Golf swing technique is a term that covers a lot of different aspects, and one which is too vaguely used. Just saying golf swing technique sounds wrong. This implies there is one way to do things, the right way. Firstly, there is more than one way to swing a golf club. Moreover, there are hundreds, if not, thousands of ways to swing a golf club. Sam Snead could pick a golf ball out of the hole without bending his knees. Calvin Peete couldn’t straighten his left arm. These two golfers swung very differently but were also both very successful.
What is the correct golf swing technique?
Otherwise known as the big secret. However, the secret is, that there is no secret. There is no one way to swing a golf club. In fact, if an instructor is telling you there is only one way and they know what it is, I would advise you to pick up your bag, walk to your car, and never contact that instructor again. There are best practices and fundamentals which can be constant for many golfers, but not always. “Good technique” often comes down to the question “does it work?”. No one is going to question Dustin Johnson’s bowed wrist or Jordan Spieth’s chicken wing. Why? Because it works.
Find a golf instructor you communicate well with.
There are few things more difficult than trying to fix your own golf swing or learn one for that matter. There is something about the dissecting your own flaws aspect to it that is grueling, and somewhat depressing. Do yourself a favor and get a golf instructor. This will expedite the process of improvement as you can draw on their expertise and years of accumulated knowledge. The question is, who should you employ as your golf instructor?
There are many golf professionals in any given area of Canada and the United States, the most important thing is to find a coach with who you communicate well. Just as there are many different ways to swing the golf club, there are many different ways to say the same thing. If you are lucky, there is a golf instructor directory for your locale such as loco pro golf. If you are in the UK these guys have a pretty nifty setup for streamlining the coach hunt.
When it comes to golf swing technique you have to start with the fundamentals, PGAB (see below). These fundamentals will put you in the best spot to be able to make a good swing. If you have bad fundamentals, you are fighting an uphill battle. Think of it this way, you don’t need shoes to walk, but they sure do help. Let’s dive into this acronym.
Posture is important in the golf swing because you swing around your spine. Having correct posture allows you to create a more consistent pivot and turn back as well as through the ball. To get yourself in good posture stand straight up, grip your golf club, extend your arms out, bend from the hips (knees locked). Once the club touches the ground unlock your knees, boom, correct posture. Many times when we do this people find it feels quite athletic, almost as if they are ready to run, or catch a medicine ball.
Perhaps the most important fundamental on this list is the grip. I say this yet if someone has swung for years with a poor grip I would stray away from changing it. The reason being is that the grip creates other habits in your golf swing. Meaning, if you take away the core element of the grip the entire swing will be thrown off. To grip the club correctly, make a “V” with your thumb and index finger on both hands. When on top of the club both V’s should point at your back shoulder, now grip the club with your fingers and you have a correct grip. This is often the biggest point of resistance with my students, but also the most important step in order for them to progress.
Alignment is an easy concept, aim at the target. Have your eyes ever deceived you? Mine have, and it always seems to be on the golf course. Over time your alignment can creep away from straight, eventually causing a lot of golfing anguish. The easiest solution is to throw down an alignment stick when you are on the range. Warming up, after a round or just practicing, it doesn’t matter, just do it. One caveat is the train track idea where your feet alignment should point left of the target (righties, right of the target for lefties). Because your feet are lined up away from the ball, the target line will be different than your foot line. Check out the title photo of this post for a visual reference.
The often forgotten issue of ball position. Firstly, as it pertains to ball position, a little is a lot. In most cases you will play the ball just forward of centre, with driver you should play the ball off your front heel. This allows you to swing up on the ball more, generating a more efficient strike and more distance. In addition, ball position is important because it influences where your swing bottoms out. Too far back and you will hit the ball low, with large divots. Too far forward and you will hit the ball thin with no divots. Having correct ball position will allow to to swing organically and not have to manufacture a save mid swing.
There is no one all encompassing golf swing technique to be taught to millions. Instead, try and work on your fundamentals and see what fruits thy bring you. Sometimes the hardest things to do are the easiest. Think of golf, put a ball in a hole with a stick, how hard can that be? I will let you answer that. Likewise, the fundamentals are simple concepts, often misconstrued, neglected and overlooked. If you have a solid PGAB you will be a leg up on your competition, and four steps closer to some good swing technique (does it work).