The Set-Up and How it Pertains to Impact

The proper position at impactThe set-up encompasses ball position, stance width and spine-shoulder tilt. I often read that it's important to be “behind the ball." While this statement is almost correct, I would prefer for a golfer to be“over” the ball and this sense starts with the set up position.

Try to evaluate every part of your golf swing as it pertains to the purpose of each swing you make - impact. Let’s take a look from the ground up.

Ball Position

With the irons I would like to see the ball played from the middle of the stance – keep in mind, that in order to hit down on the ball, a must, the weight must be in front of the ball. Notice that I said weight and not body or head! 

When the ball is centrally located, it's that much easier to make a descending blow. As you get to the longer clubs (hybrids and woods) slide the ball up toward the inside of the left heel. Even with these longer clubs you should hit down on the ball slightly.

Stance Width

As far as the stance width goes, I prefer a narrower stance than a wider one and here’s why. A narrow stance allows for the weight to get to the front foot easily – that’s why you should be chipping and pitching with a narrow stance. Too wide and you’ll have a hard time getting onto the front foot without excessive lateral movement.

The incorrect set-upThe correct set-up










Spine/Shoulder Tilt

Head position and spine tilt are the most important factors in the set-up. I recently read an article pontificating about if you tilt away from the target you’ll reduce your slice. 

Well, you might reduce the slice, but you’ll have a difficult time making solid contact with the ball. The best ball strikers set up with theirs heads positioned between the feet, the left eye over the ball and the spine just about vertical.  There should also be a minimal amount of shoulder tilt when the spine is vertical. Make sure you avoid any excess tilt into your back side as this will make it almost impossible to get “over” the ball at impact.

Set yourself up to get into a great impact!
Andrew Rice teaches golf at Berkeley Hall in Bluffton, SC and Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, NY. He recently completed his first instructional book “It’s All About Impact” which is available at To learn more about Andrew please visit his instructional website at Andrew may be contacted at



Please Share