Every golf swing hinges on the setup. Make a mistake there, and the problems that follow in the swing are hard to fix before impact.
One common problem comes with the driver. Players who want to launch the ball high off the tee—or are using a driver without enough loft—tend to tilt their shoulders so that the right one is significantly lower than the left (above, left). From there, it's easy to take the club back too low and under the correct swing plane, which moves the bottom of the swing arc too far behind the ball.
A good setup will work with every club in the bag. Your back shoulder should be lower than your front shoulder, but only by the amount that your bottom hand is lower than your top hand on the grip (above, right). The triangle formed by your hands, arms and shoulders should be centered in front of your body and aimed at the ball—not shoved toward the target. Do it correctly, and it helps everything from alignment to swing plane.
HOW I SEE IT
The PGA Championship at Oak Hill will be an interesting case study in course setup. Oak Hill is one of the few places to have hosted both the PGA and the U.S. Open. The USGA grows the rough for the Open to be about a half-shot hazard—as we saw at Merion. But the PGA gives players chances to hit hero shots out of the first cut. Some people think the USGA's recipe is boring because you can't be a hero, but I think it's great that all the majors are different.
HANK HANEY, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, Hilton Head.