Starting position key to better swing

KEVIN HAIME

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

Everybody's looking for the easiest way to permanently improve their swing.

Unfortunately, there's no magic pixie dust to accommodate weekend duffers.

But there is a way that requires absolutely no athletic ability, no strength, and very little work: Improve your starting position.

If you stand over the ball properly, you're more likely to hit good shots.

If you don't stand over the ball properly, you'll be forced to compensate to hit good shots and it's virtually impossible to compensate the same way every time.

Simply put, without a sound starting position, it's impossible to be consistent and it's a lot harder to improve.

AN EPIDEMIC

Most swing flaws I deal with tend to originate from poor starting positions. Bad starting positions are an epidemic when it comes to average golfers.

Take a look around next time you're at the driving range. I'll bet money that you can tell a good player from a bad player just by watching them stand over a golf ball.

Good players always look athletic, balanced, and confident, while bad players usually look awkward, clumsy and tentative.

Early in my golf career I was told that virtually all swing flaws originate with either your grip, your posture or your alignment.

And you know what? That statement isn't far off the mark.

THE GRIP

To a lot of you it probably seems like subtle changes to your grip won't matter much, but a small adjustment to your hand placement on the club could totally change the way you hit the ball. Your hand placement is directly related to your club face. How those hands move during the swing dictate how your club face moves during the swing and where it will be at impact. I like to compare your hands, and their importance, to a door hinge. If your $2 door hinge is bent, your door just won't swing right no matter how much the door costs or how you try to swing it. Likewise, if your hands are on the club incorrectly, you'll never hit the ball right no matter how much you pay for a driver or how you try to swing it. If you want to play better golf, develop a quality neutral grip with the help of a PGA teaching pro.

POSTURE

When it comes to posture it's all about balance. The problem most players have stems from the ball being on the ground in golf. Newer players have a definite tendency to bend forward to get down to the ball. Unfortunately this move is a balance killer. It usually forces your weight too much toward your toes and causes many players to swing the club too upright, which is one of the major causes of a slice. Next time you're watching golf on television take a look at the pros and their posture. You'll notice their weight is in the middle of their feet. Generally speaking, better players will look taller over the golf ball because they kick their butt and legs back a tad and keep their head and chest up more. Once again, you'll have to learn posture from a teaching pro, but keep in mind balance and height are critical to athleticism in your swing motion.

ALIGNMENT

It's amazing how many people I work with who have poor alignment. Newer players will almost always look to their alignment as a quick fix to a ball-flight problem. Unfortunately, that fix will never work. As a matter of fact, your quick cure will usually make your problem worse and prevent you ever developing a sound swing. In golf, two negatives never make a positive. If you really want to get better and develop better ball flight, get your alignment perfect first and your body will find an athletic way to get your ball to the target.

Better golf really can be achieved by just improving your stance over the ball.

Start working today on a more balanced, neutral and athletic set-up and you too can play better this year.


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