Golf is a hobby that people of all ages can partake in. Unfortunately, it is also a hobby which causes great frustration when things don't seem to go as planned. For many, problems arise before they even make it off the tee box. The purpose of this set of instructions is to help you improve your drive. By the end of this set of instructions and with some practice, you should be able to:
- Choose a club that best suits your height and swing speed.
- Be more consistent with your stance, grip, and golf swing.
- Achieve a more solid contact with the ball, thus more distance in your shot.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Club
The perfect club can differ from person to person. In order to find the driver which best suits you, you need to:
- Choose a grip which doesn't slip out of your hands, but is also comfortable.
- Determine which shaft is appropriate for your swing.
- For a rule of thumb, a swing speed of 70-85 mph corresponds to a Flexible shaft, a swing speed of 80-95 mph corresponds to a Regular shaft, a swing speed of 90-105 mph corresponds to a Stiff shaft, and a swing speed of 105+ mph corresponds to an Extra-Stiff shaft.
- Choose a loft which benefits your swing. The loft is the angle of the club face
- A lower loft provides less arc on the ball.
- Similar to the shaft, the loft also depends on the speed of your swing.
- Loft angles typically range between 8 and 13 degrees, but specialty club heads are made for players with much faster or slower swing speeds.
Note: Your local pro shop can help you with selecting the right club based on your swing.
Step 2: Gripping the Club
Gripping the club is a very simple task, but commonly is the reason for flaws in a players swing. When gripping the club, follow these steps:
- Begin gripping the end of the club with your non-dominant hand. For example, if you are swinging a right-handed club, grip the end of the club with your left hand.
- Point your thumb on your non-dominant hand down the shaft towards the head of the club.
- Place your palm of your dominant hand on top of your thumb of your non-dominant hand. Wrap your fingers of your dominant hand around your club. Your dominant thumb should also be facing down the shaft. This is considered a neutral grip and can easily be adjusted to compensate for problems in a players swing.
- Ensure your grip on the club is tight enough that the club won't shift or turn during your swing.
Note: Some players prefer to interlock their ring finger of their non-dominant hand and their pinkie of their dominant hand to achieve a more comfortable grip.
Step 3: Correcting Your Stance
Before you're ready to swing your club, you need to set your footing. Begin by:
- Setting your feet approximately shoulder width. Often times your stance will be a bit wider depending on the length of the club.
- Keeping your toes pointed straight.
- Bending your knees slightly.
When setting your stance, you also need to align yourself a proper distance from the ball. To determine this distance follow these steps:
- Set your feet perpendicular to direction you are swinging.
- Place your club parallel with the direction of your feet, and square face to the ball.
- Let the club head sit on the ground in front of the ball.
- Allow the grip of the club to rest on your leg. It should fall just above your knee.
- If the club falls too high above your knee or too low, you need to move farther or closer to the ball respectively.
Lastly, it is important that your swing remains consistent. Tightening your lower back helps avoid unnecessary shifting of weight from side to side or front to back.
Step 4: Range of Motion
Determining your swing requires practice and repetition. Your swing should feel fluid and comfortable. For your backswing:
- Begin bring your club back parallel to your body.
- Shift your weight on to your dominant side as you continue your backswing.
- Continue your backswing until your non-dominant arm is across your body. This is known as the apex of the sing.
Once you reach the apex of your swing, you then want to begin your forward motion with the club.
- Begin bringing your club back around your body, following the range of motion from your backswing.
- Shift your weight forward as your club approaches the ball
After you make contact with the ball it is important to continue your swing.
- Finish shifting your weight forward, but remember to maintain your balance.
- Your swing should continue until your dominant arm makes a right angle across your body.
Step 5: Staying Down on the Ball
A major problem for many recreational golfers is staying down on the ball. As a player swings, they have a tendency to lift their head or shoulders up before making contact with the ball. This can lead to multiple problems including:
- Topping the ball
- Completely missing the ball altogether
In order to avoid rising up during your swing, practice keeping your eye on the ball the entire time throughout your swing. This takes repetition, but once perfected can greatly enhance your swing efficiency.
Step 6: Fixing a Fat Shot
Hitting the ground before the ball is often referred to as a fat shot. A fat shot can often be worse than topping the ball because the direction of the ball is very unpredictable. This problem typically caused by one or a combination of the following:
- You aren't staying down on the ball, and you are looking up before making contact with the ball. Refer to Step 4.
- Your swing is out of sync. This is typically caused by swinging too fast. Try slowing up your swing and regaining control of your club. A consistent solid strike is much better then killing the ball one out of every five swings.
- Your footing and grip aren't set. Take a step back and realign yourself with the ball. This problem can often be fixed with several practice swings.
Step 7: Fixing a Slice
Another major problem which players encounter is pushing the ball, or slicing. This happens when the face of a players club is open when making contact with the ball. An open face is typically caused by a players hands moving slower than his/her arms. To achieve better contact with the ball:
- Make sure your grip on the club is tight. If the club can twist in your hands, this can often lead to a slice.
- If your thumb on your dominant hand is straight down the club, rotate it clockwise around the club.
- This can be adjusted gradually and is very helpful for minor adjustments.
- Close the face of your club when lining up with the ball.
- This is more of a temporary fix, because although you will make better contact your hands are still lagging.
Step 8: Fixing a Chop
Similar to a slice, players may also encounter pulling the ball, or chopping. This happens when the face of a players club is closed when making contact with the ball. An closed face is typically caused by a players hands moving faster than his/her arms. To achieve better contact with the ball:
- Make sure your grip on the club is tight. If the club can twist in your hands, this can often lead to pulling the ball.
- If your thumb on your dominant hand is straight down the club, rotate it counter-clockwise around the club.
- This can be adjusted gradually and is very helpful for minor adjustments.
- Open the face of your club when lining up with the ball.
- Again, this is more of a temporary fix, because although you will make better contact your hands are still moving too fast relative to your swing speed.
Step 9: Applying What You've Learned
Always remember that golf is a sport which requires practice. By following this set of instructions, your swing should become more consistent.