Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)


Groove Your Setup While You Hit Balls

March 06, 2013

To focus on swinging instead of making contact, you need to be confident that your body and the ball are set correctly.

Try this routine when you go to the range. Grab an extra club, and set it parallel to your target line and a foot in front of your toes. This guide club will help you set up square to the target line with both your feet and your body.

Next, establish your ball position by its relationship to your left heel. Regardless of how wide or narrow you stand, always use that visual of your heel and the ball as your guide. When you practice with your driver, place a second club just inside your left heel, and point it at the ball (right). Then, when you hit shorter clubs, slide the club farther away from your left heel. On a short iron or wedge, the guide club should be about three ball-widths inside your left heel.



Your eyes can trick you when you step into a shot out on the course. If you're like a lot of higher handicappers, your tendency when you take your stance is to angle your body subtly toward that target--not parallel to the target line, like you should. That puts you in a closed position, which you have to compensate for during the swing.

To get yourself aimed correctly, pick a secondary target--a spot in the grass or any other landmark--just to the left of your actual target, and point your club at it as you walk up to the ball (below). Step in with your right foot first, setting your foot perpendicular to where you're pointing the club. Then turn your body, set your left foot, and adjust your stance width. You'll be set up so the clubface is aimed down the target line, and your body is parallel-left of it.



Do your best not to second-guess a shot or worry about the result, especially over the ball. If you start having negative thoughts, step away, take a moment to clear your mind, visualize the shot you want to hit, then swing with confidence. The result will always be better.

--Dr. Bob Rotella