Before doing anything, be
sure to have the proper set-up

By Allen Kelly, Golf Instructor

What is the most important part of a golf swing? Is it the takeaway, the first 18 inches of the backswing?

Is it the backswing itself?

The club position at the top of swing?

Is it the start of the downswing? Or the follow through?

All of these are important parts of a successful swing, but the most important part has to be what you do BEFORE you start the swing. I'm talking about the set-up.

If you are not set up correctly, then what possible chance do you have of hitting the ball correctly? Virtually none, yet time and time again, students just walk up and swing, aligned too far right or left, to upright, to hunched over. They can feel it is wrong, but still they go ahead and hit the ball.

You should incorporate a pre-shot routine in your game and stick to it. It does not have to be elaborate, but it should be the same every time. This will ensure that when you think you are ready to hit the ball, you actually are ready to hit the ball.

A good way to start your routine is to think GASP before every shot.





If the ball is on an uneven or difficult lie, take several practice swings to get a feel for the shot.

Get your usual comfortable grip, and do it before you address the ball, that way there is one less thing to think about while standing over the ball.

Pick out a primary target and get aligned with it. Pick out a secondary target about a yard in front of the ball. Imagine a line through the ball and secondary target to the primary target. This is your "target line"

Square your feet, hips and shoulders along this target line.

Make sure the ball position is correct in your stance. With a wood, the ball should be just inside of your front foot, and move more toward the center of your stance as the club becomes more lofted.

Also the feet should be shoulder width apart with the driver, and get closer together as the club gets more lofted.

Address the ball, and stand up straight, then lock the knees. Bend at the waist, letting arms hang naturally. Place the clubhead behind the ball and let your knees unlock. This is an athletic position.

Finally, tilt your upper body away from the target to keep your head behind the ball and the weight on the correct side of your body.

Practice this in front of the mirror, and you will see how good your set-up looks, and when this is correct your chances of hitting a solid shot will be dramatically improved.

And remember, before each shot, think GASP.

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