Perfecting Your Golf Swing Step By Step

By: R. Martin

Learning how to master your backswing can take years of skilled practice. Your goal is to get one fluid motion of grace and finesse. From the start of your backswing, through impact, to the follow through, it should be one fluid motion....

A. Why It Matters

The backswing is the initial movement of your golf club. It defines everything that follows. Therefore, it's critical to get it right!

B. The Takeaway

Once you are set up and in position to prepare for your shot, begin the backswing by moving your club slowly backwards. Keep the clubhead as close to the ground as possible.

Don't move the club too fast as this may create a steep swing plane which can reduce your power & accuracy. And, be sure that your left shoulder is slightly higher than your right one (assuming you are right-handed). Your shoulders, arms, and hips should all move together in one fluid motion.

Golf players that concentrate just on their arms & hands have a tough time learning how to hit with power consistently.

You must learn to coordinate all of your body parts to move as one. The key is not to think too much...and that's tougher than you might think!

Simply turn & feel your arms, shoulders, and upper legs all moving together in synchronicity. Just go with the flow....

C. As You Turn

Once your backswing is in motion, your body will start it's turn and your right arm should begin to fold inside. Your left arm should not be stiff, it should remain somewhat straight. Your right elbow should remain tight to your body throughout the entire backswing.

At this point, everything should be turning naturally and your weight will begin to shift.

Once your club shaft is in the air and pointing straight back, your wrists should begin to bend naturally. Don't tighten your grip. Keep it loose and casual....yet, in control at all times.

Keep turning everything gracefully until your left shoulder is underneath your chin. Your left knee will start to bend toward the right one. The club should now be in the air & positioned on top of your head. You are now ready for the downswing.

D.The Top Of Your Swing

OK. Try to avoid swinging your body at this point. Your club should be in the air & pointing towards your target line. The majority of your weight should be on your right foot, and your left knee should be bent slightly inward.

Your right knee will have a slight bend throughout the entire backswing because it serves to brace your body's power.

(Your left foot may rise slightly at the top of your backswing, but try to keep that to a minimum as it may affect your accuracy. It's better to keep your left foot grounded, if possible.)

E. Everything In Place

The moment of contact is almost here. You should feel a tremendous quantity of energy and power building up, rolled tightly in your body...just waiting to release and send the ball flying.

You should feel confident. The shoulders should be at 90 degrees & your hips should be turned to approximately 45 degrees. (These angles are not set in stone, but they are good guidelines. Every player has different levels of flexibility and technique.)

Strive to practice your backswing as often as possible. You don't need to be at the driving range or on a golf course to do so. Every chance you get, simply stand in front of a mirror to see yourself follow through with the proper technique. Get a friend to check out your backswing for constructive criticism. They can alert you to any tweaks that need to be made.

F. Coming Down

Now you are ready to drive the ball far down the fairway.

Your backswing should have felt controlled & smooth. But, you will now feel a change in tempo. You will release the downswing with full power. Make sure its graceful & easy at the same time.

The switch should appear as graceful and as seamless as possible. The best swings show no sign of using a snapping motion or force.

Unfortunately, this is where many beginner and amateur golfers divert from the pros. Their backswing was initiated perfectly, but their transition is sabotaged by a poor downswing.

G. Start From The Hips

The hips should be the very first body parts to move when bringing the club down. In fact, your entire body is getting ready to uncoil itself starting from the hips. Don't pay too much attention to your arms and hands. They will be the last body parts to turn & should do so naturally.

Once your body starts to uncoil, be sure that your weight begins to shift from your right foot to your left.

This part is crucial!

If you don't shift your weight onto your left foot, you may lose nearly 1/2 of the power and accuracy needed to make a successful shot. At first, you may need to concentrate on shifting your weight.

But, after enough practice, your body should complete the weight distribution naturally. Repetition is key.

H. Uncoil The Body & Release The Energy

When it comes to arms & hands. strive to maintain the natural bend you have in your wrists for as long as possible. They should be the last part of your body to release before hitting the ball.

If you can snap your wrists at the very last moment, you'll undoubtedly transfer more power and strength to the ball. This will drive it longer consistently.

The clubhead should now be coming down and moving faster towards the ball. Good form is essential. As the downswing gains momentum and speed, your entire body should follow through automatically, without interference.

Once the clubhead approaches the ball, you should feel like you are cracking a whip....

I. Let's Do It

Congratulations, your swing is almost there.

We've come so far!

It's now time to make contact with the ball & follow through. Just do it.

The contact you make with the ball and the direction (and loft) that it takes is determined here. If you are going for a straight shot, then the clubhead must move directly within the target line. If you want your ball to go left, then the path of the clubhead should point left, and vice versa, for the right.

Now, at first, it's not that easy to learn how to correctly steer your clubhead in relation to where you want the ball to go. This takes thousands of shots to master.

Your downswing will ultimately release power into the ball. The hands and forearms should rotate slightly counterclockwise (for right-handed golfers).

The clubhead then rotates toward the ball until it's close to perpendicular to your target line...

J. The Follow Through

Every swing results in a "follow through." This describes what your club & body does after making impact with the ball.

Although the ball is well on its way flying through the air, you still need to rotate your body & club in a smooth and graceful fashion.

Once your swing is done, your hips should be turned just enough so that your stomach area faces the target. Most of your weight should be transferred to the left foot and your right foot should be on its toes. Your back should be somewhat straight and the club wrapped around the back of your shoulders.

Here are some more tips & a few points that need repeating...

* Be sure that your head is centered over the ball as much as possible (You may allow a small amount of lateral motion if needed),

* The left arm should remain straight throughout the entire backswing. However, a small amount of bending is acceptable.

* Your left shoulder should be tucked snug underneath your chin.

* Your right arm should be folded smoothly into your side and brush across the rib cage.

* Your right knee should always maintain its bend throughout the backswing.

* Your body weight should shift considerably to the right foot when turning behind the ball.

K. Last Minute Tip

Once your body has stopped moving and your follow through is complete, practice remaining in that position for a few seconds after each shot. Not only can you watch the flight path of the ball, but if your body remains still without tilting over, it's a good sign that you maintained perfect balance & coordination with the shot.

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