*Editor's note: Each week, Megan Padua, a teaching professional at Maidstone Club (East Hampton, N.Y.) and Belfair Plantation (Bluffton, S.C.), and one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers, offers tips and advice for women golfers.
By Megan Padua
Your golf swing is the outcome of the way you set up to the ball. Many golfers want to become more consistent, but that's impossible if you're not repeating your setup.
The "1-2-3 Setup" is a process I use to introduce the pre-shot routine. Feel free to add or subtract steps to the setup process to make it work for you.
Step 1: Measure to the Ball. Once you've taken your grip, step forward with your back foot and tilt from your waist. Inch in until you reach the correct distance from the ball. Approach the ball from behind the line (see image).
Purpose: Concentrate on the placement of your hands. Stepping in with your back foot helps you find the correct distance from the ball, balance and posture. During this step you're also setting the alignment of your body and club.
Step 2: Ball Position. Place your front foot to determine the correct ball position for the club you're using. In the picture, I'm using a driver, therefore I take a small step just left of the line. The shorter the club, the more I play the ball in the middle of my stance. It's important to know, however, that ball position is unique for everyone. Find what works for you, then use this routine to make it consistent.
Purpose: Indicate the correct ball position.
Step 3: Stance Width. Take a step with your back foot to determine how wide your stance should be. I use a narrower stance for shorter shots and a wider stance as my swing gets longer to create a solid base. Think of a pyramid -- you want your base to be the widest part to form a strong foundation for full swings.
Purpose: Establish the stance and determine the stance width.
A good pre-shot routine will help you repeat your setup and hit more consistent shots. Having an efficient routine will allow you to play faster because your execution will be more precise and better quality shot-making will save countless strokes.