The Golf Swing Made Simple

By Les Miller

The best way to improve your game is to master the basics. That's what the players on the PGA Tour do. There are simple yet effective ways that can build your confidence and improve your swing for the results for which you have been looking.

The Basics

Check your grip, posture, alignment and ball position.
- Grip - Place the club shaft diagonally across the fingers of the hand. The grip should be tight enough to maintain control of the club, but not so tight that your knuckles turn white.
- Stance - Feet should be a shoulder-width apart with your back straight and your knees flexed.
- Alignment - Shoulders should be pointing towards the target.
- Ball Position - The clubhead should rest comfortably behind the ball with your knees flexed. When using the driver, place the ball just off your left heel. With shorter clubs, move the ball toward the center.

These are the areas that are checked, not only on the practice tee, but during rounds. This is an easy fix and does not require you to "work on your swing" during the round. Save that work for the driving range.

Find Your Tempo

Tempo is the speed of a backswing and downswing. Physically larger golfers tend to have a slower tempo because their size naturally creates a larger swing arc and subsequently more clubhead speed. Experiment on the driving range with different tempos to see which tempo gives you the greatest accuracy of shots.

Backswing Length

The length of the backswing varies among golfers. Most PGA Tour professionals tend to have a full backswing. That means when they bring their club back, it is parallel to the ground. Former PGA Tour professional John Daly had one of the longest backswings; it looked like he touched his club to the ground on the backswing. You can generate more speed with a long backswing, but you can sacrifice control.


Lag is the angle you create between your left arm and the club shaft during the downswing. The smaller the angle, the greater the leverage you will have. Think of your wrists as a lever - you trade force for distance. The more distance you have, the more time you have to build up clubhead speed. This depends on how flexible your wrists are. If you are a golfer who can't create a lot of lag, you can try to compensate with a longer backswing and a more tightly coiled torso.

Get in Rhythm

No matter how good of a player you are, it's common to temporarily lose your rhythm during a round. Try to relax. Take a couple of extra practice swings holding two or three clubs like you would when warming up before your round. Notice how many times tour pros take a few extra practice swings before an important shot. They are working on their rhythm.

Close Your Eyes

If you find yourself losing your swing, take practice swings with your eyes closed. When bad shots pop up during the round, it's common for golfers to overly fixate on the ball and lose their swing. Swinging with the eyes closed gets you back to swinging the club head through the impact zone.


Look at the hole when putting instead of the ball. This is an excellent "fix" if you find yourself missing short putts. By looking at the hole, you free up your mind and naturally release the putter head through the contact zone.

Keep it Simple

The best way to create a golf swing that is repeatable is to keep your swing thoughts simple. The basics are what all good golfers work on at all times. Good instructors hammer at the basics: proper grip, stance, alignment, ball position and posture are the "key" areas.

About The Author

Based in Southern California, Les Miller has been a freelance correspondent writing golf-related articles for more than 20 years. His articles have appeared in the "World Golf Wire," "Dicks Sporting Goods" magazine and Better A former PGA golf professional, Miller formerly worked for several major golf companies as the vice president of sales and marketing and the director of research and development.

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