Carl Pettersson, who made win No. 5 on the PGA TOUR in the RBC Heritage, is a player who sets up a bit more upright then the norm.
This a result of how he positions his lead wrist in a more level to slightly uncocked position. Although Pettersson exaggerates this a bit, it is a good visual for a lot of amateurs to see as most error too much the other way.
I had the great opportunity to write my first article for the April issues of Golf Digest and ironically, I chose to write about the importance of the trail forearm at address in the full swing and putting. At the TOUR Academies, we encourage our players to learn to align the trail forearm to mirror the angle of the club shaft in the full swing and to perfectly align it with the putter.
To learn this, position your lead arm in front of your body about shoulder height, and point the fingers straight ahead. This would be considered a level lead wrist. From here, point the wrists to the sky, as this would be considered cocking the wrist. Conversely, to the ground would be un-cocking the wrist. Pettersson positions the lead wrist in a more level-to-slightly uncocked position at address. As a result, the clubshaft angle is very upright. The significance of this lead wrist position is this: It allows the right forearm to be positioned closer to the same plane as the clubshaft at address in the full swing, and exactly on the same plane with the putter. This is because the grip is being positioned towards the palms.
One of the most common errors at address is to position the club shaft angle too low at address. This very flat clubshaft angle at address now cocks the lead wrist too much, and positions the right forearm on a much different plane angle then that of the clubshaft. This is certainly a manageable setup, as you will still see clear representation of this with many of the best players. However, what you must understand is that at impact, this setup will force an extreme rise in the club’s shaft to create an inline relationship with the right forearm.
This extreme rise in the clubshaft can lead to poor impact alignments with the clubshaft, clubface and/or the body for many amateurs.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here .