Nicklaus, Norman, Faldo and Bryson all do this — so why don’t more regular golfers?

Simply hovering the club, like this, can help you hit better drives.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Director of Game Improvement content Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.

I find it funny that for as much as golfers collectively talk, think, and stress about their own golf games, there’s always something that can still fall through the cracks. And by that I mean things great golfers do that regular golfers don’t (a pet project of mine which I wrote about here). They’re often small, unglamorous things — which is probably why they’re able to fall through the gaps. Here’s one of them: hovering, rather than grounding, your club at address.

Some seriously good players throughout golf’s history have used this: from Jack Nicklaus to Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and now to Bryson DeChambeau. Those four players alone account for 27 majors, and three have sat atop the Official World Golf Ranking. They’re all club-hoverers, and yet, the majority of regular golfers aren’t.

Should we reconsider?

The club-hoverer club is an elite one.

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To be clear, what I mean by “club-hoverer” is holding your clubhead slightly off the ground anytime it’s on a tee. All the players above did it for slightly different reasons.

Jack Nicklaus, as he told Golf Digest here, explains that he was always afraid the ball would drop off the tee, especially on windy days. He avoided grounding the club completely to avoid any chance of a penalty.

Nick Faldo and Greg Norman both adopted the technique because of Jack, but found that it promoted a smoother, tension-free takeaway.

I actually asked Bryson DeChambeau once why he does it, and in his never-ending quest to reduce variables, he wants to set up at the same level as he impacts the golf ball, rather than setting the club on the ground and adjusting an extra inch during his swing.

Why hovering the club can improve your backswing turn

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Kevin Sprecher did a video recently (which you can watch below) validating all of the above. He says that setting the club on the ground promotes a hands and arms takeaway. Hovering the club, he said, engages your core from before you even hit the golf ball, which promotes a more powerful turn behind the ball.

So if you’re struggling with your driver contact this weekend, give it a try and rest with the knowledge that you’re in elite club-hoverer company.

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.