Golf is a fantastic sport and when on form, there is no greater feeling than picking up your brand new driver and sending a long drive down the middle of the fairway. However, the golf swing is not easy to master and although the basic may be very simple to pick up at first, no two people will have the same golf swing. We all have different body types and shapes but, there are several elements which make a successful golf swing. Spending time working on your swing is the only way you will develop your skills and become the most consistent player you can be.
We have six great golf swing tips below which will help you hit the ball straight consistently whether it be your driver, new set of golf irons or your putter.
The remainder of your golf swing can be perfect but if you have a poor grip, chances are you will struggle to hit the ball well. Not every player uses the same grip but one of the most popular to get started is the overlapping grip. By using this grip, you will remain in control of the club and it helps a lot in producing a consistent golf swing. One of the things I found out early in my career was that I was gripping the club the wrong way. I naturally had a fade in my shot and I wasn’t able to control this for a long time. It was not until I started having lessons when my pro spotted the mistake and it wasn’t long until this was ironed out of my game.
Use the Body for Power
Many beginner golfers try and hit the ball as hard as they can all the time and in doing so, swing their arms as much as possible. This is a mistake and will result in a huge loss of control, potentially sending the ball into danger. The key for generating power is to use the body, not the arms. To help achieve this, try hitting the ball into the air without a backswing at the range. You cannot use your arms and while it may feel strange at first, it promotes use of the body to generate power. What you will realise is that this involves spinal rotation and good core stability.
You might be wondering how these two elements contribute towards generating power? Spinal rotation has a big part to play in your backswing. If you watch the professionals, it is incredible how much flexibility and movement they have in this area which gives them leverage to release all that power through the golf swing. The differential between the movement in their hips and spine is how all the power is released and requires work off the course to improve this area. On top of this, the core is where the movement begins and provides support to the spine. So it is key for releasing that force efficiently and hence why a weak core can lead to poor posture and injury.
Before beginning the backswing, you must check your balance and having a steady centre of gravity while remaining loose to complete the swing is important. You can achieve this by putting your weight on the balls of your feet and slightly bending your knees. Aim the club face towards the target and align your feet and shoulders with it to get into position.
One of the biggest mistakes we spot especially in beginners is swinging the club too hard which leads to losing balance. When you give that little bit of extra effort, you lose control of your swing whether it may be as simple as weight transfer or even your shape on address. The most important aspect to a smooth and graceful swing is balance and control which not only make it easier for you to get distance on your ball but also ensure that you reduce any injuries coming up.
You may have heard the phrase ‘keep your head down’ in relation to the golf swing but this is actually bad advice. Trying to keep your head down during the golf swing can create a lot of tension in the upper body and result in a tight, poor swing. Instead, think about keeping your head steady during the swing. The head will naturally move slightly during the swing and go back a little on the backswing and forward a little as the club moves to contact the ball. There is nothing wrong with that and while your head needs to remain level through the swing to maintain a good angle, slight movements is not a problem and can assist in the fluidity of the swing process.
If you are struggling to keep your head straight and eyes fixed on the ball, here is something you can try next time you are preparing to take a shot. The most common problem is probably because you are tucking your chin into your chest which is restricting the movement of your leading shoulder making it difficult to perform a proper golf swing.
So next time you are going through your practice swing, get into your normal stance and while keeping your eyes fixed on the ball, raise your head slightly until your leading shoulder no longer makes contact with your chin.
Having contacted the ball with the face of the club, the swing is not over. The follow through is important because it promotes a balanced finish and to achieve this, allow the momentum generated by your swing to pull your body around. Do not force the follow through because it will result in a loss of balance, let your body and the club do the work and allow momentum to create the perfect follow through.
All the little things you work on such as your backswing, downing and balance is to address the moment of impact. However, this particular one is not spoken about very much if you are just starting off. My coach always says that bad wrist action equals a bad shot 90% of the time. You want to keep the wrist of your leading hand flat relative to your forearm and facing the target because on impact that’s where the ball will travel towards.
This is probably the most cliché tip of all time but it is also for us the most important tip of all time. Especially if you are facing a 300-yard drive with an audience which might be friends or fellow golfers, it is far easier said than done. Jack Nicklaus famously once said “I’ve always thought the phrase hit it nice and easy, when a golfer needed a big shot, was dopey advice. “Hit it nice and smoothly” sounds much better to me.” And that is the key thing to remember as you go through your golf career, you want a smooth and consistent swing. The way to do this, is by relaxing your muscles which will help achieve proper balance. As you train your body over time to relax and maintain good balance, you will be able to perform an effortless golf swing no matter what the situation is.
These tips are a great framework to build your foundations from to give you a smooth golf swing throughout your career. Aside from these simple tips, I achieved my greatest improvements when I decided to seek advice from a pro at the local golf club because I was thinking too much about the different components of my swing which meant that I was not very relaxed when I approached my swing. This made it look awkward and often resulted in me picking up bad habits. With a coach, you will focus on small little things about your swing and potentially give you some drills to help work on resolving these which over the long-term has helped my swing considerably.