Date: November 11, 2014

Swing basics

Golf is a technical game and players starting out are encouraged to seek instruction from a qualified golf professional. Taking individual or small group lessons in a starter program at a local club or driving range is also a great way to learn the basics before taking to the course.

The objective of the swing is to generate speed in the head of the club to propel the ball. It is not so much hitting at the ball, but making a smooth, rhythmical swing. Some basics to help get started are:

Taking a grip
A good grip is extremely important in allowing both hands to work as a unit. Grip the club lightly and keep both hands close together. There are two recommended grip methods. Beginners may choose to start with the ten finger grip. As you play more frequently experiment with the overlapping grip which is used by most players.

To ensure the ball travels in the right direction, aim your whole body, including your feet, knees, hips and shoulders, parallel to the target lines.

Taking a stance
A good stance is important to a good swing. Spread your feet to shoulder width, bend your knees slightly and bend forward from the waist at your hips so that your arms hang down. Spread your weight evenly on both feet.

Positioning the ball
Your feet should be positioned with the ball level with the inside of your front foot.


Types of Swings

Full Swing
The full swing with a wood or long iron is used to gain maximum distance from the club you are using. There will be times when a full swing is more than you need and so you will follow the same principles with a shortened stroke.

Pitch Shot
A pitch shot is hit high into the air to stop close to its target. Swing the club approximately one half the length of a full swing.

Chip Shot
Chipping involves playing a short shot where the ball lifts a little off the ground then runs along the ground for some distance. Use a mini-swing which is approximately one third the length of a full swing. The shorter your shot, the shorter the swing.

Bunker Shot
Bunker or sand shots may use all the different swing lengths and techniques dependant on how close the bunker is to the green. In greenside bunkers remember to hit the sand about 5 centremetres behind the ball using a lofted club.

Putting is a special skill used on the green to roll the ball into the hole. The putting stroke is a mini-swing using the arms and shoulders with no body or wrist action. The more upright angle of the putter allows you to look over the ball and along the line you wish to putt.

In summary

1. Assess where you want the ball to go.
2. Take the recommended grip.
3. Aim the club and your body parallel to the target lines.
4. Ensure that your stance and posture is correct for the shot you are playing.

This sequence should be followed for all shots. Contact a local club professional or driving range to see what beginner programs they offer.