How Does a Golf Swing Work?

By Steve Silverman

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A good golf swing takes a long time to perfect. To get the ball to fly long distances of 200 or more yards in the direction you want it to go, you must get your body, hands and the club to act together. Swinging the club is more than just a physical act. You must be able to visualize the golf swing, figure out its effect on the golf ball and then hit the ball precisely enough to make it happen the way your mind's eye sees it.

The Grip

To hit the ball effectively, you must build an effective grip that allows your hands to operate the club. Most golfers use the overlapping grip. To hold the club effectively, place the small finger of your right hand on top of the space between the forefinger and the middle finger of your left hand. Do not squeeze the club too tightly. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the loosest and 10 being the tightest, you should hold the club at about a 5.

Address the Ball

Your left shoulder should be facing exactly where you want the ball to go. Take your stance next to the ball and point your left shoulder at your target. This is called squaring yourself to the target. Look at your left foot. It should be directly under your left shoulder. You are now aimed correctly.

The Swing

The swing is made by moving your key body parts---your hips, your hands and your arms---in concert with each other so that you can get your body weight and momentum behind your shot. Start off by rotating your hips to the right and then bringing them back to the left. Once your hips have gotten through the golf ball, your hands follow and so does the clubhead. The speed of the clubhead making impact with the ball determines how far the ball will go. The angle of the clubhead on the ball determines the direction of the ball.

About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.