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Golf swing

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There are so many different aspects to learn about a golf swing that it can often be too much to absorb in one lesson. Most golfers take a course of several lessons initially and then add more tuition after practicing on the range and on Par-3 courses what they have learnt. Usually golfers start with a seven iron to learn the swing and gradually move on to woods, finally experimenting with the driver (the club you hit off a tee).

The first thing to get right is the grip: how you hold the shaft (handle) of the club. Many golf clubs these days have markings on the handle - for example, the Callaway Solaire starter set has chevron lines - which show you where to line up your thumb for the correct grip. 

Abby Welch is an LPGA and PGA Certified instructor at the Tommy Cuthbert Golf Learning Center at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina. “Your grip must be soft, using just fingers not the palms of your hands,” she says. In order to coach a beginner in stance, she sets them up in front of a large mirror outdoors. Some aspects of the stance for a swing include keeping feet hip-width apart, sticking out the backside, maintaining a slight bend in the knees, keeping a straight back hinged forward from the hips, and having the left foot turned out slightly to accommodate the hip rotation. “The left arm does most of the work and must be straight,” Welch advises for the swing. She also recommends sweeping the hip girdle through before the arm finishes the swing, ending up with the back heel right up off the ground to give the swing more force.

Next thing to tackle is the angle of the shaft of the club in relation to the ground and to the player’s body. You need a pro to set you up the correct distance away from the ball. This positioning determines how the club hits the ball - dead center, or high (topping it) or low and hitting the ground and churning up turf (making a divot). It takes considerable practice, repeating the swing on a driving range, to get this right. 
Then there’s the “swing plane” - i.e. where you start the swing, what angle you move through in relation to your body and the ground and, finally, where you finish the swing. Chichaku’s resident golf pro, Chris Foley, says that the swing plane is one of the most misunderstood aspects of hitting a golf ball. The plane, he explains, is the entire arc that the club travels from backswing to contact with the ball to the final position after hitting the ball. Common problems with this include too upright a stance during some part of the plane and having the club positioned too flat in relation to the ball. 

The plane is vital for hitting the ball correctly, giving it enough loft to take off and travel. It is not a question of strength, but more one of accuracy of position and rhythm of motion. This is more difficult than it sounds as most beginners want to hit the ball as hard as they can, which usually results in whacking the grass or missing the ball entirely. “When the ball is not in the right plane, this will result in a lack of effectiveness and consistency,” says Foley. 

Things to think about during a swing include:


  • Wrists should be cocked at the backswing
  • At halfway point of swing, club should be parallel to the ground
  • At three-quarter point of swing the arms, hips, stomach and legs should all be aligned along the target line


Ultimately, getting the swing right is all about practice - creating a muscle memory so that, once perfected, it comes back to you naturally every time you need it.