Hand height at address

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I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on hand height at address and impact. I’m still not quite sure what my best arm to shaft angle needs to be and was wondering if there were some tips to find it. Also, what are the consequences of having too steep or flat of a shaft angle?


This is actually a good question because many high handicappers setup with their hands in awful places at address.

Some setup and decide they want to carry their hands very high and make a straight line with their arms and shaft, a la Moe Norman. Now that was great for Moe and the way he swung the club, but for most people, that is a death move.

It makes it extremely easy to whip the club dead inside with the arms, lift with arms, over take the shoulder turn with the arms, snatch it with the arms and then the arms fly away from the body.

Also known as an arm swing…LOL.

Then there is the group that stands right on top of the ball with a completely collapsed posture and the hands inside the shoulders.

This creates an arm lift, a straightening of the spine, a snatch with the arms, a dive and collapsing of the spine and a good old double chicken wing.

Now that I have made fun of everyone, here is where you need to be…or at least close to this.

Without a club (lean one against something within reach), bend over at the waist and at the knees until you are comfortable and balanced and your arms can hang straight down out of your shoulders. While your arms are hanging straight down and relaxed out of your shoulders, bring your hands together and that is where your hands should be at address.

Now as far as where the hands are supposed to be at impact (from a down the line camera view). I would say as close to where they were at address as possible. If they are a little above that is fine, but the “more high” they return, the more you are doing something bad.

Hip thrusting, vertical shoulder turn, holding the lag, etc., are all things that make the club return higher.

Whereas if the left arm is connected, the shoulders are turning around the spine, the hips are clearing properly and the club is being allowed to release with the turn, the hands will return to almost the same place (maybe a hair high for the natural forces sending the club away from your body).

As far as too steep or too shallow of a shaft angle and what problems can they cause. The simple answer is everything bad. Proper shaft angle on the downswing is a diagnostic and not a position to strive for. Steep and shallow shaft angle is telling you something about your swing and it’s not something you fix. You fix the bad move that is creating the poor shaft angle.




  1. woody

    “…make a straight line with their arms and shaft, a la Moe Norman…”

    Yeah, and what goes along with that is putting the club 9-13 inches behind the ball at address. But, it’s best not to confuse eccentricities with fundamentals.

    Moe never advocated that anyone should copy him. He did mention that he could teach a 9 year-old kid who hadn’t already developed another method. He said that people should do what suits them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVfyinDmmvk&feature=related (Moe)

  2. yellowtrash

    Monte, thanks for the post about this!
    One thing I still think I struggle with at times is maintaining the shaft angle yet keeping the arms as tension free as possible. Are there any specific pointers for this or is this just a feel you develop from practice?

  3. Al

    Monte, have you seen the add on the golf channel for the device that puts your hands at address so the the top angle is 144 degrees. I only saw it once so I don’t have all the details. This would be more total BS, right, or am I missing something?


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