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Create critical positions properly for powerful ball-striking (3).

As you set up, you need to flex your knees slightly to create power and stay mobile. If you flex your knees properly, the back of your knees will rest directly over your ankles. And your kneecaps will rest above the balls of your feet.

When you tilt your spine forward correctly, your arms will hang down naturally from your shoulders. This will allow you to leave your arms relaxed and free of tension. Your hands will sit beneath your chin, your elbows resting under your shoulders.

You need to stay clear of pushing your hands outwards away from your body. That can make you feel you are in a stronger or more powerful position. But that will push you to swing the club back too far inside the target line, creating a coming-over-the-top move. You will incur nasty slices if you are a novice golfer or pushes or push-slices if you are an advanced player.

Equally important is the sideways tilt of your spine to the right away from the target. When you grip the club, you place your right hand lower than your left on the handle. This will naturally set your right side lower than your left. Your right shoulder, hip and knee will sit lower than the left.

Similarly, you will set your upper body behind your lower body, with your right eye roughly over your right knee. You need to remember this especially if you set up in an upright posture. When you look at yourself in a mirror, you will see your left arm and club shaft forming a straight line. Also, you will notice the cap of your club handle pointing toward your left hip bone.

Deviating from your ideal spine angle will adversely affect your swing plane, depriving you of a chance to hit the ball solidly. When you are struggling to get your swing back on track, adjust your spine angle before striving to correct in-swing moves.

Equally important is making sure your elbow pockets look skywards. You need to let the hollows of your elbows face directly forward away from your body. Doing this right, your elbows will point toward your hip bones.

Keep your chin up with your hands pressed down. You need to leave your neck in line with your spine and look at the ball over the bridge of your nose. Letting your chin bury your chest prevents shoulder rotation.

When you don't stand the correct distance from the ball, you will rarely hit it solidly on the sweet spot. If your arms and shoulders feel tight at address, chances are you are standing too far from the ball. That forces you to extend your arms stiffly or reach for the ball. This causes you to swing the club on an out-to-in path, creating pulls and slices.

To find your correct distance from the ball, assume your address posture. Let your arms hang freely from your shoulders and bring your hands together. That's where you should grip your club. Standing the correct distance, you will look in at your hands, not directly down at them. That is, your hands will rest under your chin.

The forward tilt of your spine and your club length decide your distance from the ball. The distance you stand from the ball will change depending on the club you use. The longer the club you are using, the farther you will stand from the ball. Naturally, you will swing your driver on a flatter plane than your nine-iron.

You will rarely stand too close to the ball. Standing close, you will hit the ball better than when you stand too far away, especially when you hit an iron. Standing closer will allow you to swing the club more straight-back and straight-through rather than around your body. Aim to swing the club straight up and down as if it were a Ferris wheel. To do this, you need to stand close to the ball.

If you are hitting shots on the toe of your clubface, you are playing the ball too far from you. Move closer. If you are hitting shots on the heel, you are standing too close. You need to stand farther away to hit the ball on the sweet spot.

Critically, if you position your body the correct distance from the ball, you will significantly improve your address posture.

To achieve the right distance to the ball, take your normal address posture. Your distance from the ball is correct if the bottom part of your grip is in line with your eye line.

Or, release your right hand from the grip after assuming your address posture. If your right hand moves inwards toward your body, you are standing too far away from the ball. If your right hand moves outwards away from you, you are standing too close to the ball.

When you stand the correct distance from the ball, your right hand will rest in the same place without shifting outwards or inwards. When your distance from the ball is correct, your right arm will hang vertically from your shoulder.

Standing the right distance, you will create room for one fist and thumb between your thigh and the butt end of your club handle.

Incidentally, the forward angle of your spine will alter slightly from club to club. You will stand a little taller with longer clubs and bend over more with shorter ones. Don't go too far, though. Standing too upright will prevent you from swinging the club on the proper plane. You will incur varied poor shots including pulls and pull-slices.
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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Date:Mar 14, 2018
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