The great game of golf is extremely fun but can be quite complex to learn. A lot of work goes into mastering the golf swing and there are plenty of tips out there that can be tricky to sort through. We have put together our list of recommended swing tips that have been thoroughly researched, tested and proven by our team and professionals.
Twelve Tips to Improve Your Golf Game
1. Swing Alignments
One of the simplest ways enhance your game without even swinging the club is working on your alignment. Time and again we have seen many fellow golfers (including ourselves) line up in the wrong direction before hitting, and wonder why it went way right or left. We believe that setting up your desired alignment should always be part of your pre-shot routine, so all your shots start on the right line. You will minimize your shot dispersion and narrow your misses if you stick to that routine and make it a habit.
An effective way to line up properly is to first stand behind the ball. Whether trying to hit the fairway or green, give yourself a visual of a straight line between your ball and your desired target. Next, pick a point 1 or 2 feet in front of your ball along the same straight line. Keep that spot in your mind and now address the ball, positioning aiming your club behind the ball and directly behind that same spot. You are now aligned properly and ready to fire at your target.
This may feel weird at first and a little hard to get used to, but if you stick to this routine over and over again, it will eventually come naturally to you, boost your confidence and lower your scores.
2. Ball Positioning in your Stance
Understanding ball position relative to your stance is key to hitting solid shots and enjoying your golf game. Ball position changes with different clubs in your bag. In general, as you move towards longer golf clubs, the ball should be positioned further and further toward your front foot. We will walk you through the position for each club.
For wedges to your 7-iron, ball position for the most part should be in the very middle of your stance. On normal full swing shots, the reason for this is the very bottom of your swing arc typically travels along the middle of your stance for these shorter clubs. When chipping, hitting bump-and-runs or lower trajectory shots with wedges, your ball position should be two or three inches toward your back foot from the middle.
Moving to your mid and long irons (6 to 3 irons), as you move down each number, your ball position should move about half and inch forward toward your front foot. These irons are slightly longer and results in a wider swing arc. Therefore, it requires a bit more time for your club to square up and strike the ball.
The same concept applies to your woods and driver. These clubs create even wider arcs and require more time for you to square the club. Starting with the driver, ball position for the longest club in your bag should be aligned just inside your front foot, just next to your big toe. For the driver, you actually want to hit up a little bit on the ball, versus hitting down with your irons. If you carry a 3 and 5-wood in your bag, ball position for these clubs is typically 1-inch behind your driver position.
3. Golf Club Grip Basics
Having the right grip is essential to hitting consistent and accurate golf shots. It’s a small part of your game that is often overlooked, but we’re here to help you sort it out. We’ll kick this off by describe for you a ‘neutral’ grip. Starting with your left hand (for right-handed players), the butt end of the grip should lay diagonal along your palm. When you close you hand it should form a ‘V’ that points to your left chest. Now take your right hand and do the exact same with the ‘V’ pointing to your right chest.
This ‘V’ on your top hand can be changed if you’re a more advanced player and like to shape your shots. For right-handed players, you can turn your right hand to point that ‘V’ towards the center of your chest. This is called a ‘Weak Grip’ because it promotes the clubface to be slightly open at impact to shape a fade (a shot that moves to the right). A ‘Strong Grip’ would be the opposite, promoting a shot that turns to the left.
After describing this, there are a few versions of how your two hands connect on the club. A common one is the Interlocking Grip, where your pinky finger hooks with the index finger of your other hand. Another is the Overlapping Grip where the pinky finger sits on top of the index finger. The Reverse Overlap is the opposite where the index finger sits on top of the pinky. The last popular one is where none of the fingers connect; simply called the Ten Finger Grip. There is no right answer for what grip is best, only what feels good for you. It’s always good to experiment and find what you’re comfortable with.
4. Golf Stance and Posture
Stability is absolutely critical in a golf swing, and your stance and posture are the two pillars to achieve good stability in your golf swing. Training these two parts in your swing will make you a stronger and more consistent golfer.
When it comes to your stance, it is important to understand how far your two feet should be. When hitting your driver and woods, your feet should be slightly wider than your shoulder wider. Think of the inside of your feet lining up with the edges of your shoulder. If you can find yourself a big mirror, a visual is worth a thousand words. Typically, wider stances are required for longer clubs so your legs can provide more stability and control during your swing. Narrower stances for your short irons are warranted to promote hitting down on the golf ball. For shorter irons, your feet basically are inline with your shoulder width. For mid and long irons, stance width should fall between your short-iron and driver stance.
Having good posture is just as important as a strong stance. Being slouched over will restrict your turning. However, having the opposite where your chest is pushed out too much will also make it tough to swing. Think of simply straightening out your spine and that is your guide to a good posture.
5. Golf Swing Follow-Through
Many people have asked us why the follow-through matters so much. Before going into the knitty-gritty, we tell them great shots usually have follow-throughs. Of course, there are great shots with abbreviated follow-throughs, but the swing looks way better with a nice follow through.
On to the specifics, a good full follow-through means that your clubhead went full-speed through the golf ball. This is what you want on any full shot where you are looking to get the max distance from your club. Any hesitation where you try to baby it or decelerate the club speed can result in inaccurate shots that miss your target and desired distance.
Throughout your golf swing, you should stay committed to the shot, accelerate through the ball and finish balanced with your arms and club back around your body. If you find trouble staying balanced, try slowing down your tempo and not swinging so hard. Also, ensure your stance is wide and sturdy.
6. Overall Fitness Levels
In the last century, golf was not a sport where fitness was considered part of players’ routines. Some would hit the gym here and there, but players didn’t actively work out to improve their game. With Tiger Woods and younger phenoms coming along changing the game, golf has become a lot more physical than before. Having a solid fitness routine can lead to longer drives and improved control of your shots and psyche.
Golf utilizes various muscle groups that are different from other sports. All leg and lower back muscles are crucial. Core flexibility is important as well as shoulder and triceps strength. If you are committed to the game and want to improve, we are confident that working out can help pay you dividends.
Some exercises worth incorporating in your gym schedule would be: squats, deadlifts, sit ups, lat pull-downs and raises, pull-ups and chin-ups. Having a decent capacity for cardio is important as well. Some may find this funny given how golf is played, but you may be playing a course with large elevation changes while walking with your clubs. This can leave you exhausted and out of breath. Doing some regular cardio keeps your endurance up and can keep your energy up in tougher courses.
7. Swing Tempo
Tempo is another part of the swing often overlooked. You may notice how some professional golfers have a smooth looking swing but manage to achieve longer than average distances. One significant reason is the smooth and repeatable tempo in their swing.
It is easy to think that the faster you swing, the longer you can hit the ball. This is true to an extent. However, sometimes when you think you are swinging fast, you’re really just experiencing tense and firm muscles. Your swing actually moves fastest and is most flexible when you relax the tension and slowly build up the speed.
A golf swing with good tempo is made up of a smooth slow and complete backswing that pauses at the top, followed by a downswing that accelerates through the golf ball. During the entire swing you should feel you are standing tall with your arms extended. That way, your swing can produce the widest arc and generate power. One way to visualize good tempo and translate that to your swing is to think of a pendulum and how fast it swings. It simply goes back and forth but it is a fantastic example of tempo.
8. Hitting Draw and Fade Golf Shots
Here we touch on a section for all players especially advanced golfers. If you enjoy shaping your or want to learn, we’ll walk you through a couple pointers to help promote hitting fades and draws. For right-handed golfers, a fade is a shot that starts left and curves back slightly to the right, and a draw is the opposite.
To hit a fade, a couple adjustments to you set up is warranted. First is you need to have a weak grip. We described this earlier in the grip section so we won’t go through it here. The other adjustment is your stance. For a fade you need to have you clubhead put a bit of left to right spin on the ball. For right-handed golfers, drop your left foot slightly back and keep your right foot where it is. What this does, combined with a weak grip, is it promotes a slightly ‘outside-to-in’ clubhead path that generates fade spin.
To hit a draw, it is virtually the opposite. Instead of the left foot, you drop your right foot back slightly. This encourages the clubhead to travel ‘inside-out’ such that your shot starts right of the target and curves back left. A strong grip is also need and again this is covered in the grip section earlier in the article.
9. Putting Basics
Sometimes the putting game gets forgotten and requires a bit of tender love and care. As you may have noticed, in a round putts make up around half of all the shots taken, so it’s definitely an area to improve to shave strokes off your score.
If possible, you should practice your putting everyday. Even if you can hit a few putts on your carpet at home, it can keep your groove familiar with the flatstick. If you need some help with this part of your game, you can check out our article about best putting aids to help.
Tempo, as we described earlier, is also important in a putting stroke. A smooth putting stroke that is not rushed or jab-like over the long term leads to consistent putting and good results. Taking the same concepts from earlier and applying them to your putting will have you sinking more putts on the greens.
10. Keeping Your Head Steady
“Keep your head down” or keep you head steady”. You’ve probably heard these words said to you countless times during your golf rounds. Either you’ve hit your shot fat or thin, and your buddy utters these words that are understandably annoying, but probably true. Here, we will explain why.
As you can imagine, the golf swing has many moving parts. Central to your swing is your head and the connection to your spine. Keeping your head as still as you can throughout the swing also keeps your spine steady. On your backswing, you rotate around your spine one way, and on your downswing you rotate back another way. To ensure you club hits the ball clean and solid, you need to keep your head and spine as steady as possible. This is easier said than done especially if you have fast golf swing. But hey, that’s part of what makes golf challenging, and if you’re successful in doing it you should feel good about yourself.
11. Knowing Your Distance on the Golf Course
A big part of a successful golf game is knowing your yardages, and what we mean is you have a good sense on how far you hit each club. This takes time to figure out, and certainly your body and swing can change over the years. But it is never a bad idea to spend some time on the driving range, hit several balls with each wedge, iron and wood so you can gauge both how far it flies and how much more it rolls after it lands.
Of course, there are other factors that affect the outcome of your distances such as wind, humidity, and elevation. Some days your body feels relaxed and normal, other days it can be stiff and sore. Likely, you will see different distances depending on your body’s condition. As you can see, there are many variables that affect distances. This game was never easy to begin with, and figuring all these out is part of the fun!
If you know your distances well, chances are you’ll know how to avoid danger on the golf course, you’ll know when to attack your targets and you’ll know how to manage your way through the round.
12. Taking It Easy
As you can see, there are plenty of tips and techniques to remember you may feel your mind is scrambling. Sometimes you feel you’re doing the right thing but you’re not getting the results you want. It can drive you absolutely nuts. Here, we touch on the mental aspect of the game.
As we all know, golf is a fun game that is also filled with plenty of challenges and adversity. If you’re competitive and want the best for yourself like us, we totally get it when it isn’t going your way. The feeling sucks and a good round of golf that started well could fall downhill quickly.
Sometimes the best way to deal with these tough days on the golf course is to laugh it off and live to fight another day. This game is tough enough, and it’s important not to beat yourself up over a bad shot. Everyone makes mistakes in this game, and it’s ok that you do as well. If you’re a golf nut and accept this part, then you’ll feel much less weight on your shoulders when you play. Taking it easy and simply enjoying the day out and the nice views on the course can help you play more relaxed and even lead to some good scores.
We’ve dropped a dozen tips here that cover nearly every part of the golf game. We hope they give you some ideas on areas you can work on. This can be a lot of information to consider so try to focus on one or two areas to start before moving on to others. You only have so much time in the day, and trying to stuff too much in can lead to undesirable results in your game.
We hope you have enjoyed this article and that it will serve as a helpful guide in finding the right training ad for you.
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