Swing Faults Caused by Poor Golf Setup


This video expands on the video "Biomechanically Correct Setup and Balance" and will walk you through the most common pitfalls observed when the weight is not properly distributed at address.

Video Practice Points
  • Most golf instructors tell you to set up on the balls of your feet, but this is incorrect!
  • Some athletes need to be ready to move in any direction - golfers need to stay grounded
  • Being on the balls of your feet can cause you to lose spine angle, or shank the ball
  • Keep your weight over the center of your ankles at setup
  • Bend from the hips, relax the knees slightly, allow the arms to hang down - you should be able to wiggle your toes

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Common Swing Faults Caused by Poor Setup

Good afternoon everybody. As the newest member of the Rotary Swing Golf Academy, I would just like to introduce myself and say hello.

                Today I'm really excited to have the opportunity to talk to you about the number one problem I've observed since joining the Rotary Swing Golf Academy, and the biggest problem I see when people come to visit us for golf lessons. Most of my first month has been spent studying Chuck's system, learning every detail about the Rotary Swing, and learning all about the anatomic absolutes around which Chuck's system is based. And the first thing that I do when somebody comes to me for a lesson or that Chuck looks at when somebody comes in person and needs a lesson, is basically the foundation of the golf swing, and that is our golf setup.

                I know this may seem like a mundane and kind of monotonous topic that we've covered before but, like I said, this is the number one problem that I've seen, and I'm going to demonstrate the pitfalls that come about because of it.

                What I'm really going to focus on today is, a myth in golf that I've heard. I know I've been playing the game for 27 years, and I have yet to pick up a golf book or go to an instructor and not have them tell me that the weight is meant to be on the balls of my feet. They always do this, they make me put the club down and they say "Did you ever play baseball as a kid? Yeah, what position did you play? Second base, perfect, perfect. Well show me what you would do in case you're getting ready for a ground ball or when the pitcher is getting ready to throw the pitch. You'd kind of walk in, get down and crouch, weight in the balls of your feet, you're ready to move in any direction that you would like".

                Well, this is what I've been told for 27 years, and I'll admit, I'm guilty of it as well. I preached the same thing to my students for 27 years. Until I met Chuck. He said something so simple, and yet it made so much sense, it completely changed my mind about what I thought was a fundamental of the golf swing. And that is very simply, in the golf swing, at what point do we want to be ready to move in any direction? That's not our goal. Our goal is to simply get anchored and stay centered and rotate around that anchored base that we've created. We're building a solid foundation around which to rotate. It's that simple.

                So, forget what you've heard about the weight on the balls of the feet at golf setup and believe it or not, like I said, I would say about 70% of the lessons I've observed over the course of the past month, I've seen a lot of good golf swings and a lot of good moves, but simply because they're weight is not distributed correctly on their feet, their entire sequence of their golf swing is thrown off. And I'm just going to demonstrate today, first I'm going to walk you through and show you what I see, then we're going to go about how to fix the problem, and things for you to work on at home. The setup is absolutely number one. It's the foundation of the golf swing. But number two, it is the one variable that we can absolutely do a 100% correctly every time.

                With a little bit of practice, we can get into the correct setup position every time. Gonna increase your success tremendously. So, I'm going to start here ... and this is what I see with most people. When they come to see us. Right here you can see, I look like I'm in a pretty good position here, pretty good posture, but really the weight ... is centered right here on the balls of my feet, so what we tend to see is the people that get a little bit out on the balls of their feet, they look like they're in pretty good posture, but as they start to take the club back, even if they make a good move away from the golf ball, as they continue to get that golf club going up you can kind of see where I'm going now.

                I don't know if this is coming across on the camera, but my heels are actually lifting a little bit off the ground, my lower body is trying to find stability for me to keep my balance here. Well, from this point in my golf swing, I've just done two very detrimental things. Number one, I've lost my connection to the ground. Which is my base and where I'm going to be drawing my power on a down swing. Everybody I'm sure has watched the weight shift and the transition videos that Chuck did, Parts 1, 2, and 3, and there is no way that we can correctly perform that weight shift, when we're out leaning like this. And what you've seen has happened, my head has actually gotten closer to the golf ball. I really only have two possibilites once I get into this position right here. Number one ... and this is the other big complaint I hear, I can't maintain my spine angle. If I continue down, my body is going to sense "Uh-oh I'm in trouble".

                So, now I actually have to start to back up out of my spine angle, as you can see, I've completely lost my spine angle now, and I've stood straight up. I haven't had a choice. I've had to create space because I've gotten closer to the golf ball. My body instinctually knows I'm in trouble from there, so it tries to find a way to create space for the arms and hands, so I have to spring up. When people constantly say "I can't maintain my spine angle. I try and I try, but I can't maintain my spine angle", the majority of the time, it's simply because of where their weight wasn't set up.

                The second issue, and this is the one we've all dealt with at some time in our career ... same thing, weight in the balls of my feet, I'm leaning a little bit into it. As I start to make my move, I start to lean, and now I'm going to continue, trying to maintain my spine angle and rotating through. As you can see right now ... I've presented the hosel of the club, back to the golf ball first. Well, we know what the result of that is. We're going to be running the option, right down the line. We're going to hit a shank. Okay.

                So a lot of times when people come, they're like "Boy, I just don't understand where this shank is coming from". The shank, a lot of times it's coming from, being on the balls of your feet at address. So these are the two major problems, the losing the spine angle, the shanking of the golf ball. Let's talk about how to rectify both of these situations.

                Again, with a little practice, we can do the setup correctly every time. So, we're just going to talk about how to get in that position. I'm not even going to use the club here at first, I'm just going to set the club down here. I just want to talk about exactly ... now I know Allison has done a video, much more information than this, about specifically how we want to set up, and the balance and good posture for the golf swing. But, again what we want to do ... I take my stance, making sure my feet are no more than two inches wider than my hip joints. So, two inches wider than neutral joint alignment, and from this position right here, I'm just going to hold my arms in front of my chest like this, fold my hands, and I am going to drop my hips straight back. So, I'm going to keep my knees straight at this point. Don't add any knee flex just yet. But I'm going to bend from the hips.

                As soon as I bend from the hips here, you're going to see my backside gets pushed behind me. I'm bending from the hips, and you should do this. You will automatically feel the weight shift over the center of your ankle joint right in here. So, if I would draw a line down, when I get into this position again. Here, drop my hips back. The back of my knee would be running right through the center of my ankle joint here. This is where my weight is now balanced. Okay. This is where we need to get in order to create a solid foundation around which we can rotate. And make sure we aren't trying to find our balance the entire time through the golf swing.

                Once you do this here, you can just add and relax the knees a little bit. Don't add that excessive knee flex or again, we're going to activate those thighs, and start balancing on our knee joints and again, I just shifted my weight forward, once again. The weight is now on the balls of my feet. Bend from the hips, relax the knees slightly, allow the arms to hang under the shoulders.

                So you can now see, I can actually wiggle my toes a little bit because the weight is centered over my ankle joints. Somebody could come up from behind me here, and I'm going to be pretty solid. You're not going to be able to move me. I have a good solid foundation underneath me. Okay.

                A lot of times people come and they say "I am over my ankles. I am over my ankles" but they're really not, and the way that we can always test them is ... if we just have them stand, take what they think is their posture, and then I'm just going to have you close your eyes, so you're going to close your eyes as you do this, and then you're going to rock forward ... and sway back. So you're going to sway forward and sway back. You can see, I'm not moving a tremendous amount, but as I sway forward I can feel all the weight now going out onto my toes. I can feel my thighs begin to engage. My knees begin to start bearing the weight ... and now as I sway back, I can feel the weight shift right over the center of my ankle joints. I can now feel my glutes engage. My core engage. This is where we want to be. Okay.

                So although it seems, like I said, to be a very simple, mundane issue, you can see how not paying attention to this, and not setting up correctly is going to have negative effects on your entire golf swing.

                I like to think of the city of Venice. Beautiful city, fantastic artwork, architecture, wasn't built on a very good foundation. The same with your golf swing. Make sure you start with building a good foundation.

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