Hitting a golf ball straight is easier said than done. If you’re a newbie and a bit intimidated on how to perform, don’t sweat it!
Today, we’ll be talking about hitting a golf ball straight and other factors that can improve your golf swing.
Correct Grip And Stance
You should review gripping the golf club itself.
Your “lead” hand is the one closest to the ball. It is essential that your thumb positioning is pointed downwards. The thumb itself should be slight to the right of the middle, and not straight down.
The other hand should form nicely around the grip down the side. The club head itself should be aligned with the ball.
Standing in a comfortable position is important as well. Setting your feet in a slightly bent, athletic stance will be optimal for generating the most power and accuracy on your swing.
There are quite a few stances you may take.
- Open stance– hips are open to the target
- Square stance– feet and hips are lined up straight to the target
- Closed stance– hips are slightly pivoted to the target
The follow through with proper alignment should be one of the easier parts here. Generating momentum from your back foot is crucial and making sure the backswing is followed through efficiently is key to hitting a golf ball straight.
Golf Swing Plane
The swing plane affects the direction the golf ball goes and spin when contact and the trajectory of the hit. There are two types of golf swing planes, the one-plane swing, and the two-plane swing.
The one-swing plane is the simpler plane to master, as your body will move all in one fluid motion. This type of plane swing requires a firm grip as well on the club.
For the one-swing plane to be effective, your upper hand should remain flat during the backswing. When having your hands placed, make sure the club itself is on your palm, not higher. Your body should be rotating, (meaning your pivot) around a center, and not just shifting from one place to the other.
It is crucial to understand that on a one-swing plane, the arms are what is rotating and pivoting the body. After completing the backswing, the rest of your body should be remaining still.
The two-plane swing is much more unconventional and the less-popular method. It still can be quite effective if used correctly. Keep in mind, this plane method will take longer to master than the one-plane swing.
The two-plane swing is considered to give more elevation and speed. This is associated as well with powerful swingers as well, with those who rely on more finesse should probably not use this approach.
Although it’s possible to learn quite good technique by yourself, to really elevate your game, golf lessons may be a great option. From personal sessions to online tutorials, there are many resources readily available.
I think the first option (and free) should be to check out video platforms and sites like YouTube. Often times, you’ll find many great tips from top instructors and pros that will not only teach you the basics of a golf swing, but also many other useful, in-depth tips for when you become more advanced.
YouTube is an excellent platform for not only learning how to drive a golf ball, but even how to have a proper swing, and learning about the plane, as we have discussed.
Also, there are other platforms out there besides YouTube.
Golf websites galore host thousands of tutorials, and there are even apps available on mobile platforms to help you improve your game.
To wrap up the online section here, there are tons of online coaches out there.
The paid online coaches typically will review your film and break down your movements and go over what you can improve on and what you are doing well. There are some free tips from coaches out there, but for personal help, you’re most likely going to have to start spending money.
Besides online, many courses and clubs offer golf lessons to anyone from beginners to advanced lessons. Real life lessons will go further by having a hands-on instructor will be less stressful. This eliminates worries such as if you’re technique or swing is performing well or following through right.
I’d say either way is fine, and if you’re trying to save money, online golf lessons will be your best route. However, if you can afford to spend some extra cash and want a hands-on experience, then personal instructors will be your key to success.
Choosing The Right Golf Clubs
It’s quite intimidating when deciding what clubs to choose. Clubs will go anywhere from $50 to hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The landscape is a lot to take in, and if you’re new to the sport, it’s puzzling, to say the least.
There are some factors that will go into deciding what clubs are best suited for you. Below, I have listed some of the key factors.
- Purpose of play
For myself, the purpose of play is the largest factor. If you’re looking to eventually play amateurly or professionally, I’d recommend a mid-to-high ranking set of clubs.
If you plan on just playing with a few friends on the weekend here and there, then a true “beginner” set may be your best route.
There are many different types of set out there, even for beginners. These types of sets range from 9-18-piece and feature more clubs than others, hence the different number ranges. I think going near the 12-piece set is a beginners’ best bet.
My recommendation for the brand has to lean towards Callaway being a staple name in golf. They offer many great start-up clubs sets that will be great for anyone looking to learn, while also giving them great quality clubs.
Of course, there are many other clubs out there will cost more but it will increase performance and quality. In the sport of golf, you truly pay for what you purchase.
In terms of price for a set, you can get a good-quality Callaway set for around a couple hundred dollars plus. Prices will vary in terms of sets and brands. If you choose to build your own set, that will cost much more but will be much more fitting to yourself as a player. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing this at the beginning stages of playing golf.
Golf Swing Tempo
Your tempo is the key ingredient to perfecting your swing. In a novel by John Novosel titled “Tour Tempo”. In the novel, he discusses an ideology about a 3:1 tempo. That is what should be embedded in the perfect golf swing.
This tempo ratio means your backswing would be three times longer than the downswing. This is most popular for drives, as other ratios apply to different clubs.
Finding that perfect rhythm is hard and timing is truly everything when it comes to the swing. You won’t find that sweet spot in your first few weeks of attempts, as it truly is a craft you have to constantly evolve.
We’ll get more into the swing basics in the next section, but beforehand, let’s touch on the tempo just a bit more.
If you’re still wondering what exactly it is. It’s basically the speed of your swing. This all co-insides with other factors as well, but as for helping with this, hand placement and being relaxed is key. Also, make sure your wrists are loose as well, as you don’t want a tight grip on the club.
The rule of thumb for an athletic base is often overlooked when discussing tempo, but it should be noted, as its quite important. Your feet should be just a bit more than shoulder-width apart, with your back not too slouched over, and standing athletic as well. This stance is mimicked in almost all sports and is no different in golf.
Golf Swing Basics
Now we move into learning the basics of a golf swing. For one, there are quite a bit of factors that goes into the swing itself, and I’ll list them below.
Rhythm is your “groove” of your body as you perform the swing. Getting into a rhythm is crucial in golf and will allow you to perform consistently throughout the stages of a game. The only real way to develop rhythm is having a weekly, monthly golf practice routine. It teaches your body muscle memory. The end result of good rhythm is having consistent shots and syncing your body to move in a particular set way time after time.
2. Best Timing
Timing may seem similar, but this really is brain power more than anything. Timing is your brain processing when a particular set of movements need to be triggered in order to have a successful result. Timing is key in all sports and its no different than golf.
3. Tempo (Speed)
The tempo is essentially the speed of your swing. The 3:1 ratio is commonly used as a basis for the type of tempo to have during your swing.
Coordination is, most of the time done sub-consciously. Keep in mind before you make your swing, make sure you lock eyes with your target, so your brain can properly register where it should locate before making your swing. It seems common sense, but it can often times be forgotten.
Getting in your stance should be athletic and slightly wider than the shoulder-width apart. Setting up for the initial swing, make sure that you aren’t leaning one way or the other too much as well. Any slight imbalance can throw the swing off before you even make contact with the ball.
You will need to make sure your back is straight as well and not hunched over in any type of well. This will allow generating more force and torque. In golf, the power comes from torque, pivoting, and angles. This is all generated from your core. This is why I’m stressing so much on an athletic stance. The more athletic you stand, the more power and speed you are more likely to generate.
The golf backswing is tricky to master but is the first step to success when hitting the ball right on the spot. One of the biggest mistakes is the front foot coming off the ground when swinging back. As I mentioned before, balance is a big key to success in performing the “perfect” hit and making sure you keep your front foot planted during this part is crucial.
Your back leg does not have to be straight, despite what some may say or do. In fact, it’s even better to give your back leg a slight bend, as it will create more torque and momentum. However, you don’t want it to be too “lazy” and create an imbalance in your stance.
For the downswing, the “breakdown” of your body should go in a specific order. This starts with your hips and should follow upwards through your shoulders and arms. The hips are important in the downswing, as you don’t want them getting out of control.
In your head, think there are two glass planes on each side of your hit just a few inches away. This way, you control the sway of your body throughout the swing. Also, at this point in your swing, it is crucial to shift your weight forward as well.
The same can be applied for all movements, with your arms and shoulders having the most mobility during the swing. Your core should be rotating as well but should be in sync with your hips.
Also, make sure that the legs are relaxed, but maintain an equal balance and that you shift weight properly. Most of this will come naturally throughout the swing but keep these things in mind as they may need tweaking.
Timing is most important when shifting as too little or too late, and you’ll have created an imbalance in your stance and swing. Do not forget the ratio here for the downswing, as the 3:1 applies here for the tempo.
Overall, golf swing basics boil down to the original list I have provided above. Practice and constantly learning technique will be key to success in being able to perform an efficient swing. Keep in mind athleticism, balance, and rhythm and you should be well on your way to mastering golf swing basics.
There are many useful drills you can do to improve your skills as well. Here a few practices worth giving a try.
Half Speed Swings- This drill is mainly focusing on your balance during your swings. This is a great technique builder, as practically all you are doing is breaking down and slowing your swing for your mind and body to develop muscle memory.
Start-Stop Drill- This drill works on breaking down the mechanics of the swing. For example, you’ll only perform the backswing during the swing, stopping right before you shift your weight for the next part of the process.
Delay Drill- The delay drill allows for your body to process the rhythm during your swing. Finishing your swing at the top, you’ll hold the position for a few seconds longer than usual. This is similar to the half-speed drills in terms of developing muscle memory.
There are many, many more golf practice drills you can do to improve your game. These drills above will focus well on the area of the swing. Coverage of drills in-depth will be available soon.
Ben Hogan Hitting Drills
Lastly, I’d like to mention that Ben Hogan swing drills. The program is some of the most classic and effective drills around still today! You can read more about the program here.