Golf Swing Basics
The game of golf cannot be mastered overnight. There are many challenging aspects to the game and different shots and techniques that are to be learned. However, with the right approach and knowing the basics of a golf swing, you can begin to improve and shoot lower scores. Anyone with the desire to learn and with the drive to succeed, can and will. As with any game or skill, mastering basics will give you a solid foundation from which to build on later with more advanced techniques.
Tee Shots: The tee box represents the beginning of a golf hole and it is where you will hit your first shot; the tee shot. Most of the time (on most par 4s and par 5s) you will be using a driver, which is the longest and most powerful club in your bag. Many players try to “kill the ball” by over swinging with this club, which results in poorly played tee shots. Beginning players should focus more on hitting the ball squarely and reaching their intended targets first and then try to incorporate power into their tee shots. When you practice with your driver, aim for specific spots on the driving range and then based on where the ball lands, you can evaluate your swing technique.
Fairway Shots: If you’ve hit your drive into the fairway, you are now looking at the fairway shot, which uses an iron or fairway wood. If you are close enough, your aim should be towards the green, but if you still are too far out, play the ball to a position where you can easily reach the green in three stokes. Many players try to hit the ball down the middle of the fairway, but depending on where the green is located and where hazards are located on the hole, you may want to play your fairway shot to the right or to the left.
Chipping and Pitching: These strokes are intended to not only get you on the green, but to put you in position to sink a putt. You’d be surprised how many strokes can be lost here, on what may seem like simple shots. Touch is the key with these shots as you will want to use wedges and short irons to land the ball softly on the green, so it will stay there. Remember, the clubs are designed for these kinds of shots. All you need to do is use the basic fundamentals of the golf swing to put a smooth stroke on the ball and run it up to the cup.
Putting: For many players, putting can be the most challenging part of the game. The greens are where good players take care of business and put up good scores. Using the putter, take a smooth pendulum-like swing by keeping your arms straight. The key to putting is often being able to “read” the green, meaning figure out the slope and speed of the surface. This is what players are doing when they kneel down behind their ball and examine the putt. Although the action of the putting stroke is different from a normal swing, remember to follow through and guide the ball down the line that you’ve established after you’re read. If you hit the ball with the right amount of force and your read is correct, you will see it drop right into the cup. Now it’s on to the next hole to do it all again.