Learning the Setup Routine

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Author Description

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

31 Responses to “Learning the Setup Routine”

  1. March 1, 2013


    this is great however i like to take a practise swing with my feet together first. so should i start over after the practise swing or should i set up and take a practise swing above the ball before placing the club on the ground?

    • Doug,

      If you take practice swings with your feet together first you will then have to walk behind the ball to find your intermediate target. So keep doing the practice swings as you are. Find the intermediate target then got through the steps I suggested.

  2. Isn’t also important to have a precise target in the distance to “imagine” or “picture “the flight of the ball ?
    Also are you or not a partisan of the BEN HOGAN routine in placing the ball always at the same spot opposite the left armpit (The low point of the swing )and varying the width of the stance depending on the club you play with ? (Narrow for short irons ,a bit wider for the long and medium irons ,larger than the shoulder breadth for the driver ,and in this latter case pulling back a bit the right foot ?)

  3. hullo, paul, I am not as fortunate (or attentive enough) to find an intermediate target as easily as you do.
    but where my question lies is how to combine “forget about the real target far away” and the need to visualize a perfect ball flight. I have found that visualizing sends really helpfull infos to the brain, with a clear gain in shot quality.
    I’ll be glad to read your advice on this or, who knows, watch an entire tip dedicated to the issue.
    michel wandel, brussels, belgium.

    • Michel,

      I have never rarely ever been able to visualize the target. If you can do this great. If not just go through the steps as I suggest and pull the trigger.

  4. Hi Paul
    Could you expand on the weight distribution, you touched on it by saying put your weight under your laces.This has been an enormous problem for me, hitting woods off the heel and shanking my short irons, I think due to my weight distribution. If you have a procedure for making this part of the setup rock solid I think it would be a great help not only to me but many others, I have been playing for many years and always thought the weight should be nearer to my toes. I know now this is incorrect.
    Thanks Dave

    • David,

      The weight is not your heels or you toes. It is in the middle of the feet (laces). Roll forward then back and you will find the middle of your feet. This is where you need the weight to be before you hit your shots.

      Weight Distribution At Address: http://ignitiongolf.com/weigth-distribution-address/

      The weight distribution can contribute to hitting bad shots. If you are heeling it you are hitting it with your arms. This is sending you over the top. I have seen this a million times.


      Pull: http://ignitiongolf.com/cure-pulled-shot

      Pull 2: http://ignitiongolf.com/cure-pulling

      Shanking is the tell-tale sign of hitting as well. For this shot the weight is rolling to your toes.

      Just focus on solid weight distribution first. Then move on to turning off the arms and powering the swing with your body.

  5. Paul, in this tip with the target you/we pick out on the down swing do we keep are eys ont the ball or only on the target we picked out in front of are ball? thank you

    • Robert,

      You are picking out the target only to align the clubface. Once you do this you are swiveling your head to look at your target. Then back to the clubface and ball.

  6. March 9, 2013



    Quick question on the setup. I’ve always wondered if I’m standing too upright or bending at the waist too much. Any advise on getting the right amount of flexion?


    • March 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I like a tall setup this is for sure. Here are some tips about this:

      Sit On The Edge Of A Bar Stool To Set Up: http://ignitiongolf.com/setup-edge-of-bar-stool/

      Set Up Steps: http://ignitiongolf.com/setup-position

      • March 11, 2013



        Thanks for the quick reply. Just a f/u question. I understand standing tall etc and having your chest point in fron of the ball. I always thought you wanted your head and neck to be in ,one with your back…so I order to see the ball do you keep things straight and just look downward or do you actually bend you neck do your eyes are looking straight the ball? Hope this question makes sense.


        • March 11, 2013


          Sorry for the typos…using my iPad. Meant to say is the head, neck, and back all suppose to be one line in which case I think you’d have to be looking downward with your eyes to see the ball. Or do you bend you neck so your eyes are looking straight at the ball.

        • March 11, 2013

          Paul Wilson


          You are bending you neck slightly and looking down with your eyes over your cheeks. If you can clearly see your feet you are looking down too much. If you can see them faintly in your peripheral that’s fine but you should not see them clearly. If you are you are too low with your body tilt, head tilt and eyes.

  7. December 15, 2013


    Paul – Here’s something I have wondered about for some time in dealing with a slice – or even a hook. You mentioned that if a player slices he needs to rotate his arms earlier in the downswing to close the face of the club in order to straighten the face, and to start by hooking the ball.

    Question: Can’t the same thing be achieved by taking a stronger grip in the setup? A stronger grip will bring the clubface square without changing the arm rotation. (Conversely, a weak grip should cure a hook.)

    It seems to me that changing the rotation of the arms introduces a timing problem. Changing the grip to a stronger grip in the setup to cure a slice does not involve a timing issue, just a setup change.

    What do you think?


    • December 17, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      No you cannot do it this way. I say this because if you have a strong grip and you keep your wrists loose you will hook it off the planet. In order to stop the massive hook you will tighten your wrists in the downswing. The tighter the wrists, the slower the club will swing the more you will manipulate the face through impact. So, don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Do it the way I suggest. It works great with minimal work.

      You are thinking that you are timing this hook. You are not. You are hooking it to get your wrists unlocked and the club releasing. You are NOT trying to hit perfect shots at this step. Once you can hook it consistently you then forget this roll over and focus on the body rotation to straighten it out.

      I know you are not going to listen to me so go ahead and try it your way then try mine once your does not work. I won’t get too mad at you.

  8. February 7, 2014


    Paul doesn’t this set up with feet slightly off set from back foot to front foot, make this a slight open stance at address, and if so is this how most pros would set up. Thanks Paul

  9. CarlFuchs

    September 3, 2014



    When you set the club against the ball with the butt six inches from the belt buckle I notice you’re standing erect. When I then push my butt back and flex my knees the club moves back from the ball. So if I don’t move forward, I’m going to miss the ball or top the ball. Any ideas where I’m going wrong? On the video it looks like you’re going from erect to flex without the club moving back from the ball.

  10. February 19, 2015


    Thanks Paul for the lessons, drills, tips, fixes, etc. good stuff! I was wondering when you address the ball and assume your stance what if anything do you do with your head, specifically you eyes? I was instructed to turn the head slightly to the right and look at the ball with the left eye. Does this effect the head swivel to the target line or the swing?

  11. February 20, 2015


    Paul…Thanks for your swift reply. Of course I’m a righty and I’m left-eye dominant. Ugh! So happy to hear moving the head back a bit is not only permissible, but recommended. Pshew! There is light at the end of the tunnel!

    • February 21, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      When you first start moving it it will feel like it’s moving about a foot behind the ball to get it to move 3 inches. This is the correct feeling and goes away after a while. Stick with it and you will greatly improve your swing and save your back.

      Move Head: http://ignitiongolf.com/move-head-back/

  12. October 27, 2017


    Hi Paul,

    I’m trying to follow your setup routine but I have a bad habit of getting my shoulders closed at set up, not sure why has just always been a bad habit. What would cause this in the setup and what is a good checkpoint after I go through the routine to make sure my shoulders are properly aligned? Thx!

    • Paul Wilson

      October 27, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      It may just be your body make up. It may not just be your shoulders that are out of alignment. I would check the knees and hips too.

      If you are 2 inches out then just move them 2 inches closed just before you are going to take the club back. You could also do 4 inches closed for a couple of buckets. This would be overdoing it and would allow you to get used to it even faster. If you hit a couple of buckets this closed then stop thinking about it. Hit some shots and video your swing to check it. It’s going to feel weird but this is important.

      You need to watch these tips:

      How To Get Perfect Alignment On the Course: http://ignitiongolf.com/perfect-alignment-on-course/
      Alignment – Alternative Way To Check It: http://ignitiongolf.com/alignment-finger-forearm/


      Alignment: http://ignitiongolf.com/golf-alignment

      How To Put Down an Alignment Stick Properly: http://ignitiongolf.com/alignment-stick-placement/

      Change Clubs Change Alignment: http://ignitiongolf.com/change-clubs-change-alignment/

      • October 27, 2017


        Thanks Paul I will look at those tips. Just to clarify though, usually my hips and knees will be square but my shoulders will be closed. I manually adjust them as you suggest but was hoping I could fix in the setup as I sometimes forget on the course and will hit a bunch of bad shots before I realize the my shoulders are closed and need to be adjusted. Maybe it’s just my body makeup as you suggest and I just need to check on every shot? Or is there something in my setup that would make me close my shoulders without realizing it?

        • Paul Wilson

          October 29, 2017

          Paul Wilson


          I have seen this in the past. It is really just the person’s makeup. Their shoulders are rotated. So unless you want to get a massage you can just tweak the shoulders for a little while before you hit your shot. Like I said, if you overdo it you will find you can fix it in a couple of practice sessions.

  13. Paul ,Before setting up in front of the ball ,and going through the routine you describe (Excellent reminder ,even for the seasoned golfer ),there’s another routine,starting a few feet behind the ball,looking at the target,making up your mind ,taking one or several practice swings to get the feel and loosen up ,taking the same time always steps to the ball ,then go into your routine outlined here .Are you going to elaborate on this part later ?

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