Saturday, September 29, 2012

Driver Shaft Lean at Address

I've noticed that I can set up to hit a driver with the shaft leaning too far forward when I'm not paying attention, with the club shaft pointing at my left hip. The mishits from a shot like this include fat shots and pop-ups, because this sort of setup encourages a downward hit into the ball. With the woods, we want an upward angle of attack.

If you look at video or photographs of professional golfers showing their driver setup positions, you will notice that most set up with their hands directly over or just behind the club head (and thus ball) at address, and the club shaft is either vertical or leaning slightly away from the target. The club shaft will point at the belt buckle or just to the left of it, and the angle of the club shaft matches the angle of the left leg. In other words, the club DOES NOT lean towards the target as it does for iron shots.

Setting up with the shaft vertical or leaning very slightly away from the target will encourage a sweeping driver or wood swing rather than a downward driver swing, which is encouraged by the opposite setup. To reach this position, don't move the arms; rather, adjust the stance to get the shaft (and thus ball position) adjusted properly.

Remember to keep the shaft pointing towards the belt buckle and this will assist in getting the driver shaft in the correct position. Also keep in mind that ball position in the stance is directly associated with the degree of shaft lean, either forward or backward, at address. The ball position for the driver should be relative to the hands and upper body, not the feet, and poorer players tend to push the ball position to far forward, especially when hoping to hit a push-draw.

It's important to experiment. It's possible that a hand position very slightly forward of the ball with a driver might assist in hitting inside-out and promoting a push-draw. Taken too far, however, will cause fat shots, pop-ups, pushes, and push-slices.

So if your hands are ahead at address, they will try to be ahead of the ball at impact promoting a "compression" of the golf ball equaling more distance and accuracy. The backward lean of the driver will promote a "sweeping" of the ball off the tee to create the optimal launch angle for your drives.

Jake Spott Golf Instruction: Shaft Lean Angle

One of the most common errors with the driver is to lean the club shaft too far forward. This club shaft alignment promotes a steep attack angle, robbing you of power and accuracy. Rory [McIlroy] is a great example of someone who doesn’t lean the driver forward at address, allowing him to get behind it and achieve the necessary attack angle.

Tip from Travis: Avoid the shaft lean « The Tour Report

The shaft of the club will appear to lean slightly toward the target with your short irons because the ball is positioned in the center of your stance. With your middle irons, the shaft of the club will lean only slightly toward the target (or not at all) since the ball is forward of center. With long irons and woods, your hands and the shaft of the club will appear to be in line. Again, as the ball position moves forward, the hands stay in the same place so the lean of the shaft disappears. With a driver, the shaft will lean away from the target.

Golf Setup - Proper Positions

With the driver, most golfers play the ball too far forward and stand too far away from it. This might feel powerful, but it sets some bad things in motion.

Lesson Tee: Butch Harmon: Rule No. 1: Position The Ball: Golf Digest


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