Basics of a Golf Swing

By Contributing Writer

Golf is regarded as both one of the most challenging and accessible sports--it's a pastime that takes 10 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. There are many fundamentals in golf, but nothing is so fundamental as the swing of the club. Any golf technique takes years of practice to master, but with the right stance, grip and swing, you will be well on your way to a low handicap and many a pleasant hole.
 

Stance

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. This will give you optimum balance during your swing.

For a basic swing, keep feet perpendicular to the desired flight line of the ball. A good trick is to hold your club up against your hips, horizontal to the ground, once you get into your stance--wherever the club shaft points is where your ball will go when you hit it.

Bend your knees slightly. This helps with balance, and will help you swing with your hips and upper body.

Keep your back straight. This will help with accuracy and power by forcing you to swing with your arms and hips instead of your waist.

Grip

Hold the club with a medium grip--too loose, and you'll hook the shot; too tight, and you'll slice.

There are three common golf grips: the ten finger or baseball grip, the interlock grip and the overlap grip. Try each one for at least a whole round to decide which is right for you. The grip that strikes you as the most comfortable will most likely depend on the size of your hands relative to your golf clubs.

For the baseball grip, grip the club so that your right hand rests right by the side of your left hand's index finger.

For the interlock grip, grip the club so that your right hand's pinkie finger is intertwined with the index finger of your left hand.

For the overlap grip, grip the club so that the pinkie of your right hand rests in the groove between the index and middle fingers of your left hand.

Swing

The actual swing is composed of the back-swing, or raising your golf club up into the air, and the down-swing, or the swing back down to strike the ball. Get used to thinking of these as separate parts of the same motion.

Don't try to generate power on your back-swing. Think slow, smooth and under control until the head of your club reaches the apex of your back-swing.

Both back-swing and down-swing should be executed with your arms and hips, not shoulders, wrists, waist or knees.

Utilize your hips by shifting your weight very slightly toward your good hand during your back-swing, and back again on your down-swing.

To get maximum distance from your swing, follow through well after the club head strikes the ball.

Don't think--once you start your backstroke, it's time to let your club do the thinking. Start thinking about how embarrassing a slice will be, and what you're really thinking about is slicing the ball, which more often than not will cause you to slice.

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