Excessive shaft lean at address can hinder your swing mechanics and impact your performance. It causes restricted clubhead movement, potential power loss, compromised ball contact, and an inconsistent swing plane and path. The ideal shaft lean varies for different clubs, but a neutral or slightly forward pale is generally best. You must focus on grip, posture, and club setup adjustments to make this correction.
I’ve been playing golf for over a decade, and only recently did I realize that more players feel awkward when they set up in a more neutral position at address. I mean, isn’t that supposed to be the ideal shaft lean? But I get it; some players already feel they have many skinny poles at the address, and it probably gets worse with their more substantial group and longer clubs. If this situation sounds familiar, you’re dealing with an issue of too much shaft lean at the address.
After analyzing my recent games and doing more extensive research into experts’ approaches to shaft lean, I have prepared this article to walk you through the causes of excessive post lean, the problems it can cause, and practical solutions to correct and improve your setup for optimal performance on the golf course.
How many shafts Lean at the address?
When addressing the ball, the position of the shaft plays a crucial role in determining the efficiency and effectiveness of your swing. Excessive shaft lean, where the post leans too far forward at the address, can harm your game. It restricts the movement of the club head, potentially resulting in a loss of power and accuracy.
The ideal shaft lean at address can vary depending on your club. Here are the general guidelines for post-poor addresses:
- Driver: The ideal shaft lean at address for a driver is neutral or slightly backward. This means that the post should be roughly perpendicular to the ground or leaning slightly away from the target. This promotes a higher launch angle and reduces spin for maximum distance off the tee.
- Irons: With irons, the ideal shaft lean at address typically varies depending on your specific iron. A slight forward post skinny is often recommended for mid to long irons (e.g., 4-iron to 7-iron). This means the hands are slightly ahead of the club head, which helps to strike the ball with a descending blow and produce clean contact. It helps to create a more penetrating ball flight and maximizes distance and control.
- Wedges: A more pronounced forward shaft lean at the address is recommended for wedges. This helps to promote a steeper angle of attack and allows for better control and spin around the greens.
Remember that the amount of shaft lean may vary depending on the specific shot you are trying to hit, such as a full swing or a delicate chip.
But the bottom line is to maintain a neutral or slightly forward shaft lean. It helps promote consistent ball striking. It allows you to develop a repeatable swing that produces consistent results.
Apart from that, a neutral or slightly forward shaft lean encourages a descending strike on the ball, which helps ensure clean contact and minimizes the chance of hitting the ground before the ball.
A proper shaft lean can influence launch angle, spin rate, and overall ball flight. So when you maintain a neutral or slightly forward beam lean, you can optimize your launch conditions for maximum distance with the driver and proper control with the irons and wedge.
Effects of Excessive Shaft Lean at Address
When you have excessive shaft lean at address, your hands are positioned too far ahead of the ball, resulting in a forward press of the hands. Here’s how this position can affect your game:
1. Restricted clubhead movement and potential loss of power
Too much shaft lean can restrict the clubhead’s freedom of movement during the swing. As a result, you may struggle to generate sufficient clubhead speed and power through impact, potentially losing distance. The restricted clubhead movement can limit your ability to release the club entirely, reducing the energy transfer to the ball.
2. Compromised ball contact and accuracy
Excessive shaft lean at address can also affect the golfer’s ability to strike the ball cleanly and accurately.
With the hands pressed too far forward, the golfer may tend to de-loft the clubface, causing the ball to be struck with a lower launch angle and reduced spin.
This can result in shots that fly lower than desired, making it more challenging to hold the green on approach shots.
The compromised ball contact can lead to inconsistent strikes, resulting in a lack of precision and accuracy.
3. Inconsistent swing plane and path
When the hands are pressed forward excessively, it can cause the club to swing on a steeper plane, leading to an overly steep attack angle on the ball.
This steep swing path can make it challenging to consistently square the clubface at impact, resulting in pulls, slices, or inconsistent ball flight patterns.
The inconsistency in the swing plane and path can make it difficult for a golfer to develop a reliable and repeatable swing.
3 Major Causes of Excessive Shaft Lean at Address
Excessive shaft lean at address refers to a situation in golf where the club shaft leans forward excessively towards the target at the moment of speech. This can have a significant impact on swing mechanics and ball flight.
“More golfers than not have too much shaft lean at address position,” says golf author, professional, and master club builder Rick Musselman. “Leaning the shaft toward the target can actually cause a slice and a low trajectory.”
Here are three major causes of excessive shaft lean:
1. Grip-related factors
- Strong grip position: When a golfer has a firm grip, the hands are rotated too far to the right (for a right-handed golfer). This can lead to the clubface being closed at the address, causing the golfer to compensate by leaning the shaft forward excessively to try and square the face at impact. This compensation can result in excessive beam lean.
- Hands too far forward at the address: A golfer positions their hands too far ahead of the ball can cause the shaft to lean excessively. This forward hand position can result from improper grip placement or a conscious effort to de-loft the club.
2. Posture-related factors
- Leaning too far from the hips: Golfers tend to lean too far forward at the address, which can cause excessive shaft lean. This forward tilt can result in the club being too far ahead of the ball, leading to the pole leaning excessively.
- Excessive spine tilt or rounding: When a golfer has too much spine tilt or rounds their upper back excessively at address, it can cause the club to be positioned too far forward, leading to excessive shaft lean. This posture can be a result of poor setup habits or physical limitations.
3. Club and setup-related factors
- Incorrect ball position: Placing the ball too far back in the stance can cause the hands to move forward and the shaft to lean excessively at the address. This can lead to inconsistent contact and a lower ball flight.
- Improper club selection for the desired shot: Using a club with too little loft for the selected image can cause a golfer to compensate by leaning the shaft excessively forward at the address. This compensatory action aims to decrease the dynamic loft and hit the ball lower, but it can result in poor ball striking.
Addressing these causes requires a combination of proper instruction, practice, and self-awareness.
You’ll need to work on your grip, ensure a balanced and athletic posture, and pay attention to ball position and club selection to minimize excessive shaft lean and achieve more consistent swings.
Here’s how to do it:
How to Fix Too Much Shaft Lean at Address
Fixing too much shaft lean at the address requires grip adjustments, posture corrections, and club/setup modifications.
Adjust your grip.
Neutralizing the grip position can help reduce excessive shaft lean.
One approach is to check that the V formed by both hands’ thumb and index finger points towards the right shoulder (for right-handed golfers).
Balancing hand placement ensures that the grip pressure is evenly distributed.
Correct your posture.
You can try maintaining a more upright posture to reduce excessive shaft lean, allowing the arms to hang more naturally.
Maintaining a balanced weight distribution between the feet also helps prevent excessive forward lean.
Club and setup modifications
Adjusting ball position can influence shaft lean, too. Moving the ball slightly back in the stance may help reduce excessive lean. You can use a club with a lower dynamic loft or a less aggressive shaft. You also need to practice alignment.
In a recent episode of Golf.com’s Fully Equipped podcast, Toulon spoke on Jon Rahm’s 2-Ball Ten putters, Steve Stricker’s armlock experiment, and Phil Mickelson’s latest prototype, and he said, “I always tell players if they’re struggling if their setup gets off a little bit, a putting mirror is always a great thing to use.”
So, correct alignment is critical if you want to hit the line you’re targeting.
Practicing and Maintaining Proper Shaft Lean
To reinforce a correct setup, drills and exercises can be incorporated into your practice routine.
Focus on maintaining a forward press at address, feeling the weight favoring the front foot and the hands slightly ahead of the ball.
Incorporate alignment rods or training aids to confirm the correct shaft angle visually.
Also, record your swings from various angles and compare them to those of professional golfers or instructional videos.
Analyze your posture, hand position, and shaft lean at address and impact. Make adjustments as needed and continue to refine your technique.
If self-analysis proves challenging, I recommend you seek professional guidance.
A golf instructor can provide personalized instruction, pinpoint flaws in your setup, and suggest specific drills tailored to your needs.
You’ll also get real-time feedback to help you stay on track.
Some pro golfers advocate hitting irons with full loft and not leaning forward. I remember reading in the June Golf Digest that Luke Donald said the problem with shaft lean is that distance control becomes very difficult. This is true to form, especially in the case of regular golfers.
“I need more height on a pitch shot; I make a few changes in my setup,” says Luke. “I open the clubface more, move the ball up off my left foot, and set the shaft vertical or even lean back a little (left).”
But of course, it’s not always easy to determine precisely how much or how slight shaft lean you will have, especially if you’re an amateur.
However, one thing is sure: excessive shaft lean, where the post leans too far forward at the address, can harm your game. It restricts the movement of the club head, potentially resulting in a loss of power and accuracy.
Consider your grip position, posture, and club setup adjustments if you struggle with this.
I hope you found this article helpful.