Correct Golf Posture and Balance for Golf Setup

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Published: February 16, 2014

There is one fundamental in golf that is ignored by more golfers than any other, and interestingly, it's the easiest one to get correct.

Every golfer wonders to himself why he doesn't look the same at setup as Tiger Woods or other greats. After all, they are just standing still, right?

It seems that if nowhere else, that is the ONE place in the golf swing where everyone can be just like Tiger! However, there has been a lot of confusing information in the golf instruction world that has lead to the incorrect belief that there is no one way to setup to the golf ball and everyone should look different.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

golf postureDemonstrating a common fault at address from the video.

Now, if you have a golf swing made up of compensations, major flaws and other home grown attributes, setting up biomechanically correct isn't necessarily going to help you hit the ball better right away.

That's the same as saying that you should take the intake manifold off a Ferrari and put it on a Yugo and it's going to run like a Ferrari. But, if you are wanting to make improvements to the other aspects of your game to make them run more like the Ferrari, then it is IMPERATIVE that you learn the correct golf setup and posture.

Everyone will look slightly different at setup even with a perfect biomechanical setup. That is because everyone is built slightly different, some having longer torso's, longer arms, or longer legs.

This will alter critical factors such as spine angle and the amount of knee bend one has at address. However, from one golfer to the next, the similarities will be more obvious than the differences.

This video gives you the keys to begin to understand the way that golfers setup INCORRECTLY and how to understand how to setup CORRECTLY in the golf swing.

It also covers the fundamental importance of how the weight should be distributed throughout the feet at setup. This is another common piece of misinformation that pervades the golf instruction world and one that can causes chronic knee and hip pain in the lead leg of the golfer.

If you are interested in playing golf for a lifetime and not having to go under the scalpel to do so, you MUST understand how to setup to the golf ball correctly.

Please note that this is an introductory video and does not go in depth in explaining how to engage the proper core muscles at address. These fundamentals take a more in depth understanding of the biomechanics of the golf swing and are covered in other videos.

"Just joined RST as 5 hdcp aiming for scratch. Immediately, I understand the importance of hinging from the hips and how to do it...Looking forward to building proper posture and swinging in balance for the first time ever... "
-Sam O. | July 15, 2012 | London, England

Checkpoints for Practice

  • Many golfers round their necks or shoulders forward at setup - this is incorrect
  • Hinge from the hips at setup, rather than bending at the waist
  • Roll your ankles slightly inward and outward to find the balance point where your weight is centered
  • Rock forward and back to find the balance point where your weight is over the center of your ankles

Related RST/RS1 Articles & Videos:

Video Transcription: Correct Posture and Balanced Setup

Poor postureThis is an example of poor golf setup posture

Let's talk a little bit about how to get into proper golf setup posture. I'm going to show you the correct way to do it. I'm also going to show you some common mistakes that I see people make. That way you can identify your problems and help to fix them.

The first mistake that I see people make on a common basis is they're rounding their neck forward, getting a little bit of knee bend and they're standing very tall, so the neck is really cranked forward in bad posture.

The second thing that I see people do is they round their shoulders forward. These shoulders are rounding this way, the upper back is rounded, the neck is also crunched forward a little bit, and then a little bit of knee bend. You can obviously see that my back is very rounded and in a terrible golf setup.

The most common mistake I see people make is with the waist. They're bending from their waist. What they do is they hinge from here. You can see my entire back, my lower back, upper back, the whole thing is rounded.

It feels very comfortable to most people. This seems like a very relaxed golf setup position to be in. The problem with this is it doesn't allow your body to rotate the way it's designed to rotate around your spine. If you have proper golf posture, each vertebra is stacked on top of each other and as they rotate, they're getting a full range of motion.

As you round the back, as the back is curved, the tips of these vertebrae are crunched in on each other and it makes it very difficult to get a full range of motion. It actually makes it impossible to get a full range of motion.

What we want to do, to do this correctly, is set up and, as we hinge forward we're going to hinge from the hip sockets. Our hip sockets, right from the top of our legs, that's where we're going to bend from in a good golf setup.

Hinge forward from the hipsHinge forward from the hips

The hip sockets, for those of you who have not really ever thought about this before, are just below your belt buckle here, and they're usually right inside the first belt loop on your pants, so we're going to hinge from a lot lower than what you're used to thinking about.

The first thing you want to do is stand up in good, biomechanically correct alignment so your head's high, chin's up, and your shoulders are down and back. From here all we're going to do is drop these hips back and allow our upper body to hinge forward until we can see the ball.

You're going to hinge forward far enough that you don't have to round your head to see the ball. That's how you know you've hinged forward enough. We're going to get a little bit of knee bend from here, and we'll be in the perfect golf setup posture.

An easy way to do this is to put your hands in front of your body and then just concentrate on those hips dropping back with a little bit of knee bend.

From here, we need to have good weight distribution from side to side in our ankles, so what I want you to do first is roll your ankles to the outside. Then I want you to roll your ankles to the inside. You're going to roll back and forth until you can feel your weight resting centered in the middle of your ankles.

Roll your ankles slightlyRoll your ankles slightly to find the balance point

As you roll back and forth, you're going to feel as though you're out of balance, and then you're going to feel as though you're in balance as you come to the center. This is where you want your weight to be.

What we see most people do is get their golf stance a little too wide, and then get their weight on the outside of their ankles. This is improper balance. What we want to do is put our feet a little closer together, until we're two inches outside of neutral joint alignment, and then we're going to have our weight evenly distributed between the ankles.

For some of you, you may feel as though you're sliding the feet together. I'm kind of sliding my feet together and putting pressure on the inside of the ankle, compared to what you're used to. This is going to keep you nice and centered, as you have good golf posture.

The last thing we need to do is have proper balance from front to back in our stance. What I want you to do here is get in good posture; hinge from the hips, a little bit of knee bend, weight centered in the ankles. Then from here I want you to rock forward with your eyes closed, and rock back with your eyes closed.

Rock forward and back to find the centerRock forward and back to find the balance point

You're going to start to feel, as you rock forward and back, I want you to settle on the center of your ankle, and you're going to feel nice and balanced. This is the golf setup position we want to be in at address.

Most people have the weight too far forward on the balls of their feet, and it's due to a majority of golf instruction out there telling you this is exactly what you need to do. They say you need to be in a position very similar to if you're playing defense in basketball, or playing baseball, so that you can move in any direction.

It's actually the opposite of what we want to do in golf. We're trying to stay centered in golf. We don't want to move in every direction, so we want to make sure that that weight is centered right in the middle of the ankle, or just slightly forward, depending on your build.

Most people get it too far forward to the balls of your feet, as I mentioned before.

Pay attention to your golf posture. Work through these drills that I've just given you, and you might even pick up some distance just by allowing your body to move more efficiently. Improving your posture can definitely improve your game.

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