Why is the setup so crucial to the swing you ask? Well because everything starts from there. In order to have a solid golf swing it all starts from the beginning...your setup. With the majority of us all not being professional athletes with impeccable timing we need to make sure we are set up correctly before we take the club back. It is crucial for us all to hit it straight or at least at our intended target.
Let's start by setting up to a golf ball and simply looking down from your toes and up. Your toes, knees, hips, forearms, chest, and shoulders all need to be on the same plane. That means they all need to line up with one another. You can have shoulders that are square to your target line, but if your toes are out of position it will affect your swing plane. If your right toe is dropped back for instance, it might force you to hit a hook or inside-out; the opposite if your right toe is in front of your left foot, it can then promote a slice or outside-in swing.
I was watching Hank Haney a couple of days ago and I learned that even the forearms play a major role in the take away of the club. I myself have a tendency under pressure to drop my right arm under my left at setup. He showed that even the forearms need to be parallel to your target line. When my right arm drops under it promotes an inside takeaway which then gets me in the dreadful "stuck" position and I lose it right of right. Keeping my forearms square to my target line works much better and promotes a straight back take away.
With that let's talk about where to aim based on your ball flight. When I say square to the target line, what is your actual target. When I am hitting it good I play a natural draw. With that I actually aim my toes, thighs, hips, shoulders etc right at the pin which actually puts my ball right of the target. This allows the ball to start right and move left back to the pin. The opposite goes for golfers who fade the ball. They might actually want to aim the ball a tad left of the pin, which then puts their body aiming even more left so the fade can move the ball towards the pin.
I am hoping this helps everyone just a tad next time you are on the range. Lay down a couple clubs or alignment sticks so you can compare your body to your alignment aids to ensure you have the correct setup. The best thing to do is ask your friend or someone on the range to snap a quick picture of you with your phone. There is nothing better than a visual and seeing yourself on camera so you can check your setup.
Hit it pure!