Tips for a Successful Yet Simple Golf Swing

By Todd Mrowice

silhouette of golfer practicing swing

The golf swing is a complicated set of precise movements that all need to come together in order for you to be successful. Which makes it incredibly impressive to watch the best players in the world repeat perfect golf swings one after another. For most amateur golfers, perfection isn't the goal, rather, a simple yet effective golf swing. Here are some tips on how to keep it simple on the course.

The Basics

Sometimes when it feels like your swing has abandoned you it's best to get back to basics. Instead of overcomplicating or evaluating yourself too much, remember what fundamentals got you to this point. Likewise, the basics are a great way to get yourself started.

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. Many have likened grip pressure to holding a small bird in your hands. Don't hurt it, but don't let it fly away.

Often when a golf swing falls apart, particularly when the ball starts to head in the same direction over and over again, the grip is to blame. In a proper neutral grip, the Vs formed by your thumb and index finger of each hand should be pointing towards your trailing shoulder.

Stance

Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your back straight and your knees flexed. You should feel like you're going to sit down in a chair.

If you've suddenly started to top the golf ball, focus on maintaining this posture throughout the golf swing. A common fault is for golfers to stand up at impact, which in turn pulls the clubhead up and destroys your chances at good contact.

Alignment

Your shoulders and feet should be parallel to the target line. If you're unsure if your alignment is correct, lay a golf club or alignment stick across your hips or shoulders. The club should point at your intended target.

Ball Position

Ball position has a significant impact on the quality of your strike. If you feel your swing is abandoning you, check your ball position with each set of clubs.

Driver

When hitting your driver, the ball should be played off of the inside heel of your lead foot. This will allow you to hit slightly up on the ball, which is desired when hitting the driver.

Fairway Woods

When you have a fairway wood in your hands, the ball should be slightly towards the center of your ball position with your driver, about one to two inches.

Hybrids

When hitting a hybrid, the ball should move about an inch or two closer to the center of your stance in relation to a fairway wood, which will put it a little ahead of the true center of your stance

Irons

With any iron in your hand, the ball should be in the center of your stance.

Find Your Tempo

Tempo is the speed of your backswing and downswing. When you're trying to simplify your swing, it's easy to forget to pace yourself. Mentally playing in your head a simple "1....2," with "1" being your backswing and "2" being impact is a good way to get your tempo back on track.

Backswing Length

If you want to simplify your swing, there's a good chance that shortening your backswing will help. A good rule of thumb for a successful backswing is that your backswing is complete when your lead shoulder is under your chin. Hinge your wrists a little then transition to a committed downswing.

Practice Half Shots

A key to a successful, yet simple golf swing is contact. For that reason, head to the practice range and take out a mid to low-iron. Take the club back only as far as hip height, then swing through the ball, and concentrate on finishing at hip height. This will train your body to learn what better contact feels like and will be replicated in your full swing.

Big Finish

When making full shots you need to make sure you're completing your golf swing. A simple way of doing so is concentrating on having your chest point towards the target at the end of your swing. This finishing pose ensures that you've gone all the way through the golf ball and will produce a better ball flight and contact.

Golf is Supposed to be Fun

Quite possibly the most important tip for golf as a whole is to make sure you're having fun. Chances are, you're not trying to sink a putt to win a major. Longtime MLB Manager (and avid golfer) Joe Maddon once said, "Don't let the pressure exceed the pleasure."

While golf is not an easy game, it is an easy game to enjoy if you allow it.

About the Author

Todd Mrowice is a Staff Writer for GolfLink. He has been writing about golf for over 10 years including a long tenure at GOLFChicago Magazine. Todd has covered all aspects of the game including travel, products, business, and professional tours.