For those of you that have played golf, or in our attempts, tried and failed to play golf. You will know that for the most part, all attempts to hit the ball even half decently result in a swing and miss. It is a sport that requires time, patience and practice to grasp, but we are hoping that this golf tips guide outlining the basics of the game, will help you get up to speed that little bit quicker.
We are going to break the golf basics down into two main sections, with further sub-sections, so if you have cracked some of the golf tips we talk about, you can simply use the index to skip to the bit that is still causing you some trouble and frustration either in the driving range or out on the green.
So we will be looking at:
- Mental Attitude
Technique and Game
- Club Selection
- Ball Selection
- Swing Control
- Club Grip
Golf Basics Part 1 | The Player
First golf tip, body positioning
Your positioning when playing golf can massively impact if you have a good day or a bad day. If you don’t get your feet in the right place, the ball could fly off in any direction, and if you don’t align the rest of your body correctly you will find that you play very inconsistent shots.
Your feet should be in line with one another, and if you lay the golf club just in front of your toes, it should be pointing in the direction you want to hit the ball. Once you have your feet correctly set, you need to look at your hips and your back.
Your back should stay straight the whole time, with no change in your posture as you swing through the ball. A good practice exercise for this is to use a chair or the wall behind you as a point of contact, make sure you are just touching it with your bum and try to maintain this contact all the way through the swing. It helps you swing straighter and more consistently.
Your hips help generate a lot of the power behind your shot, so you want to really work on this area until you get it right. The temptation is to almost step, or lean into the shot, this is wrong and upsets your rhythm as you change the swing path of the club each and every time you move your hips. Try to simply turn your hips, from being inline and parallel to your feet, to the direction you want to hit the ball. Your feet shouldn’t move if you get this motion right, you should simply be turning them along with your hips, rather than stepping forward or leaning too much into it.
Mental Attitude plays such a huge role in someone’s performance in any sport, yet they may not even realise how it is affecting them. If you let your head drop and you begin to lose focus, your shot and game as a whole, will begin to decline and frustration will set in.
Golf is quite possibly one of the worst games when it comes to this, so you really want to get your head in the right place before, and during, each game. If you are new to the game, set yourself realistic targets, come up with control, accuracy and power drills to help you hone your skills and improve your overall game.
One of these that works well in the driving range is to set distance patterns. Try to hit shots of increasing distances and then work your way back down, so for example try to hit 100 yards, then 150 yards, 200 yards, 250 yards, before working back down. Due to the distance banners on the range you will be able to identify how far short or over you are hitting, plus this helps improve your power and control, allowing you to get a feel for how much power and effort you need to put in to reach each distance target.
Golf Basics Part 2 | Golf Technique and Game
Golf Club Selection
One of the most important parts when talking about golf tips and game basics is golf club selection. Playing a game against your mate and they seem to simply knock you outta the park? Hitting twice the distance of you, yet you started at the same time and are of roughly the same physique? Some of it may be down to natural ability but it may also be down to your club selection.
If you don’t choose the right club for the right task, you will be using so much more energy than is required to try and clear the same distance. As a very rough rule of thumb, the heavier the club, the longer the drive, but it is worth talking to a professional or doing some research into golf clubs to get a better feel for what you need.
Golf Ball Selection
This seems like such a trivial area to look in to, but if you want to improve your game in any way possible, it is worth listening up.
As with all sports, there is a temptation to simply look at your favourite tour player and invest in the same gear that they use. The truth is that every player is different so it is worth trying out a number of combinations to see what works best for you and compliments your game.
Look into the materials used, for example Urethane offers more control, feel, durability and distance, but it is more expensive than a Surlyn ball. Surlyn is meant to launch higher off of the tee and spins less.
Unless you have a very low handicap you are unlikely to be able to tell the difference, or for a change in the balls you use to impact your game, so to start we recommend you don’t worry so much about the balls you use, just get playing and once you bring your handicap down you can begin to consider a change.
We have looked at your body positioning and movement early in the blog, so now it is time to look at tips to get the best out of your club and focus on swing control.
Once you get the basics down, you will improve at a much quicker rate, so although some of these exercises may seem frustrating or tedious, we would strongly recommend you give them all a go.
Keeping the clubface square on impact is key. If you turn the club face either towards, or away from you on impact, results in a dragged shot or a sliced shot. To keep the clubface square there are two things you should be aware of, one of them is discussed below in the ‘Club Grip’ section, while the other is to do with your body movement. Make sure you don’t lean forward or back as you swing. We discussed this in more depth earlier on in the blog so be sure to check back to that section.
If you have corrected the clubface itself so you are hitting the ball squarely now, but find you are still skewing shots, there are a few drills that can help address that.
One of them is very simple, and we have found it to be very effective. Simply line up 3 golf balls on the ground, roughly 9-10cm apart. This equates to just over the length of the clubface. You are trying to only hit the centre ball, swing through and if the others move or are hit, reset the drill and repeat until you are cleanly hitting only the centre ball.
Another method that can be used at the driving range is to put the ball bucket just in front of your back foot. If you clip it as you swing through you aren’t curving the club and the ball from right to left enough. You want to curve right to left, not left to right, as is the case if you are hitting the bucket.
Golf Club Grip
Your club grip helps with your control, accuracy and power. So work on getting a good, comfortable grip. You don’t want to grip the club too firmly, if you do the rest of your body will tighten up too and your swing will become erratic. You won’t be able to swing freely through each shot and you will drag shots in a number of directions.
It is also far more knackering! You have to use so much more energy to hit the ball further if you remain tightened up, so try to relax and the flow of your shots help with preserve your power, while using less energy.
Your club grip also helps with the strike point on the ball, and in turn, your accuracy. Hitting the ball square on will allow you to hit the ball in the direction you aim, not at a sliced angle.
Grip the club with both hands, forming a ‘V’ with both. Form a ‘V’ between your left hand’s thumb and forefinger. The ‘V’ should point to your chin. Do the same with your right hand, but this time the ‘V’ should point to your right shoulder. This helps keep your clubface square on impact you need to hold the club correctly so that as you swing through it doesn’t rotate.
Following these golf tips, you should be able to get up to speed with the basics of golf that little bit quicker!