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Pre-Swing Fundamentals
The Blueprints For Success

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A good setup is key to successSolid Pre Swing Fundamentals

Having come from a family of engineers and steel fabricators on both sides, I learned early on the importance of both a good design and a solid base when it comes to successfully erecting a building. My father, owner of a steel fabrication company used to say "steel stands for strength." For without carefully drawn up blueprints to follow, a solid foundation and the strength of steel beams, a skyscraper would be more than unstable, it would be a catastrophe.

Learn the Blueprints, Then Practice to Put Them Into Motion

Building our golf swing requires the same kind of careful planning and preparation. The planning is really the learning process. What is good stance? What does good posture look like? What is the proper ball position for this club? Once you have learned what a good set up entails, the blueprints so to speak, then it's time for the preparation part. Preparation is simply practice. Now that you know what to do, you need to implement it with hours of precise practice.

If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they'd starve to death. - Sam Snead

Some people get it, they really do. They understand that if they start with a set up that is not neutral, say a weak grip or a closed stance, then something else in their swing will have to be off from neutral to even it out. Others don't get this at all. They don't take their time with the set up, don't pay much attention to it and start their swing from a very unstable base. When we talk about set up or pre-swing fundamentals, we aren't just talking about posture as most might think. We are talking about grip, posture, stance, aim and ball position. Throw in weight distribution and balance as part of posture and you can see why a great deal of time needs to be spent on the part of the game that occurs before you even begin to swing.

A Good Golf Shot is 40 Percent Setup

"I feel that hitting specific shots - playing the ball to a certain place in a certain way - is 50 percent mental picture, 40 percent setup and 10 percent swing. That's why setting up takes me so long, why I have to be so deliberate. In competition I am not simply trying to hit a good shot, but rather the perfect shot for the particular situation. I frequently fail, of course, often because I've mentally pictured the wrong shot. But unless I can set up exactly right in relation to the shot I have pictured, I know I have no chance of executing it as planned. Therefore I must get perfectly set - it's almost a compulsion before I can putt the trigger. My mind simply will not let me start the swing until I'm 'right' no matter how long it takes." - Jack Nicklaus, Golf My Way

So the greatest competitive golfer of our lifetime and quite possibly of all time can't even swing if he doesn't feel all his pre-swing fundamentals are correct. Hopefully if you haven't been really understanding the importance of pre-swing fundamentals up to this point, a quote like that might help you to see the light!

The first step for you for true understanding of pre-swing fundamentals is to know what they are:

  • Grip
  • Stance
  • Posture
  • Ball Position
  • Alignment

Once you are aware, it is important to know all the factors that fundamentals can influence. Just to name a few:

  • Direction
  • Distance
  • Balance
  • Swing Plane
  • Trajectory

The final step is to understand the ideal positions for each fundamental based on the club and the shot at hand. has all the tips, drills and suggestions you need to master your pre-swing fundamentals.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

More Info on Pre-Swing Fundamentals

Pre-Swing Fundamental Lessons

Pre-Swing Fundamental Tips

  • 13 premium tips
  • 37 tips from the Ask Maria archive

Pre-Swing Fundamental Drills

  • Stability Ball Drill (Video Available)
  • Head Against a Wall Drill (Video Available)
  • Railroad Tracks Drill (Video Available)
  • T Drill (Video Available)
  • Feet Together Drill (Video Available)
  • Club Behind Back Drill (Video Available)
  • Thumb Placement Drill for Grip (Video Available)
  • Tee Drill for Grip (Video Available)
  • Grip Quarter Drill (Video Available)
  • Grip Pressure Check Drill (Video Available)
  • Grip Flexibility Check Drill (Video Available)
  • Neutral Grip Test Drill (Video Available)
  • Proper Position Grip Check Drill (Video Available)
  • Easy Aim Drill (Video Available)
  • 4 Point Aim Drill (Video Available)
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
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