How to Begin At Golf

By: Jimmy Cox

Mastery of golf's fundamentals is the first step toward better golf and consistent iron play. The fundamentals form the framework and the foundation upon which the entire swing is constructed.

Actually, building a swing is much like an architect building a house. If he builds it hurriedly - without a good set of plans - it becomes structurally weak and the slightest of pressures could send it tumbling to the ground. Such is the case in golf.

Since you are the principal architect of your swing, how can you develop it so that it will consistently repeat itself, swing after swing, no matter what club you may have in your hand? Here is how.

Developing the Swing

From the outset, every golfer should realize that certain procedures must be followed if he is to develop a swing.

There is a certain fundamental process, or sequence, involved in learning how to play golf, and it cannot be circumvented.

The Procedure. To the beginner, and even some advanced golfers, this fundamental process of learning how to play golf may seem a little involved, but it actually is not, particularly if you develop your game in an orderly, sensible manner. The orderly sequence would be this way:

1. You learn to swing first by practicing the fundamentals.
2. Secondly, you learn to control the ball by practicing intentional fades, hooks, high shots, and low shots.
3. Finally, incorporating the first two phases into your over-all game you learn how to score by playing as regularly as you can.

Obviously, you cannot learn control and scoring techniques before you master golf's fundamentals. Many have tried - and are still trying - but they cannot hope to improve unless they overhaul their swing completely because the swing habits they have formed are permanently ingrained within their muscle structure. You will progress faster and will become a more consistent player if you form the correct habits of the swing than if you learn to play in a haphazard manner.

The Swing Exercise. One of the best methods I have found of developing a smooth, consistent swing is an exercise most golfers use when they warm up before playing a round of golf. It is a simple little maneuver designed to train a golfer to entrust his swing to his arms and body instead of his hands.

Begin by assuming the position of address, and make certain that you are comfortable and relaxed. Then, with the upper part of your arms and elbows in close to your chest, turn your body back so that the arms are about belt high. The left shoulder and left arm are highly instrumental in this turning movement, with both the shoulder and the arm forming a pushing-back type of action.

Next, swing the arms forward until they are about belt high in front of you, making certain that the lower part of the body - the left hip and left leg-initiate the forward swing, as the arms are swung out toward an imaginary target. The right hand also turns over the left hand as the arms are swung forward.

Perform this swing back and forth for a few moments, letting your left knee and right elbow flex on the backswing and then your right knee and left elbow on the follow-through. You will soon get the feeling that you are swinging with your legs and hips and that your body is swinging the club. This creates the feeling of the one-piece swing that all of the good players have and talk about.

The average golfer, however, courts disaster if he becomes too conscious of his hand action through the ball. That is why this swing exercise is so important, because it will teach him every fundamental movement in the swing without too much of a mental effort on his part.

If you will practice this swing - the right way - for five or ten minutes a day for six months, you will be surprised at your progress in developing a fundamentally sound swing.

This will be the start of improving your entire game of golf.

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