Watching a golfer whose swing shows good balance is a visually pleasing experience. A balanced swing looks graceful -- almost effortless. But improving your balance has practical shotmaking benefits as well. Golfers who maintain good balance throughout the swing can generate maximum clubhead speed and are more likely to hit the ball squarely -- and solid.
No golfer, even top tour professionals, can hit every shot perfectly. A consistent golf swing is one that produces the desired results – distance and accuracy – a high percentage of the time. Golfers build consistency through instruction and focused practice. Amateurs often find that their scores vary considerably from week to week. Improving your consistency results in fewer poor scores, which makes the game more enjoyable.
A golf ball's flight time is especially important during drives. The longer your ball is in the air, the more distance the drive has. Driving distance is an important attribute to have on any course, but especially on long courses. If you can hit long drives with accuracy, you often have less-challenging approach shots to make, which can help you lower your score.
Learning to swing the club from the inside is something you have to practice. Most amateurs naturally swing the club to the outside of the ball on the downswing. By reaching out too far on the downswing, the clubhead angles to the left of the target line at impact (for right-handers), producing off-line shots. Proper setup position, weight shift, shoulder turn and downswing are critical to swinging from the inside. Practice these fundamentals and you can swing the club from the inside and hit straighter shots.
Golf is a sport seemingly rooted in myth and those myths surface most often in the golf swing and how it is taught. Whether handed down from parent to child, an "insightful" tip from a playing partner or just seen on YouTube, a lot of advice surrounding the golf swing is fundamentally flawed for a variety of reasons. It partly stems from a misunderstanding of the mechanics of the golf swing, but also the misconception that one swing fits all.
An inside-to-out golf swing is any swing in which the club swings to the right of the target line. Golfers with an inside-to-out swing can push the ball out to the right, or hook the ball to the left. Poor alignment, too much shoulder or hip turn on the backswing and a downswing with too much hip slide will cause an inside-to-out swing. To get the club swinging down on the correct path you need to set up properly, have the proper shoulder and hip turn and rotate your hips toward the target as you swing down. Get these fundamentals down and you can straighten out your game.
Many golfers become so mechanically minded that they don't swing the club – rather, they just move it from one position to another. When your movements are stiff and calculated, you eliminate any possibility of developing the feel necessary to play good golf. Your swing should be a graceful, flowing movement. Learning to "let it go" while retaining control of your swing isn't hard to do as long as you keep a few simple things in mind.
Folding your right knee (for a right-handed player) as you address the ball, then maintaining your knee in a flexed position for most of your swing, is a key element in sound golf swing technique, according to PGA professional Carl Rabito. When students come to him with common complaints, such as slicing, frequent mishits or general inconsistency, Rabito says one of the first two things he examines is the player’s knee action.
In golf, “eye line” refers to the position of the ball relative to your eyes. On most shots, you position the ball according to the type of shot you’re playing. For example, when you’re hitting a driver off the tee you’ll typically position the ball opposite your front heel. For a short iron you’ll move the ball farther back in your stance. When you’re putting, however, the ideal setup should provide you with a clear vision of the putting line. Golf writer Steve Newell explains that when your eyes are directly over the ball, “you have the best possible view down the line of the putt.” Your eye line, therefore, is a key part of your putting stroke.
In “The Complete Golf Manual,” author Steve Newell emphasizes the importance of turning your back to the target during the latter portion of the backswing. To reach this position, Newell says, the golfer must accomplish a full shoulder turn, which will then “promote a much better weight transfer onto your right side” -- for a right-handed golfer. The technique also helps place the club in the correct position at the top of the backswing.
Some golf instructors don’t focus heavily on the hands and wrists, but former LPGA great Patty Berg believes “hand-wrist action constitutes the most important factor in a golf swing.” Whether you focus on your wrists directly, or allow their movements to flow naturally from your overall mechanics, the wrists must work together to promote a sound swing.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines kinetic as something “of or relating to the motion of material bodies and the forces and energy associated therewith.” A golf swing, obviously, is kinetic. Indeed, the basic golf swing includes a variety of movements, literally from head to toe. With respect to golf, the kinetic link “is the biomechanical description of how the body efficiently creates power in a golf swing,” says Dr. Sean Fletch, who works with the Canadian Professional Golf Tour to develop training programs for its players.
Maintaining a forward tilt in your golf swing can help keep scores low and improve your ball-striking accuracy. It will result in a more stable backswing and downswing, enabling you to strike the ball with strong, steady momentum while keeping the club face squared with the target.
When establishing your setup, it is important to have good posture and feel balanced. From this position, you should maintain your spine angle throughout your full swing. Many amateur golfers have a tendency to raise up during the downswing in an effort to lift the ball up. This can cause a variety of poor shots, including a topped shot. By maintaining the spine angle, you can hit down on the ball properly. Good posture, balance and body rotation are critical to maintaining your spine angle.
Instructors sometimes differ on the value of a one-piece takeaway, but golfers from Ben Hogan to Annika Sorenstam all stress the importance of "maintaining the triangle" or "maintaining the V" during their golf swings. Doing so gives you a wider arc and keeps you from twisting the club with your forearms. Maintaining the V doesn't mean you stiffen your arms; rather, your arms stay straight longer because you turn your shoulders sooner. The "V" is the letter formed by the proper placement of your arms when they are extended straight at address.
Many amateur golfers release the club too early in the swing. As golfers swing back they create an angle between the club shaft and the left arm (for right-handed golfers). This angle between the club and left arm is what is released during the downswing. Releasing the club too early in the downswing can cause a loss of distance, poor contact and lack of accuracy. To release the club later in the downswing, you need the proper grip, wrist hinge, arm position and hip turn. If you make these changes, you can gain distance, accuracy and better contact.
Golf instructor Jim Hardy has classified golf swings into two main types: one-plane swings and two-plane swings. Bob Wyatt of the United States Golf Teachers Federation notes that one of the key elements of the one-plane swing, according to Hardy, is the “upper torso rotating perpendicularly around his centralised spinal axis.” That perpendicular motion isn’t included in the two-plane swing.
It's almost impossible to overestimate the importance of the proper set-up to the quality of your shots. Jack Nicklaus asserts that if you set up correctly, there's a good chance you'll hit a reasonable shot, even if you make a mediocre swing. If you set up poorly, he adds, "you’ll hit a lousy shot even if you make the greatest swing in the world."
The release of the club is one of the more difficult aspects of a proper golf swing. Many amateur golfers struggle for years trying to learn how and when to release the club. A sound swing is characterized by release of the wrist hinge just past the point of impact as the club rotates. To achieve a proper release, you need a good grip, a good backswing and a good downswing.
In golf, “flex” is defined as “the relative strength (stiffness or softness) of a club shaft,” according to PGA pro Mark Blakemore. He notes that a shaft’s flex point, also known as the kick point, is the spot where the shaft will bend the most. Both the degree of flex a shaft contains and the location of its flex point will affect the distance a player is likely to achieve with that club.