As we know, the set up position for the golf swing is incredibly important for the success of the golf shot. Here is a drill to check the position of the hands at set up, with an exercise to make sure that this element is correct in practice.
The hand position can determine the quality of ball striking in a golf swing and most golfers overlook this element. At set up to the golf ball, position one of a set of tour sticks across the foot line, parallel to the target, to make sure that the body is aiming in the correct direction. This tour stick also gives a line of sight to set the hands in the correct position. Position this stick directly under the chin so that the hands hang loosely underneath the chin and over the stick.
Take the second tour stick and push the pointed end of the stick into the ground, approximately six inches on the outside of the golf ball. The stick needs to be in the ground at an angle, pointing towards the body, at roughly the height of the belt buckle and in line with the inside of the front leg. Use this stick and position the hands underneath it upon set up to the ball.
At this point, look to keep the hands in the same position at set up regardless of which club is being used. This is where the hand position is important as the position of the golf ball should change depending on the club used, but the hands should not move. A driver should be placed so that the ball is just opposite the inside of the front foot, the long irons, hybrids and fairway woods one to two inches away from the inside front foot, the mid irons one to two inches just in front of centre, and the short irons and wedges dead centre of the stance.
The reason to keep the hands in the same position, even though the ball moves with the different clubs, is simple. At set up, the ideal is to mimic and encourage a good impact position for when the ball is struck. With the more lofted clubs, the ball is at the bottom of the swing arc, with the hands in front of the ball, allowing a downward strike into the ball. This prevents a scooping action, where the club may hit the ground first or hit the ball on the upwards swing, hitting what would be called a ‘thin’ shot. With the longer clubs, the ball is just in front of the bottom of the swing arc, promoting a sweeping action where the ball can be driven away, up and out into the air. This maximises the power into the ball and the loft on the club to achieve the correct ball flight.
Using tour sticks in this way ensures a consistent set up and hand position every time and increases the chances of striking the ball better.