Bonita Springs — Do you hit a fade, slice, or the driver too high? If so relax you are not alone. These are daily golfer complaints that can easily be corrected by reviewing a tour player’s driver setup and their angle of attack, which is how you hit up or down on the golf ball at impact.
Let’s take a right handed golfers setup, first from the face on view (sorry left-handed golfers, you’ll have to visualize the opposite of the following information). The golfers left shoulder will be visibly higher than the right (especially on the driver setup). This must happen since the right hand is lower on the grip and the ball position is off the left instep. Over 85 percent of the players I work with, set up with their shoulders open or left of the target. Another common setup mistake is having more weight on your left foot than your right, when ideally they would be balanced. This improper setup would cause an outside and descending driver swing, resulting in a fade or slice as well as a very high spin rate with little to no roll.
Now, onto a down the line view of a tour player’s swing. Shoulders, knees, hips and feet are all parallel to the target line. The left forearm is level, or just above the right arm. From this position the spine angle is tilted behind the ball or away from the target as if you were going to hit up a hill. This setup will help promote an inside out swing path to hit a draw and on more of an upswing. Professional golfers hit the ball with their driver between 3 to 5 degrees at an upward angle. At the minimum they will hit the ball level at impact.
To perfect these critical set up standards, I would suggest first rehearsing with a mirror to view both angles. While outside you can practice this setup on an uphill lie with your left foot standing higher than your right foot, which will give you a feel for the spine tilt. When making a practice swing, the club will release or pass the hands up the hill without taking a divot. Word of caution though, if the club takes a divot, it was probably an outside in swing path and a negative angle of attack on the golf ball. Make some additional practice swings but next close your eyes to feel what is happening to the club throughout your swing. It’s essential that the arms are hanging relaxed. Once you are in place, keep your head behind the ball. Again, relax your grip and arms, and allow the club to return to a similar position at impact. This means your driver will come in contact with the golf ball traveling parallel to the ground or in a perfect swing, at the 3 to 5 degrees upward angle, just like the pros do it, drawing the ball into the green.
Josh Musselman is a PGA professional, 2008 Horton Smith Award recipient, 2006-2012 “World’s Top 100 Club Fitter” recipient and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.