Back to Basics: Golf Setup 101

Dan Gold
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The Correct Stance and Foot Position in the Golf Swing

Before you even take a swing, you have to take a stance. The correct stance is necessary to create power with your swing. Without a proper stance, your swing will be weak and your shot will be inaccurate.

The first step is to make sure that you are set up with the correct stance. This is a matter of preference, but there are some guidelines to follow. You should take the stance that is comfortable for you.

Most pool room pros will tell you to keep your feet shoulder-width apart. However, that is not always a comfortable position if you are not used to it.

It is easier to learn how to take a proper stance for the golf swing when you do not follow any rules. If you are already in a comfortable position, then simply put your feet at shoulder-width apart and have your feet aiming toward the target.

One of the most important parts of the golf swing is to have the correct foot position. Your feet should be flat on the ground and facing your target. Even if your stance is not shoulder-width, you should still have your feet turned to face the target.

Sand your leads flat with your impact spot. If you are right-handed, your left foot is your lead foot and your left foot should be flat. Your right foot will be the trailing foot and will have some flex in it, but it should face the target.

The Toe Line

The concept of the golf setup is deceptively simple. Find a spot on the ground seven inches back from the golf ball and that is your golf setup. Yet, so much of the game of golf is a battle between the physical impact of the swing and the movement of the golf ball after it leaves the clubhead. It’s the job of the golfer to adjust according to the kind of hit he wants to make. Anybody who has ever bent down to pick up one of his tee shots or putted past the hole knows how difficult an adjustment is to make after the fact.

To make matters worse, the rules of the game allow a golfer to use a divot on the golf course as a guide as to whether he made the right setup. Thus, a golfer can hit a shot three yards past the hole, then pick up the ball, feel the divot and set up where he thinks that divot is. If he made the right setup, his shot will just come right back to the hole. If not, he has to go back and pick up his ball, clean it, then try again.

It makes it hard to play golf as a recreational sport. But by following the basic setup rules today’s golfers can enjoy the game more than ever.

Correct Ball Position

Correct ball position is the foundation of a solid good golf swing. While ball position is highly personal to each golfer’s swing mechanics, the general consensus is to position the ball forward in your stance, somewhere between the middle of your feet and the base of your toes.

This point is about a couple of inches away from your left heel. The proximity to your right toe should be determined by your own unique golf swing.

There is no perfect exact ball position to use. There are many combinations of ball placement in your stance that can increase power, accuracy, and consistency. However, most golfers find that having the ball forward in their stance results in an easier swing and more accurate shots.

It is important to note that there is a slight variation between the ball position on the tee box and the ball position on the fairway. On the tee box, the ball is generally closer in your stance. You do not want the ball to be so close that you are unable to make a full shoulder turn, but so close that you will sacrifice accuracy if you are too far back.

As you move to the fairway, the ball position needs to move back in your stance. By the time you reach the green, the ball should be deep in your stance away from your left heel.

Proper Golf Posture

Since you are the player of the game, you have 100 percent control of your destiny. The way you start the game determines the way you will finish the game. If you want to improve your golf game, you need to be aware of your own physical and mental condition before you start.

You need to be in the right state of mind and physically fit for the game. There is little point in playing the game if you are not in the right mental and physical conditions for the game. It is advised that you consult a sports physician ahead of time before you start playing the game.

If you want to be in the game for a long time without injuries then you need to have the correct golf posture if you want to make the right shots. You can best improve your game by maintaining proper posture during the entire game.

Many a time due to poor posture of the golfer while playing, some injuries like back pains and some other physical injuries take place which would otherwise be prevented if proper posture is maintained. Most of these injuries take place due to the poor golf posture.

This might be the reason for the inconsistency in your game. Your inconsistency in the game can be the reason for frustration.

You might feel that it is difficult to improve your game when you have some physical issues with you and are unable to get into the right state of mind.

The Reverse K Setup

While we want to set up a golf driver with the correct loft to suit your course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the lies of your clubs.

Most golfers have driver and 3rd wedges which are more than 50 yards shorter than the other irons in their bag. Your lie angle, therefore, becomes a lot more critical with these clubs.

Around the green, these clubs make up over 50% of your iron shots and you need them to be simple to hit.

If your 3rd wedge is 20 degrees lofted, for example, but it’s resting on a 10 degree lie angle and you’re playing it back in your stance with the face closed, it’s going to be hard to hit the ball, much less to play a simple shot.

In some cases, it could even steepen the face angle enough to where you give up a lot of distance and will now have to use your 8 or 9 iron in even shorter situations.

As you can see, even if your driver is set up properly for your course, poor lie set up can influence how you play the majority of your shots.

Weight Distribution

Before you toss a ball, you must first align the club face and address your position.

You do this with the use of alignment rods or alignment aids.

There are many alignment aids available on the market, but at the end of the day, two of the most popular are the center-face aligner and the hosel-to-heel line aligners.

These two aids will allow you to align your shoulders parallel with the target line and your feet parallel with the golf ball.

Once properly aligned, the next step is to address your posture.

Here are 7 key points you must remember:

Your feet should be in the position the final set up. Feet should be shoulder-width apart. Head should be facing the target. Club face should be slightly open to the target. Bend forward at the waist at hip width. Bend your knees and elevate your feet a few inches. Spread your arms to shoulder level.

These things will help you achieve a good posture in your setup.

And keep in mind that the better your posture, the longer your swing will be and the straighter your shot will go.

Not only that, you will also have a better chance to get a clean hit all the way down to the golf ball.

Speaking of the golf ball, there’s an important lesson to be learned when it comes to technology.

Drills to Improve your Setup

Trying to learn golf from the golf magazines is a big mistake.

Golf magazines are there for editorial interest. They do not cater to a golfer. So, it does not qualify as a substitute to a well-designed golf instruction book.

Before you spend a good amount of money buying golf items and accessories, you better do a little preparation.

Begin with an exercise. The first thing to do is to prepare. Before you buy your first or new golf club, spend one hour preparing.

Here is what you need to do.

Get a stability ball. Attach it to a wall. Set up, aiming the ball. Practice swinging the club or a stick at this target, then, bend over it and pose as if you are doing something amiss with it.

Try this for 30 days, and you will get the feel of golf’s posture.

Note that these exercises might sound banal. But, they’re very effective.

There are a series of things you can do.

Alignment Pole Drill

A true artist doesn’t need a paint brush. However, even an artist needs a stick to get his brush ready before he can start painting.

In golf, the cleaning process before you start making contact with the ball is just as important as making contact.

Some might argue that your swing is the last step in the overall process. But this step begins with the correct alignment of your feet.

David Leadbetter, one of the best golf teachers in the world, said, “Lack of relaxation, when combined with incorrect alignment at address, results in a loss of power and often in lost control.”

To ensure your foot alignment, do the poledial test. This will help you set and maintain proper alignment of your feet at address.

Place a pole on the outside of the right side of your feet.

The pole must align with your body. The right part of the pole must be parallel to the right side of your body, and so on.

If the pole is not aligned with your body, you need to adjust your feet or hands to align it. If your club face aligns to the right of the target, then the back of the right hand should be turned to the right.

Posture Drill

Before you load the clubs into the back of your car and head off to the course, take a few minutes to do this drill. It’s designed to help you get comfortable with the proper address position. The proper address position is the start position in which you begin every shot.

Stand about three feet from a wall and swing a club. Make sure you hit the wall at the end of your swing. If you missed the mark, you swung your club too far to the inside or outside. Your stance was too narrow or too wide or too closed or too open.

Your objective is to swing the club so that the club barely grazes the wall at the end of your swing. Your shins should be almost parallel to the wall. Your left knee should be slightly bent. Your right heel should be raised so that your foot points at the ball.

Balance Drill

There’s more to a perfect golf swing than just a nice set of clubs and a tailor-made golf bag. The real key to unlocking your full potential on the course is a well-balanced stance.

It’s easy to miss the subtle differences between a properly positioned and an improperly positioned stance. But those small deviations can have huge effects on your performance … ranging from a dramatic increase in accuracy to a massive decrease in power.

Here are some simple guidelines to help you form a solid, balanced stance:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the feet pointing directly at the target.

Create a 90-degree angle with your left arm, with your left hand gripping your club at its point of balance.

Bend your knees into a quarter-squat.

Keep your chest and shoulders up, with a slight forward tilt.

Make sure your eyes are directly focused on your ball.

Stand with your core engaged and your lower body stable.

This drill helps you to get the right feel for the set up position. Use a few clubs, like a 7-iron and a driver, as you practice the drill.

As you become more comfortable with the drill, rotate the clubs around your grip, visualizing the different club head positions before you swing.


Today’s world is more competitive than ever before.

Hard work alone isn’t going to be enough.

We need to work smarter.

You do that through learning new things and adopting habits that will improve how you learn and think.

To me, the best way to do that is to be in a continual state of learning, growth, and change.

Golf is one of those things that mixes everything great about life.

It’s a blend of art, science, mechanics, competition and fun. It’s focused on purity. It’s focused on human achievement, human performance. It’s focused on conquering uncertainty, and that’s really what we seek to do in business.

So, I hope that if you’re interested in golf, or if you have a love of the game that you haven’t developed, you’ll consider this course as a way of fine-tuning your skills, and at the same time, learning some very specific things that will help you be much more successful in life.

I’d like to leave you with one final thought: positive things happen to positive people.