Make an Impact

profpic_justin-parsonsA perfect impact position is what we all strive for in golf, and there are things you can do in your set-up to help you get there. Follow these four tips to start crushing the ball
By Justin Parsons   With Robbie Greenfield

[divider] [/divider]

dropcaps_i’d like to look at some of the things that you can do in your set-up position that will both subliminally and technically help you to achieve the right type of position at the crucial moment of impact, too. In previous features I’ve done with Golf Digest Middle East, we’ve looked at the lag you need to generate to produce a powerful impact position, and the separation between the upper and lower body that’s required for an effective transition into your downswing. But one of the more instructive ways to practice is to work on elements of your set-up that will help you to feel how your body should arrive in that impact position. Overleaf I’ve looked at four key areas of the set-up that will prime you for impact. It’s time to get you ripping it!



Feet with Flare
Over the years I’ve observed many great players and gotten to work with a few more, and one of the things that has struck me is that almost without exception, they position their feet the same way at set-up. For a right-handed player, that would be a front (or left) foot that is flared ever so slightly toward the target, and a back foot that is square, or perpendicular to the body alignment. Why? Because on the backswing, that square back foot helps a player feel good resistance in the right leg, and then as they move from transition into the downswing, the flared front foot allows them to get their hips opening up a little faster. Ben Hogan once said that he felt he would almost twist both feet towards the target at address (as the graphics indicate), so that gives you an idea of the powerful forces these great players felt through their feet.


Pressing Ahead
The second thing you might look for from face-on is just how few good players set up with their hands behind the golf ball. If you were to do that you would tend to get a little draggy with your hands on the takeaway and get no real load with your wrists in the backswing, making it very difficult to create the type of downward strike that you want, certainly with your iron shots. With a 7-iron, you’d be looking for your left arm (as a right-hander) to form almost a straight line with the shaft at set-up, and get yourself into a position at address where the velcro strap on your glove hand sits just out in front of the golf ball.


Getting a Grip
From a down-the-line view, we usually see with these great ball-strikers a position where the arms hang fairly vertically and the club shaft protrudes from their grip at a nice angle. By creating this angle at address, what these players feel through the base of their thumbs is a little pressure on the grip to allow the club to move upwards, and this is a crucial component of allowing the wrists to hinge correctly.


Balancing Act
Balance in your golf swing isn’t just about weight shift or movement laterally, it works on a 360 degree level. Pete Cowen often talks about making sure that at set-up, your weight is distributed evenly between the front of your body (shoulders, quads and balls of your feet) and the back (glutes, back and heels of your feet). On our swing analysis software, we look for a nice straight line that extends through a player’s left shoulder and down vertically through the knees and into the floor. This ensures that when you come to make a swing, you can use the back and front of your body in equal measure.

Justin Parsons is the Director of Instruction at the Butch Harmon School of Golf. For more information, contact +971 (0)4 425 1040 or visit

Photographs by Farooq Salik