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