A good set-up is the first thing I feel on any shot. If you stand in a certain way, then the rest of your swing follows that initial set-up. So if you have your weight in your heels, then you’ll tend to take the club back on the inside. Conversely, if your weight is too much on the balls of your feet or toes, then the tendency is to pick it up outside the line.
Posture is all-important and there’s really no excuse to stand badly at address. For me that means engaging the shoulder blades properly so that the shoulders are back and down. It’s the opposite of being round shouldered. If you want to feel what that’s like, stand straight with your arms by your sides and then move your hands back behind you. You can feel how your shoulders lock into place. As you can see in the picture, there is a connection between the biceps of my left arm and my pecs. In other words, I build that connection at address and then make sure the upper arm squeezes into the chest in the backswing.
Locking the left shoulder helps you to stay connected throughout the swing, keeping the arms and body working in unison to work the club properly. I like to feel that I’m squeezing my biceps against my pecs. Maintain that feeling through the swing and it makes you feel very connected.
I have no problem with setting the hands early in the backswing. With a “one-piece takeaway” the body and arms can get ahead of the club and therefore out of sync.
As I settle into position, I bend my knees until I feel the tops of my thighs, my quads, engage. Once I feel this “connection” to the ground, I lightly pinch my shoulder blades together, then relax. This makes my shoulders feel wide and strong, not rounded and weak. Focusing on my posture really helps my consistency day to day. When my legs are sturdy, it gives me confidence that I can put some speed in the swing without losing my balance.