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Looking for a Winning Performance? Try this Simple Setup Move

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on

Scottie Scheffler during the final round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.Getty Images

The close of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday showed once again why it is the greatest show on grass. With an awesome leaderboard full of winners and those in search of their first PGA Tour win, the eventual champion had to perform under tremendous playoff pressure.
In this event, there was one common characteristic that the three at the top share in their setup. Sahith Theegala, Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler all have a similar build. Tall men with long arms. When we look at each one of them at address, pay attention to how they let those arms hang freely. This fundamental move is a key women and men can all benefit from. In case you are wondering why, it allows the player to strike the ball with speed and consistency. Those are two very valuable reasons.
PGA Coaches will all teach posture the same way. Start by making sure you bend at the hips when you bow forward toward the ball at address. Do not bend from your waist. Your waist is where your naval is and your hips are down by your pelvis. As you stoop over, make sure your arms hang straight down. Do not pull them in toward your body, and do not reach toward the ball.
A key part of letting them hang is also having soft shoulders. Did you see Cantlay’s positioning in the video? Don’t arch your back and try to make your spine straight as a board. Let it have a little hunchback feeling. Those soft shoulders will help you let the arms hang straight down. Once you get in this position with the arms hanging freely, the basic benefits are helpful.
  1. Soft arms allow the chest and shoulders to take the club back initially in the takeaway. When they are tight, we tend to get very wristy. We need the big muscles to swing properly, this sets us up for great success.
  2. Getting setup correctly allows for the equipment to work correctly. Pulling in or reaching out will force us to swing incorrectly and cause the club to interact with the ground poorly. Digging in the heel or toe of the club causes unstable mishits with plenty of curvature.
  3. We all want speed. Tight arms swing slowly. The more they hang, the faster they move throughout the entire swing. Look at Sahith, Scottie and Patrick. All three are great arm swingers because of this starting position.
  4. When your arms hang down straight from your shoulders it is easier to maintain a consistent setup. The more routine our fundamentals, the more consistent our game will be.
All good players have great setups. Copy these three players and make sure you are ready to swing the club, rather than manipulate it. Even on a putt it counts. Because when the pressure is on in a playoff for your first win, you can perform freely.
Get your arms in a hanging position and then you’ll be just like Scheffler, holding trophies.
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