October 31, 2023

Jake Steinfeld: From Bodybuilding to Teeing Off (A Case Study in Game Improvement)

By Cameron Robinson, British PGA Member

Jake Steinfeld, founder of Body by Jake and a pioneer in the world of personal fitness training, brings his unique perspective to the golf course. In this interview, he shares insights into his golf journey, his Tour favorite and how his golf game is improving because of our work together. 

Probing Q&A

Robinson: How long have you been playing golf?

Steinfeld: 2 Years

Robinson: Are you right- or left-handed?

Steinfeld: Left-handed

Robinson: What is your motivation for playing golf?

Steinfeld: My kids play, and we have homes in Hawaii and Nantucket, Massachusetts. Aerobic Golf was a game I invented where you hit a ball, run to the ball and hit it again for nine holes to get everyone playing, burning calories and tired!

Robinson: Where do you play most of your golf?

Steinfeld: Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles, California

Robinson: What is your best score for 18 holes?

Steinfeld: I usually count the number of balls that I lose! My best score is 90.

Robinson: What injuries or restrictions to movement do you have?

Steinfeld: As a lifetime bodybuilder, it’s fair to say that my upper body isn’t made for golf.

Robinson: What is your background in sport/physical activity?

Steinfeld: I played lacrosse and founded the first major outdoor professional lacrosse league in the game. I was also the first guy to make personal fitness training an occupation in the USA. I launched a personal training business called Body by Jake.

Robinson: Who is your favorite PGA Tour player?

Steinfeld: Rory McIlroy – He’s well-spoken, has a great head on his shoulders and hits the ball a long way for someone who weighs in at 165 pounds.

Robinson: Do you go to the practice range before a round or in between rounds?

Steinfeld: Sometimes I go on the range before I play.

Robinson: For a driver, describe your best shots.

Steinfeld: Fade – the ball starts right of the target line and curves right to the left with a low trajectory.

Robinson: For a driver, describe your worst shots.

Steinfeld: Push slice – the ball starts left of the target line and curves right to left with a low trajectory (sometimes along the ground) finishing further left of the target.

Robinson: For a 5-iron, describe your best shots.

Steinfeld: Pull – the ball starts right of the target with no curvature during flight and a low trajectory.

Robinson: For a 5-iron, describe your worst shots.

Steinfeld: Push slice – the ball starts left of the target line and curves right to left with a low trajectory (sometimes along the ground) finishing further left of the target.

Robinson: On wedge shots, do your divots tend to be shallow or deep?

Steinfeld: Deep.

Robinson: Around the green, what is your favorite club for playing chip shots?

Steinfeld: Pitching Wedge.


Golf Professional Diagnosis and Prescription

Jake was holding the clubhead by leaning the shaft too far forward at address (see Figure 1). This caused the ball flight to be extremely low with little carry distance. As described by Jake, he was getting “line drives” – a ball hit not far above the ground without any curve. He compared this baseball reference to his golf scenario – the low-pull ball flight.

Figure 1


At the address, move the shaft to align with the shirt buttons rather than the lead leg (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Jake’s new ball flight: A higher trajectory fade.

This change helped Jake fly the ball onto the greens and stop the ball when hitting approach shots.

“I look around now to see if anyone saw my ball soar into the sky after I’ve hit it,” said Jake.


How the fix worked

The change in Jake’s setup at address helped to get his ball in the air because of the increase in loft presented to the ball at the moment of impact. After all, loft is the most crucial factor in getting the ball in the air.

Each golf club is made in a factory with loft – the ‘manufacturer’s loft’ – with a pitching wedge having a higher loft than a 5-iron and a 5-iron more than a driver. The golfer can alter the manufacturer’s loft at the address position by leaning the shaft backward (Figure 3) or forward (Figure 4).

Figure 3 Address – Laid Back Shaft (increased loft)


Figure 4 Address – Leaned forwards (decreased loft)

The loft of the club changes dynamically during the golf swing.

An increase in Jake’s effective loft at setup by leaning the shaft back towards the middle of his body rather than towards the target moved his 5-iron closer to the manufacturer’s loft rather than the delofted version pictured in Figures 1 and 4 above. This gave Jake a head start towards producing a greater dynamic loft at impact to send the ball higher in the air.

Please note there is a difference between loft (hooded vs. laid back) and clubface angle (closed vs. open). Loft is what you need to get the ball airborne.

Also, there is sometimes a misconception that increasing the club’s angle of attack, i.e., ‘hitting down on to the ball,’ will get the ball to fly high into the air. Loft has the single most significant influence on how high a ball flies.


Leaning the shaft back at address will increase the chances of getting the ball airborne by increasing the effective loft of the club.

Cameron Robinson, a British PGA Member, brings his golf expertise from London to Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles, California. With a background as a lead assistant at London’s top private clubs and a coaching record that includes PGA Professionals and British Senior mid-am champions, Cameron is dedicated to helping golfers reach their goals by enhancing their current technique to achieve desired ball flight results while preserving their functional swing tendencies.