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Swing Tips from a PGA Professional
Swing tips provided by Tom Good, PGA Professional.
Whether you are just starting in the game of golf or are looking to improve, a good place to start is the grip. The grip is your connection to the golf club, and you want this to create a bond between you and the club. There are three basic grips: the ten-finger, the overlap and the interlock. All three are perfectly acceptable; it just depends on which one is most comfortable to you. (Just a side note: if you are left-handed, reverse left and right when you are reading this.)
The club should lie in the fingers of the left hand, with the butt end of the club resting against the pad or heel of the palm. Avoid letting the club lay in the lifeline of the left hand. As you close your hand on the club you should see two or three knuckles, with the “V” formed by the thumb and index finger pointing to your right shoulder. The thumb should be positioned down the top of the shaft. Place your right hand on the club below the left, letting the club lay in the fingers. Simply slide your hand up the grip of the club leaving four fingers on the grip if you want the ten-finger grip. Lay the little finger of the right hand on the top of the index finger of the left, if you want the overlap grip. For the interlock grip, slide the little finger under and around the index finger, keeping the remaining three fingers on the shaft. As you close your right hand on the club, place the right thumb on the left side of the shaft, pinching the shaft between the thumb and the index finger of the right hand. The left thumb should fit into the lifeline of the right hand. The grip pressure should be firm but not tense.
Stance and Posture
Take your stance to the ball; this is called your address position, and should be a balanced position with your weight from the center of your feet towards the balls of your feet. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart, measuring from the inside of the feet. With a slight knee flex, bend slightly forward from your hips, keeping your back straight and letting your arms hang freely from your shoulders. Distribute your weight evenly so you feel as though you could move from left to right and back again without losing your balance.
Setup, Alignment and Ball Position
After taking your grip to begin your setup, place the clubhead behind the ball with the clubface pointing at the target. Hold your hands slightly forward from the ball, aligned over the inside of your left thigh. Place your feet parallel to the line of the clubface — to help with this, imagine a railroad track with one rail from your clubface pointing at the target, and the other rail from your feet running parallel. Never line your feet up first, ALWAYS line your clubface up first. The ball should be placed slightly left of center for the shorter irons, and gradually move the ball forward in your stance as the club length increases, until the ball is off the instep of the left foot for the driver.
The golf swing should begin by starting the clubhead back. Let the left arm, left hand and golf club work together as a unit in a low, smooth motion. This “unit” will wind up the body, moving your weight onto your right side. The lower body should remain quiet and stable, but if needed the left heel should release (rise slightly) to allow your weight to get to the right side. During the backswing, allow the left wrist to begin to hinge, so that a 90 degree angle between the golf club and your forearm is created at the top of the backswing. Allow a slight pause at this position, then allow the weight to return to the left side, letting the lower body unwind and bringing the arms and club to impact. Let the motion continue through impact with the arms finishing over the left shoulder and your belt buckle pointing to the target and 90 percent of your weight on your left leg. The golf swing is a constant motion; try to avoid going from slow to fast or fast to slow. Whatever speed you go back, come through at the same speed.