Lesson #3: The Balanced Setup Routine – The Most Crucial Part of the Swing

Jack Nicklaus said that the proper setup is 99% of the golf swing. He is right. Here’s why:

The setup routine is crucial because of the Law of Dynamic Balance. Simply stated; If you start any movement (in this case, your golf swing) out of balance, your mind will do whatever it must to get you back in balance.

In the process of re-balancing, your body will forget the golf swing.

The Law of Dynamic Balance is responsible for most of the bad shots you make on the golf course.

In contrast: If you start your golf swing from a balanced position. your mind will keep you in balance and just about guarantee a center strike on the golf club.

Think about this fact for a minute:

Out of balance – your body will make a different golf swing every time you swing the golf club but…

In balance – your body will make the same golf swing every time you swing the golf club… Isn’t that the goal?

By guaranteeing perfect balance, this setup routine will remove most of those mysterious mistakes you spend countless hours trying to correct.

This setup routine may be a whole different animal than you’ve seen before. To make sure you understand and remember this important routine, I explain not only what to do, but WHY and HOW it works to make the rest of your golf game better.

More than just getting ready to hit the golf ball, the stance is where all of the functions that go into hitting a perfect shot get set up, which is why I call it the setup rather than the stance.

Once the setup is correct the rest of the swing becomes a very easy process, provided you use your senses correctly, which is what Bio-Visual Focus will show you how to do.

If you are tempted to take shortcuts keep this in mind: I spent years perfecting this routine. Any elements that were not needed are already gone.

So, if you want to progress quickly pay strict attention to every detail. If there is something that bothers you about the setup, ask me about it and I will explain its importance so you understand it more clearly.

If the setup routine doesn’t seem to be helping, you are probably unknowingly missing a detail. Contact me and we can discuss the situation to figure out what is missing. If you get the setup routine correct, the rest of the golf swing IMMEDIATELY starts to fall into place.

As a bonus, the setup routine engages the Bio-feedback you will use to control your movement and the visual pictures that you will use to create and guide your shots. Once these are engaged, you will be able to focus on every shot without interruption from either your own conscious thoughts or any outside distraction.

PRACTICE the setup routine until you can perform it with very little thought.

A good way to “cheat” at practice is to practice for 15 – 30 minutes before bed and then go to sleep. Your mind will continue to practice during your sleep.

DON’T FORGET to email me on the contact me page so I can make sure you haven’t inadvertently skipped any of the details in this setup.


57 thoughts on “Lesson #3: The Balanced Setup Routine – The Most Crucial Part of the Swing”

  1. I have corrected my setuo routine which I have from GSC but I was not doing it precisely enough. Keeping the club on the ground and keep looking down the fairway while getting the right balance. I practised this today with a number of clubs.
    I still like to do a couple of practice swings before starting this setup routine.

  2. I have finally overcome looking at the ball first while setting up (took some repetitions for sure). I feel a very good foundation using this routine. Dynamic balancing with the feet gives me the feeling of making those leg muscles ready to do what they are supposed to. I even like it when I’m putting. I feel strain in new leg muscles that I haven’t with my old setup. I also notice, feel and see that my weight is truly more on the right side in preparation for starting the backswing.

  3. Tracy, I finished lesson # 2 and it was easy—almost self correcting….. I still occasionally notice I don’t walk with my chest out…..but its the way the body wants to walk.

    Sincerely,

    Cyril

    Ps. You may take this down, I wasn’t sure where to write. I’m the guy that’s beat open heart surgery.

  4. I completed lessons 1 and 2. I will practice lesson 3 on the range and the course and will let you know.I am sure this works and I look forward to enroll for the next step.

  5. The static balance, dynamic balance and swing control by wieght felt on feet principles are logical and must work.It felt good when I practiced in my living room. I cannot wait to see the results. I am going to the drivingrange right now.

  6. WOW, this stuff is OWESOME!!! I can control my fade and draw WITHOUT changing my swing. Before I used my arms to create a fade or draw and end up shots in the rough. Just adjusting or redirecting my weight under my feet I can hit any shot on demand!!!

  7. This is my first time looking at the three videos. I am inpressed with the set up feel and cant wait to try out at the range. I have used a similar set up but with out understanding the dynamic balance concepts and sometimes my swing has felt effortless, not knowing why. I have a black belt in karate and have always learned about weight balance in moving. But until now Golf instruction has been too vague. Thanks again Declan

  8. This is great! I can’t wait to see how this effects my shotmaking on the practice tee and the course. As a scratch golfer this may be what puts me down into the red for good and gets me into a more serious position about going out on the mini tours, possible the PGA Tour, in the future. Thanks!

  9. Great, but I have a routine, I copied Hogan’s routine, you can look it up on you tube. It’s agood one to copy, with how he rotates his hips in opposing direction to the right elbow folding , the hip and elbow touch. This is a preview of what is to come. I place the hips open the shoulders sqaure and the feet are moveable depending on what spin I’m planning on putting on the ball. My hands are both on the club in a pronated pushing attitude, again like what Hogan did. The only moving part of the arms is a rt elbow fold. That’s what I waggle. The handel is back for a fade and forward for a draw.
    Your rt there is so much to get done in the pre-shot routine, along with visualizing what the body should feel. It’s a great time to let the body feel a preview of it.

    1. Yes, but if you are not ready to move into dynamic balance from the stance, you will fight your own body throughout the swing.

  10. Hi Tracey.
    I have watched the lesson about the setup and will go and practice as often as possible. Hopefully speak to you in a couple of weeks or sooner.

  11. Hi Tracey
    Had the best round I’ve had for months at the weekend.
    Played a match play event against an 8 handicapper. It was all over by the 13th hole. I beat him 6 and 5. I was only 1 shot over for the front 9.
    The setup routine really helped. I struck my irons so purely I was almost embarrassed at the shots I was making.
    Where do I go from here?
    Kind regards
    John

  12. I started hitting shots to the right but I was able to correct it pretty easy. I consistently hit with a draw. Every shot I addressed, I did the set up routine. Eventually, I did the set up routine without thinking about it. Hitting the ball with my feet felt more natural then my mechanical swing. I can see the weight shift to the inside arch of the right foot. Then it was like doing the walk because I can feel the weight transfer.

  13. I have been through exercise 1-3 now. And just had to get out at het race to start practice the set up routine. Practiced withr my pw, and it really worked out well. Hit dead straight, but occationally set up a bit to the right of the target – and therfore also hit it right.

    Also tried some shots with my 5 iron and my 17deg. Hybrid, but had some mor problems there. Felt it was more difficult to find the correct distance to the ball, and therefore had more mishits. But I’m getting there.

    Looking forard to get out there again and start to work on exersice 4.

    Your teacing really makes sense. I am already a believer. And finally golf is fun again. I have had a long brakefrom the game.got really fed up back then from not beeing able to improve my game. Was in the single digits then. And now I believe I will be back there agin soon.

    Big thanks and big regards from Norway.

    1. Those shots to the right might just be your hand position at setup. Make sure your hands are aligned with the target side inner thigh with the clubface pointing toward the target.

  14. Hi i love the setup but i feel that the tilt hurt me i think i allready have a little bit of a tilt do you think i should tilt anyway ?

    1. Only tilt as much as you need to for both of your hands to comfortably be placed on the grip with your shoulders and chest lined up to the target. To check, allow your back hand to swing off of the grip and see where it returns to. If it isn’t where it should be, then adjust your tilt.

  15. Tracy, yesterday I went on line to see what tips or exercises I could find on “Clearing your mind before and during a golf swing”and needless to say your web site came up and I learned all about the subconscious mind versus the conscious mind, along with a bunch of other things.

    The reason I went looking for these tips was because I felt my biggest problem was that I get way to caught up in the ball itself and making contact with it, that it would distract me mid-swing causing all kinds of issues. I also felt that I “Hit” the ball rather then hit “Through” the ball.

    After watching your 1-3 video lessons and practicing the set-up routine in my backyard I went out and played a round of golf today. The results were amazing! I played my best round ever. I did the set-up routine before every shot. Other things I tried to focus on were relaxing my muscles (to get them balanced), take long deep breaths and to keep my mind free and clear. Lo and behold, I was hitting great shots that felt totally effortless.

    Even though I played great today I am still worried that my conscious mind is going to get in the way again. Will moving forward with the rest of your lessons help me with this? THANKS!

    1. Bio-Visual Focus takes your mind into the subconscious in a way that prevents the conscious from being able to interfere with your swing. Done right, BVF makes the conscious want to stand by and watch the events unfold during every swing without any thought of interrupting.

  16. Hi, i have to say i watched the videos on your website with some Scepticism. I have read so many articles, and watched so many videos online, that i dont believe what i see / read anymore.

    Im an 18 handicapper, and struggle with consistancy. Im constantly being told i hit the ball like a single figure handicapper, but i seem to blow up somewhere in the round, and just suffer with consistancy, mainly off the tee.

    I normally take lots of practice swings before each shot – but i liked the way by following your precise routine at setup – i was able to stop this habit. I have only practiced this routine once at the range, but already i can feel the benefit of a proper setup routine, and i feel that i am already benefitting with more accuracy – even with the big stick – my nemisis – the driver.

    Its going to take alot more practice – but i found the shifting of wieght on the downswing alot more controlled and i was able to get through rather than fall back on the shot. I found that some shots were topped, but they were still straighter than most my duffs before this. Maybe i was moving my torso too much to the right at address. Im keen to keep this up – what a way to build some confidence over the ball – something i have lost over time with bad golf.

  17. i will try the excellent setup routine next week.
    let you know the results of various shots at driving range.
    thanks for good video. ray

  18. Lesson 4 – If you follow lesson 3, it almost seems natural, It is the way I have tried to hit the ball for a while, but with a balanced set up it is so much easier, if you are unbalanced at the top of the downswing, it is almost a certainty that your weight is going to get on the outside of your right foot right at the start of the downswing.

  19. Hello Tracy,
    I’ve completed lessons 3 and 4. There’s no doubt that the concept of dynamic balance “works” in as much as it improves consistency.
    Like you warned, it is essential to pay attention to detail, since disappointing shots invariably result from some missing or incorrectly applied detail.
    In my case, the single most difficult action is to feel the push on ball of left foot at start of downswing … when I get it, the results are great.
    When I get it wrong, I feel the weight transferred to the outside of left foot after follow through – and the results are horribly inconsistent.
    Have found that forcing a complete weight transfer during backswing to the inside of right foot can help; however, I don’t “get” the feeling of pushing down on ball of left foot to start downswing when I do this.

    During setup I noticed an urge to adjust position after equalising balance between the feet. I know it’s wrong and moving the feet again, or altering the height a little bit is difficult to resist once I’ve returned from equalising the balance. Having made the unnecessary alteration, the sense of “guilt” increases tension resulting in inconsistent shot.

    Incidentally, I found that following your setup for putting is very effective, especially for getting the ball on line.

    Thanks ever so much for this Tracy. The mental gurus and swing technicians will hate you, but there’s not the slightest doubt you’ve found the right approach here to improving golf performance.

  20. My pelvis and legs feel ready to fire and smash the cover off the ball!!!!

    Setting up looking at the target is genius and tied in the dropping the right hand off and on again or tilt has really helped.

  21. I like the new set up and the fact that it gets you looking at
    your target and puts you in perfect balance I fight the over the
    top move and it will be interesting to see if the tilt will help that
    flaw in my swing

  22. Not quite sure on the tilt. Should the pelvis move slightly toward the target, or is it only from the waist up. Seems like that might put the last few vertebrae slightly out of alighnment ?

  23. I admit it. I’ve been using this now for the best part of a year, and after several emails backwards and forwards with Tracy I think I have found in conjunction with another (online) teachers help what works.

    I’m now hitting about 85% of my shots properly and having fairly serious knee and back problems understanding the balance and setup has really helped.

    Having played off 8 as a junior I found it frustrating not being able to generate the power and consistency I now get, I still fade the ball, but that’s different from the horrendous slice I used to have with a driver. Now to work on the draw, but at least I know what I do wrong and I instantly know if I’ve hit a rubbish shot. It’s nice being able to pull a 6 iron out of the bag and knowing it will do 170 yds, or pull a hybrid out and easily do 190 yds…

    Thanks Tracy

  24. Tracy,
    Been working on this for a week. Hitting the ball really well, most of the time. My miss- straight at the target and then goes left. This works out on the driving holes but really hurts on par 3 and inside 150 yards. I am really enjoying the lessons
    Thanks

    1. Brad,
      Check your grip and make sure your hands are positioned correctly when you do. What you describe points to a closed face at impact with the correct path through the ball.
      Tracy

    1. The key is to focus on feeling and controlling the weight felt in your feet during the setup and swing so you don’t go out of balance. Let me know how you do.

  25. Setup routine is slowly becoming second nature – practicing before bed is a good tip. Put it into practice on the course past Saturday and the difference in the ball striking is remarkable.. (consistency!!!). As you say – you need to follow the routine!!

    BTW – Feeling the weight in the feet significantly helps reading greens

    Thanks
    Raymond

  26. Tracy,
    Your set up has really helped, especially maintaining the correct distance to the ball as I get tired. This will be my setup routine from now on. Thanks, Peter

  27. Again, I learned this in Ultimate golf system and went from hitting drives 200-220 to 240-260. Since i’m 82, I think most would be surprised. I went from mid to high 90’s to mid to high 80’s. I still have those unexplained triple bogies that keep me from breaking 80 but with “Last Barrier” I hope to solve that problem.

  28. Can’t wait to get to the range/course to groove this setup. I still feel at age 75 my best golf is still ahead. Was a 9 at my lowest >35 years ago.
    However how do you explain David Duvall and Annika Sorenstam and blind golfers–who NEVER see the hands pass the ball? An objectively valid theory MUST EXPLAIN AND INCLUDE THESE OUTLIERS. Your thoughts?

    1. In every case where the golfer doesn’t see the hands pass the ball, that golfer is using balance and timing to hit the ball. That is why I always say that you ALWAYS use balance and only once you are moving in balance do you add the images. Seeing the images makes the strike of the ball even more accurate.

  29. The set up is clear and concise and have used this routine from the beginning. Other wise standing behind the ball and be able to sight the aiming of the ball to target and picking my line etc. I like your explanations about the reasons for what you want us to do and why it is necessary in order to get the perfect results in our game. I believe that with this procedure the results will be terrific. Thank you for your efforts in giving us the proper tools to play better and enjoy this wonderful game of golf.

  30. Hi Tracy
    The most interesting thing I took from your set up was how you keep looking at the target until you set your stance not lifting the club until that’s done.
    I felt more confidence with my alignment to the target.
    And it definitely helped me escape conscious thoughts.
    Was key.
    Cheers

  31. I haven’t hit any balls since reading about your setup standards and focus on axis tilt and pressure points on feet and balance. I have videoed swings in the house and I really like what you have to say and the results are promising. Thank you

    Rick

  32. All I can say is that this setup routine has switch some head-bulbs on for me. The best thing for me is that I really don’t feel like I will mishit the ball because I am completely locked into its position at address. this has always been my biggest problem, not trusting that I will return with the clubface to the ball.
    Thanks alot Tracey.

    Can’t wait to get out at the range.

    Jeremy

  33. Seven months ago after using your detailed set up routine which is working for me I discovered that both my arms are now in balance which is due to my elbows are pointing down to the ground rather than my old set up where my elbows where pointing more to each side. This always felt that the arm muscles where fighting each other. Needless to say the new set up has eliminated this problem and has removed any tension from my arms. Thank you and enjoying great golfing Tracy

  34. That was my old set up in front to the golf ball,thank you very much Im happy again,I will try your grip because i have the tendence to open my rihgt hand an I think this new grip can help me a lot,Now I will stop to see your videos and I will continue to read your book.
    Thank again Tracy look like I can play golf again without to think too much.

  35. My consistency improved tremendously by employing your setup routine. While getting balanced and looking down my target line I visualized where I wanted the ball to land and once I was fully balanced and setup I then focused on what I wanted my swing to do in the process of contacting the ball. I then started my swing and it was a beautiful sight to see 95% of the time. My errors took place because of the learning curve I am going through and I feel I will improve as I keep up this process and learn more. I am a six handicap at this point and looking for those last few strokes to be reduced.

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