Improve Your Golf Swing (Pt. 1)

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Amateur golfers all over want to know, “How can I improve my golf swing?” Depending on who you ask, the answers can be incredibly different and range in complexity. The golf swing really isn’t complicated though.

We’ll divide it in to two segments; pre-swing and in-swing. Everything you need to know about the pre-swing, or set-up, is discussed in this short article. Then, the in-swing information will be covered in part 2.

Relax

First and foremost, relax. Tense and nervous muscles don’t perform well and will make everything more difficult. Have a beer (aka: “aiming fluid”) to take the edge off if necessary. Whatever you need to do to feel comfortable, do it.

Grip

After that, you’ll need to actually grab the club. How you hold the grip is, arguably, the most important part of the golf swing. It’s the only place where your body comes in to contact with the club, so you better make it count.

The correct grip might feel awkward at first, but stick with it. It’ll pay off once you get used to it. Opting for the most comfortable grip instead of the right grip in the beginning will just create bad habits that need to be corrected down the road.

Start with your arms hanging down by your side. Lift your non-dominant hand and rotate it, so that your palm faces up. Lay the grip of the club diagonally across your fingers; from the base of your pinkie to the tip of your pointer finger. Then, wrap your hand around the grip, keeping the club in your fingers; similar to how you’d hold a hammer. Your thumb and pointer finger ought to make a crease that looks a little bit like the letter “V.” That “V” should point towards your back shoulder like an arrow.

Next, take your dominant hand and curl your palm as if you were holding an invisible baseball. Your non-dominant hand’s thumb will fit perfectly into the life line of your dominant hand. Make sure that the “V” on your dominant hand also points towards your back shoulder as well.

Finally, notice the underside of your grip where your fingers come to rest. You only want one or none of your fingers to overlap, no more.

Aim

Next, aiming your shot is the next step; you want to make sure that the ball travels towards your intended target. Stand behind your golf ball, so that it’s directly between you and your target. Pick out a “secondary target” a few feet in front of your ball. A secondary target can be almost anything; a blade of grass, piece of dirt, a leaf, etc. Just make sure it’s in-line with your target. This will serve as your aiming point because it’s a lot easier to aim at something a few feet in front of you than it is something 100+ yards away.

Step up to the ball and set your club face on the ground, so that it points at your secondary target. Then, keeping your club face still, set your body up. If you were to draw an imaginary line down your feet or shoulder, they would extend parallel left (for a right-handed player) of your actual target because your body is offset from your club face.

aiming
Proper aiming with a secondary target.

Stance

When it comes to your stance, set your feet shoulder-width apart. Don’t bend your knees too much, as you would in other sports. Instead, bend them slightly, so that they aren’t in the locked position.

Posture

You’ll then bend down towards the club at your waist. When you do this, you’ll want your arms to hang down freely from your shoulders. Also, make sure you back stays straight. The tendency for a lot of amateur golfers is to arch their back. Arching your back is a great way to give yourself back pain.

The set-up basics of the golf swing, if done correctly, dramatically improve your chances of hitting the perfect golf shot. Continue reading the in-swing techniques and tips here.

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