a little splay to get the hip to turn a touch more. Which will free you up to getting more shoulder rotation. But, not enough that you can't maintain load in the trail side.
July 17, 2015
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THOMAS (Tom)
Hi Chuck. My subject (question) pertains to off-center hits, i.e., the causes and cures. I used impact tape today when I played. Re my driver and my 3-wood -- I am hitting low, center. That is, centered from toe to heel, but low on the face. I know I am losing distance from this. Attempts to correct this by teeing up the ball with the driver did not help. After I got home, I wondered if my problem might be ball position, e.g., too far forward?? Your thoughts?? thanks, tom
July 16, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tom. It could be ball position or you are trying to swing up on the ball too much. You could be changing your secondary tilt trying to launch the ball higher. However, let the club do the work for you. Add some more tilt at address and move the ball off the lead in-step. Don't try and manually increase the tilt, but swing with what you started with. Take a look at the Driver Launch Angle Video in the Bomb Your Driver Series Section.
July 17, 2015
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THOMAS (Tom)
Thanks, good suggestions. tom
July 17, 2015
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Vivek
Just to recap: 0 degrees splay of the lead foot would be perfect. Up to 30 degrees splay is ok. Right ?
July 16, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Vivek. Yes, 0 degrees would allow for ideal and up to 30 degrees is okay based on mobility.
July 17, 2015
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James
Hi Chuck I have a old injury to my left femur which I severely fractured 10 years ago, as a result of two ops I have 6 pins in and around the knee and a steel plate from the outside of the knee to just under my hip. As a result I find I have to splay out my left foot to relieve the pressure that exerts on my left knee when it comes up against that plate in the follow though, so the 30 deg really helps in that area. However, when I rotate in the back-swing I find I have to let my left knee flex/bend in away from me at 90 deg angle to my body; any movement of my left knee towards my right causes me some pain at times because of the stress on the left knee. Is it OK not to let my left knee bend towards the ball as I have been instructed in the past by club pros to facilitate a greater turn in my hips when I rotate back by moving/letting the left knee move towards the ball. Despite being 74 I have no problems turning my shoulders almost 90 deg in my back turn.
July 16, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. Sorry to hear about your different injuries. If you would like to keep the lead knee still or not bending in towards the ball too much that is fine. Take a look at the Left Knee Laser Beam Drill in the Advanced Backswing Section.
July 17, 2015
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James
The left knee laser drill in conjunction with the right knee laser drill is great; by working with those drills it has focused bringing my glutes more into action in both legs now which I was concious were not being fully utilised in my swing. I also generates more speed in my swing without putting any undue pressure on my left thigh above my knee joint. Many thanks for this invaluable pointer,
July 17, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Great James. Keep up the good work!
July 17, 2015
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Dan
On the downswing how much hip rotation should one use. I know you are negative on hip spinners but I am confused on whether you should use no hip action to generate power or 50% of what the hip spinners do. Please clarify. Dan
July 16, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. The hips do need to work on the downswing. However, the vast majority of golfers way over use them. The hips at impact will be roughly 30-45 degrees open in relation to the target line.
July 17, 2015

In a perfect golf set up, should your feet point out or be square to the target? Well, let's figure that out now!

This is a very common question, so let's look at it from a biomechanical perspective so that you can use your body in the golf swing the most safe and efficient way possible.

Let's start out with the trail foot (right foot for right handed golfers). What is the objective of the trail foot/leg and hip in the backswing?

The main goals are to get load, rotation AND stability which quite honestly, can be very hard for amaetur golfers to achieve all at one time.

If your trail foot is turned outward, you are going to allow the hips to have more mobility, which makes it more difficult to feel any stored energy between your lower body and your core. We want the trail side leg to get the muscles stretched, so that we can use it for power and stability. If the muscles are not activated, then you are going to be relying on the upper body to do most of the work.

If you have noticed your hips rotating beyond 45 degrees in your golf backswing, then try turning your foot inwards and seeing how limited the range of motion will become. This is a good way to start to feel the muscle groups fire that you need for power. Check out a great video that talks about lower body stability as a whole called "perfecting lower body stability". Also, you may want to check out "load the right glute, shorten swing, start transition" video for a great drill showing you how to load up your trail side properly.

Case and point, keep the trail foot perpendicular to the target line so that you can get load, stability and the proper amount of rotation in the hips.

Over to the other side, the lead side (left foot for right handed golfers). What is the main objective?

The main goal, much like the trail side, is to provide stability, power and the proper amount of rotation. However, this side will be working a bit harder in the swing due to the amount of load it will be bearing at impact.

If your lead foot is splayed out at address, that can decrease the mobility in the backswing, which in some cases is not all bad. But, be careful, because turning the lead foot outwards at address can allow much more mobility in the lead hip and that can cause your body to over rotate in the hitting area and make it very hard to maintain stability.  

For those of you that have limited mobility of the lead hip due to injury, wear and tear, or possibly even surgery, it is ok to allow the lead foot to turn outward a bit. This will take the stress of the hip and allow you to still get into a fully finished golf swing. This also ensures that you are not going to start overusing the upper body through the hitting area.

Now, get to work on getting your setup perfect and take a look at some of these other great videos that will help you along the way..

Hey guys, Chuck Quinton here, founder of rotaryswing.com. One of the questions I get asked frequently in emails and questions on the form is, should my feet be splayed out at address. It's a great question, and it has, as you would imagine in Rotary Swing tour, biomechanical foundations for why it should be a certain way.

                Let's first start with the right foot, during the backswing is where we're going to be focusing on, because what we're trying to do in the backswing is load up and torque the body, and give a firm foundation for this right hip to get some load into this right leg. We can then use the left to drive off. As you get more experience, you can use the right side for power a little bit. Be careful with that one. That's one we don't talk about a whole lot, because people tend to really over do it. But it is available there as you get more and more experience and skilled at using the left side.

                If your right foot is splayed out at address, what you end up doing is you tend to over-rotate the pelvis. You don't really get any stored energy between your pelvis and your core, your trunk here, because your hips over-rotate. Now I have very little separation here. I also don't have any load in my hip, because I haven't twisted on it. I need to stretch those muscles.

                To exaggerate this feeling, I want you to practice putting your right foot splayed really in, and try and rotate back. You're going to feel right away that you're not going to have very much mobility here. It's going to keep your hips from over-rotating. We need some hip rotation, about 45 degrees or so.

                If you're one of those people that tends to let their knee buckle out at address, we see this all the time where the knee externally rotates a lot, and the golfer rolls to the outside of the right foot. All of a sudden they look like this at the top of their swing. There's no power or stability here to come back down. The goal is that that right foot should be relatively square to the target line, about 90 degrees or perpendicular. That's the answer for the right foot.

                The left foot, a little bit more, shall we say, variable, because what this is going to do is two things. One, if your foot is splayed out a little bit at address ... I'm going to exaggerate it for a second, so it's easier to see. I'm going to put it out about 60 degrees here. As I start to rotate back, and my right foot is square, it's very hard for my hips to turn much more than this. Kind of a good thing.

                Again, your hips need to turn, but what I see most amateur golfers do is overturn the hips going back. As this foot is splayed out, it keeps your knee from doing this number and buckling in, which keeps this knee from doing this, and this hip from sliding out, and so on. Having it splayed out actually acts a little bit as a restrictor for your hips going back. It's a good thing. At the same point, what it's also going to do is it can keep you from turning enough. We see that happen every now and then.

                What we use is, we really focus on, in the downswing, how much internal rotational mobility you have in that left leg. A simple way to figure this out, this is oversimplified, but stand up, put all your weight on your right foot, and take your left leg, and just try and twist it in. See if you can get your foot to turn in about 45 degrees in relationship to the right one. If you do, that means that you can probably set your foot up just a little bit open, and get your hips fully turned toward the target, and be completely comfortable, and experience no pain or discomfort in your left hip.

                Some people, just from different injuries or restrictions, or what have you, can't really internally rotate their left foot very much. For them, to get into a follow-through, if they don't have a lot of internal rotation, they are not allowed to really release. They stop here, and they end up using their upper body to get through the ball, because their hips can't work correctly. For them, we'll let their left leg externally rotate a little bit more at address. That allows them to get into a balanced, relaxed, and stable follow-through position on the left leg.

                The right foot, keep it square. Again, if you have very limited mobility on this right leg, it's okay to have it externally rotated a little bit, assuming you've got some issues on your right hip. But if you don't, keep the right foot square.

                The left foot, we'll use a range of typically between zero and about 30 degrees. Thirty degrees tends to be on the maximum side that we'll allow, because any more than that, it really restricts the hip turn going back. Zero to 30 degrees is fine if you keep it dead square. If you're really flexible in your hips, and you can still get in a full hip turn in the follow-through, that's perfectly fine. Zero is perfect, so it'll give you maximum range, but again, zero to 30 degrees or so is perfectly fine at setup.

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