The best way to start a golf swing is to get your club face aimed and your club shaft in the right position. Most golfers comprehend the picture to the right and understand that the ball will tend to go in the direction the club is aimed. Open club goes high right, square club goes straight and closed club goes low left.
The real aim of this article is the picture below with three different shaft positions. So this gets all our focus.
Golfer #1 has the club-shaft leaning back, and the top of the grip is behind the ball. From this position he is inclined to have the club hit the turf prior to the ball and off the toe of the club. This is a position that many slicers tend to set up in. This golfer also tends to come with a weak grip. Occasionally from this position the golfer will hit the ball solid, and the ball will tend to go high, a little right and a little short of the target.
Golfer #3 has the club-shaft leaning forward and the top of the grip in front of the ball. From this position he is inclined to come down very steep on the ball, make deep divots and hit low missile shots. This is a position many hookers of the ball set up in. This golfer tends to have a strong grip, and by moving their hands way forward it helps neutralize the strong grip and square up the club a bit. When this golfer makes good contact, the ball generally goes left and low with a lot of roll. So, this golfer usually has a short follow through in an attempt to steer the ball towards the target.
Before I go on to golfer #2, I should say that my preferred golfer between 1 and 3 is number 3. Because the club-shaft is leaning forward, they will hit the ball more consistently solid than #1, and even though they will hit it low and left, they can just aim right and play their shot around the course. Plus, they will have a stronger grip which makes the ball go farther. Golfer #1 does have one advantage over #3. He is probably better at popping the ball up around the green where #3 has to land short and let the ball run up to the flag.
Now on to Golfer #2. Why is he so much better? It’s simple, he is set up in a neutral position. The shaft of the club is in line with his left forearm, which is an easy position to return to. The top of his shaft is in line with the top of the ball and that makes it easier to return the club to the ball and make solid contact. Starting from this position also encourages a neutral grip that produces a straight and medium high ball flight.
Conclusion: Quite often golfers have pretty good swings and poor set-ups. Unfortunately when I watch golfers on the range, I commonly see them making changes to their swing rather than their set-up. Before you tinker with your swing, make sure you are set up for success.