Correct address – foundation of the golf swing

By Bobby Eldridge, Head Teaching Professional PurePoint Golf

This is part of a series of articles on the full golf swing. They are adapted from the PurePoint Golf eBook “Full Golf Swing Fundamentals”. The eBook is currently available at a special price that includes a Free DVD and other benefits. Click the PurePoint link below if you want more details.


The Feet


As we move through the address position section I want you to wrap your head around the idea that we are going to construct a building. The building is four to six feet tall and not very wide. Of course I am referring to the human body. The first place you would start is the foundation, so let’s talk about the feet first. Let’s see how far apart they are supposed to be and exactly where we place the weight once we get the feet planted.

The feet have to support the upper body and once the golf club, the arms, and the body get moving in the downswing there is a lot of force that the foundation has to support. 

  1. The feet have to be just slightly further apart than shoulder width. This distance is far enough apart to maintain a solid base.
shoulder width

1. Slightly More Than Shoulder Width


As the club begins to build up speed and the left hip makes the first move down the target line before it turns backward, the width of the stance will hold up just fine. If you have a tendency to lose your balance, your stance might be to narrow.

too narrow

Too Narrow


After impact the golf club swings back around your body and up towards your left shoulder. As the golf club comes to the end of the swing your weight has moved from the right side over to the left side. The width of your feet will accommodate this move. Your weight needs to be evenly distributed between your toes and heels.


The Knees


From the feet we are going to move up the building to the knees. The knees have played a huge role in most sports- golf is no exception. The knees are going to come into play in two different parts of the golf swing.

The first part is the address position.

  1. As you address the golf ball your knees will have a slight flex in them.
slightly fixed

2. Knees are Slightly Fixed


You are NOT going to “sit” on your knees and they are NOT locked straight. 

For a long time instructors taught students to have the feeling you were “sitting” on a bar stool. I always believed we should have been teaching people to feel as though you were “leaning” back on a stool. The last thing you would ever want to do is sit in golf. Sitting will cause the golf club to swing too level to the ground in the downswing, and you will have a tendency to hit the ground behind the golf ball. 






Before you start to “straighten” your knees to a “locked” position, which is just as wrong as sitting, let me give you a bit of advice. The knee position is what I refer to as “slightly” flexed. Because we are all different heights, I cannot give you an exact degree you should flex your knees- however; if you simply relax your knees, you will find the correct amount of bend on your own. 

The second roll the knees play in the swing is when the golf club is in motion. As the golf club swings back, the single most important thing for you to remember is the RIGHT knee never ever moves from the original position. If you think of the two knee caps as head lights shining in front of you as you drive along a road, you might make some twists and turns but the headlights are always in front of you. As you start the backswing the right knee does not slide, bend or straighten out- it stays very quiet and solid during the entire backswing.

Both knees must remain flexed during the entire backswing and until impact.


The Hips


If your chin is in the correct position, and your spine is long (don’t worry we’ll talk about these shortly), and your knees are flexed the correct amount, the golf club will not sole correctly on the ground until you tilt or bend over from the hips. You do NOT want to bend at the waist. You ALWAYS want to bend from the hips. The difference is if you bend at the waist your spine will bend (not good). 

  1. If you bend at the hips you can maintain the spine angle and sole the club on the ground correctly.
bend at the hips

3. Bend at the Hips


If you do not bend at the hips, you will not be able to sole the golf club correctly.

When you bend over from the hips you have to make sure you do not straighten out or lock your knees. When you bend at the hips you have to pay close attention to making sure you do not bend at the bottom of the spine.

not tilted

Not Tilted

tilted too much

Tilted Too Much


The hips play another role not related to their position
  1. Your hips must be parallel to the line of the ball flight at address.

4. Parallel to the Line of the Ball Flight


If your hips are open at address you will have a tendency to open the hips too soon in the downswing. The clubface will be open at impact and the golf ball will start right. If your hips are closed at address the golf club will swing too much from the inside in the downswing and the golf ball will either start right or you will struggle with a quick hook left. 






At address the hips are parallel to the ball flight line. As the golf club swings back down from the top, the first move from the top is for the left hip to move an inch or two parallel to the target line and then the left hip should begin to turn backwards out of the way so the golf club can swing back to the inside after impact.

When you arrive at the finish of the golf swing your belt and shoulders should be level to the ground. Your belt buckle will aim at the intended target and your hips are level to the ground.


The Shoulders


The shoulders play three major roles in the golf swing. The first two roles are static and the third is a moving role. In the address position the shoulders compliment the spine angle.

  1. If the shoulders are opened up and back at address the spine angle will be in the correct position as long as the chin is up.
shoulders back

5. Shoulders Back


If the shoulders are rounded the spine will be bent over too much.




The second role the shoulders play is they must be parallel to your intended line you want the golf ball to travel on. When you look down your toes, knees, hips and shoulders must be in line with each other. Parallel means they have to be on the same line going to the left of where you want the golf ball to start. If the shoulders are aiming to the right of the target the golf club will start too much inside the correct path in the backswing. If they are aiming to the left of the target the golf club will start too much to the outside in the backswing. For the golf club to start back on the correct path the shoulders must be parallel from the start.

The shoulders play yet another role in the backswing. As the clubhead, shaft, hands, arms and (shoulders) start moving backwards, the right shoulder has to move out of the way to give the hands, arms and golf club a place to swing to at the top of the backswing. The right shoulder does not slide back. Instead – rotates around your body.

The shoulders play a huge role in distance and direction. The shoulders have to turn as much as possible in the backswing. Once your back is facing the target (this for the 30ish and under crowd) or as much of a turn as possible, you will be in position to swing the club down with maximum club head speed.


The Spine


The spine has taken on an all important part in the golf swing in the past 10 years. Not many words were written about the spine and its role in the golf swing until then. 

  1. If the spine stays long during the backswing, not rigid, you can make a much bigger turn.
long spine

6. Long Spine During Backswing


If your spine is curved at address the shoulders will have a tendency to tilt and not turn. In the downswing the shoulders will have a tendency to turn on top of the golf ball instead of moving under. If the shoulders can move under, the golf club will stay on the path in the downswing (producing an inside to out swing). As the golf club swings back the right shoulder has to turn to allow the golf club to swing up, if the spine is too long the club will swing around too much and not up enough.


bent over

Bent Over

too long

Too Long


There is yet another role the spine plays in the golf swing. At the top of the backswing the spine supports the upper body, the golf club, the arms and most importantly the speed at which we swing the golf club. If the spine maintains its length in the backswing, you will be able to swing the arms at a greater speed in the downswing.

The golf club is at its maximum speed as it nears the golf ball and the spine is supporting the “frame of the golf swing” – your upper body. As the club head passes the impact zone the spine is at its most vulnerable position and from that point to the finish is when the spine is taking a real beating (physically). 

Maintaining the correct spine angle will play a major role in club head speed and, the direction the club actually swings (swing path). The spine maintains the same angle from address to one foot past impact and it is critical that it starts from the correct position. 

If you are in the correct posture at address no changes are necessary.

If you are standing too tall at address, bending at the hips will solve this problem. If you are bent over too much at the top of the spine or your shoulders are too curved, you will have to take a very serious look into changing your spine angle. Opening your shoulders and lifting your chin will be a great place to start.


The Chin


After you address the golf ball there is a check-list of things you need to go through to make sure you are ready to take off. I am not going to tell you the position of the chin is the most important- however, it ranks up there for sure. The chin controls what happens to the shoulders in the backswing.

If the chin is down in your chest at address, the shoulders will have a tendency to pop up in the backswing. The right shoulder will NOT turn out of the way to make room for the arms to swing around. If you continue to leave your chin down in your chest you might have some success with the shorter clubs, but the long clubs will be very difficult to hit. You can get away with the arms swinging up and down with the short clubs, you might not be so lucky with the longer clubs. 

If you have a tendency to top your shots or hit thin, your chin might be up too much.

too down

Too Down

too up

Too Up


If the chin is down in your chest at address, the shoulders will have a tendency to pop up in the backswing. The right shoulder will NOT turn out of the way to make room for the arms to swing around. If you continue to leave your chin down in your chest you might have some success with the shorter clubs, but the long clubs will be very difficult to hit. You can get away with the arms swinging up and down with the short clubs, you might not be so lucky with the longer clubs. 

If you have a tendency to top your shots or hit thin, your chin might be up too much.


So now you want to know how much you should lift your chin up. I have some advice that is not the answer of all answers, but it is a wonderful starting point. 

  1. Lift your chin up just enough to get your fist under your chin and touch your throat.
use fist as a guide

7. Use Fist as a Guide




When you start experimenting with this new position you will want to start with a club you like to hit. You will know right away if the correction is going to help you or not. Give it a chance. If you top a lot of shots, you have lifted the chin up too much. The first few shots you might want to start with half a fist so you can ease into it. Keep in mind it is an extension of your spine. You might have to bend over at the hips another inch or two; this will compliment the chin position.


Full Golf Swing Fundamentals Series

1. The Grip

3. Perfect your backswing with the one piece take away

4. The Top of the Backswing

5. The First Move Down

6. The Downswing

7. Golf Swing – Impact and Follow Through




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Brian is an award winning golf writer and is the founder and editor of Australian Senior Golfer. He is a former Sydney journalist who had little interest in golf till he hit his first ball at the age of 49 (and a half). Since then golf has just about overtaken his life. Brian founded ASG in April 2008 and has since covered every Australian Open, Presidents Cups, World Cups and numerous other big men’s and women’s tournaments, spending days inside the ropes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Karrie Webb, and many others. He has also played in, and reported on, numerous amateur tournaments, particularly senior and veteran events, around the country. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association and won the award for Best News Report for 2016 - 2017

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