The science behind the set-up

A consistent powerful golf swing is only achievable if it has a solid base to control the body’s movement. This article will identify how the body should be set-up during the golf swing and why it is crucial to hitting better golf shots. A golf club, when swung with minimum tension in the hands, can generate a tremendous amount of speed. The set-up provides a platform to allow a free-flowing, efficient golf swing. Once this set- up is achieved all elements of the body such as legs, feet and hips will provide a stable and balanced base.

Foot position

We need our feet to be slightly turned outwards – this allows us to pivot while generating a strong and powerful relationship with the ground. If the feet are both pointing forwards or towards the ball at set-up they will have nowhere to go as we take the club back, causing an immediate loss of posture. This can result in a sliding movement or the tilting of the torso which will alter many aspects of the normal swing dynamics. The next factor to consider is the width of the stance.

If we have our feet too close together (narrow stance) this will provide us with a large amount of mobility allowing you to rotate. However, there will be a lack of stability causing you to lose balance. The alternative is the feet too far apart (wide stance). We will have a great deal of stability but a lack of mobility, so it is important to find that balance between the two. For longer clubs such as a driver you will want a wider stance than for shorter irons and wedges, as you require more stability during the explosive movement of the swing. A key tip when increasing the width is to ensure that we maintain the same centre of gravity.

The leg position

You should allow your knees to follow the angle generated by your feet to perform a squatting movement and should feel as if there is tension on the inside of your legs. We need to make sure that the position we are now in is an athletic position and feel as if we have a comfortable solid stance.

Spine angle

The key to generating the correct spine angle is to tilt forward from the hips while keeping the spine straight with a slight curve at the top of our neck. It is noticeable with a large number of amateurs that they will have a curved spine with their head pointing towards the ground (the old keep your head down tip!). This causes a lack of rotation on the backswing and will cause a loss of posture during the swing. A good thing to relate to is a weightlifter during a deadlift; you will notice that they have a straight spine angle.


The reason for this is to prevent injury and allow the body to use the larger muscles to lift the weight. This can be related to the golf swing as we always say that power is generated from the ground up so if we have one element of the posture out of place we are instantly loosing energy and power during the swing.

Shoulder angle

The way that we set up to a driver will be different to the way in which we set up to a wedge in terms of the angle of our shoulder. As we need an upwards-sweeping motion when hitting the driver it is important to have your leading shoulder higher than your trail shoulder. You can relay this to an airplane taking off; in order to take off from the ground the nose of the plane needs lo lift.

Arm position

We take the arm position last and once we are in our correct posture the arms should hang down at a 90degree angle to the ground. It is important not to point the arms to the ball, as this will alter many key factors in the backswing such as our wrist hinge. It is important to keep the arms connected to the body so feel as if you are squeezing the chest with the upper arms at set up.

Once you follow these steps you will give yourself a better opportunity to improve your ball striking, and ultimately, your enjoyment for the game.