In life as well as in golf, going back to the very beginning of something is always a helpful way to improve the process.
If we go back to the very beginning of a golf swing, then golf club position at address is where you will end up.
Ensuring that your golf club position at address is correct for the shot you want to hit can be very helpful in attaining more consistent shots.
One of the key things to look at when assessing your club position at address is golf shaft lean. Golf shaft lean is a little-known golfing term but it can have profound effects on your game.
So in this article, we will look at:
- What is golf shaft lean
- How to find a neutral golf shaft lean at address
- The ideal golf club position at address for different clubs
- Using club position at address to shape shots
Putting all of these ideas together should help you find the ideal golf club position at address, and help you to achieve that all-important consistency in your game.
Let’s get started!
What is golf shaft lean?
Put simply, golf shaft lean is how upright your club shaft is when you are addressing the ball.
A forward club shaft lean means the top of your club will be pointing toward your front shoulder, and it will be in front of your belt buckle.
A backward club shaft lean will be the opposite, with the top of the club pointing toward your back shoulder and sitting behind your belt buckle.
How much your club is leaning when you are addressing the ball has effects throughout your swing.
All clubs in the bag come with a certain loft. Leaning the club at address can change this loft when you’re hitting the shot, affecting the trajectory of your ball flight.
A forward lean at address lowers the loft of a club, which will cause a flatter ball flight.
For example, this could effectively turn a 9-iron into an 8 or 7-iron.
Conversely a backward lean at address, increases the loft on a club, producing a higher ball flight.
This could have the effect of turning a 7-iron into an 8 or 9-iron.
As you probably guessed a backward lean at address can produce a hook or draw shot, as a backward lean can cause golfers to hit across the ball at the bottom of the swing.
As we have discussed, golf club position at address and how it leans has a significant impact on the shot you hit.
So how can you figure out if you lean the club at address? And what can you do to achieve a neutral shaft lean?
How to find a neutral shaft lean at address
For the vast majority of golfers, we want a straight ball flight!
So how should you go about doing this if your golf club position at address is affecting your ball flight?
Finding out if you lean your club shaft at address is easy and can be done in your back garden or living room!
- Prop up your phone so its camera can film your entire body and start a video.
- Take out a golf club (we recommend a 7-iron) and get into your golf stance when addressing the ball, facing the camera.
- Stay in this position for at least 5 seconds, then stop the video.
Once you’ve done all this, go back and watch your video and pause it at a moment when you are in your normal golf stance at address.
Look at the picture and draw a straight line up from your clubhead toward your head.
If the shaft of your club is in front of this line you have a forward golf shaft lean.
To correct this, repeat the 3 steps above but this time gently pull your club shaft toward your back foot when you are addressing the ball, while keeping the clubhead stationary.
Check the video again and see whether you have got your shaft position on that straight line from the clubhead to your head.
Keep trying and once you have managed that you will have achieved a good, neutral club position at address.
If the shaft is behind the line from your clubhead to your head you have a backward shaft lean.
To fix this repeat those 3 steps, but gently push your club shaft toward your front foot, once again keeping your club head still.
Check your club position on the video again. When your club shaft sits on the line then you will have got your club into a good neutral position at address.
Following the procedure above will help reduce any club shaft lean you have, and get the right golf club position to hit those straighter shots!
The ideal golf club position at address for different clubs
So you’ve achieved a neutral club shaft, but what other elements are there to consider when addressing the ball?
Firstly, it’s important to remember your standard clubhead position when addressing the ball; it should be midway between your feet.
We recommend keeping your clubhead positioned here for shots with more lofted irons (7,8 and 9) and wedges.
However, this may change for other clubs in your bag!
Keep reading to find out where you should position your clubhead for your flatter irons and your driver.
The Driver: Golf Club Position
Hitting a driver consistently straight can be a real challenge for a lot of amateur golfers. Ensuring your stance and club position at address are correct is a good place to start.
When using a driver you want to catch the ball on the up!
As drivers have a very flat clubface, hitting the ball on the up helps to give the ball loft and a higher ball flight.
This means ensuring your club impacts the ball when you are beginning your follow-through, so the clubface is tilted slightly upwards.
To achieve this, place your club head just behind (1-2 inches) your front foot at address.
Low irons: Golf Club Position
Similar to a driver, low irons have flatter club faces that can make a higher ball flight difficult to achieve.
So, as with your driver, you want to move the clubhead toward your front foot when you are addressing the ball.
With a low iron, your club head should be about 3-4 inches behind your front foot at address.
This should mean you hit the ball on the up at impact, helping you to achieve a lofted ball flight with your flatter irons.
Using golf club position at address to shape shots
For more experienced golfers, being able to shape shots can be the key to cutting handicaps down to single figures.
Whether it is attaining more distance off the tee with a power draw, or stopping the ball more quickly on the greens with a high fade, shaping shots is a great tool to have in your locker!
Shaping shots is something that can be achieved by adjusting your club position at address!
It’s worth noting that we always recommend starting your club in a neutral position, before making small adjustments to shape your shots!
High fade: Golf Club Position
A high fade is shot golf pros use on a regular basis to stop shots more quickly when they land, especially on devilishly fast greens.
Hitting a high fade can be achieved by adjusting your club position when addressing the ball.
At address, shift your club head position slightly toward your front foot.
Once you’ve done this gently push your grip toward your front foot, giving it a slight forward shaft lean.
Taking both these steps should ensure you hit the ball on the up, and with a slightly open club face, produce a high fade!
A power draw is a very effective shot that pros often use off the tee.
A power draw helps the ball to roll further once it has bounced, gaining more distance. It can also be useful on holes that dog-leg from right to left.
When hitting a power draw the ball will fly slightly lower and the clubface will be slightly closed at impact.
To achieve this, move your clubhead slightly toward your back foot at address.
You should also pull your grip slightly toward your back foot, giving it a small backward shaft lean.
Adopting this technique should close the clubface slightly at impact, and hit a slightly lower ball flight, making your shot into a power draw!
So, that’s our guide to golf club position at address!
Remember – before you attempt to take the more advanced steps to shape your shots, look to have a neutral club position at address first!
Getting the basics right is always the first step!
We always recommend practicing before you try anything on the course.
Take your clubs and camera to the range to check you have a good neutral club position at address, then begin to practice shaping those shots!
If you want more guidance on how to shape shots, read the golf guidebook article linked below!