From time to time, usually at the beginning of a lengthy love affair with golf, we feel the need to augment our swing. Maybe because we’re slicing it too much to the right or the left, or maybe because we’re not getting enough power out of our drive. Whatever the reason, and whether you’re just beginning your journey into the game or if you’re a seasoned pro just looking to knock a few strokes from your handicap, by the end of this article, you’ll be sailing them far, straight and high!
It’s All in the Stance
How many times have you heard your favorite golf pro or just the guys sitting around the campfire say, “It’s all in the stance?” Well, we’ve heard it too! The truth is: they’re right. A good golf swing starts with the way in which you plant your feet. Most guides will tell you to square your feet with your shoulders and point both feet forward. While this is “technically” correct it can limit how much your hips can move thereby limiting your power.
Try flaring your toes out 10 degrees while leaving your heels planted square. This will give your torso and hips the ability to move a bit more freely, while allowing more power to go into your drive or chip. And don’t forget to bend your knees!
Grip it and Rip it
There are three major grips—baseball, overlap and interlocking. The baseball grip is, as the name might suggest, similar to a grip a baseball player would use on their bat. The overlap connects the fingers by overlapping them but we personally like the interlocking grip (favored by Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, so you know it must be good).
For the interlocking grip, right handers. start with the baseball grip and fit the left index finger between the joint of the right pinky and ring fingers while taking the right pinky and fitting it between the left index and middle fingers. Your left index finger and right pinky finger will more or less be “holding” each other in an interlocking x-shape. Getting a good pair of golf gloves won’t hurt either.
Take it Back
For many golfers, the backswing is one of the hardest aspects of their swing to master. To have a truly great backswing, you’re essentially making “a perfect circle” from backswing to follow-through. Keeping your non-dominant arm straight, draw the club back slowly to keep a good tempo. When you reach the top of your swing, your club should be over your head as well as parallel to the ground. Your hips and knees should rotate along with the club to ensure the correct shift in weight.
Swing Low, Sweet Down Swing
After the backswing, you guessed it, comes the downswing. Your club should continue back down the same path that it followed in the back swing. This can easily be achieved by keeping your non-dominant arm straight.
One of the biggest snafus a golfer makes is allowing their arm speed to get ahead of their weight shift. This can cause the ball to slice every which way.
You’ve got your head down, right? You’ve got your eye square on the ball and not on your shoe or your cigar or the place you’re trying to hit the ball toward? Okay, good, then you should see the center of your clubface smack the ball. If you hit it correctly, you should get that satisfying thock sound and you’ll see that ball go sailing. If you mess it up, you’ll likely get a stinging sensation in your hands—we call that “the pain of imminent defeat.” Avoid the pain at all costs!
Going All the Way
Ask us, and we’d say the follow through is the most important part of the swing and also the one most neglected. If you don’t follow through, then some, if not much, of the power is lost in your swing. This can cause a whole host of maladies including but not limited to: hook, slice, short, acid indigestion and constant shame.
The best way we can explain this is by explaining what not to do: don’t draw back after you connect with the ball, which, for many beginning players, feels the most natural thing to do. Instead, as the phrase suggests, follow through the ball.
You’ve heard it over and over: there’s no such thing as the perfect golf swing (except for maybe Rory McIlroy). Perhaps it’s true. All of our bodies are different, therefore different things and different swings (different strokes?) are going to work better or worse for different players. Our suggestion, film your swing to see what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right and visit a pro shop to work with someone who can tweak your swing to (near) perfection. Oh, and of course, a set of PowerBilt clubs doesn’t hurt either!