I added the Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill to the Golf Practice Planner today because setting up to the ball is so simple, but so important.

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

Long Game Practice Drills

2 out of 10

15 minutes

Any golf club. Golf ball. Golf Practice Planner.

The Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill will teach you the 5 most common set-up mistakes that amateurs make.


Step 1: Watch
Watch the video below.

Step 2: Mistake No. 1 – Left Hand Grip
Most amateur golfers don’t place their left hand correctly on the golf club.

Most amateur golfers place the grip too much in the palm. You should have the left-hand grip “across the fingers”. If you try to grip the club when it’s on the ground, it’s very easy to make the mistake of gripping the club in the palm of your left hand.

Parallel To The Ground
A simple trick to get the grip in the fingers is to take your grip when the club is parallel to the ground (see image below). Once you’ve taken your grip, simply lower the club to the ground.

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

The Pro Walk In
A pro trick is to grip the club when it’s parallel to the ground while you are “directly behind the ball”, then walk into the shot (see image below). This is what you’ll see most pros doing!

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

Step 3: Mistake No. 2 – Distance From The Ball
Most amateur golfers have no idea how far away from the ball they should be.

They don’t have a system to get set up the same way every time. Most amateur golfers are “too far away” from the ball at the address because they try to get the club and arms in a straight line (see image below). That’s a swing killer!

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

Release The Right Hand
To get into the pro address position, let the arms hang down naturally from the shoulders. If you release your right hand from the club, it should come back to the same place (see image below).

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

Step 4: Mistake No. 3 – Postural Issues
Most amateur golfers think they need to set up behind the ball, which gets them into the dreaded Reverse K Position at address (see image below).

Reverse K Position
Amateurs do the Reverse K Position because they see the pros in this position at impact. The reality is that 100% of pros set up on top of the ball at address. The pros set up “on top of the ball” because at the top of theirs swings they want to be “on top of the ball” (also called “covering the ball”). They only get into the Reverse K Position at impact.

Ball Too Far Back
The other issue that causes the Reverse K Position at address is when the ball gets too far back in the stance at the address position. Pros keep the ball more forward in the stance than most amateurs, which helps them move much more dynamically into the ball at impact.

The Amateur Posture 

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

The Pro Posture

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

Step 5: Mistake No. 4 – Shoulder Position
Most amateur golfers, especially beginners, aim way to the right of the target. If you have to get out of your posture to see where you’re aiming (because your shoulders are aiming too far right), you know that you’re aiming your feet and shoulders too far right.

At every PGA tour event, you’ll see almost every pro on the practice ground has an alignment stick on the ground. Even the top pros need to constantly keep an eye on their alignment on a daily basis because it’s so easy to creep into aiming too far right.

Use Alignment Sticks

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

Step 6: Mistake No. 5 – Early Extension
Most amateur golfers try to fix early extension at the address position by squatting too much (see image below).

Squat At Address = Bad

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill

When you squat too much at the address position, you will almost certainly come out of the squat on the backswing and downswing, which is the dreaded early extension.

The squat also puts way “too much pressure on the heels” at the address and the only way to stay balanced is to straighten the legs (early extension).

A simple fix is addressing a ball with your back close to a wall (see below).

Get Close To A Wall
Address a ball with your back 6 inches away from a wall (see image below).

Avoid Common Setup Mistakes Drill 9

Bend forward to the ball without touching the wall. From this position, you can bump the wall with your “right buttock” on the backswing, as the pros do.

The only time you’d want to squat at address is with bunker shots.¬†

Jim Furyk Drill
If you’re not at home and don’t have a wall available on the practice ground, do the Jim Furyk drill. Crowd yourself close into the ball at the address like Jim (see image below). This will force you to create space on the downswing.

Jim Furyk Drill

Step 7: Competitive Practice
Go through each of the 5 common mistakes and become aware of which mistakes you make. Some of you will have one of these mistakes, others may have all five, but you’ll probably have two or three of them.

The address positions are easy to fix, but if you make any of these five mistakes you’re making golf way more difficult than it needs to be.

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