A good swing is the foundation of your game and understanding it is the first step to developing a decent motion that works. While not all players will ever achieve a perfect swing it is essential that you have a relatively consistent swing with a fair amount of power.
There is a lot to know and remember and in this article, I will take you through the fundamentals of how to swing a golf club.
- Swinging The Club – Golf Swing Mechanics
- How to Swing a Golf Club – Step By Step
Apart from the physical and technical aspects of the swing, your mind plays an equally significant role therefore it is imperative to keep a strong mindset during your swing sequence.
To generate consistency in your swing it involves preparation and perseverance. It is sensible to build a fluid swing to maintain the same tempo to allow you to maintain your balance from the takeaway to the finish.
Steer away from using brute force to generate speed and rather start with an effortless swing and speeding it up as you make headway without tensing up.
Unlike many other sports where hand-eye coordination plays a substantial role, the golf ball is static when you strike it.
Swinging The Club – Golf Swing Mechanics
Knowledge of the method involved in a comprehensive golf swing will aid you to develop a more accurate and dependable swing resulting in quality shots.
To accomplish this your golf swing should be effortless and uninterrupted with a pause at the top of your backswing. Blending all the parts into one process is easier said than done.
To understand the comprehensive golf swing mechanics, we will investigate the following components:
- Downswing and impact
When you have conquered the mechanics, however challenging it appears at the outset, you will find the game of golf highly pleasurable.
There are numerous mechanics involved and once you comprehend the specifics it will be considerably simpler to pinpoint potential faults in your swing when you generate a consistent trajectory that requires changing.
Before we assess the specific components in the golf swing, let’s discuss some aspects that will play a key role in the mechanics of the swing.
The swing plane is the trajectory that your golf club travels during the swing and there are two main distinct planes that we will discuss here.
The most popular plane is the one-plane swing, where the club travels on the same plane during the backswing and the downswing.
The second, and more difficult, is the two-plane swing. The backswing is more upright on the backswing and by dropping your hands during the transition the downswing is on a flatter plane. The two-plane swing promotes an increase in swing speed and distance.
Your Power Comes from Your Body
Power in your swing is produced by moving your whole body in harmony and not merely your arms. Swinging with your arms only will result in unreliable and ineffective contact.
Coil your body
By coiling your body like a spring throughout the backswing creates tremendous power when released resulting in optimum speed.
Keep Your Head Down
The natural predisposition of golfers is to look at where your ball is going instead of pausing to see contact between clubface and the golf ball before looking up.
A fast and powerful swing will force your head up as a consequence of the impetus generated but it is not the only cause for lifting your head. This movement creates challenges in your swing and frequently leads to you topping or mishitting the ball.
This video explains some of the basic principles before we get into the finer details.
How to Swing a Golf Club – Step By Step
Your posture is crucial in the setup when addressing the ball. Your swing is reliant on a rock-solid foundation that is retained during the process to deliver a solid strike.
Initiate the posture by aligning your body parallel to the target line for straight shots. Let your arms dangle down your sides before gripping your club in a relaxed position. The final position should be comfortable and prepared for action.
Form a Direct Back
Ensure that your back is straight and not bent or arched. The swing should rotate around your straight spine.
Flex The Knees
It is a natural athletic position to bends your knees slightly and it will promote extra movement and power during the swing and enable you to keep your balance.
Too much flex in the knees results in too little flex in the hips causing in a body that is too vertical.
Push Out Your Rear End
Once you have straightened your back, push your rear end out slightly to offset the top half of your body that is bent over.
By distributing your weight equally on the balls of both your feet will make it simpler to shift your weight forward and backward during the swing process.
The weight distribution should be distributed equally between your two feet at address and the weight will shift to your trailing foot in the course of the backswing and then to the leading foot in the course of the downswing.
The way you grip your golf club there are many things to consider that will have an impact on your ball trajectory.
The grips that are provided with the club are normally of a standard size which may not be the best size for you. There are many sizes and thicknesses available to make it more comfortable. The standard grips are usually suitable to golfers with smaller hands and golfers with larger hands would require thicker grips.
The golf grip is a two-part process:
- The highest hand, or lead hand, on your handle, is located on the golf handle
- Then a lower hand or trailing hand is then added to the grip
There are 3 different strengths of grips.
The neutral grip starts by positioning your clubface square to the ball at address.
Position your leading hand on the grip and ensure that only the knuckles of your index finger and middle finger of the leading hand are visible. Position your trailing hand below your leading hand and ensure that only the knuckles of the index finger and the middle finger of the trailing hand is visible.
The stronger grip promotes a closed clubface at impact and results in a draw or a hook as a result of your hands turning over.
Place your leading hand on the grip followed by your trailing hand. Now the knuckle of the ring finger will be visible together with the 2 knuckles visible on the neutral grip.
A weak grip is the opposite of a strong grip with the hands are leaning more to the non-dominant side. This results in an open clubface at contact and a left to right ball trajectory.
The types of grips used by golfers are conditional on the golfers’ hand size and personal preference.
The Vardon Grip, also often described as the overlapping grip, was introduced by Harry Vardon around the turn of the 20th century and is the most used and recommended experts. It is more suitable for golfers with larger hands and longer fingers.
The pinky of your trailing hand overlaps the trench between the index and middle finger of the leading hand. The thumb of the lead hand lays in the lifeline of the trailing hand.
The 2nd most used grip is the interlocking grip often employed by golfers with smaller hands and shorter fingers.
Similarly, to the Vardon grip, you connect the trailing hands’ pinky with the leading hands’ index finger, and they interlock with each other in the interlocking grip promoting control through the interlocking position. The thumb of the lead hand lays in the lifeline of the trailing hand.
Ten Finger grip / Baseball Grip
The least popular grip is based on the way batters grip a baseball bat with both hands placed beneath each other with no link between the hands. This is preferred by golfers with difficulties flexing their fingers or golfers with small hands.
Place your lead hand on the handle first and then the trailing hand. Push the hands together until the trailing hand pinky touches the index finger.
This video will give you more insight into the types of grips
To be accurate you have to know where you want the ball to go before you can hit a good shot. Establish your target line. When addressing the ball, the direction your feet and shoulders are pointed to is critical.
Check your alignment. You want to align your feet and shoulders so that an imaginary line passing from your back shoulder to front shoulder — and back foot to front foot — is pointed directly at your target. This is called keeping your alignment “square.”
To check your alignment, get into your stance, and place a golf club on the teeing area along with the tips of your toes. Step back from the golf club and look at the direction it’s pointing in. It should be pointed either at your target or at the hole itself.
The ideal position is center for middle clubs moving forward slightly forwards for longer clubs and backward (close to the center) with the short clubs. The ball should be placed in the spot slightly before the point where the club makes contact with the ground.
You don’t stretch and don’t have it too close.
Place your feet so that your front foot is slightly ahead of the ball; this way your club will be resting near the center of your body. Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart with your golf ball toward the middle of your stance.
Typically, you want the ball to be in the middle of your body, but this will depend on what club you are swinging. With the ball in the centerline of your stance, you want to ensure you have a good balance and are not too far away with your club.
Play your bigger clubs (such as hybrids or drivers) more towards your front foot, and smaller clubs (like irons) towards the middle of your stance.
If you’re a right-handed player, it will be the opposite. Your left foot will be about one foot — often less — closer to the hole than the ball is.
If you’re a left-handed player, your right foot will be closer to the hole than the ball is.
Get close enough to the ball so that the middle of the clubface reaches the ball with your arms out straight but still relaxed. Don’t stand so close to the ball that you have to bend your elbows to accommodate the club positioning. At the same time, don’t stand so far away that your arms are fully outstretched.
You want your upper body to be slightly bent toward the ball and your torso bent away from the target, but not dramatically so. Tilt your upper body slightly away from your target.
The start of your swing will influence the success of your swing and any flaws at the beginning of the takeaway will follow through to the finish and you are not likely to recover from any shortcomings generated at the start.
Start by turning your torso to the right, without sliding your lower body to the right, concentrating on coiling your shoulders to produce the power essential for the downswing. Make a long and effortless takeaway while maintaining your hands and arms reasonably still and keep the swing as effortless as possible.
The 1-piece takeaway, the triangle between the clubhead and your shoulders, is one of the more controversial golf techniques. Even though the contemporary methodology for an early cock of the wrists even before the hands reaching waist-high. The 1-piece takeaway is as a result of maintaining the triangle in one piece for as long as possible by keeping your wrists intact. The early cocking of the wrist led to the golfers employing this technique failing to achieve the maximum distance that they are capable of.
The backswing is a crucial part of the golf swing where you raise the club towards the back from the address position to the top of the backswing. A defective backswing can and will have a major effect on the full swing.
Start by pushing the hands in a straight line back while holding them near to your back leg and keeping your front arm in a straight line while you do this. As the clubhead pivots towards the back between your leading arm and the club shaft, the shaft turns roughly parallel to the ground.
During the backswing, you will rotate your torso and transferring the weight from the ball of your front foot to the ball of your back foot.
When moving your arms parallel to the ground your wrist will start to cock and the club ought to be virtually at right angles to your front arm while the club is aiming marginally outside the golf ball. Continue pushing your hands and arms back until the club is facing down the target line.
Top of the Backswing
Your front shoulder should turn behind the ball to reach the top of the backswing. Avoid the impulse to stand up and keep your posture and balance by holding your back leg bent. When reaching the top of the backswing your body ought to be completely coiled and geared up for the downswing.
After you have completed your backswing there should be a slight delay before commencing with the downswing. Hurrying your downswing is almost certain to prevent good contact.
The pause at the top end of the backswing allows you to harmonize all the moving parts in your swing, create an effortless rhythm necessary for solid contact. Hold your top position for a moment before starting your downswing.
5. Downswing and Impact
Following a smooth backswing and the transition at the top, the downswing should likewise be smooth to maintain command of all the parts engaged in the swing and avoiding a violently fast downswing. The downswing must start slowly and build speed progressively until you reach maximum velocity at impact.
Initiate your downswing by sensing that your right shoulder and right hip drive in harmony in the direction of the ball and that your arms (not shoulders) are falling downwards for peak speed at impact.
The harmonious movement of the hip and shoulder the hips will be ahead of the shoulder allowing the lower body to lead the swing. By starting the swing in this way, your hips will turn to the left instead of sliding ahead too much thus avoiding the reverse pivot and promote the creation of maximum speed.
Starting the downswing by pushing your hips forward too soon encourages the body to lean towards the back thus creating the reverse pivot that slows your swing down thereby inhibiting you from achieving the highest speed that you are capable of.
You ought to transfer your weight from the ball of your trailing foot to the ball of your front foot just as you initiate your downswing. Maintain the flex in your front knee to aid the weight transfer to the front foot. Also, permit your bent knees to shift forward in the direction of the target.
Avoid transferring your weight too soon or beginning the movement of your hands too quickly as this will alter the angle of the clubhead and will adjust and influence the direction of the shot.
At the point of impact, your shaft ought to be tilting in the direction of the target and your hands ahead of the ball. This position will promote contact with the ball before contact with the ground is made.
Many golfers start out thinking that once they created contact between the ball and the clubface that the wing is complete. Although the contact is important, stopping at that point will result in the deceleration of the clubhead at the exact moment when acceleration should be at its highest.
This will create an incomplete action and have a severe effect on the ball trajectory and your balance.
In the finish position your body ought to have twisted roughly 90-degrees, your belt buckle pointing towards the target, the club positioned behind you, your body stable and your weight placed on your lead foot with the trailing foot balanced on its big toe.
You should be able to easily maintain this finish as if you are posing for pictures as you watch the ball flying in the distance.
The golf swing is a complex process whereby many moving parts combine to produce a connection between the clubhead and the golf ball.
This extraordinarily complex process is extremely difficult to execute without understanding the parts that make up the complete process. Knowing and understanding the process will enable you to identify defects that require rectification.
While it does seem like a lot to think about, take it one step at a time and read through the article again from time to time to see where you might be lacking.
We hope that this piece will support you in the process of developing your swing and will aid you in the future to remedy your swing when you encounter some struggles.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.