Golf is a complicated game as it is, so my goal as a teacher is to make the swing as simple as possible to execute. That’s what led me to study and design my teaching methods around what legendary ball striker Moe Norman did. Moe, I believe, intuitively figured out a simply better way to swing.
One of Norman’s hallmark traits was adding more side bend at address than what you see in most golfers, who set up with their torso directly over their hips. It doesn’t hurt you at address, but unless you aggressively tilt your torso to the right (side tilt) on the downswing, you’ll end up in a very weak impact position. Obviously, doing so is tough to time and can put undue stress on your lower back.
What Moe did — and what I teach — is to set up with close to the same amount of side bend as what’s required for a solid impact. How much side bend? You want about 15 degrees of tilt away from the target. To check, drop your trail hand down to your side while in your setup posture. You got it right if your fingertips touch the side of your trail knee.
Setting up this way will naturally position your trail hand more to the side of the club, a further benefit. Give it a try. Adding side bend at setup means one less thing to worry about. Your back will thank you, too!
Todd Graves operates the Graves Golf Academy in Edmond, Okla.