A Lesson Learned: Set up to Drive Well

Jon Tattersall

A lot will be made of the extraordinary birdie putts Adam Scott holed, first at 18 and then at 10 in the playoff, to win the Masters. But Scottie wouldn't have been in that position if he hadn't driven the ball with such deft precision all week.

Sure, the old adage "drive for show and putt for doe" still applies, but at a course like Augusta National, where playing to the right spots on the greens in vital to have any chance at making a putt, the driver is the second most important club in the bag.

Adam Scott hit perfect tee shots coming down the stretch, piping it down the middle at 14, 15, 17, 18 twice, and at 10 during the playoff. In every one of those cases, he was able to hit the ball hard because of his perfect balance. And while the average golfer will never achieve the kind of clubhead speed Scottie generates with a driver, you can learn from what he does to get himself into position for those quality swings.

Scottie has one of the best setups in golf, especially with the driver. His feet are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, which gives him a solid base around which to turn.

His posture is perfect -- shoulders back, chest out, chin high, knees slightly flexed and he bows at the hips. And his ball position is just right for power, far enough forward that the left arm and the club shaft form a straight line. That allows him to make contact with his tee shots just slightly past the bottom the arc. By catching the ball as the club is traveling slightly upward, the driver shots fly on a flat trajectory, high but with very little spin. That insures maximum length and great accuracy.

His swing is a thing of beauty. That was especially true at Augusta National where he hit some of the best shots under pressure in recent memory. Unless you are a gifted athlete, you won't be able to replicate that swing. But you can work to imitate his setup.

Photos of Scottie won't be hard to come by. Stand in front of a mirror and try to mimic his setup, including the forward position of the ball with the driver. Once you master the feel for an Adam Scott-style address, you will be in great shape to make a simple turn and return to the ball.

It won't win you a green jacket, but a good setup is the start of all great shots. And if you can only mimic one player's setup with the driver, make that player Adam Scott.

Jon Tattersall is co-founder of Golf Performance Partners and a certified strength and conditioning specialist in addition to his PGA credentials.