In the spirit of winter, golf swings are like snowflakes…No 2 are alike. A golf swing is an athletic movement with a lot of things happening at the same time making it vital that you make your swing your own.
Just like a good jump shot, a pure baseball swing, or a quarterback’s release, while they may look the same, you know when you see a good golf swing.
There are aspects of every swing that need to be there to get your club in the right position to make solid and consistent contact with the ball.
The following tutorial includes our 17 best golf swing tips. We firmly believe that these golf swing tips will help to improve your game, but as you work them into your swing it is important to remember the athletic nature of golf and to not allow these tips to make your swing robotic.
17 Best Golf Swing Tips
1. Find Your Grip
There are 3 different types of grips and 3 different strengths with which you can hold a club. It is important to find the combination that feels right to you, but it is also important to note that an overlapping grip with a neutral strength is by far the most common combination. A weak grip promotes a fade while a strong grip promotes a draw, but for many golfers neither of these feels as natural as a neutral grip. Here are the 3 different types of grips with a photo example of each:
10 Finger Grip (Baseball Grip)
In addition to the types of grips that golfers use, each golfer chooses the strength of their grip as well. This does not refer to how tightly you hold the club, but rather the direction the “V” shape that is formed by your thumb and index finger is pointing. If that “V” points to the right, you have a strong grip, to the left you have a weak grip, and if it points straight down you have a neutral grip. Here are pictures for the 3 different grip strengths:
2. Know Where You’re Aiming
Aiming in golf can be challenging for many people and it takes a while to get to used to it. Prior to your swing, a good way to check where you are aiming is to lie an iron across your thighs during setup with the butt of the club pointing out. Wherever your club is pointing is where you are aiming.
After your swing, you can judge your aim by the divot that you left during your shot. It really depends on what type of shot (draw, fade, straight, etc.) you were hitting as to where you divot should be, but analyzing your divots will give you great insight into your swing. Whatever direction your divot is pointing is the actual direction that your ball started on, so analyzing those divots can tell you if you were aiming the way that you thought.
3. Check Your Stance
Your stance includes the width of your feet at setup, the position of your ball compared to where your feet are, and the direction your body is facing.
- In general, the lower loft your club has, the bigger the width of your stance. When you are chipping the ball, your feet should be less than shoulder width apart while driving the ball they should be more.
- The position of your ball in relation to your lead foot will also go progressively backward as you move from driver to wedge. The more you want to hit down on the ball (wedge play), the farther back you want the ball. The more you want to swing at your ball (driver) the farther forward you want the ball.
- Your body should be facing your target until you start pitching and chipping the ball. You open up your club face by opening up your stance.
4. Posture Like An Athlete
The key to your posture is athleticism. You want to have a slight bend in your knees and you want to hinge your hips rather than your back.You want to be able to allow your arms to hang naturally instead of bent or rigid. On a side note, a huge part of good posture includes a properly fitted club.
5. Think Low, Slow, and Wide
A lot of players have a tendency to try to take the club up at a steep angle and to rush into their swing. Your takeaway should be first low meaning that the clubhead skims the earth for as long as possible. If you start out low you will force your club out wide because it will follow your lead arm. A wide swing gets you into an inside-out motion more easily and more naturally. Lastly, do not rush your shot. Take your time. Start your takeaway slowly and ease your way into the right rhythm and a powerful shot.
6. Club Stays Outside of Your Hand
When the butt of your club gets to pocket level, you should be able to look down and see your club outside of your hands. The toe of the club should be facing directly upward at this stage of your swing as well. Here is a video that talks about and shows what this should look like in practice
7. Get A Full Turn
Once your lead arm is parallel to the ground, you have no more room to coil without a shoulder turn. A full turn is completed when the shaft of your club is behind you, perpendicular to your body and parallel with the ground. This turn is where you get that extra ounce of power and distance that golfers are looking for, but many golfers either start their swing before reaching parallel or allow their shafts to move past parallel.
8. Weight Begins to Shift Early to The Left Side
Throughout your swing, your weight is shifting and your feet and legs are providing you with the foundation of your balance and power.
At setup, your weight is pretty much evenly distributed between your front and back legs.
However, it is not long into your backswing before you begin to take the pressure off of your front heel and move it to your back foot. Here is a great video from “Athletic Motion Golf” that illustrates this part of your swing:
9. Starting the Downswing While Finishing The Backswing
One of the biggest and most frequently made mistakes that people make during their golf swing is that they view it as 2 separate and distinct movements.
The mistake is that you have a backswing, then everything stops, and you make your movement into the rest of your swing.
Think about the first time you threw a baseball or a football. You did not draw your arm back, stop everything, and then bring your arm forward. You made a fluid motion where your arm was still going back while your body was moving forward and then everything aligned for your throw.
Your golf swing is not 2 separate parts, it is a continuation of one athletic movement. Here is a video from Athletic Motion Golf to show illustrate this point:
10. Be Smooth In The Transition
There should be a smooth and athletic transition from your backswing to your downswing as is described above. The transition should be smooth because it should be one motion made of many different parts rather than 2 separate motions. The downswing should start with your hands pulling down on the club and the rest of your body and arms will follow.
11. Think 80-85% of Full Speed
The idea of swinging at 80-85% rather than 100% is a difficult one to learn. We want to be able to hit the ball as far and as high as we possibly can, and we believe that we have to swing with all of our power to accomplish that.
The truth is that consistent contact on the sweet spot of your club is infinitely more important than the amount of strength you are using in your swing.
Mishits and off center strikes will kill any additional distance you are looking for with a hard swing and your consistency will be wildly inconsistent!
Slow down, learn how to strike the ball, and then worry about your swing speed.
12. Create Space, Clear With Hips
Most golfers lose the depth of their hips in the downswing. Your hips should be moving forward and providing power for you at impact, but if you do not clear your hips in time and get them through your swing, you will either get behind the club and lose your power or have to reach for the ball and swing with only your arms. The bottom line is that your hips have to rotate evenly and athletically both through your backswing and downswing to provide the tempo and power you need for a good shot. Here is another good video from Athletic Motion Golf to illustrate that point:
13. Shaft Lean is Keen
Shaft lean refers to the angle of the club shaft at impact of your swing. The majority of golfers, especially amateurs, have too little shaft lean to get the most out of their club and swing. You want your golf swing to have a little forward lean to it at impact, but not more than 10 degrees. If you allow your hands to get behind the club at impact, you will most likely not make solid contact and almost definitely miss out on the backspin that most golfers desire.
(Photo Courtesy of Golf Distillery)
14. Descending Blow, Down and Through
Some clubs require a steeper angle of attack than others, but almost every shot you will ever hit outside of the green and the tee box will be struck with a descending blow.
It can be difficult to understand that the quickest way to get a ball into the air is to hit down on it. We have this tendency to try to help the ball and scoop it into the air.
A descending blow where you strike the ball on the way down and swing through it is the only way that you are going to get the trajectory and consistency that you want.
Follow Through Tips
15. Allow Hands to Release
As your wrists unhinge and break through the ball, your hands should release naturally as well. Your hands and clubhead should circle around your body in a natural motion to finish the swing. If you stop your hands or try to guide them rather than allowing them to release naturally, you will affect your follow through and your shot. Allowing your hands to release actually allows the rest of your body to release as well.
16. Balanced Finish on Front Foot
Even though contact has been made and the ball is already in the air, you finish is indicative of everything that happened prior to that moment. With today’s power game, you see more guys one the Tour swinging harder and harder but as an amateur, you should concentrate on keeping your balance.
Focusing on a high and balanced finish will help ensure that everything that happened prior to that moment was balanced and correct. Almost every great shot you have seen on the PGA Tour included the player holding his finish for what seems like forever as he admires his shot. All good swings finish this way for a reason, just like Rory:
Last Golf Swing Tip
17. Find a Pro/Coach if You Are Serious
This is by no means an attempt to talk people into using a golf coach or swing instructor. We realize that many recreation golfers go out to have fun while their score/performance takes a backseat. There are, however, just as many golfers who truly want to improve and believe that a round of golf cannot be fun unless it is accompanied by a good score. If you really want to improve your game, find a good coach or golf pro who can teach you the skills, drills, and nuances of the game and of your swing that you could not learn any other way.
Final Thoughts On Golf Swing Tips
This tutorial, of course, is not exhaustive. There are so many swing theories and tips that could be given about any aspect of your swing that it would take thousands of pages to create anything close to an exhaustive list.
These 17 golf swing tips, however, are a great start to get you thinking critically about what your swing looks like. Whether you are a veteran golfer or a beginner, we hope that this tutorial has given you some things to think about and some ways to improve your game.
If you learned something from this list, please share with us the tip that most affected your game in the comment section below. Post a pic or video of you on the course or range putting these tips into action. If you have questions, please let us know and we will do our best to answer them. Finally, share this list with your friends and help them become better golfers too!