Golf Tips: Hover the Club at Address?
WHEN WATCHING A TELECAST OF ONE OF THE PROFESSIONAL TOURS, YOU MAY NOTICE THAT MANY OF THE WORLD’S BEST PLAYERS NEVER SET THE CLUB DOWN ON THE GROUND BEHIND THE BALL AT ADDRESS.
Instead they hover the club off the ground just behind the ball until they start their swing. Tour players who hover the club at address include Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Davis Love III, Jay Haas, Yani Tseng and Cristie Kerr.
Legendary golf instructor, the late Jim Flick explained, “Hovering the club at address gives you this perfect feel for the clubhead while helping you avoid excessive tension throughout the swing. Your shots will be more consistent with less effort. When you set up to a ball on the ground, if the club isn’t soled, you’ve never technically addressed it. So if the ball moves you’ll not be penalized. And you eliminate the unfortunate possibility of causing the ball to move. It also helps in fairway bunkers. You’re making the same swing from the same setup as for a normal shot.”
According to Jack Nicklaus, “When I felt the club resting on the ground, my grip and arms were too relaxed. By un-weighting the club – hovering it off the ground – I had to firm up my grip pressure just enough. Once I did that, everything seemed ready, and my hand and arm pressure felt uniform. I was then able to take the club back smoothly without fear of stubbing the club in the grass behind the ball.”
Nicklaus adds, “I often would sole it lightly, but there were times when I didn’t ground it at all, mostly with an iron or fairway wood when I thought it might cause the ball to move, or with my putter on windy days. You never want the ball to change position while addressing it–golf is hard enough without incurring penalty strokes.”
Most everyday golfers sole the club on the ground at address. If you sole the club and your shots aren’t as consistent as you would like, try hovering the club at address. You may find your grip tension and feel for the clubhead are improved along with your shotmaking.