The golf swing basics every golfer needs
Do you wish you knew the proper golf swing basics before you started playing golf? Maybe you’ve just started playing golf and have no idea what they are and how they can improve your game? Have you wasted years of practice and trying different tips and not seen any lower scores in your golf game? To play golf well you need to know and perform the basic fundamentals right first. Without them, no amount of practice and persistence is going to get you to the level you want to be.
Unfortunately, most golfers jump from one tip to another in the hope of finding a magic pill that solves every golf swing fault they have.
You know the ones, the golf slice, golf hook, thin shots, topped shots, fat shots and everybody’s “favourite” the shank.
The good news is any golfer can learn these fundamentals and develop a good golf swing technique that produces better results fast.
Here are my must know golf swing basics (for right handers - lefties just do the opposite) that can take you from a weekend hacker to an accomplished ball striker.
Great golf grip
Whilst there is no such thing as a perfect golf grip, a great golf grip is a good start that ensures a better golf swing. Importantly, how you hold the golf club can have a drastic effect on your golf impact position and ultimately the directly the golf ball travels.
There are 3 main golf grips of which only 2 are recommended.
Baseball or 10 finger grip:
Not that common anymore but some golfers still love it. Hence the name you grab the club with all 10 fingers similar to that of a baseball player. It’s a common grip to start with for beginner golfers but ultimately falls short in a few areas. It doesn’t allow the hands to work effectively together to produce a controlled and powerful golf swing which is why no professional golfers use it.
One of the most common grips and used by many top touring professionals. Instead of having all 10 fingers on the grip like the baseball grip you do the same but interlock the pinky finger on the right hand through the index finger on the left hand (see demonstration video below).
Again very popular like the interlock grip and regularly seen on the major golf tours. Similar to the interlock with just the one difference. Instead of interlocking the pinky finger on your right hand, you place it between your index finger and middle finger of your left hand.
It’s also important to understand the effect of how your hands are placed on the club in these grips.
The left hand in particular can impact the face at impact immensely if it’s gripped over too far.
Pay attention to how many knuckles are showing on the left hand. Too many showing (strong grip) and the hand turned too far to the right can result in a lot of pulls and hooks.
Not enough knuckles showing (weak grip) with the hand not turned enough to the right can result in a lot of pushes and slices.
Ideally you want around 2 knuckles showing (neutral grip), but this is something you need to experiment with to find an ideal balance.
You can’t go wrong with either the overlapping or interlocking golf grips.
They both give you the support and feel on the golf club giving you the best chance of making solid contact with the golf ball.
Watch the video below to see how I demonstrate each grip:
Your golf set up / posture is another one of the important golf swing basics to get right to ensure you’re in the best possible position to make a great golf swing.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a great golf posture.
It’s easier than you think and you only need to follow a few simple steps.
- Feet about shoulder width apart
- Hinge your upper body from the hips
- Let the arms hang naturally
- Pull the arms in slightly & hold your chin up to get a nice straight back
- Knees slightly flexed
- The correct amount of axis tilt away from the target
- Hands sitting right beneath your chin line
Watch me demonstrate the correct golf posture in the video below:
Ball position is one of the most overlooked golf swing basics for beginners that I see golfers continually messing up.
I set it every weekend on the golf course and I bet if you watch other golfers closely enough you’d probably see the same.
Maybe you’re are even doing it yourself?
It differs slightly depending on what club you are using but here are some good guidelines.
- The irons should be played with the golf ball just forward of centre in the stance and slightly more forward for the longer 3,4 and 5-irons.
- The driver should be played with the golf ball just inside the left instep of your foot.
Having the golf ball in the wrong position can result in many inconsistencies in your ball striking due to the difficulty in maintaining a consistent angle of attack.
The takeaway is critical. Because it starts the swing, get it right and you’re in a great spot to make a consistent golf swing.
However, get it wrong and it can result in the need for many compensations to save the rest of the golf swing.
So what should a great golf swing takeaway comprise?
The proper golf swing takeaway should see the big muscles of the shoulders and chest move the club away in one piece with the arms.
At the end of the takeaway the hands should move slightly inside, but the clubhead should remain outside of the hands.
The right arm should remain relatively straight with only minimal folding or flexion.
Watch this video on how to perform a great one piece takeaway:
At the completion of the takeaway the backswing is the next important part to get the club to the top. To make this move as simple as possible I like to let the wrists hinge naturally as soon as the club gets parallel to the ground.
Next, you’ll want to let the wrists hinge more as you take the club back further and further to the top.
Let the right arm fold naturally and ideally you want your right elbow pointing towards the ground.
The club shaft should be pointing down the target line or slightly left but this can differ slightly for different players.
Most importantly, at the completion of the backswing you should have shifted most of your weight to the rear leg.
Take this FREE Golf Swing Test to see if your backswing is moving back on the correct path.
The golf weight shift is one of the most common golf swing basics overlooked by golfers. With any good golf swing there is a noticeable shift of weight from the right side in the backswing and a shift to the left side in the downswing.
As you commence your takeaway you should immediately feel a stretch in your right glute muscles and hip as you take the club to the top of the backswing.
This means you have shifted your weight correctly and should have approximately 70% of your weight on your right side.
As you commence the downswing your weight should gradually shift to the left as you slowly open up your hips and deliver the club to the ball.
If you don’t transfer enough weight at the right times during the golf swing, you make it more difficult to get into the right positions leading to impact.
In fact, a lot of golf teachers say that if you can master the golf weight shift you are well on your way to making a great golf swing.
Learn more about how to perform the correct golf weight shift here.
Of all the golf swing basics, the downswing is the most challenging for golfers. The downswing movement is where you can really make or break your golf swing. The 1st move you need to master when the backswing finishes is to ensure you start the downswing with your legs by pushing them into the ground as your weight transfers to the left or lead side.
If you don’t shift enough weight and you begin the downswing from the top half of your body, you run the risk of coming over the top and losing power and accuracy.
The key is to shift your weight to the lead side with your lower half and slowly open up your hips and let the golf club fall down into the right position.
It’s absolutely vital you let the hands drop naturally (i.e. gravity) and are not forced into a position.
Do this right and you’ll find yourself into a great golf impact position.
Compressed impact position
The golf impact position is where all can go right or wrong depending on how you’ve done the previous 7 parts of the golf swing. It’s important to understand the impact position does vary between your irons and woods.
With your irons the ideal impact position will see your hands in front of the ball and clubhead. This is because golf irons are designed to be hit on more of a descending motion.
You never want a golf iron shot to be hit with the clubhead outracing the hands.
To take this a step further you want your left wrist to be flat and your right wrist cupped. (see image below)
With your woods the ideal impact position will see your hands more neutral and either just behind or in line with the ball at impact. This is because woods are best hit whilst hitting up on the ball or in a sweeping type action.
I follow the Perfect Impact System techniques to develop my impact position and it has worked brilliantly.
It’s perfect for golfers of all levels, but especially those struggling to hit the ball of the centre of the clubface and shoot consistent golf scores.
Balanced finish or follow through
If you’ve followed the previous 8 golf swing basics then the follow through is very easy. In fact, there’s no real method or technique to think of when performing this part of the golf swing. It should just happen as a result of doing the other parts correctly.
However, there’s a couple of checkpoints that you need to be aware of that ensure you’ve done it correctly.
Firstly, your right foot or more specifically your right heel should be off the ground at the completion of the follow through.
Secondly, most of your weight should have transferred to your lead side which ensures that the right heal has come off the ground.
So that’s it and everything you need to know about the golf swing basics required to perform a solid, repeatable golf swing that delivers excellent results.
If you want to get some great hands on coaching that walks you through a lot of these parts then be sure to take up the 5 Day Golf Swing Challenge.
You can join it here, it’s 100% FREE and you get 1 free video sent to your inbox every day for 5 days.
Once you’ve got that sorted, you can do what I did to achieve even better results and that’s to get The Strike Plan golf system to take your golf game to an even higher level.
I highly recommend it.
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