Help yourself - Set up

With every smartphone and tablet equipped with HD video capability, the opportunity and temptation to video our own swings has never been higher.

However, it’s a practice that can create confusion and an over-emphasis on position. This series has been created to help show you what you should be looking for… and if you’re not seeing it, how to find it.

We start with address… both down-the-line and face-on.

Down-the-line: Focus on posture



If you are filming your action from behind, the best element to check is the way you arrange yourself to the ball as this angle lays bare your body angles. Focus especially on your spine angle.

The tour parameters for upper-body bend are 35-45%, and you can check if yours falls within this. But also consider how your address affects your lower back.




Neutral lower back



Look at the area from your glutes, past your belt buckle, to the middle of your back. We need this area to be as flat – as neutral – as possible, because it’s an alignment that allows you to maintain your spine angle throughout the swing.

That leads to consistency of plane, path and strike. It also limits the chances of you damaging your back as you rotate.




First step: hip flex



If your back looks arched, rounded or your spine angle is too upright or bent forward, go back to the basics. Stand upright, and place clubshaft against the front of both hips as shown.

Apply force to the shaft to push your backside back and encourage you to bend forward over flexing hips. Bending from this point is at the heart of good posture.






Train a better spine angle

The simplest and most effective way to create that ideal, neutral lower spine is by working in off the two extremes. Follow this three-step plan.

1 Hollow your back

Take your set-up. Now, deliberately arch your back as much as possible; trying to make your belt line as vertical as possible will help you. Biomechanics call this S-posture, and it is a dangerous one to try to swing from. But just hold the position and register how it feels.

2 Round your back

From that very concave spinal alignment, go as far as possible the other way. Round your spine as best you can; you should feel your belt line going from vertical to horizontal. Feel a curve or hunch form in your upper back. This is called C-posture, and again it’s a poor functional position; but we are just framing the two extremes.

3 Middle ground

From here toggle between the two positions, arching and rounding your back, but all the time softening each one. In time you will reach the ideal middle ground, your spine comfortably extended and your belt just lightly tilted. This puts your pelvis and spine in good alignment and allows you to rotate around the angles you have set.

Four further set-up checks

  • Your knees should be lightly flexed and over your shoe laces.
  • The clubshaft will point broadly up at your belt buckle.
  • The back of your neck is essentially flat
  • Your backside sticks out a few inches behind your heels.

Face-on: Focus on shaft and arm angle



Your address position influences your attack angle, and you can use your smart device to check it’s doing so in the right way. Grip up the clubshaft and check how the shaft, handle and arm angle are matching up.






Driver: Grip visible between the forearms



Grip your driver down on the graphite, but otherwise form your regular address, ball opposite lead heel. In the ideal position you should be able to see the grip between your forearms. This ensures some backward lean in the shaft, which promotes the ideal level-to-up sweep through impact.






Short iron: Grip showing outside leading forearm



Repeat the exercise with an 8-iron, this time playing the ball centrally in your stance. An effective position sees the handle visible just forward of your lead forearm. This creates forward shaft lean which helps you strike slightly down on the ball – a compressing contact that allows that lofted face to fire power into the ball.