How to Swing a Golf Club

Man swinging golf club

Golf is a sport of patience. There are many factors that go into a proper swing, and they all affect your score and game.

That does not mean it is easy, however. Whether you are a beginner not sure how to approach a swing, or you are a senior looking for some golf swing tips, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your game.

Follow these steps to learn how to improve your golf swing.

Grip is Everything

The way that you grip the club plays a big role in how well you can swing it. Not only that, but what kind of grip is on the club. In general, golf clubs come with one of three types of grips:

  • Cord
  • Hybrid
  • Wrap

You are probably familiar with wrap grips because they are quite common. Wrap grips are comfortable to use, but don’t give you as tight of a grip on the club. Cord grips are great for beginners and seniors alike because they are comfortable in your hands but also “grippy”.

Hybrid grips fall somewhere in between wrap and cord grips and offer the best of both worlds. You can supplement your grip by adding tape underneath it to give it more grip if you choose to.

When you go to grip a golf club, there are three main methods that are commonly used:

10-finger

Of the three of these grip types, the one that is the least popular is the 10-finger grip. Also referred to as the baseball grip, it is a one hand over the other grip that looks like you are holding, well, a baseball bat. If you are new to playing golf, it is a great grip to begin with.

The 10-finger grip is a good introduction to an easy golf swing for beginners or anyone with weakened or sore hands and wrists could benefit from this grip.

Overlapping

The overlapping grip, aka the Vardon grip, is where you overlap your pinky finger between the index and middle finger on the opposite hand. The hand that does the overlapping depends on what hand you are dominant with, aka the “lead hand”.

If you are left handed, the lead is your right hand, and if you are right handed it is your left. For many instructors, the overlapping grip is one of the first golf swing tips for beginners that they teach.

Interlock

The final grip is the interlock grip. If you are wondering how to improve your swing, the interlocking grip may just be it. Interlock your pinky finger from your trail hand with the index finger of the lead hand. You may notice that it is easy on the wrists, and that is why may senior golfers gravitate towards it.

Foot Placement and Stance

Where your feet are planted in relation to the ball is vital. If your feet are close together, widen your stance more. You want to have your legs spread far enough apart to give you a looser stance. Foot placement is one of the biggest parts of golf swing geometry, so you don’t want to rush through settling on a stance right for you.

More than anything, your foot placement in your stance should depend on what is most comfortable for you. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your golf stance is healthy:

  • Stand parallel to the intended ball flight path
  • Move your feet until they are shoulder width apart
  • Keep your front foot in line with the target, and your back

Once your feet are in that position, flex your knees just enough to strengthen your stance. Slightly hunch over with upper body so that your head in above the ball and that when you follow through with your swing, you will be facing out to the target.

Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and you are ready to actually go ahead and swing.

How to Swing

Now that you what a healthy swing stance looks like and how you should grip your clubs, it’s time to get into golf swing technique. Golf is a game of timing and patience, so don’t rush yourself or worry about getting it perfect right away. Follow these steps and you will have the basic skills needed to drive a ball towards the green in no time.

There is no such thing as a truly simple golf swing, but it is not too difficult or too late for anyone to learn.

1. Get Aligned

Once you are in your proper stance as described above, look down the line at your target. Let’s say the target is the pin on the green, for example. If you are in your stance and your shoulders are not pointed right at it, then you are not aligned.

It is a simple fix and all that you need to do is shift your stance so that you are “in line” with the target. Do this without breaking your stance, however. If you have to open up your stance a little bit to make up for it, that is okay as long as your feet are shoulder width apart and your shoulders are aimed at the target.

Depending on your age or experience, different stances may work better for alignment. The best golf stance for seniors in most cases is one that is open making it easier for your knee and hips to pivot during the actual swing.

Once you are aligned, put your weight back on the balls of your feet so that you can swing back and follow through properly.

2. The Backswing

The backswing is the most important part of golf swing technique. There are two main things to keep in mind on the backswing: shifting weight and coiling your body.

Begin your backswing by swinging your arms back above your head while still keeping your lead arm straight. While you are swinging the club back, keep your wrists as straight as possible to have a strong a swing.

TIP: Should You Waggle?

Yes, you should. Waggling is what you see PGA pros do on TV. They “waggle” their arms flexing and releasing their wrists essentially performing miniature golf swings without coiling or shifting weight. You don’t need to per se, but it helps warm you up for the real swing and follow through.

3. Keep Your Eye on the Ball

When you are on your backswing, there is one that you can do that will work wonders in improving the flightpath of your ball. That is keeping your eye on the ball.

It sounds simple, and it is, yet it is easy to overlook. When you are in your stance with your weight on the balls of your feet and your knees flexed, your head should be right above the ball. If so, that is perfect.

From there, simply look down, and if possible, keep looking down. Not only will this literally put your eyes on the prize, but it will help you when you follow through, especially when you connect with the ball.

Check out this video for more on this:

TIP: How Do I Practice This?

If you want to see just how important keeping your eyes, or head, on the ball is, you can easily find out. Next time you are at the range, take some swings where you don’t keep your head on the ball. Notice not just the improper flight path of the ball, but also the improper alignment of your body.

What happens for most people, is that the movement of their head during the swing causes their body to move in the same direction and fall out of line with the target. See if you can hit several shots in a row while keeping your head on the ball and you should notice that your body stays on target as well as the ball.

4. Uncoil

Once you are at the very top of your backswing, it is time to finish the swing. Following through is all about unwinding your body. On the backswing, you were effectively winding your body up, and now it is time to let go and strike the ball.

Don’t let your arms get ahead of our wrists or your wrists ahead of your arms. Keep the follow through motion consistent just like on your backswing. Starting from the top of your backswing, uncoil arms and the rest of your body.

To ensure that you hit the ball straight on and toward your target, uncoil your torso the same way and speed as your arms. That way, when you connect with the ball your body should still have the same alignment as when you set up the shot.

In some cases, this can be the hardest part of a golf swing for seniors with bad back, and understandably so. If that is the case, spend just a little bit more time readying your stance before the swing. Also, avoid moving your body before you need to.

During the swing, you should only be moving your upper body (besides your arms) when you follow through. Because of that, keep a loose but weighted stance leading up to it and try not to swing too hard on the follow through. Not only do you not need to swing too hard if the form is right, but it can also save your back some pain.

This video provide a great tutorial on how to coil and uncoil:

How to Improve Your Swing

Now that you know golf swing basics, you can focus your time on improving your swing. You are probably wondering how to swing a golf club faster or hit the ball further, among many other burning golf questions. The fact is, however, that swing speed and distance only comes with practice.

If you want to increase your speed and distance, the best place to do that is at the driving range. That way, you can hit ball after ball without ever even having to change stance if you want to. Remember, however, that swinging hard is not only unnecessary in most cases, but it is also a good way to get injured on the golf course.

One great way to practice is by using alignment sticks for swing plane drills. Here are some effective golf swing plane drills to help you beef up your swing.

  • Lay an alignment straight between your feet in the center of your stance with the ball only a few inches away and swing away. Check the divot after your follow through, and if it is not lined up with the ball or stick, then you practice until it is. That means that your club is hitting the ground before the ball
  • Place an alignment stick into the ground at a diagonal angle matching your club’s position when you are holding it down toward the ground (lie angle). Place a ball on the ground with another stick in front of it lined up straight towards the target. Practice until your club is even with the alignment stick on your swing
  • If you have trouble keeping your head above the ball, plant two alignment sticks in the ground standing straight up vertically. That way, when you swing, taking your head off of the ball will mean your hips hit one of the alignment sticks letting you know you did something wrong

In Closing

the golf swing is all about balance, stance, foot placement and timing. If you are wondering how to swing a golf club left handed, the same principles apply as right handed golf swings, just reversed. Take your time and don’t worry about swinging hard. Find a comfortable stance and keep your head on the ball.