Jack Nicklaus on Setup

Today’s tip comes from arguably the greatest player of all time: Jack Nicklaus.

In his book Golf My Way, the second chapter is called:  “Setting Up: Ninety Percent of Good Shot-Making”

If you’ve ever watched his series “How I Play Golf,” you know how much Jack loves talking about fundamentals.  

He says: “Every time I hurry my setup, my subconscious rears up and beats me around the ears.”

When you are playing OR practicing golf, pay attention to what you are doing when you set up to the ball.  Personally, I have an explicit routine every time I approach the golf ball to hit a shot (in practice and on the course). 

As I walk into the ball, I first make sure that the ball is positioned just inside my left foot (I’m right handed), make sure I am standing tall but athletic, make sure that my feet are lined up to my target, and finally make sure that my shoulders are relaxed.  All this comes pretty naturally since I’ve gone through this same routine for years and years.

Next time you’re on the course or at the range, pay attention to what you think about when setting up.  Are there components that you could add to this routine that would make it better?  Are there things that you think about that are unnecessary?  What are some bad tendencies that you have, and what can you do in your setup to fight against these tendencies?

You shouldn’t think too hard when setting up, but you also shouldn’t do something different every time.