Golf Basics: How to Swing a Golf Club Perfectly
Swinging a golf club can take quite a bit of effort.
While there are several differences and varieties in the swinging techniques that golf professionals usually rely on, there are still some basics that they always go back to.
In fact, learning about these basics can then help you practice and improve your swing to obtain better results.
Only once you have these fully down can you move on to experimenting with your swing and trying out new tricks.
In particular, if you are a beginner or just starting out, you will need to start with figuring out how to hold and swing your golf club.
This must be done before you move on to hitting the ball since even minute variations can make a difference in how your shot pans out.
To help you out, I have created this comprehensive guide to take you through everything you need to know about swinging your golf club, including your grip and setup.
We also cover making the swing, directing your shot, and correcting your swing, among other elements.
You can try practicing with your golf club simultaneously too.
Let’s start swinging!
Learning how to hold a golf club in the first place is a necessary part of learning how to swing a golf club, especially as a beginner.
In fact, even as you advance in the sport, you might still need to keep making frequent adjustments to your grip based on your level of comfort and the kind of shot you want to play.
Although it might initially feel strange for you to hold the club or even attempt to control and swing it, it will become easier as you keep practicing.
To start off, make sure your grip on the golf club is relaxed and neutral to ensure comfort.
Don’t make it too tight or loose, and ensure that the grip in your non-dominant hand, followed by the dominant hand, is concentrated in the fingers.
The thumb and the index finger of both hands should create parallel V-shapes.
Types of Grip
There are mainly three types of grips in golf that you can use and try out. You can go through them below.
The baseball grip allows you to use all ten of your fingers. All the five fingers of your dominant hand are underneath all the fingers of your non-dominant hand.
This kind of grip works best for beginners or amateurs.
Hold the golf club’s grip first with your non-dominant hand by wrapping all your fingers around it, letting your thumb loose, and facing down.
Then, you can wrap all the fingers of your dominant hand below the other hand, ensuring that the dominant hand’s little or pinky finger touches the non-dominant hand’s index finger.
The overlapping grip can offer better stability, control, and consistency than the baseball grip and is also more popular among golf players worldwide.
It is also quite comfortable.
To carry out this kind of grip, you will first need to hold your golf club by wrapping all the fingers around the grip, just like you did with the baseball grip.
Once you do this, you should open up the pinky finger of your dominant hand and place it in the gap between the index and middle fingers of your non-dominant hand. Note: You can also overlap it on the index finger.
An interlocking grip can perhaps offer the most sturdiness and control while swinging.
It is also ideal for those who have relatively smaller hands.
Tiger Woods is a good example of a player who uses this kind of grip.
With an interlocking grip, you will first need to arrange your hands on the golf club by carrying out the steps involved in the baseball grip.
Once you carry this out, you should open up the dominant hand’s pinky finger and the non-dominant hand’s index finger and interlock them together.
This means that the pinky finger and the index finger will twirl around each other in the shape of an ‘x,’ allowing you to connect your hands.
The pressure you apply to your golf club is important to get right.
Hold it too tight, and you will compromise on speed and rotation and, as a result, accuracy.
However, hold it too loose, and you will compromise on control.
This is why it is important to simply rely on what feels comfortable and opt for the middle ground so that you can aim your shots and swing better.
Where you apply pressure on your golf club is also important to account for here.
Essentially, the uppermost and lowest bits of the grip on your club are where the hold will be tighter than the parts in between.
Impact of Grip
How you hold your golf club can have a huge impact on how you can swing the club and the accuracy with which you hit the ball. It can be the difference between a pulled golf shot or one dead straight down the fairway.
The correct grip will help you direct your shots to achieve the right distance and aim at the right spot.
Your grip can then also help you out with the angle of your clubface, which is consequently important in determining the angle at which you launch the golf ball.
It is, therefore, essential for you to take some time to practice your grip and get it to a point where you are comfortable with it.
You will then notice the difference in terms of the precision, stability, and control with which you are hitting the ball.
The right grip can also help prevent too much strain, especially since you will have to keep playing a round of golf until the end, especially if you want to compete later.
Experiment with different kinds of grips to see what works best for you.
The setup in golf is basically how you stand and your stance.
How you place your feet, align your body, bend your elbows and arms are, what your posture is like, and the distance between certain parts of your body can all affect how you swing your golf club and hit a shot.
It is important to never slouch too much while establishing your setup.
Perfecting and maintaining your setup can help you generate power, control, stability, speed, and balance to aim your shots right.
In general, the setup can also help prevent strain and injuries.
Below, you can go through some elements to consider when setting your body up.
Placing your feet in the proper position is important for balance and alignment. Make sure both your feet are wide apart so that the golf club is right in the middle of your feet.
Your feet should also be aligned so that the golf ball is a bit further away but still at the center.
Feet placement is usually an easy step to figure out and will fall into place once you get the rest of your setup right.
However, make sure you take some time to figure this aspect out and see if you should make any adjustments.
Ensure that the weight is concentrated in the middle of each foot, not on the heels or toes (or more on one foot than on the other.)
Setting up your posture is the next step in this process. Having the right kind of posture can make a huge difference in terms of how you hit the ball and make contact.
It can also give you enough flexibility while swinging without the risk of injuries.
Your upper body should be angled a bit towards the ground by bending it from the waist. Make sure your back is mostly straight but not completely upright.
You should also slightly angle your upper body to the opposite side of your target.
Make sure to also push your hips out and back for better balance.
You should not keep your legs ramrod straight as this is bound to restrict your movements and level of control.
It could also make you much more vulnerable to sprains and fractures, impacting your golf game.
Thus, you should slightly bend your knees forward to have an easier time swinging and hitting the ball.
It is also essential for you to make a few adjustments after bending your knees to ensure that your weight is distributed evenly on both your feet.
Try swinging the club with your knees bent to see if it feels comfortable enough.
You should align your body so that you can visualize a straight line along the length of your toes, pointing in the direction of the target or the hole.
This line should be parallel to the line of the ball that also points towards the target or hole.
Make sure your shoulders are bent forward to match this alignment. Your arms should then rest comfortably and loosely on the club, allowing you to swing the club and hit the ball without needing to completely outstretch your arms.
Do not bend your elbows too much, either.
The end of your golf club should point towards the middle of where your golf shorts or tracks start (or where the buckle of a belt would usually be).
Position your golf club so that the face meets the ball squarely and perfectly.
Try hitting the ball to ensure that you are in the right stance and make minor adjustments if required.
Now that you are aware of how to hold your golf club and establish your setup, you can move on to learning how to swing a golf club since this is what will directly result in you hitting the ball and sending it off in a given direction.
Of course, the angles at which you swing the ball, the impact, force, and speed are all important to consider here.
The takeaway begins the moment you start swinging your golf club.
Moving your arms backward is not the only important aspect; you will also need to simultaneously move your shoulders, hands, and back in the direction away from the ball.
It is only when you get the takeaway right that you will be able to transition into the backswing. However, the takeaway is technically still a part of the backswing.
To begin this takeaway, bring your front shoulder closer to your chin so that your other shoulder, arms, and back move automatically.
You can then make adjustments for precision.
The backswing is when your club is completely above the ground and over your head.
You will need to turn your body and your wrists like a hinge.
Rotate your upper body accurately to manage to gather the strength and power that you will need to continue the swing.
Make sure you do not sway too much while making this turn since it might cause you to lose your balance.
Concentrate your weight on the dominant foot (right if your backswing is to the right).
Your dominant hand should be bent, and the other should be straight, with your golf club being almost parallel to the ground.
Once you have reached the peak of your backswing, you will need to start swinging your club down until it is ready to hit the ball with reasonable force, speed and accuracy.
To do this, you will first need to move your lower body by turning your hips slightly back towards the ball’s direction.
Keep your dominant arm closer to your body as you swing down and drag the head or face of the club downwards to accumulate speed.
This is known as a clubhead lag. Continue this until the face of the club is ready to hit the ball.
While you make this downswing, the weight of your body (which was concentrated on one foot during the backswing) should now move to the other foot.
Bend your knees in the direction of the hole or target.
The impact is when you have completed your downswing, and the face of the club finally makes contact with the ball, hitting off in the direction of your target or hole.
While your arm swing is extremely important here, you will also need to rotate your upper body and move your hips slightly forward to ensure you hit in the right direction.
The clubhead lag you introduced during your downswing will now bring speed, acceleration, and momentum to the ball, allowing you to hit the ball in the desired direction and with the desired amount of force and control.
After you hit the ball, you will still need to make a few more accurate movements to ensure that you swing the club back in the direction opposite to where you started your swing from.
This can help with the release and allow you to regain your sense of balance.
It can also give you a fair idea of whether or not you hit the ball accurately since a smooth follow-through can imply a smooth and precise hit.
During this follow-through, your arms should start moving towards the target and your club.
Throughout this process, do not look away from the ball!
You will finally finish when your stance is nearly opposite to how your stance was during the peak of your backswing and right before your downswing.
The club should once again be nearly parallel to the ground, but this time on the left side (if you started from the right).
Your weight should also be back on the front foot, your left arm should be bent, and your right arm should be relatively more outstretched.
Once again, keep your head up once you are finally in the finish position.
Avoid sudden movements to prevent injuries as well.
You can then slowly begin to release your stance and go back to how you usually stand. You can then take this time to see how your ball is moving and where it lands (if possible) to gauge your next move.
Irons and Drivers
There can be a bit of a difference in how you hit using your iron swings and your drivers since both are bound to have different clubhead sizes and the shaft’s length.
This can then determine how you should hit the ball during impact.
The grip, setup, and angle at which you swing and hit the ball should be accurate. If you are working with iron, you will need to ensure that you get aspects such as weight balance and distribution right.
You might also need some time to get used to the different lengths of the club if you change from one to the other.
For a driver club, the head and shaft are much longer, requiring you to swing up on the ball by placing your front foot only slightly outside the ball instead of placing both your feet so that the ball is in the middle.
Also checkout: Our article on how and when to hit a 7 iron.
When it comes to how you swing your golf club and how you hit the ball with it, a necessary element that you must learn to control is the speed of your swing.
Only once you can manage to get the speed right will you be able to hit the ball to the desired distance in an accurate manner.
Figuring out and controlling the speed can also lead to better results for each swing and hit, resulting in stability and consistency across your plays.
It is, therefore, usually better to slightly limit the speed of your swing so that you can achieve better control.
Instead of fully using your strength to achieve maximum speed, figure out what speed will work best with the given shot, its distance, and the kind of club you are using.
How your club hits the ball or makes contact with it can determine the direction and distance, it will achieve.
If you cannot get your shots right, then the problem might lie with the point of contact.
In most cases, you should figure out where the midpoint of your clubface is. Some clubs might also have lines to indicate this to help you figure it out.
Either way, you should ensure that you only hit the ball with this central point and either hit the ball down (for iron shots) or swing it up (for driver shots).
Now that you are clear about the basics or the foundational aspects of swinging a golf club, it is also important for you to know about some specialty shots that you can use at certain points in the game.
These will alter your swinging technique a bit as well. Let’s take a look.
Chipping in golf refers to a relatively lower shot in which the ball either does not fly in the air or does so for only a short time.
For most of the distance, the ball in this shot remains on or close to the ground.
Chipping is ideal for helping you cover the distance between the ball and the hole when the hole is close by.
To hit this shot, keep the ball closer to the back foot or the foot facing away from the hole.
Keep your wrists tight and focus on moving your upper half of the body towards the direction of the hole.
Control the speed and force of the swing and impact to get better and more accurate results.
You can then make necessary adjustments based on the distance.
Bunkers are usually sand pits on the golf course where your ball might accidentally land.
In such a case, you will still need to hit the ball from where it is, so learning how to hit it while accounting for the sand is important.
Make sure you stand closer to the ball and keep your feet wider apart than usual.
Your upper body here will need to take the lead while rotating properly.
For accuracy, your backswing should be wider, and your momentum should be higher.
Aim for the sand right behind the ball and hit it with the club so that your ball can go flying off.
Putting involves hitting the ball with a putter when the ball is closer to the hole. You will need to adjust the grip that you will need for your putter while also lining it up properly with your ball.
Make good use of the central line on your putter to help you achieve this.
Keep your lower body in place and focus on moving your shoulders accurately to achieve speed and distance.
The further you swing your club back, the further the distance that the ball will be able to cover.
Your ball might not always land on an even part of the course since there will likely be several hills and slopes throughout the course.
If you land in such a situation, you will need to make minor changes to your swing and stance to ensure that you hit the ball accurately.
Thus, if the ball is situated uphill or downhill, you will need to place the foot on the higher part of the ground closer to the ball while focusing the weight on the foot on the lower part of the hill or land.
Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the swing. Try the swing out on your own and ask your trainer to help you out.
You will likely make mistakes when just learning how to swing your golf club.
These mistakes are common even among more advanced or professional players, so make sure you figure them out and correct them on time.
A slice in golf is when you end up hitting the ball to make it curve from left to right (for right-handed players).
While this can sometimes work well as a conscious technique, you might lose out on accuracy and control if you keep hitting these consistently.
This might be happening because of an open clubface or if your knees are too straight.
To avoid this, make sure you aim your club accurately and keep your knees bent throughout the swinging process.
If you are a right-handed player, then a hook is when you hit the ball, and the ball ends up curving from the right to left while it is in the air.
This can commonly occur due to a tight grip or if your aim is a bit off.
Once again, some players occasionally use this consciously, but it will do more harm than good for regular shots.
To correct a hook, make sure you loosen up your grip, lessen the spin, and aim your stance properly to achieve your target.
Thin and Fat Shots
Thin and fat shots occur when you hit the ball incorrectly with your club.
You will need to always look at the ball throughout the swinging process and hit it with the center of your clubface.
This can then allow you to achieve the accurate and required distance.
How to Swing a Golf Club – FAQs
Why Does My Club Keep Hitting the Ground?
This mainly suggests an issue with your stance. You might either flex your knees too much or not bend your arms enough when you are about to hit the ball.
The face of the club might also not align well with the ball when you try to hit it.
Which Golf Club Should I Choose?
This depends on your requirements and the level at which you are playing.
Account for the length, the shaft, the face angle and length, the shape of the head, the grip, and more. You should also experiment with a few and ask your instructor to give some advice.
How Do I Pitch in Golf?
Pitching is usually when you have a lot of distance to cover and want your ball to fly for most of this distance.
You should aim for a longer curve during your swing and ensure minimal wrist movement.
How Do I Stop Looking Up While Trying to Swing?
You must focus your vision only on the ball and not on the green while you are swinging.
This can help you visualize and aim better to achieve better control. It might take some time to get this right, so keep at it!
Is There a Difference Between How Right-Handed and Left-Handed Players Use Their Hands?
Yes, the placement can usually change on the grip and the direction of movement.
However, both players will still need to use their non-dominant hand with their dominant hand.
You now know all there is to know about swinging a golf club.
I have taken you through how to get your grip right, set your stance for the swing, swing, hit certain kinds of shots, and correct your stance, among other details.
You can now go ahead and try swinging!