Today, we are going to highlight a new way of thinking about how to swing a golf club. This way of swinging might ultimately help you lower your scores and make the game of golf a simpler one.
To get started, you need to keep an open mind about your overall golf game, with the intention of learning how to improve. You can identify issues with your particular swing and then review the mechanics of a great swing to ensure you are doing everything you can to get better.
Understanding Your Swing
To learn how to swing a golf club effectively and perhaps differently depends a great deal on where you are in your golfing game. Are you a beginner? A seasoned pro? Are you somewhere in between?
Knowing where you are will help get you started on altering your swing. Understanding your own mechanics and where you might need improvement are also good starting points.
With that in mind, three different categories that capture all golfers, their experience and technique, exist. The categories are based on the problems associated with that level of experience. Those categories are as follows:
- Beginner: Aiming to simply make contact with the ball.
- Intermediate: Working on controlling the ball’s overall direction while simultaneously keeping good, strong contact.
- Professional: Continuously working on controlling the distance of shots and the trajectory of the ball. Pros also still continue to work on the two goals above, as these are part of anyone’s overall golf game, regardless of experience level.
When you look at what stage you might be in above, you can start to break down what problems with your swing you need to focus on and fix. In fact, many golfers end up focusing on broad golfing technique instead of identifying and working on their actual swing problems. This is not the most effective way to improve your golf swing.
Let us now discuss in details each category.
If you are a beginner, you are simply trying to get the golf ball up into the air. Your primary focus is to strike the ball with the middle of your golf club. When you do so, you will make contact with the ball and move it forward.
Solving the beginner problem is pretty straightforward. Even if you only make contact and drive the ball a mere 50 yards, you’ve solved the swing problem most often associated with beginners. Once you can strike the ball, you can move on to learning how to do so well.
At the intermediate level, you likely strike consistently. Your goal moves to controlling your swing path and the clubface through the impact you are making with the ball.
While the rest of your swing is still important, the only reason to control the many parts of your swing is to achieve the goal highlighted above.
You will also get an increased focus if you can concentrate on just this one goal. You also want to maintain focus on driving through the impact and not just at the impact.
Professionals are beyond the point of hitting the ball in a straight line. That skill has long since been mastered. However, at this point, you need to shift your focus to your distance.
Golfers in this category want to do so while also ensuring they continue to master the goals of the beginner and intermediate categories. This means controlling your club head’s velocity, along with learning the angle of your approach and the loft through your impact.
The goal for professionals is to maintain a consistent launch for each shot made. Then you want to maintain that same outcome using different shot shapes.
How to Choose Your Goal
We’ve outlined three distinct problems related to golf swings, and they all correspond with an experience level. So, knowing your level of play will help you determine which problem to focus on when improving your golf swing.
Identifying that problem and then working on improving it should be your only focus when it comes to learning how to swing a golf club.
How to Swing a Golf Club
We all know that the smallest of details can have a huge impact on your golf swing and overall golf game. The mechanics of your game all start and end with your swing. If you are hooking or slicing the ball, or if you aren’t getting the yardage you want, your game obviously suffers accordingly.
While we have highlighted the biggest concerns for each category of golfer, we also should mention the overall mechanics of a good golf swing. Furthermore, if you are looking for the secret to a great golf swing, check out Ben Hogan’s golf swing secret, which many thought had long since been lost. With the secret, you’ll likely start experiencing more powerful and accurate shots than you ever have before.
Mechanics #1: Master Your Stance
- Body, Club, and Ball Position
You want to begin with your front foot a bit ahead of the ball. This allows your club to rest right near the middle of our body. You also want your feet to be a bit wider than the width of your shoulders while the golf ball should be in the middle of your stance.
You should use your biggest clubs, such as drivers and hybrids more toward your front foot, and use the smaller clubs more toward the middle of your stance. Also, keep in mind that if you are a right-handed player, the opposite will be true.
In that case, your left foot will be closer to the hole than the ball is, typically by around one foot or less. For left-handed players, the right foot is closer to the hole.
- Distance From the Ball
Make sure you are close enough to the ball and the middle of the clubface comfortably reaches the ball. You want this to be true when your arms are out straight but yet still in a relaxed state and position.
You do not want to be too close to the ball, which would be the case if you had to bend your elbows. Likewise, you do not want to be too far away from the ball either. This would be indicated by your arms being completely outstretched.
Lastly, you just want the upper part of your body to be a little bent in the direction of the ball and you want your torso to be bent away from the target. You can tilt the upper part of your body a little bit away from your target.
Alignment refers to the direction in which your shoulders and feet are pointed. You want to imagine that there is a line moving from your back shoulder to your front and from your back foot to the front foot. That line should point at your intended target directly. This means you are aligned and square.
Here is a quick way to double-check your alignment:
- Get into your normal stance.
- Put a golf club on the teeing area and place it right along the tops of your toes.
- Take a step back from the club and take note of the direction in which it is pointing. If you are aligned properly, it will be pointed at your target or the hole.
You don’t want to be too stiff in your stance. Instead, you want to bend your knees slightly. If you want to try out swinging with completely straight knees, go for it. You can tell immediately that it’s an unnatural stance.
Keep a couple of things in mind when bending your knees:
- You want to keep your weight balanced on the balls of your feet for you to more easily shift weight from the front to the back as you swing through the ball. It may take some getting used to since it almost always feels easier and better to balance your weight on your heels.
- Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between both feet. You can get a good feel for your stance if you bring the heels of your feet off the ground quickly, shifting your weight from one foot to the other.
- You will end up shifting your weight throughout your swing, but you want to start with even weight distribution.
Mechanics #2: Practice Good Grip
When gripping your club, you want to keep it relaxed. This allows you to turn over the clubhead when you are swinging, which leads to higher accuracy and in most cases, long distance.
Try to stay relaxed, holding the club naturally. The more you focus on your grip, the more likely you are to tense up.
With that said, you should choose the grip that is most comfortable and sustainable for you. There are three primary grips you can try out to see which suits your style best.
- Baseball Grip
This grip is straightforward and resembles that of a baseball player holding a bat.
- Overlap Grip
This grip provides a bit more stability than the baseball grip since your fingers overlap. To get the overlap grip, you can start out using the baseball grip.
After which, lift your right pinky finger and move your right hand up. Finally, rest the right pinky on top of the index finger or on the joint between the left middle and left index fingers.
- Interlocking Grip
This is likely the most stable of the three grips; you interlock your right and left hands on the club’s underside. This is a common grip with some professionals, including Tiger Woods.
To do so, start with the baseball grip, and then put your left index finger between the joint of your ring and pinky fingers on your right hand. This leaves your right pinky and left index fingers to interlock with each other, forming a kind of “x” shape.
Mechanics #3: Learn the Different Swinging Techniques
A backswing refers to when you bring the club back from its starting position to above your head. You rotate your torso by shifting your weight from the ball of the foot in front to the ball of the foot in the back.
There are three things to keep in mind during your backswing:
- In the first phase of your backswing, you want to move your hands straight back, simultaneously keeping them close to your back leg. Your arm should be in front, as straight as possible. While the clubhead is hinging backward, the shaft should be nearly parallel to the ground.
- In the second phase, you want a bit of a wrist break when you move your arm. Keep the club perpendicular with your left arm if you are right-handed.
- In the third phase of your backswing, you should rotate your torso back so that the clubhead moves a little behind your hands. Your front arm should bend slightly as well.
The clubhead should feel as if it is moving behind everything else when you are swinging. Let the 90-degree forearm angle increase and then unwind rapidly. If you use this maneuver, the clubhead speed will be significant but the body of the club will allow you to continue maintaining control.
Lock your front arm just before making an impact with the ball. The straighter your arm is the better for your swing.
When you are in your downswing, move your weight from the ball of your back foot to the ball of the front one. Do this while trying to maintain a bit of flex in your front knee.
Mechanics #4: Striking the Ball
- Lean the Shaft Forward
You want to lean the shaft forward in the direction of the target. This makes sure your hands are out ahead of the clubhead when you make contact.
This can help you when you strike the ball. Of course, make sure you are using your hips when you make your shot.
- Be Mindful of Your Strength
You don’t need to exert all your strength on your swing. You don’t need to pummel the ball. It is good form that gets you the longest distance, not the power behind the swing.
We’ve not only discussed the mechanics of how to swing golf clubs, but we have also looked into common problems that might be happening with your swing. Knowing your experience and skill level can help you determine the best approach to improving your swing.
If you are looking for even more in-depth assistance with your golf swing, you can find it here.