Review Of Master Setup Position

Sun, 03/10/2013 - 10:00 -- Don Trahan

Today's topic is the master setup position. It doesn't stem from a question sent in to the website, but from my own observations at some of our recent PPGS Performance Golf Schools.

I really love the format of these schools because the ratio of student to instructor is so small (4:1). It allows me and our other certified instructors ample time with each student to identify what needs work. Instead of working in generalities to a large group, I'm able to work on specifics individually!

If you haven't done so already, check out our list of upcoming golf schools here.

The master setup position is one issue that keeps popping up during these schools, which is why I wanted to discuss and review it today. Where we position our shoulders is so important, because it will determine the way we're able to swing our arms. If you hunch your shoulders too much, you won't be able to properly lift the club. Instead, you need to relax your shoulders. In the PPGS, your right shoulder (for a right handed golfer) will slump down more than your left, but that doesn't mean your left shoulder should get pushed up to the point where you're incapable of making a good lift. They both need to be relaxed, but your right will be lower than the left if you're in the correct spot.

You'd be surprised how much your setup really does affect your swing. Take a look at today's video and you should come away with a strong understanding of the PPGS master setup position.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.


Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

I want to congratulate DJ on a top 10 finish in Puerto Rico, and another fine round today to get to -16 for the tournament. He's T-4 right now but that may change depending on the play of the people still on the course. I don't think there are enough players still out there in a position to move him out of the top 10 though. Great finish, Deej! Looking forward to your next start!

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Super week for DJ. I think he ended up t8. During the Doral tourny on Golf Channel they mentioned that any players in the Puerto Rican Open that finish in the top ten would get an automatic spot in next weeks Tampa tournament. Looks like we may see Deej next week. This may be the start to a really good year. Well done DJ!

shortgamewizard's picture

Submitted by shortgamewizard on

Looks like he is teeing it up at 1:00PM EDT.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Cool, It looks like he has started gaining confidence. He has always made a lot of birdies but if he can continue to avoid those high numbees holes we may see yet another top 10 this week. The course in Tampa has fairly small greens so scrambling skills -getting it up and down will be big there. It should be an interesting watch.
Hope Deej can go and get it.

On another note, I really think I'm finding my putting stroke now. Been practicing almost every day. Put in 3 hours after work tonight. We'll see on the course tomorrow.'s picture

Submitted by on

Surge Where did the svelte new look go.
I know that for a number of years I have had a 42 inch waistline.
Now at 85 I am still playing a 100 or more rounds a year. But we have at least a month until the white turns once more to green

Bonne chance for great golf days

John in Ottawa

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

I videoed myself yesterday at home on a mat, experimenting on ways to stay
vertical at the top. Tried several ways, like shortening my BUS, going vertical from the mit, mentally tried keeping the club in front of my body, nothing came close and some actions would be impossible to maintain in a sub conscious manner, closest I came was to push away with the club and lock my forearms from rotating clockwise, very frustrating as I know this isn't the PPGS principal.

If i kept my right fore arm closer to the body as Surge suggests, then I know that action would make it worse, what am I doing wrong.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

I have also been challenged to be as vertical as I'd like. Seems every season I video tape again and work on getting it a bit more vertical. First, I likely will never consistently be as vertical as Surge and I'm okay with that. However this is what I have found to be key for me. One, the lift has to start from the beginning. Two. remember it's "a LITTLE turn and lot of lift". Once we turn too far it is next to impossible to go vertical. You need to almost feel like you are not turning at all. When you re-tape yourself you'll see that you are likely still turning more than it feels like. Next and equally important, the right arm and hand control how vertical you get the club. Try this, without any manipulation, take the club back to a normal 3/4 position. Now lift your right elbow up (not your shoulder- only the elbow). Watch what happens to the shaft. See how it moves from flat to more vertical. Yes this will fell awkward and it will seem to exaggerate the move that you'll eventually find works well but give it a shot. Again I can almost guarantee (without seeing the videos of your swing) that you are turning too far (past 70*) and not getting that back elbow high enough. That along with the grip position and the use of the right hand to control the lift make all the difference.
Recall that the greatest golfer of all time was accused of having a flying right elbow. He was very vertical most of the time and won 18 majors.

Here are some dailies to review that may help it 'click' for you. Of course it is easier to ingrain this move with the shorter clubs (ie., the 8-pw). As it becomes more comfortable you can move on to the longer irons and finally the fairways and driver.

In this recent one notice particularly from the 3:45 mark;

Again, you need to go to about the 2:45 mark to get the point

From 3 minutes on

Limit your turn

Neil, let me know if this helps you. I watch myself in the reflection of my back window and a mirror. It is also good to have a companion or friend watch you after they understand what you are looking to accomplish.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Robert, thanks for you comments, some things there that I'll try and will get back to you after Iv'e videoed myself. I'm sitting on a H/C of 18 and have a plan to be 16 by end of this year, I take golf in small doses as I think it's the
only way to go, but can't see me getting there at the moment and this is the reason i'm trying to take the next step forward, not backwards.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Neil (and others).

Do you have any of those little single hand exercise weights? The small ones about 2 1/2 pounds are fine.

If you get in the address position holding the weight in your right hand and take the weight up to the top of back swing position (or cactus position) using several techniques you will see that it is much easier and more natural if the right arm starts out in the position that Surge describes. In fact if you extend your arm more in a position where the right forearm would be higher than the left forearm it is almost impossible to smoothly take the weight up to that position with the handle of the weight vertical at the top.

If you try to do it from the wrong start position at some point you will have to flip the arm into a more correct lifting position and it won't be a smooth action and will be uncomfortable. The heavier the weight the harder it will be to get to the top unless the elbow starts out correctly.

P.S. When you take the weight to the top stop and take a look at it. The weight will be vertical or slightly across the line every time with no effort at all.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Almost went to get some popcorn but it was over too quick. lol! Really though that is a cool demo. If you do a remake, can you back away a couple feet so we can see your hand at the top and could you add your left hand too so we can see if this continues to be realistic with both hands as in a slow-mo swing? (or as if add it- I know there is not enough room on that little weight for two hands)

Great input Steve. Thinking outside the box may help us ingrain the vert move better. Next time give us a heads up so we can run to the kitchen for some pop corn:) first.

Speaking of food, where are Dick and Dragonhead?

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I just wanted to show Neil what I was talking about right quick and my wife was watching Dr. Phil so I told her to film it.

Edit: Fixed now.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Neil, keep in mind that the best way to get your scores down is around the green. Story never changes, chipping and putting and short game wizardry. I now spend most of my practicing time 100 yards in and especially from 40 yards in. That and putting, putting and more putting. Just put in another back yard driving range (yes just a net). So I am able to hit balls any time again. My last net disintegrated in the 120* sun and 40-50 mph winds we occasionally get. Going to be around 80-85* this week. Can't wait to hit the links Wednesday.
Playing two or three 18 hole rounds every week gives me plenty of practice time on the course too. Good luck and stay positive on getting better.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I played a round Saturday with the worst short game player in the history of golf (if he's not I'd hate to see who was).

When we started I asked him how well he played and he said "I'm very comfortable from 200 yards and out".

I laughed and told him I didn't think I had ever heard that statement before.

Then I found out that he was exactly right. He had a back swing longer than John Daily (no joke) that he somehow had enough skill to control on long shots but he took the exact same back swing even on a shot from less than 5 yards. He never missed one single fairway and averaged around 270 yards off of the tee and he hit all of his second shots within a few yards of the green on every par 5....And yet he never made better than a bogey on any hole and only had one of those. Every other hole was a triple bogey or worse.

After the round my son told me he hopes he never has to watch that guy try to chip or putt again.

NeilofOZ's picture

Submitted by NeilofOZ on

Thanks Robert & Steve for your input, have few strategies to follow now and will let you know how I'm going, just love this site, everyone willing to help.
Regarding Robert's comments, my short game is the best part of my game,
practise for hours chipping and putting and I love doing it after work, for me
it's meditation, but It's my long game that needs help, hence the plea. I'm really good at knocking balls out of the rough also as I'm in it far too often, lol.

SteveO's picture

Submitted by SteveO on

Thanks, I have been turning my right arm in when the club is on the ground then floating the club (about half an inch) before taking it back - I will try your method at the dome today.

Ok now – What is the definition of “RELATIVLY STRAIGHT”?
For example if the target at 100 yards is dead center is “RELATIVLY STRAIGHT” 5 yards either right or left of target?

adel's picture

Submitted by adel on

John in Ottawa,
I've been going to the OAC since December to get ready for the coming season, the problem is that none of the 5 or 6 pros on hand want me to practice the PPGS. I'm doing what they say for now making sure to avoid going into the 'Burial Grounds' and sticking to the basic PPGS set up.
I'm swinging now between vertical and rotational until the outdoor driving range 'the 19th Tee' opens, then I'll go back to vertical...

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

I have the golfgripmate and have been changing out grips this way noe for over a year. Highly recommend it. the only improvement you could add would be to make an attachment that fits over the Jumbo Max and other extra big grips. I made a couple of modifications and it works fine on my larger grips now.
Awesome and simple way to switch grips.

BTW, have you all seen this sink hole golfer event??