Whether you are just starting to learn how to play golf or have been playing for a few years and need a reminder of the golf swing basics – reading this will definitely help.There are many nuances to your golf swing. Your swing is different than mine or anyone else’s because you have a different body, a different mind, and your level of confidence about hiting a good shot is different than mine.
Please do not compare your swing to others’ swings, BUT do use other golf swings as a way to learn a version of the proper swing.
We’re not golf gurus here at Golfsquatch, but we have played enough golf to know the following is an attempt to get you familiarized with the basics of a golf swing. We hope it helps.
How Should a Beginner Swing the Golf Club?
Before you learn to swing a golf club you must understand that there are a different types of learning styles. Most of us rely on all of the following three learning styles and have a predominant style.
- Visual – you need to see it.
- Audio – you need to hear it.
- Kinesthetic – you need to do it.
When learning the golf swing basics, first figure out which learning style works best for you before you start researching.
If I had one piece of advice to give to beginner golfers it would be – learn how to hit (strike) the ball properly so it goes in the air in the direction you want it to go. It doesn’t have to go far or high, but you have to hit the ball in a direction.
This may sound obvious, but getting the club head square at impact it step 1. The next section outlines the major pieces to fht e
What Are the Basics to the Golf Swing?
Take it from an amateur golfer who has gone through learning a new sport, practicing, and getting my handicap down near 10 at the time I write this – golf can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it.
1 of 5: Grip
Ben Hogan says, that the grip of the golf club is the foundation of your swing because it’s the one part of your swing that is connected to the club and your club is the only thing that makes contact with the ball – an improper grip can cause you to strike (hit) the ball improperly no matter what the rest of your swing is like.
There is a lot of detailed information out there about the grip. We’ll try to keep in simple here.
- First, grab the club with your left hand (right hand for lefties), thumb on top.
- Next, drop the club head to the ball and square the club – make the front edge perpendicular to the target line. See below where we talk about aiming your golf swing.
- Last, bring your other hand over the top of the hand gripping the club. Your thumbs should line up
What do you do with your pinky finger? Hook it or interlock it. See images below.
Hook the pinky finger to get ready for your golf swing.
Interlock the pinky finger in the golf grip to get ready for your swing.
2 of 5: Aim
Your aim determines the direction you start the ball flight after impact. Your stance (feet, hips and shoulders) determine your aim.
Your stance has a lot to do with how you aim before you swing. You want to be relaxed and have your weight feel like it’s evenly balanced between the balls of your feet and heels with good posture. Like so…
Where should the ball go? Ball placement is a little different depending on the club you are hitting with. We recommend if you are starting out, get good at hitting one club before you move on to the next. I recommend starting with the putter and pitching wedge because you will end up taking most of your shots with those two clubs.
Some will tell you to start with the 7 iron since its mid-way between the driver and pitching wedge.
Here is a great shot of where to place the ball from Liveabout.com
3 of 5: Taking the Club Back & Downswing
When you take the golf club back you always want to keep your arms together – pretend that you are holding a round ball between your forearms. As you move your arms backward, keep the ball between your arms all the way through your swing.
Your right arm (for righties) will crook while your left arm remains fairly straight. In fact, see if you can keep your right arm straight as you move your arms back.
Your eyes should be focused on the ball during your backswing. Go as far back as you want, but your head should not move off the ball. When you’ve gone as far back as you can, it’s time to start your downswing.
Start your downswing with your hips first, then shoulders – BUT they should be in sync with each other. For this I would recommend watching slow motion videos or scroll down and watch me in the Golfsquatch Garage it a pitching wedge.
Reminder: a proper grip, stance and backswing will put your club head in the proper position to strike the ball after the downswing.
4 of 5: Hitting the Ball
With the driver, you want the club face to be pointed on a slight angle upward as the clubhead strikes the ball.
When you watch pros hit a golf ball with an iron, it may look like the club hits the ground first and causes that big chunk of grass (divot) to fly up, but with a proper swing means you hit the golf ball first and then the ground.
Some beginners think you have to hit down on the ball, but that is not the case. This is why the face of every club has angles.
The picture on the left (below) is the proper posture when hitting the golf ball with irons. Most beginners think you need to hit down on the ball like the picture on the right, not true. Notice the difference.
5 of 5: The Finish
As part of learning your golf swing basics, the finish of a golf swing can be an indicator of what just happened during your swing. Here are three
- Let your hands go toward the target.
- Do not look up until your right shoulder (for righties) has hit your chin.
- Let the club come around you.
Below is a good look at the follow through of Tiger Wood’s golf swing.
What Golf Books Should I Read to Learn the Golf Swing Basics?
When you are just learning the golf swing basics you may want to read a few books. Recently I was speaking to a retired writer from Golf Digest, he mentioned that their publication knew that the first 2 to 3 years a person started golfing, they would consume ever piece of information about playing golf they could get their hands on. I agreed with him.
Here are some books you should read.
- Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons
- Golf is Not a Game of Perfect
- Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf
- Kathey Whitworth’s Little Book of Golf Wisdom
How Can I Improve My Golf Swing?
Improving your swing to drop your golf score is a lifelong pursuit.
What Are the Basics in Golf?
If you are curious about how golf is played, you can learn how to play the game of golf here
Best Way to Practice Golf At Home
If you are looking to practice golf at home you can set up a garage golf swing studio. Here is a video of me in the Golfsquatch Garage.
More Information You May Want to Know
Thank you for reading about the golf swing basics.
If you have already started playing we encourage you to join a men’s or women’s club at your local course. In fact, you may want to learn how to get a golf handicap.