Golfers are lucky in that, prior to hitting the ball, they have an unlimited (though do not take that too literally!) amount of time in which to prepare themselves.
For instance, you may have the best tennis backhand in the world but if you are not in the right position on the court to hit the ball as it comes to you, then that ability is irrelevant.
Please do not underestimate the importance of a good address position in golf. If the static part of the game is wrong, then the swing will undoubtedly be adversely affected. The beauty of attaining a good set-up is that it can be, and indeed in my opinion is, best practised indoors in front of a mirror, where you can see exactly what you are doing.
One simple fact to remember in golf is that what we are doing and what we feel we are doing are very often two entirely different things. So let’s look at what a good address position consists of.
The left hand
Your hands are your sole contact with the club, and their job is to control the clubface, and to return it squarely back to the ball at impact. Most beginners find the correct grip feels far from natural and tend to grip the club in a manner that feels comfortable, but which is, in fact, incorrect.
A good grip does not guarantee that you will be a good golfer, but a poor grip means that you will have to make compensations in your swing and you will never get the best out of yourself, so do take time to acquire what I believe is one of the most important fundamentals of golf.
With the clubface square to the target, position the grip so that it sits under the pad at the heel of the hand and lays diagonally across the palm resting in the forefinger. The end of the grip should not dig into your palm, so allow about a quarter of an inch to extend beyond your palm. This will mean your little finger will be about an inch from the end of the grip.
Now close the fingers around the grip, and position the thumb just to the right of centre. Do not stretch your thumb down the shaft as this will cause tension in the muscles at the front of the forearm. The last three fingers, rather than the thumb and forefinger, should provide most of the pressure. This will place the club in the palm and the fingers of the left hand, providing a very secure and snug fit.
Hold the club up in front of you and you will see that two to two-and-a-half knuckles are visible, and that the ‘V’ formed by your thumb and forefinger points to the right side of your face, approximately to your eye.
To test if your grip is correct hold the club out horizontally in front of you, and release the thumb and last three fingers. If your grip is correct the club will now balance under the heel of your hand and in the crook of your forefinger. If you have placed the club too much in the centre of your palm rather than diagonally across it, the club will probably fall to the ground.