Golf Blog Feature
How to Swing a Golf Club - 6 Fundamentals that Matter
Ok so we are going to open this can of worms, and why not? There are so many opinions on how to swing a golf club that you are likely overwhelmed with conflicting information and swing keys. Let's try to simplify this with our top 6 fundamentals, the ones we think matter most, in the order of importance.
Learn how to swing a golf club with these 6 keys!
- Impact: there are a zillion ways to swing the club, but what matters most is a solid impact position
- Grip: there are plenty of good players with "bad" grips, but it makes the game harder
- Alignment: you can aim way left like Trevino or right like Billy Casper, but you have to make adjustments
- Downswing Plane: there are very few good/great players with over the top downswings
- Club Face Angle: you can play with an open or closed face throughout the swing, but you better know how
- Speed: distance matters, so you need to train speed
So let's look at each of our key fundamentals in more detail. But we will not give you a checklist of every position you must hit in the golf swing to play well, we just don't think that is a good way to learn. You need a combination of comfort, repeatability and understanding of what makes a golf swing work. If you can get that down, you can adequately swing a golf club and be a good player.
Get here however you can, in any way that makes sense to you, and you'll be a good ball striker. You'll see all kinds of different moves each week on TV if you watch golf. Think about these names: Jim Furyk, Adam Scott, Matthew Wolff, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler. Yeah you get the drift, these are all great players with totally different swings. Just this mental exercise alone should be enough proof for you that there is absolutely not just one way to swing a golf club. There are many.
Homework Assignment #1 - click here and review all of these swing sequences!
If you look at the image at/close to impact for each player, you will see a lot of similarities.
- Hips open
- Right knee kicked in
- Head slightly behind the ball
- Tilt of the sternum away from the target
- Club and left arm pretty much in a straight line
- Club face points at target, not way left or way right
All the swings look different, and there are some very slight differences at impact (Furyk's right need slightly more kicked in as an example) but the impact keys for solid impact are all in place for every player.
Homework Assignment #2 - practice going from the top of your swing (back swing complete) to impact in SLOW MOTION! Take a 100 slow swings in front of a mirror. What feels work for you to get the impact keys into your impact position? You might find a slightly different back swing position helps make impact easier. Furyk and Trevino found this, that's why their back swings are so unique. If you can get yourself to impact and get your impact keys in place, you will improve.
Read our article on how to properly grip a golf club for some good information. This will give you some things to start with, but you can adjust your grip to suit your game. Hogan had a very "weak" grip but Fred Couples has a very "strong" grip. Why? They found that those grips helped them get the proper impact for their swing.
You need to understand why the grip you choose is a key success factor. The grip decisions you make will dictate how fast the face closes as you swing into impact. A grip that is strong (held more in the fingers and less in the palms of each hand) will close the club face much more aggressively. You can understand this by watching Paul Azinger swing with a very strong grip. Azinger knows that his club face shuts very rapidly, so you'll see him get his hips very open at impact (more than average) and hold off the release a little so that the face doesn't shut too fast and send his shots left. In fact Zinger mostly hits a left-to-right cut with that strong grip - try it!
The opposite of Azinger is Hogan. He held the club in a very weak fashion, much more in the palms of each hand, because he didn't want the club shutting rapidly. He wanted less club face rotation on the downswing so he could rip through the ball aggressively and not have the club face point left at impact. He had suffered with hooks early in his career and never wanted to see the ball go left.
Homework Assignment #3 - do the same drill in Assignment #2 but change your grip after 5-10 SLOW reps. Go from a strong grip to a weak grip, and back, trying different hand positions to see how each affects your downswing feels and how your grip changes your ability to get into your impact keys. You have to feel the relationship between the grip you choose and your downswing movements. If you take a very strong grip does it make it hard for you to point the club face at the target at impact?
If you are aligned 30 yards left of the fairway (an open stance), how can you hit the ball straight down the middle? What if you line up down the right rough (a closed stance)? Well let's go back to the impact keys. If lining up way left of the target, like Trevino did, helps you get into a great impact position then that works for you. But try it, line up way left and do the SLOW motion drill into impact. What do you have to do to get the club face pointed at the target? You'll find you have to adjust your feels otherwise you'll hit the ball straight left. So is an open or closed stance wrong? No, not if it helps you make impact easier. There are all time great players that lined up left and right of the target!
Homework Assignment #4 - yep, the drill in Assignment #2 again! Take some open stances of varying amounts and do 5-10 SLOW reps from each position. Now try a few different closed stances. What feels natural and easy? What downswing feels change? Make these mental notes. Understand how your stance affects impact.
I want you to get a vision of the target line - which is the line that extends forever, in both directions, and intersects the ball and your target. The thing you have to know is that your downswing must stay on your side, the golfer's side of that line. If you get on the opposite of that line, which slicers do, you will have what we call an over-the-top (OTT) golf swing. If you are an OTT swinger, you will have an almost impossible time getting into your impact keys on a consistent basis. Your club will be swinging way left of the target line which means you have to make all kinds of manipulations as you come into impact. Try it. Start at the top of your swing, move the club to the opposite side of the target line and STOP. Hold it for a second or two, then try to get into a good impact position.
The only professional player I can recall who got close to getting on the opposite of the target line was Craig Parry. But you will not find ANY great player with an OTT golf swing. It's not possible. It's just not feasible to throw the club away from you, to the opposite side of the target line, and then try to get it back into a good impact position.
Homework Assignment #5 - yep, Assignment #2 again (it's all about impact), but with a slight adjustment! Take your stance with the toe of your club resting up against a wall. So you'll be facing the wall, which will give you a firm boundary that you cannot cross (unless you want to replace your wall!) and then SLOWLY (SLOW MOTION) go to the top and down into impact. If you're an OTT swing your first instinct will be to throw the club at the wall. Find another way to start your downswing! That club has to stay on your side of the target line, almost feeling like it moves farther away from the wall as you start your SLOW downswing.
Club Face Angle
Remember impact? We want the club face pointing at the target at impact. If it's pointed way left (closed) or way right (open), you're going to have problems. A little open or a little closed is ok, but a lot and you're not shooting good scores. Think about it .... you're trying to hit the ball at a target, it's much easier if the club face is generally pointing where you want the ball to go!
If you're just starting to play golf, or looking to improve your game, try to get the face pointed on line.
Homework Assignment #6 - Assignment #2 but focused primarily on the club face - and with a slight twist! If using a training tool helps you, get one. For the money it's well worth it. Go to the top of your swing and pause. Close your eyes! Make sure they are closed. Now in SLOW MOTION swing the club into what you think is a good impact position. Once you are in your impact position, open your eyes. Where is that club face pointing? Get it pointing straight ahead, while making sure all the other impact keys are solid. Try changing your grip (stronger or weaker) to see if it makes a difference. But learn what it takes to have the club face pointing down the target line.
You do not need to hit the ball 300 yards to be a good player. But you need to learn how to generate speed so that you maximize your distance to the extent you can. If your max is 220 yards, fine, but strive to get there. The closer you can get to the green off the tee, the shorter clubs you can hit for approach shots, which means you'll hit more greens in regulation. All of those things mean lower scores.
Now, let's be clear on our goals. First and foremost we want the proper impact position. So get that down first. But once you feel like you're hitting your impact keys, we want to try and hit those keys at the fastest possible speed.
Buy the SuperSpeed Golf system and do the protocols if your budget allows. This has increased my swing speed and they work. It's a workout, but it trains the proper muscles.
If you can't justify the expense of the SuperSpeed system, at least try the Kenny Perry exercises below.
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