Once the angles and balance are right, I strive to create a springy, athletic feel in my body before taking the club back. I've found that picturing the Eiffel Tower helps me build a stable base with my lower body to support the coming coil of my upper body. A useful trick for acquiring just the right tension in the thighs is to shift your weight briefly from your toes to your heels. Feeling strong, balanced and ready to go just before initiating the backswing should be the goal of all your work on setup fundamentals.
FOUR STEPS TO PERFECT POSTURE
1 The goal of good posture is to enable an easy, full and consistent turn. Especially at first, it helps to practice this drill in front of a mirror. To begin, hold a midiron with your normal grip, stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart, and extend your arms comfortably in front of you.
2 Next, flex your knees until you feel a springy, athletic tension in each thigh. Push your rear end out a bit and sense that your weight is balanced on the balls of your feet. Briefly raising your heels will help trigger this muscular tension.
3 Bend from the hips (not from the stomach) until the sole of the club touches the ground and your arms fall more or less straight down from your shoulders. Hoist the left shoulder up slightly and relax the right side down a bit, to compensate for the fact that your right hand is lower on the shaft than your left.
4 Periodically check your posture in a mirror by using your left hand to suspend a club from the back of your right shoulder. The club should be on a line that runs directly in front of your right knee to the ball of your right foot. What you want to avoid is being too stooped or too erect.
HOLD THE FINISH
One of the most effective ways to relate balance to a well-aligned swing is to practice holding your finish—and I mean really hold it, for, like, ten seconds. Start by simply pushing the club forward to a balanced finish, without any sort of backswing and without hitting a ball. Pose there, with your chest and hips square to the target, visualizing the shot you want to hit. Then, start actually hitting shots. Make getting to that balanced finish your number-one priority, and hold the finish as you watch your ball fly to the target. Most amateurs aren't used to really firing the right pocket at the target. As a result, they don't release the clubhead through impact and their bodies end up facing to the right, causing them to both lose power and hit slices. Holding the finish feeds so much excellent information to your subconscious that you hardly have to think about the backswing at all.
Creating a powerful sense of balance and stability in your lower body before each swing is critical. To help locate your balance point and activate your leg muscles before you swing, alternately raise your toes and heels off the ground—no more than a quarter inch—without changing the angle between your thighs and upper torso. Then settle back into your regular stance and swing.
NICK FALDO ON THE AIR
Nick Faldo's insights, wit and commentary can be heard on the following ABC and USA Network golf telecasts:
June 30-July 3, Cialis Western Open (Cog Hill)
July 25, Battle at the Bridges (The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe)
July 14-17, British Open (St. Andrews); preview show, July 10
THE FALDO GOLF INSTITUTES
Chip Koehlke, U.S. Director of Instructional Programs
The curriculum at Faldo Golf Institutes is built around fundamentals. Each site offers schools, private lessons and club-fitting sessions.
Marriott's Grande Vista; Orlando, FL
Marriott's Shadow Ridge; Palm Desert, CA
Seaview Marriott Resort; Galloway Township, NJ
Marco Island Marriott Resort; Marco Island, FL
Brocket Hall Golf Club; Hertfordshire, England